I learned something unexpected today. My wife and I went to the park after work to enjoy the weather and get some walking in. I noticed these trees where the bark had obviously been peeling off and it made some nice patterns in trunk. So naturally I took out my cell phone and snapped a few pictures of the camouflage designs. My first thought was that these were birch trees, but in the background of my mind I knew they looked a little different. Birch trees didn’t usually shed all their bark, did they? Maybe they did, I didn’t know, nor did I seek confirmation.
We moved past the trees and continued our quest to walk the trail around the lake. It’s a beautiful small lake, or more like a large pond you could say. We walked 4 laps around it, which maybe equaled 2 miles….. maybe. I didn’t give the trees a second thought, not even when we passed them on the way back to the car. The evening continued and we went out to eat dinner, and then attended the homecoming football game in which my niece was marching in the band. Our team won, which made the end of the evening quite exciting.
We walked in the house close to 11:00PM and I was tired (still am), but I wanted to write a blog entry today. I didn’t have a plan about the topic tonight, but I knew I wanted to use the pictures of the “birch” tree that I look this afternoon. I sat in bed a few minutes ago ready to start typing about how nature changes so much in the fall and shows so much beauty in the process. Well, I started that way….. added the pictures from my phone into the blog…… looked at the pictures again….. and then decided to google birch trees just to make sure. Well, I searched birch tree images and couldn’t quite see one like my picture. I searched peeling bark and presto, there was a few like mine, except they were not birch trees. No, I made an assumption about peeling bark and associated it which birch, and only birch. Well, now I know that my pictures are none other than Crepe Myrtles. Surprised? Maybe not you, but for me, yes I was. It wasn’t that I even claimed it out loud that they were birch to begin with, but it’s funny how I never even considered anything but birch at first. Maybe it’s just me, but I find it funny.
So, my lesson for today is that I need to learn more about trees and not let my mind jump to conclusions. Anyways, the silliness of the whole situation gave me my blog for tonight, even if it was unplanned. I’m still glad i took the pictures though. Without them, I would be blogging about birch trees and never giving it a second thought that i could possibly be mistaken.
Mary the cat came into our lives a little over 10 years ago. She was up for adoption at the local animal shelter and my daughter picked her out from the many that were there. Cindy and I had promised her daughter that she could get a cat after we moved in together. At the time, Cindy and I were still dating and Bekah was 6 years old. Fast forward to now, and we have been married 9 years and Bekah turns 18 two weeks from today. Yikes, how time flies. Anyways, Mary has been with us through it all.
We lived in a basement apartment when Mary came home with us for the first time. She was so scared and wouldn’t even think about going outside. After Cindy and I got married, we bought a house and Mary eventually decided to step outside and see what it was like. Well, it didn’t take long for her to become hooked to the outdoors and was quickly adapted to that lifestyle. No more need for a litter box, which didn’t hurt my feelings at all.
Throughout her life, Mary had to move with us a few times, where she had to adapt to indoor life, and then outdoor life again, but she did not complain and loved it no matter what. The past few years, we have been back in our house and Mary has been loving her outdoor lifestyle again. Just a few days ago, while we were having all that rain, I found Mary sleeping on top of the firewood pile in the carport. I’m not sure how, but sometimes we had even seen her sleeping on the top of the neighbors fence. It was pretty impressive, although it couldn’t have been that comfortable.
When the doorbell rang and the neighbors told us that Mary was passed away in the yard, it was hard to swallow. After thinking about her life with us and how long it has been, I feel she had a pretty good life. She was our first pet as a couple. In fact, she was probably one of our first purchases as a couple. I never realized that until just now.
Mary will be missed and there will never be another pet like her. I know she is in a better place now. Rest in Peace Mary.
Today was the first day of our 12 week Half-Marathon training. The plan actually started yesterday, but since Mondays are “rest” days, today was the official start of this adventure. Two miles was all that was required today, so it was a quick trip to the gym to knock it out and then head to the hot tub. The weather was perfect for outside running, but since I need to work on pacing myself, the treadmill will be my best friend for awhile. Not to worry though because tomorrow is going to be nice too, and I plan to get the bike back on the road for the first time this year. I hope to see the trees passing me by at 16 mph during lunch tomorrow, while the wind blows through my beard. 🙂
My wife and I signed up for the Raleigh Rock & Roll Marathon many many months ago when we were feeling, ummm, for lack of a better word, I’ll just say crazy. We were on a high from doing some other races and thought that signing up so far in advance would give us plenty of time to get ready for it. Well, as the high wore off and other priorities took over, so did training. You know how that goes. Anyways, awhile back, we decided that we bit off a little bit more than we could chew, so we opted to training for the half marathon instead. Now that we are 12 weeks from the event, it’s time to get busy training. On top of starting to run again, I have also joined my wife in eating low carb, hoping to trim down a little bit before April. Cycling will help with that as well, so the plan is in place. Now for the execution, that’s the hard part, at least for me.
