January 2018


I’m not sure what today’s lesson was supposed to be. All I did was go to Walmart to get a small ladle because my plastic one is partially melted. And I needed a new crap placemat/drawer liner. I didn’t really need anything. But off I went.

I was looking for a small replacement ladle when some guy was in the kitchen crap looking for … God knows what he was really looking for. He “noticed” I wasn’t wearing a wedding ring and wondered if we could go out for coffee. I told him although I didn’t wear a ring, I’ve been married for over forty years and it was all working out really good. He mused that coffee would be nice, regardless.

I left the aisle and went in search of the placemat, thinking I was away from him and then, poof, there he was again. We didn’t speak, but I noticed he kept being in weird places. I was picking up a couple shirts because I thought it would be nice to make a Valentine’s Day shirt for each granddaughter. There he was, hanging out over there. Then I had a few grocery items to pick up and there he was over there. I decided I didn’t need any other groceries and went to check out.

I did a self checkout thing because I thought it would be faster. That was dumb. He just happened to need to check out at the next register to me and mentioned again how nice it would be to get coffee. I mentioned again that I was happily married. He asked me again about maybe just meeting occasionally. I gave him my “Fuck off” look and said no and then stopped talking.

He was done checking out, I wasn’t. But he didn’t leave the store. He was putting on his jacket as I looked around. There was another guy there almost done checking out and I was going to ask him to walk me to my car, but the creepy date guy finally turned away and walked back into the store. He wasn’t really creepy until he kept insisting that coffee would be a great idea. And while coffee is always a great idea, it wasn’t a great pick up line or anything I was interested in doing with this guy.

I got my stuff into the car. I got me into the car and as soon as the door closed, it was locked. I work out. A lot. I’m pretty fit. I might have been able to take this guy, but really, that’s not why I went to the store. I just wanted a small replacement ladle (which I didn’t even get cuz they didn’t have one).

I got the car started and just started to shake. I was creeped out. I was scared. I was shook up. I wanted to feel safe again. And so, I did what any sane person would do. I called my big sister. I also kept my eyes on my rearview mirror. If a car had followed me, I was going to go to Cindy’s house and if she wasn’t home, I was hitting the golf course – where the lovely man I’ve been married to for nearly 45 years was playing golf.

Instead, my sister was able to talk to me from thousands of miles away. She made sure I was safe. She suggested, strongly, that I might have been better off asking a sales associate for some help, but it all just seemed so, I don’t know, stupid. I work out. I’m strong. I didn’t want to need any help.

But I did need my big sister. She stayed on the phone with me until I pulled into my garage. There was not another car in sight. I shut the garage door before I got out of the locked car. I got home safely.

I think what I learned is that if you need help, for the love of God, ask for it.

Thanks, Pam.

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Who are you? Not your name. But you. Who are YOU? If you could be anything, what would it be?

I’ve heard about folks who want to be like someone important. Why would you want to be a copy of someone else instead of your best version? You can’t be the best somebody else. No one else can be a better you than you can.

We are each given a unique set of abilities, gifts, trials, obstacles, and choices. What we do with these is up to us. To waste them trying to be “like” someone else is wasting the chance to be whoever you can dream yourself to be.

The philosophers of old instructed students to “Know thyself”. Only when you know who you really are can you make the most of the talents you possess. Trying to be Plato when you are Pythagoras doesn’t give the world the best of anything. Nor does trying to be Pythagoras when you are Plato. We needed both and neither needed to be a poor imitation of the other.

Develop your own sense of style. Become your own person. Follow the beat of your own drummer. Grow into your dreams. Be the inspiration for other to follow, not by copying you, but by seeing what it means to be your own person.

And if you find out you are a bit odd, go with it and call it eccentricity. Or simply being the true one of a kind person you were meant to be. So, who are you?

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What did you do today? I did nothing. I liked doing nothing. I’ve been doing too many of the things lately and so, I decided to do nothing.

Of course, I couldn’t exactly do nothing all day. I had to get food on the table, make the bed because it drives me insane if I don’t, go for a walk because it was beautiful out there, watch some Netflix and color, and play a few games.

So it wasn’t absolutely nothing. I didn’t sleep for the entire day and then hope to sleep tonight.

The big thing I did today was watch a beginner tutorial video for Inkspace. I’ve got the program on my computer and tried to figure it out by the tried and true click everywhere method and I couldn’t make it do a damn thing. So I figured I could watch a video and see if that helped. It did, but I also learned the amazing program can do much more than I thought it could and I have lots to learn about it.

