My work is cut out for me.

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Today is November 7th, 2019. Including today, there are 54 days left in the year.

And I am screwed…

I set a goal for myself to produce 104 posts in 2019 to fulfill my social goal of 2019.  This post makes my 72nd entry of the year.

SO, when you do the math, I have a lot of work to get done between now and December 31st!!!

For some of my more regular readers, THANK YOU. Thank you for sticking with me, when I am publishing regularly or when I take over a month off as I put myself back together.  I will not bore you with yet another “Where have I been/Why I haven’t written” post, there are unfortunately enough of those here, just go back and look, they are mixed throughout the past 7 years of posts.

SO as I start the mad dash towards the end of the year hoping to not let myself down, I invite and encourage you to let me know your thoughts on:

  • prolonged absences
  • content
  • if I start droning on and on about something too long.

Lets get this done!!!

‘some days there is nothing’

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First things first, I totally stole this title. From the blog fractured faith (visit it, it’s one of my favorites). I did so because that title spoke to me. It’s not a coincidence that there has been a lack of posts here recently, I have been really struggling. Struggling to keep up at work, struggling to try to be a good dad and husband. Struggling with the daily grind of life. Struggling with depression. Struggling to find the silver linings, but you know what?

‘Sometimes there is nothing’

Nothing to say. Nothing to do. Nothing that sounds good. Nothing but a giant chasm. The abyss.

And something I realized during these struggles…

… that’s ok. It’s ok to have bad patches. It’s ok to feel a little low. It’s ok that every minute of your life is not filled with something. It’s ok to feel like I’m a bad father sometimes because at times I am a bad father.

Because while sometimes there is nothing, other times you have everything.

Thanks Stephen for the inspiration to write something again and hopefully not getting bent by totally stealing your post title.

A new age

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Today is September 11th. Until 2001 it was another day like many others during the year.

Then it wasn’t.

The morning of September 11th, 2001 the world changed forever. A small group of men got on multiple cross country flights, hijacked them mid-flight and proceeded to crash them into preselected targets in New York and Washington DC.

Many innocent people died that day. People who were going about their day, not knowing it was going to be their last.

Here we are now, eighteen years later. We stop to remember that morning the entire world came to a halt and watched in terror as the towers fell.

You know those emails or social media posts that say ‘graduating seniors this year have never known (fill in the blank)’? This years graduating class never lived pre-9/11. They never waited at the end of the jetway for a loved one to arrive from their flight (poor reference, sorry), never had to not take their shoes off at security. Never lived in a time where the Patriot act didn’t exist.

I’ll never forget that morning. While leaving for work and getting that phone call telling me to turn on my television. ‘What channel?’ I asked. ‘It doesn’t matter’ was the response. I had only heard that one time before, when I was living in England and Princess Diana had died. I knew it was going to be bad. Never did I think it was what was unfolding in front of my eyes. These moments are generation defining.

I remember my parents telling us where they were when they heard Kennedy had been assassinated. This was our moment where we say ‘I was… when I found out.’ I find myself wondering what our little guys moment will be. I only pray that it is not so bad that he and others won’t be around to discuss it

I encourage you all stop for just a minute to remember. To think of the people who were lost and for their families. And the loss of that era, and the birth of this new age we find ourselves living in.

30 days later

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OK, so 30 days ago this happened and it ended up being a blessing.  I say that because it was the spark I had been so desperately needing as I sat and watched my physical and mental health spiral downward, heading towards a place I know I shouldn’t go.

I wrote somewhere else that I would provide a 30 day update on how I am doing after getting on the bike and started to actually give a damn again.  So here goes:

I FEEL GOOD.

Like really good.

So in the past month I have ridden a total of 17 times and traveled 138.6 miles (8.15 average).  Now I am a creature of habit so I have ridden the same routes over and over again.  I am fortunate enough to live in an area that has numerous bike paths so one of the reasons I keep to the same routes is they have minimal time on roads with auto traffic, just an occasional pass of a runner or walker.   I probably would have gone out a couple more times but it has been oppressively hot in the past couple weeks so I have missed a couple of opportunities.  I did go out one day and it just took it out of me even more than I thought it would, so I have been showing a little discretion on getting out. But it has cooled down a little in the past couple days. Another factor is he little guy. Not him directly, but the activities he is in this fall (see this post for more) that honestly go on five days a week.

So how good is good?  I have lost 9 pounds since that first day! I have more energy. I don’t feel ~as~ lethargic (I still have my lump on the couch moments) as I had been.  I feel motivated to make additional changes as well.  I take the time to pack food for the day.  I find myself not craving ‘junk’ food as much as I had before.  I feel more amorous (I will leave that one without additional explanation!).  I have so much further to go.  I am ~just~ starting to see physical changes.  I have a couple pairs of pants that are getting a little loose (and other clothes that are still don’t fit).