The particular running plan we chose has rest days on Mondays and Fridays, run days of Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays (long run), and Sundays (recovery). Wednesdays, as well as some Fridays, and an option on Sundays, are cross train days. I will probably be cycling 2 to 3 times a week also, sometimes on run days and sometimes on CT days. With all this and also eating better should help prepare us to run/jog/walk/crawl/finish our first half marathon. The best part is that it is a Rock & Roll event, so there will be bands playing at every mile. Smash Mouth is the headliner, so I assume they will be at the Start/Finish Line. There is no shame for us to have downgraded to a half marathon, even though we signed up and paid for the full 26.2 miles. It was only $10 less to sign up for the half, so we will only lose $20 total, and that’s well worth it if it means we survive to the finish line. Our future may have a full marathon in it some day, but not this year. We are too busy of a family at this point in our lives to commit to the rigorous training schedule required for 26.2 miles. Maybe after we retire, who knows. For now, the half is the goal, and for me at least, it is a major challenge, and I look forward to conquering it in Rock & Rock style. Wish me, and both of us, luck on this new adventure.
“So far so good.” I say to myself when I think about how the year is going thus far. It’s true that it’s only been a week, but I feel that I am sticking to my guns very well. Like I said in my last post, these are not resolutions for the new year, but rather ongoing changes in my life that I want to continue to improve upon. I am merely using the new year as a starting line to amplify my efforts and focus into making these changes stick this time. It’s true that some of my personal goals are for me only and will remain that way, but there are a few I can share. Like most people probably agree, being in better shape is preferable than not, so I’m not going to sit here and tell you that I discovered something totally new that will change the world and make this journey successful for me. What I do know is that last year when I exercised and rode my bike a lot more, I was in better shape. So one could conclude that if I did that again, I could better myself back to that person I was. The problem is that all that stuff takes up so much time. I have different priorities this year. I don’t want to be gone every Saturday for 6 hours riding a century. Sure, once in awhile is fine, but some Saturdays I want to hike, or camp, watch movies or play guitar. I want to do so many things that there is no time to dedicate to one thing to hard and I prefer it that way. So there is my dilemma. I must juggle all the things I want to do, and at the same time, enjoy the benefits of each activity to the fullest.
I’ve heard that it takes just a few weeks to form a habit, so that is what I am trying to do. So far, I am doing a great job of eating better, both in what I am eating, and also in quantity control. I am starting to decrease my carb intake, while increasing my vegetables and lean proteins. I am also cutting way down on coffee and soda, which in turn drops my sugar intake in parallel. These changes, combined with gym workouts and running are making a difference. I don’t feel like I have to kill it at the gym to make progress as long as i am consistent and don’t kill it at the buffet. Smart food in small proportions coupled with smart exercise seems to be better than eating what I want coupled with killing it at the gym to compensate for the bad choices I made earlier. It takes so much less energy, the results are better and healthier, and I have more time for myself and my family to do more of the things I want to do and learn.
I want to use this surplus of energy and time to form better habits in other areas of my life as well. I want to become more musical, and that doesn’t mean I put on my headphones and try to listen to every song every made. What I want is to learn, re-produce, and and then create my own. Ukulele and guitar are my new passions. Once I learn to play a bit, I want to learn to play some existing songs that others can recognize. Then eventually I would like to create my own songs. I’m not interested in becoming famous for it, but I think it is magical when someone can pick up a guitar and just play, and even better when they can just start putting words to it on the fly. During this process, I also will need to learn to sing. My wife says I have the low range covered, but the mid range and definitely the high registers need some work. Being in better health and fitness will help that as well since I need more air in my lungs to be able to sing better. Anyways, creating lyrics is a hope. Right now, I guess you could say that I can write a little poetry, so putting it to music is the natural next step.
