I got to 20, BUT…

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So not too long ago I wrote about getting on two wheels and going for a ride.  I spoke about the self challenge of getting to 20 miles and how my first two attempts were near misses.

I am happy to report that I achieved my 20 mile ride last Saturday(6/17) and then yesterday(6/24) I got a 21.3 mile ride in…almost. I will explain.  On mile 18 I noticed the left crank started to feel really gimpy.  I had noticed something on my last ride but dismissed it.  MISTAKE.  So I am riding along and a start the see the crank literally start to slide off the bike!  I was able to kick it back into place but it got progressively worse.  I tried to limp the bike in, but eventually got off the bike and walked it in. Straight to the local bike shop, which fortunately is less than a 1/4 mile from our apartment.

They took my bike to the back and started looking at the crank to see what could be done.  After looking it over, I now have a new crank ordered and the bike will be ready on Thursday. The technician explained he saw this sort of thing quite often. I ride a Schwinn and they mass produce the bike and mass produced parts are used. He also said this is why they sell left side cranks.

This kind of kills my self set goal of 100 miles in the month of June.

The real comedy of the situation is the exact same thing happened to me years ago when I had a bike I inherited from someone who moved out of state. I loved riding that bike. It is not a s nice as the bike I have now, but it was still a good bike to me.  So when I called now mom to explain what happened, she laughed and said “what is wrong with you and the pedal crank coming off of bikes!?!?!”

You can bet your behind I will be ready to ride again and get my miles as soon as the bike is ready. And I will be reaching for my next goal of a 25 mile ride (I already have it mapped out!).

 

Obviously, the Silver is not supposed to be there

Just like riding a bike (literally)

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As I shared earlier, I have not been running much recently. And as any runner will tell you, your stamina drops off so quickly when you are not doing anything. 

Right now I can’t get to a full mile without stopping. I am not overly excited about that. I am trying to get back to it, but it has been harder this time than it has been in the past.

Enter, the bike. My wife got it for me for our anniversary a couple years ago. I rode it a bit last year and really enjoyed it. So a couple Saturdays ago I decided if I am struggling this much with running, I will try biking. I have been out every weekend trying to get a 20+ Mile ride in. Note I said ‘try’, I mapped an extended route out in my head, rode it and when I stopped, 18.8. DAMMIT!  So I made adjustments figuring the next ride would have to be 20, right?? WRONG! I got off the bike and checked Strava, 19.8!!! Double dammit!!  If I had looked at my phone before I put the bike away, I could have rode around the block or something. 

So this week I have another adjusted route.
Stay tuned…
Note: I have a goal of 100 miles a month on the bike through the end of the year. Completely obtainable.

Here are some pictures from my first two rides.

Just keep writing…

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…Just keep writing.

It’s amazing how much I have in my head I want to write about as apposed to the amount of time I actually make to write.

A good friend of mine who writes for a number of sites and keeps a couple of blogs once told me to ‘make it a habit’ and try to make it a regular part of your routine.

So I will now write regularly, at least twice a week through the end of 2017. Even if it is about nothing, I will:

Just keep Writing…

 

 

 

I am Not a ‘Big Baller’ 

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Ok, a short post over my lunch that I will expand on later. I am in southern California, land of Laker fans and PAC 12 hell. So the Lonzo Ball coverage is even more in effect. Without being drafted into the NBA, he has a ‘Big Baller’ brand shoe, THAT HAS A $495.00 PRICE TAG!!!

When asked about this, his father (who is the engineer of this crazy train) said ‘if’ you can’t afford them then you are not a big baller’.

How out of touch is this?!?!

Earlier this week, orange county was named the 5th highest low income line in the country. The new low income line is 84k. I don’t know many people who have $495.00 to spend on a pair of sneakers. Or any single item of clothing.

I am fortunate that our little guy is not old enough to be playing keep up with his peers as far as what kind of shoes, clothes, phone etc. He has but that day will come, and when it does, I will show him this as a learning experience.

Is this just me? Or are there others that feel the same way. I mean this kid hasn’t even played a single minute in the league and he is trying to get hard working people to dish out that kind of money for SHOES?

NO, I am not a ‘Big Baller’…

And then something found

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I wrote recently that I would be writing about something lost and something found.  When I wrote about what has been lost (interpersonal communication), it got quite a bit of response. I actually even got a couple telephone calls! All of the feedback I got from everyone was very positive.

Now to write about something I found. it is actually something that I lost a while ago and have found again.  My Faith.  Not always the easiest subject to discuss. it makes many people uneasy. What is the saying: ‘two things you never discuss, Religion and Politics.’?

For many years I was not connected with my faith in any way. I was raised Lutheran, My parents married in a Lutheran Church, I was baptized in a Lutheran Church, took first communion and confirmed in a Lutheran Church.  I have always believed. Always recognized the sacrifice. But I disconnected as time went on and an unfortunate event within my old church that left me very hurt. Christians are supposed to love, but members of that congregation were unable to look past some troubled times I went through and give me an opportunity within the church, so I walked away from it.