The psychological impacts have been amazing.  My attitude has been better, I feel like I have been a little more calm and have a little less static around the edges.  It has improved my overall outlook.  I am even getting mentally prepared to hit the trails again on my feet and actually – wait for it…  wait for it…

…RUN AGAIN!!!

Yes, getting out there and hitting the trails, using my body again has started the itch to get out and hit the pavement.  Get a few miles in.  Once it cools of a little more, I will be getting back out there.  I do have our annual end of the year runs coming up (Halloween and Christmas) after all, and I would like to turn in some respectable times.

As the wise sage Homer once said…

Image result for donuts is there anything they can't do

Keep reading on, I hope this is just the beginning…

 

‘Likes’ and follows

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*Note- I actually wrote this 9 days ago. In a moment of self doubt.  I considered just trashing it, but I decided to post this anyways*

 

I used to finish each post with the same blurb about if the reader liked it to please follow the blog.

I stopped doing that because no matter how much I thought ‘this is it! This is the one that’s going to connect on a level that’s going to compel them to hit that follow button’ it just wasn’t happening.

So I stopped adding it. Partially because I think I forgot to, partially because I’m lazy and partially because my mindset became ‘why bother’. I know that’s not the best attitude to take, but I started walking down that dark path.

I have read some other bloggers write about this same issue, I think it is a universal struggle for anyone who feels the urge to share. Sometimes you write that one post that you feel is ‘the one’ and nada.

Nothing, barely any traffic. Not a like to be found.

Is it ego? I am certain a portion of it is. Is it pride? Again I am sure that has something to do with it. But then you have to take a look at yourself and ask ‘what am I writing for?’ am I doing this for likes? I know this is more for the future than the present. This is for our little guy and if I can have a few people jump on and enjoy the ride while it is happening all the much better.

However (isn’t there always a however?), I am human and experience a tinge of jealousy when I see some of the numbers on other blogs I read. I will draft a post on some of my favorite blogs in the future, but there are some really impressive numbers in a relatively short period of time. But that’s when I have to remind myself that I’m doing it for me and the little guy, not follows and likes.

How firm thy friendship…

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So a little bit of background to start this off.  I moved to California just over twenty years ago.  When I arrived I only knew two people, both of which worked very long hours so I was pretty much on my own.  It got a bit lonely at times.  It was surprisingly difficult to find work right away but once I did I started to meet people and build a network of friends who eventually became my California family.  One of those people early on was a wonderful woman named Vicky M.  She was also originally from Ohio (and would eventually move back there) and told me she was a part of the Ohio State Alumni club of Orange County and that I should come check it out.

Wait…

…Ohio State Fans in Orange County?  That get together for every Buckeyes football game? And other fun events throughout the year?

I’M IN!!!!

Little did I know then what a big part of my California life that club would become.   Now my first experience with the club was actually not a good one.   My roommate, best friend and I went to the game watch location to watch THE game, Ohio State v. M*&^*^an(also known as ‘that team up north’) and there was a table set up as we were walking in.  There was a cover to get in because there was a buffet.  We didn’t want the buffet, just to watch the game and maybe order an appetizer.  We were told we couldn’t go in if we weren’t going to pay and have the buffet.  So we left and watched the game at another sports bar that was close by.

But I did not let that deter me, I told my friend about the experience and she apologized profusely and told me to give it another chance.  Boy am I glad I did.  It was a BLAST.  The atmosphere was great, the people were great and it was a wonderful experience as advertised.

So over the years of attending almost every game watch and other events, I was invited to sit on the board.  I would eventually become co-president of the club before my life changed (dad duties called!) and I stepped down.

History lesson over.

Wait, there is another important part of this post.  The Alma Mater of ‘The’* Ohio State University is called ‘Carmen Ohio’  The end of the Verse that everyone knows and sings ends like this:

        Summer’s heat or winter’s cold
The seasons pass the years will roll
Time and change will surely (truly) show
How firm thy friendship … OHIO!

THAT is what this post is about.  The friendships that have come from our involvement in the club.  In those early years on my California residency, before I knew newmom and started our own family (and become a part of hers), these wonderful people who shared my passion for Ohio State were really my family.  Genesis 2: 18 starts “The Lord God said “It is not good for the man to be alone…” and the friends I made through the club helped me through some pretty rough times.  Over the years some of these people have invited me to their homes for holidays, for meals, to visit them when I was out of state in their current hometown.  These are lifelong friends.