Today’s foray into the unknown was play and experimentation. But eventually, I would really like to understand how to work this program. So even on a day when I technically and purposefully did nothing, I did help myself go forward with a project.

Not every day has to be filled with major undertakings. But it is good to realize that having a day of rest is also helping you to prepare for the rest of your life. We need to rest. We need the space to relax and destress and take a moment to smell the roses. We need down time.

Reading a good book in your down time can be pure entertainment or it can be educational or inspiring or even illustrative.

Taking time to recharge your batteries with friends and family is also a time-honored way to spend a weekend. Not because it is doing nothing, but because it is a way to cleanse your soul, build a stronger foundation, prepare for the week ahead.

Doing big things is great. But we can’t do big things all the time. It wouldn’t even be fun to do only the big things. But we can do something today to prepare ourselves for tomorrow, even if it is only (and it isn’t really just an ONLY) to get enough sleep. That’s something we horrendously ignore.

Use your off time wisely. Use it for your avocation. Use if to prepare yourself for the coming weeks, months, and years. Use it up. But use it wisely.

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Remember when? Remember that time when we were kids? Remember going there?

How often are we faced with those questions and we rack our brains trying to remember the requested experience? Memories aren’t forever even when our memories are good. And they are definitely not forever when disease steals our minds.

How many times have you reminisced with another person? Remember when we did that thing? And yet you both remember it vividly and differently. They remember the things, but not the same things as you do.

We tell ourselves the stories of our past and with each retelling (to ourselves or to others) we add or delete a detail or two or fifteen. Not out of malice, but out of trying to fill in the bits that aren’t really stored in our memories. We have a vague picture and fill in the blanks with “the rest of the story”.

We don’t so much lie to ourselves as improve the clarity of the story and after each retelling, it becomes more permanent in our memories, but not exactly the way it happened, just the way we retold the tale.

This is why eyewitness testimony is so sketchy. The witnesses aren’t trying to subvert anything, it’s just that our memories aren’t really cut out for storing all the details.

The best way to remember something is to tell the story, permanently, as soon as possible after the event. Even then there are going to be small differences between what happened and what you remember happening. Writing your stories down is one way to remember them. Taking pictures at the time help to record the actual story, but they are two dimensional and we live in a far richer environment.

So while the included picture is a beautiful sentiment, I can’t find much truth in it. We remember lots of things that never happened and forget (thankfully) many of the things that did.

Cherish your stories. Write them down if they are important to you. While it is important to actually live your life and not just photograph it, it might help to snap a picture or two as you go along.

Now, let’s sing together, “Thanks for the memories.”

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Your life is a story and you are the author. There are others out there attempting to write on your plot line, but you have creative control over what you do.

This is both a curse and a blessing. It is a curse because although it is easier if we can blame and make others the author of our bad stories, we are the person writing down the story as it unfolds. Blame won’t fix any bad story. No matter what happens outside your boundaries, it is you who writes the story about it.

And that’s the blessing. You write the story about your circumstances. You get to reframe any bad experience into a better story line. You have unlimited control over how your story is told. No one else has the keyboard. You do. And it is your story to tell and share.

When someone cuts you off in traffic, they are totally unknown to you and so you have to tell yourself the story of the moment. Perhaps you tell yourself the other driver was an idiot or careless or just a bad driver. Or maybe you tell yourself the other driver was trying to get to the hospital or had just learned some tragic news and was trying to get home. Either way, the car cut you off. But the story you tell about the experience changes your perception of it. The driver is long gone and you are still safely driving, so what story makes your own life better?

When tragedy befalls, you have a variety of choices about the story you tell both to yourself and others. It may not change the factual circumstances, but if you can tell yourself a kinder story, it very well might change the perception and long term outcome for the better.

Not all things are able to be fixed. The best we can do is learn to live with the new story line. Make sure the stories you tell yourself are the ones you want to hear.

And if they aren’t, start telling yourself new and improved stories today.

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You have to do the things. To have goals, lofty goals, rooted goals, fantastic goals, whatever goals is great. Until you begin to act, they are nothing but wishes.

If a goal is to have healthy meals for your family and all you have done is pin a bunch of great recipes to Pinterest, you aren’t really doing anything. If you want to have healthy meals, you actually have to produce healthy meals. More than once. If the goal is to improve your family’s nutrition, you have to consistently have healthy meals.