Later I had a roommate who married a very religious individual who made some very disparaging comments about her fiancé’s ‘unchristian friends'(including myself) and how much of an embarrassment they would be to her, her family and her church at the wedding.  That disgusted me to no end and any hope I would have had in even wanting to reconnect with my faith were shoved aside. (A side note to this part of the story is years later, this individual personally apologized for her remarks, and took some ‘bad advice’ and did nothing about the statement at the time. I completely believe her, but at the time the damage was done.)

While new mom and I were dating, she made it no secret how connected in her faith she was. And I saw it. We would try out a church and afterward she would say how recharged she was after hearing the word.  I just shook my head and said ‘that’s great’. I did not feel the same refreshment she did. But it was not from not believing, it was from being shut off due to resentment.

I warmed up through our relationship and into our marriage. But still had not really reconnected.  Through some friends we found a good church we both liked (Lutheran, I know you’re surprised!) and had been going for a while.  I was there physically, but not spiritually.  Again, shut off.

Having a child really changes your perspective. It is part of the basis of this entire Blog, the training you go through as a new parent.  One of the big questions that came up with us is how is religion going to play a part in our child’s life?  We knew that faith was going to be important in his upbringing, but inside I was struggling, because I knew I had to lead by example. So I really started trying to find what I saw others experiencing. Why were new mom’s batteries recharged when mine were not? I watched members of our congregation and realized they had what I was searching for.

One week in church, the mention of the annual men’s retreat came up again. New mom asked if I was going to register, and I told her “yeah, I will sign up for that’ with NO intention of signing up. Just letting the deadline pass and then it would be “ohh, didn’t realize I missed the deadline”.  The next week she leaned over and said “oh, I signed you up for that, you just need to pay for it this week” what what what???  So I was going.

While I was there, I realized a couple of things, the first being these guys that were there were going through the same struggles I was. In a couple of the sessions we had frank conversations about our lives and trials we were going through. It was very enlightening to see others going through some of the same challenges and having support for each other. But there was a moment. THE MOMENT. Someone who has become a very close friend to me shared his story. It was POWERFUL. To hear the trials this man has been through, how he too had lost his faith as well and the changes in his life since he rediscovered it.

It was a jumping off moment. It truly was the Holy Spirit working through him and reaching every man in that room. Through his words, I found what had been missing. It has not been immediate, but I have in the past couple years been working on it and can say now that I have a stronger connection with my faith than I have at any other point in my life.

It has not made everything rainbows and puppy dogs. There seems to be a misconception that being connected in your faith, being a believer will exempt you from pain, tragedy and overall suffering. This is not true. Having faith has helped me deal with issues and trials, giving me an inner peace.  When I was unemployed for four months, I knew that we would be alright. I had an inner peace that was beyond understanding. When I hear bad news, it is difficult and like everyone else, I have no idea how it fits into the bigger plan, but I know that plan is out there, and it will eventually be revealed.

I hope to never become my old roommate’s fiancé, as poorly chosen as her words were, they were still said and the message was well received. I hope never to judge another based upon their beliefs (or non-beliefs) but I will share my own faith and beliefs.  I will always be willing to open a discussion about it. Recently on social media a friend made statements about God that were from an angry place. When I answered this post saying how none of the statements he made applied, he challenged me to prove it. I asked him to have lunch with me, which we still (and likely won’t) have not had.

There are many more stories to share about these past couple years and the benefits (and detriments, yes, there have been a couple) of being in touch with my faith.  I will be sharing those in the near future, especially the stories that have impacted me as a dad (this is what the blog is supposed to be about right?)

 

Horrible news

We have all had those weeks. Those weeks where it seems that the only thing you hear is bad news. The past week has been like that. Found out a friend at our church​ was been diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor. Another church friend’s wife was rushed to hospital and needed emergency surgery. My Mom and Aunt were both in the hospital last week. New Mom had a cousin pass away very unexpectedly.  Today I found out a coworker s husband collapsed and passed away last night.

Where am I going with this? Am I just sharing misery? Possibly, but there is a point coming, I promise.  This kind of a week would shake most to their very core. But as a parent, it’s even worse. When I heard about my coworker, all I wanted to do was log out, drive home and hug new mom and our son.  There is truly nothing scarier than thinking about not having them.

That’s what this post is about. When I was single, I didn’t have anyone else to worry about. As a married couple your fear grows. As an adult the thought is terrifying. Being a parent seems to have made weeks like this mean so much more.

Be very thankful. Hug your wife and kids. Make sure you are prepared if something happens to you or your significant other.  

With so many things beyond our control and comprehension, we will never be immune to loss of love ones, illness, and just other challenges, but as long as we are thankful for what we have, hopefully it will make these kind of weeks easier to handle.

Something Lost

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Tonight I had a conversation. A real conversation with my brother.   We discussed something that has been bothering me for quite some time. I was already thinking  about this post, and starting to bounce the ideas and words I would write about.

That is what has been lost.  Conversation. Real conversation, voice to voice.  Texting has quickly destroyed communication. E-mails quickly replaced the art of writing a letter. When is the last time you wrote a letter? I can personally count on one hand how many I have written in the past 10 years. And I really don’t need too many fingers.  And now Texting has replaced actually speaking to another human being.