Over the years, we have lost members to time, others have moved on to other states for Jobs or family, and other I have just lost touch with overall.  This is about one of those people who moved to another state.  Our family friend Julie came in from New Mexico last weekend and stayed with our other family friend Susan (who I love dearly!). Susan reached out to me to tell me Julie was going to be in town and we made plans to have breakfast.   We all met last Saturday morning for breakfast and it honestly didn’t feel like its been five years since she left.  It actually felt like we just saw her last week.

Yup, five long years ago she left for New Mexico.  She lost her son and dad pretty close to each other and it was just time for her to move on from California.  During our conversations at breakfast she noted that she is looking to relocate back to Ohio.  But that morning, time didn’t matter, it was a table of friends getting together again.  Julie and Susan have been there since the very beginning of our little guys’ life and watched him grow.  They have both gone to his baseball games (Julie was in town and got the opportunity to see the little guy play!) and I am sure they will both be around to see other milestones in his life.  I am very excited to share them with both of these wonderful women.

Kudos to the writer of Carmen Ohio (fun fact, another member of the Alumni club is related to the author) whose words have and will continue to ring true.  No matter how many seasons pass, how many years roll by, our friendship will be strong.  This is an important lesson for the little guy to learn. the value of long term friendships.  In an age where more and more communication is done electronically (including this blog!) it is even more critical to build these types of friendships.

Image may contain: 4 people, including William Gronek and Susan Pratt Munthe, people smiling, people standing, dog and outdoor

Photo credits to Newmom, that is why she is not in the pictures!!  She was there, I promise.

 

*recently my beloved Ohio State university tried to copywrite ‘The’. I think that is a little over the top!

Hit the century mark

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A big than you from everyone who reached out to me after this post.  Your kind words and offers of assistance have been greatly appreciated.  It is great to know I have so many people reading the blog and care to reach out.

I have kept up with the riding and hit a milestone today.  I have ridden over 100 miles this month.  It is not over and there are more rides to be taken.

As promised, I will have a full write up on how I feel after 30 days since what will now be known in our home as ‘the donut incident’ and the changes I have experienced in that time.  A little hint: I feel GREAT!

Return of the Two Sport Athlete

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Just as we are starting to get settled in with school and a regular routine…

…the fall sport season has fallen upon us.

As soon as last fall wrapped up with baseball and soccer the little guy wasted no time at all to inform newmom and I that we were not to enroll him in soccer this year. Instead he wanted to play flag football(like his friend F(name shortened)) plays.  So after our first foray into Pony league baseball in the spring we finished the school year, had a relaxing, short summer and BAM!  We’re back to school which means sports are a fast follow.

So we granted the little guys’ wishes and enrolled him in flag football, AND Pony league fall baseball.  So here we are, another fall with two sports!  Time to start figuring out scheduling around practices as well as preparing to sacrifice a chicken to the schedule gods that there’s no overlap.

So this past weekend we had evaluations for both leagues. Saturday morning we were up and going for our first taste of flag football.  It wasn’t all that different than evaluation for baseball in the spring, they broke the boys up into random groups and then sent them to complete a series of drills to see where he falls skills-wise.

Here are a couple of action shots…

Keeping an eye on that ball!!!

 

Finishing up 40 yard dash (WAYYYY in the back)!!

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after evaluations, friend F. and the little guy, pals for life!

We were told that we would hear from a coach soon, that they would take results from evaluation to make the teams as even and fair as possible.

So because the fun never ends, we had baseball evaluations the next day.  We went through the evaluation process last spring so we were familiar with it.  Because fall ball is different than spring ball we didn’t really know what to expect.  The official start time was 11:30 and the little guy and I arrived a few minutes after that. When we signed in we were NUMBER 84!!!! and in GROUP 6!!  We ended up being at the park for a total of FOUR HOURS watching the other groups go before we got out turn.  When we finally got our turn and he went out to the field and really did a great job.  It was GREAT to see him out there again and at the end they ask a couple boys to stay so they can see them pitch. Last year our little guy was not selected to stay but this year he was!(I think I might have been more excited about this than he was!)  Although it was a long time the weather cooperated (we had a nice cool breeze), we were able to spend some time together and play catch, chat and even leave the park to grab a quick bite around the corner and come back.

Here is some of the action!

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I liked the way this picture came out so much it is my background on my work computer!!

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OK kid, show ’em what you got!

We are still waiting to hear back from both leagues on his team selection.  We did however get asked if we were ever interested in him joining the league’s travel team (BU8) which is a great honor just to be asked.  One of our friends with older kids had a son who was on the team and that boy is a starting pitcher on his high schools team.

OK, let me just get this out there.  I am not one of those delusional parents who thinks his kid is the best and every game is an exhibition for college/pro scouts, I am a dad who loves seeing his kid excel in games he loves to play.   I would be just as excited if he was entering a photo or piece of art in a competition as well.