That’s the whole thing. Having a goal or a vision of the future is a wonderful feeling. There, way out there, is this idyllic thing and I’m going to strive to achieve that thing at some point in the future.

That’s just a wish. To have a goal, you have to have something measureable and there has to be some end point for achieving it.

I will have healthy meals for my family is too broad of a statement and there is not enough information on which to base success or failure.

What is a “healthy meal”? What happens after the meal? One healthy meal a day and then crap snacks and sugary drinks for the rest of the day is not going to produce any healthy results. What sort of dietary plan are you really going to be able to put into place and follow? When will implementation begin? What are you going to do about in between meals? Meals away from home?

Whatever your far off dream looks like, it is imperative for you to make a map for yourself on how to get from the here and now to where the dream lies in wait. You need to break down the dream into manageable steps with measurable goals.

I will eat salads for lunch four days a week is measureable. The trick is that making a healthy salad and making an unhealthy salad are both possibilities. If you want to be true to your dream or wish or vision or goal, you have to not cheat the system. YOU are the system and all you are doing is setting yourself up for failure.

Make the intermediate steps achievable. You can’t jump across the Grand Canyon in two leaps. But you can walk around or up and down or somehow get from east to west – if you make some intermediate steps a part of the overall plan.

You are the master of your fate. If you really want that thing way over there, go after it. Take the time to make the small successes which give you the possibility of reaching the larger goal.

But the first thing you have to do is start. Dreaming isn’t going to get you there. You have to get up and go.

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Lisa and I were the score keepers for the first I Can Games sponsored by CrossFit Hilton Head now called Conviction Training Facility (CTF). It looked like so much fun. The athletes were all athletic and doing marvelous things. It was awe inspiring.

I decided that I, too, could do the things. I just didn’t live in Hilton Head so I had to find a different spot. There was a spot, not far from my house. I tried the free introductory class and failed miserably. I couldn’t do a damn thing, including finishing the class.

But that didn’t stop me. I signed up. I worked hard. I cried a lot. I hurt myself a few times but nothing too serious. And I improved with time and effort.

I really thought, way back on game day as I was being a geek and entering scores and sorting the numbers and sneaking peeks at the athletes, that I would one day be able to do all the things. I’ve now realized that although there are some old farts out there who can do all the things, I’m not going to be one of them.

Sometimes it is because I refuse to do the thing. Climbing a rope is one of the things I will not do. I have no need to prove myself on that battlefield. If my arms give out when I’m up that high, I could seriously damage myself. I don’t have to do the things I don’t want to do.

But other things are still possible. I may possibly some day get an actual real pull-up. Not soon or anything. Maybe never. I’m not really looking at getting a chest to bar or muscle up, but I might, with enough practice and work, actually get a pull-up.

Snatches are not my friend. They don’t like me and I’m not all that fond of them. A full snatch is possible for me – with a PVC pipe. But I’m too unsteady to actually float under the bar if there is any appreciable weight on the thing. I have enough trouble executing an overhead squat.

Today’s WOD was a 24 minute EMOM of one power snatch (thank goodness) and one overhead squat. Increasing weights after every four reps was also on the menu. I don’t have that many steps between the bottom bar and my top weight. So I did an empty trainer bar (which cannot have plates added), then a bare bar, and then small plates.

Unfortunately, that ended me at 45 pounds, something I can achieve in a power snatch, but not perform an overhead squat. I was allowed to snatch, put the bar down, get the smaller bar and snatch that and then overhead squat it. I did that for the first four minutes of the heavy bar.

But I decided to try. I’ve never done a 45 pound overhead squat. But what the hell. The 35 pound ones were working and that didn’t used to happen either. So for the last four reps, I attempted an overhead squat with the heavy bar.

First time, I nearly fell on my ass. So I was going to quit that. But I didn’t. Instead, I was careful in my set, I tucked my ass, held my core tight, grabbed the bar like I was going to rip it in half … and got a little bit lower. I did that two more times. I’ve still never done a real break parallel overhead squat with a 45 pound bar. But instead of nearly falling over with the slightest of dips, I got so close. I needed to just drop another inch.

Instead of giving myself a pass, I gave myself a chance. I didn’t make it. This time. But next time I will know I’m closer than I thought.

I didn’t cheat myself. I didn’t disappoint myself. I worked to my capacity. I’m closer than ever. I will get there.

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