I love talking. Ask anyone I know, they will tell you “he doesn’t ever shut up!”. I love to have conversations about just about anything.  I definitely got it from my dad. I remember being in Florida visiting my parents and my dad would grab the cordless phone, his phone book and his cigarettes (those would eventually kill him) and just make calls. Sometimes to talk about men’s association business (he was president of the men’s association at the golf course in the community where he lived) other times just to have a conversation.  He had many calls with me, he would call just to say hello, for no other reason.

When did it go away? When did it become more appropriate to send acronyms to people instead of actually speaking to them?   I made a pact with myself a couple of weeks ago to try once a week to call someone I haven’t spoken to a quite some time. So I have tried. Some of the people have either answered and I have had a nice catch-up conversation with, others I have called and left a voicemail on their phone, yet to receive a call back.  To be honest, I will be surprised if I ever hear back from some of them. I encourage you all to do the same. Look at your contact list on your phone, find a name of someone you haven’t spoken to in a while and just call.  Make sure you have a little time, you will be surprised on how long the conversation can get.

Now, this post is very preachy. Admittedly so.  I am just as guilty of conversations through text. Sometimes because it is just easier. Sometimes because it is due to time or the situation (I am somewhere that I cannot take a call or make a call, but need to communicate something to someone). It is nearly impossible to survive in today’s world without texting.  I guess I am venting here, so this will be categorized as a rant for sure.  As much as I am venting, I am also encouraging to break this cycle, actually answer a call, have a real conversation on the phone with someone you haven’t spoken to in some time.

Find what has been lost.

Easter greetings

A very Happy Easter to you all. It is easy to equate Easter to sweets and egg hunts, but please remember the promise that was made true as God’s only son returned to ascend to his place beside his father, triumphant over death and providing us forgiveness of our sins…
Happy Easter.
PS. The sweets and egg hunts are pretty nice as well.

A few words from New Mom…

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Xavier, Mama hijacked your dad’s blog. Yesterday you turn five

Where did the time go! My angels getting so BIG! On one hand it’s exciting to him grow, explore, learn but on the other hand its going so fast!  You are my WORLD…my heart and I thank God for you everyday. These 5 years you have been on this earth have been the best our my life…our lives! Mama love you XO

Being your Mama is worth it.  When I get a hug for no reason, a peanut butter kiss, in that moment when you understand something I’ve been teaching you.  I love your laugh, smiles, giggles, your words of wisdom surprise me. Seeing you cheer with glee from a big accomplishment. Hearing scripture from your mouth, quite moments laying in bed with you reading together. Family meals with conversation and laughter flowing.  Listening to you when you pray.  The look of surprise on your Birthday, Easter & especially Christmas.  A kiss to heal a wound. And the words from your mouth I LOVE YOU!

Mama loves you to the moon and back!

 

FIVE!!!

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My goodness, all the things you have ever heard about time are true.  These past Five years have just been a blur. I have written about it many, many times. Very very true. Dads out there (Moms too) please take my advice and enjoy every moment.  Because they pass so very Quickly.

This year for our little guys birthday we took him to LEGOLAND California.  He had a BLAST! And I got to experience the joy and thrill through his eyes.  We didn’t tell him where we were going, only that we had a surprise and wanted to do something special. When we arrived he was VERY excited.

When I was young, I was always afraid of amusement parks. Ok, not afraid, but I was afraid the rides. Roller Coasters scared me.  My dad always tried to bribe me to ride them with him.  If I could do it all over again, I would have gotten on them with him and rode all day.  We used to go to a park named Kings Island, just outside of Cincinnati Ohio and I would never ride the rides. I would just watch everyone else or go to the Arcade and play video games.

This is another lesson I have learned as I have gotten older. I don’t want to miss any opportunity with our little guy.  I eventually got over my phobia of roller coasters and enjoy a good thrill at the park (although I do get intimidated every now and again, there are a couple at a local Park (Knott’s) that I haven’t gotten the nerve to ride…yet), but a little too late, as I only got to ride a couple of times with him later in life and I regret all the opportunities I missed with him…

…this is something I absolutely do not want Xavier to say or something similar. I have written about my own father before, and the lessons he has taught me. Both positive and negative. This is a hard lesson of missed opportunities. A lesson I learned at the cost of memories with me and my dad.

Back to our big day.

 

I. AM. FIVE!!!

 

A great time was had by all. New Mom had a great day as well.  We got to ride MOST of the rides, some of them twice!  I would say it was quite the success. He especially enjoyed the fire truck ride and the driving school. He was quite the natural behind the wheel.

 

Look at that concentration!

But one of the highlights had to be the roller coaster he wanted to ride.  He was great, after the first hill, he looks at new Mom and says “that wasn’t what I was expecting!”

Although he may look terrified, I promise you he really did enjoy it very much. And as you can see, new Dad has conquered his fear of roller coasters!

A hard lesson learned, the opportunity to not repeat the mistakes of the past and memories that will last a lifetime. Although the time is going fast, I am trying (and even sometimes succeeding) to enjoy every moment of it together with my family.