We are about to get very, very busy…

I’m tired

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Of being heavy. Of being tired. Of being unmotivated. By being shackled by the limitations I have subscribed to in my mind.

There’s a great song by one of my favorite bands, The Manic Street Preachers called ‘My little empire’ and there is a line that says ‘my little empire, I’m tired of being tired’. The entire song speaks to me, and that line (and others) really just hits home. The song can be found on the album ‘This is my truth, now tell me yours’, worth a listen.

I’m tired of what I have let myself accept as normal. Especially physically. I was getting close to the heaviest I have ever been again. This obviously causes all sorts of issues not only physically, but it doesn’t help my depression at all either. You get depressed about your physical appearance, depressed when all of the sudden some of your favorite shirts don’t fit, depressed when you start struggling to keep up with the little guy. It keeps piling on weighing you down even more making it all that much harder to overcome.

I think that not keeping up with the little guy is one of the biggest impacts. I want to be around as long as possible for him and newmom. It doesn’t help that I am already an older dad, being out of condition does nothing for me or him. In the current episode of one of my favorite podcasts (The Ringing Ear) both of the hosts discuss this very thing, wanting to be around as long as possible in the best condition possible (and probably subconsciously nudged me to write this) for their own kids.

I know it’s my own damn fault. I feel like the addict that says ‘I can quit any time’ while getting his next fix. I really don’t have many excuses or reasons to justify this.

So that is why the past few posts have been very important and seem to all be connected. I got the good advice to stop, look up and take note of my current environment. I got out on the bike when I did just that with the little guy (we could have just stayed in and watched TV or played video games) and it gave me the spark to start doing something about it by getting on the bike as often as I can.

Thank you for reading my vent. I didn’t write it for sympathy, I wrote it to make myself accountable. For what I let myself allow to happen and start making the changes I need to be there as long as possible and be happier and more content when I am.

Riding a bike is like, well, Riding a bike.

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When the little guy and I were riding our bikes the other day it inspired me. It felt so good being back on two wheels!

I mentioned in a previous post that I was struggling. I had stopped doing pretty much any exercise at all and packing the weight back on.  I needed a spark.  Something to get me to care again.  Who knew that it would be my seven year old son basically tricking me into getting him a donut.

Well I have to say it was a little more than just the trip around the neighborhood.  That excursion occurred on a Saturday and the next morning both he and I must have woken up on the same side of the bed, the WRONG side. We were just fraying each others nerves. Very confrontational.  Newmom was sleeping in because she was exhausted.  I needed to run to our church to drop off some paperwork.  When I got back his mood and attitude only got worse.  Eventually he went outside to play with his friends and I needed to blow off a little steam so I thought a ride was in order.  So I geared up and headed out.

I didn’t think it would be a 13 mile ride, but it was.  Now remember this is the second time this year I have been on the bike for anything other than tooling around the block. It was heavenly!!  I felt so good after that ride!  It was a route I am very familiar with and it honestly didn’t feel like it had been as long as it had.

This has inspired me and I ended up riding 8 days straight. I would have kept that streak going but I had some mechanical issues that needed fixed, so the past couple of days the bike was in the shop.  I am very fortunate to live very close to Rock and Road Cyclery, and they are GREAT! Always courteous and helpful, and all the repairs have been top notch!

So here’s the analyst in me coming out. I track all my miles on the Strava app (no endorsement considerations were made) and I can’t say enough good things about it. It tracks miles, speed and elevation. I have a feed and connect with other friends who use it as well and can see their activities. It does a great job! It keeps historical data for you as well. When I looked at my historical data and was shocked!

I seem to have a season where I ride a lot for a couple months then stop suddenly. It turns out I did not record a single ride in 2018, so it was easy to do better this year than I did last year.   In 2016 I rode just a hair under 300 miles (290.7) and 2017 I did quite a few less (229.3). I am hopeful that this year I will set the bar high, and produce more miles that I have in any other single year.

I met with a friend to catch up earlier this week and was telling him about this. He asked how I felt overall.  I told him I felt GREAT.  I slept better, felt better feel more energy, I am not craving as much ‘bad food’ and my spirits are up.  I plan on completing a full post about my first 30 days back on the bike when I hit that 30 day mark which will be September 9th (there are 31 days in August).

Here’s a couple of Pics.

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I really like the way this came out, with the Sun shining in!

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I never noticed the hawk above until just now. I’m hoping the pictures in 30 days will have a much more svelte Newdad in it! 

Hey Strava, if you want to sponsor me, I’m available!!!

Kudos to Rock and Road Cyclery, they are always friendly and helpful and do great repair work!