This year is going great so far. There is a world of new possibilities in front of me and my new habits are going to help me explore and enjoy many more of them. Even the company my wife and I work for just merged with another company, creating a new name, a new brand, and a world of new possibilities and opportunities to explore. Life is good and 2015 is going to be the best year yet, and I am going to make sure of it. I don’t care if it’s 7 degrees outside….. LOL. 🙂
Until next time, take care of yourself and the ones you love.
Like most of the rest of the world, I stayed up last night to bring in the new year with my family. We watched movies, lit candles, ate lots of snacks, and had a great time. Not a whole lot of things will change for me on this Day 1 of 2015, since the changes in my life have been ongoing for some time. Unlike last year, when I was focused on fitness and getting in shape, this year, and the months leading up to it, have been focused on other things. I have seen a lot of my family this year, even though we are living 800 miles away. We even took a vacation to NYC together with my parents, which was wonderful. We traded holidays, where my parents flew to us on Thanksgiving, and we flew to them for Christmas. We got to see my brother and his wife, and their son, who is growing up so fast. We took my wife to see the family farm and some family she had never met. We got to see my birth family again, and even visited my birth dad’s grave for the first time, a man I never got to meet.
There are many children on my wife’s family tree, and they are all growing up so fast. My step-daughter is the oldest of the bunch, and she is getting prepared for life on her own in a few years, and then the rest will follow, one after the other, year after year. It’s amazing to watch them grow up and mature, but part of me wishes they could stay young forever.
Also recently, my wife and I joined a singing group. I had a great deal of anxiety about singing in public, but it turned out to be one of the best things for me. I have yet to do a solo, which I am sure they all appreciate, but something amazing happened on our first night there. I fell back in love with learning an instrument. All it took was one minute of holding a ukulele. Now I have my own ukulele that I am practicing on, and I also have been looking at purchasing my first guitar. Right now, one of my 3 guitar-playing Brother-in-laws has in-trusted me with holding onto his guitars for him, and in exchange, I get to play them. So far, progress it slow, but my fingers are slowly getting used to the strings. I can’t wait to be able to play well enough to do some songs. Once I buy my own guitar, we can play together.
I still have a goal of getting in better shape, biking and running more, getting to the gym more often and regularly, but I am not going to beat myself up about it. Learning from the past, that approach doesn’t work for me. I will do what makes me happy, and wherever that leads me will be the right move I feel. This year, I will go with the flow of happiness. Hope you all can do the same.
Oh yeah, and I plan to blog more, for me, and for you. 🙂
Happy New Year to all of you.
My wife and I have ran in many races. She has done only 5K races so far, but routinely runs 10K’s during training runs. I have done mostly 5K’s too, but I recently did my first triathlon, which also ended with a 5K. In the past few weeks, we have started running together and doing longer distances, although those runs include walking breaks for now. Saturday, we ran/walked 7 miles, and yesterday, we ran/walked 5 miles. I’m not really sure what set the spark, but we now have the running fever. Maybe it was when my friend signed up for her second marathon last week and talked us into doing it too. We knew the race was next March, so we knew we had plenty of time to train, so we said sure, why not? Knock it off the bucketlist. Actually it wasn’t on the bucketlist, since I never considered a marathon, but heck yes I am going to add it to the bucketlist just to cross it off. Ha Ha. So we started doing the research.
The marathon we were so excited in doing is next years Shamrock Marathon in Virginia Beach in March 2015. The time of year is right, the course is flat, and we get to go to the beach. Win – win – win, right? Well, it turns out that that particular weekend is a horrible weekend ligistically for us and our family. No sweat, there has to be other choices for marathons on other weekends, right? Well, yes there is. April 12th, 2015 is the Rock & Roll Marathon in Raleigh, NC. It’s close to home, a themed race, and no need to fight for a hotel. The course is not as flat as the other one, but we have time to get used to hills I think. Registration opened today, and yes we did, we signed up and are both registered for the full marathon. I was going to do just the half, but since we are going to be training together, there is no reason I can’t be ready for the full in a year. We are so excited, not only to do a marathon, but to be able to do it together will be awesome. Bucketlist cross off (2x). I have read a lot of blogs about spouses not being able to run together, or one can’t get the other to run at all. I am so happy we are both up for this and I think this will only make us stronger than we already are. Life is good. Stay tuned for the training updates… and of course, the full race report….. in about 11 months… LOL. It will definately be a long journey, from 5K to 26.2 miles, but we can do it……. And we will.