Tuesday, February 28, 2012

2-27-2012 Inspiration

Sometimes you see something or read something that moves you.  I read a story about someone's attempt at running 100 miles and what went on before during and after and the feelings of not being defeated.  It's just one of many stories that you read and really makes you think or feel something that you hadn't thought about before.  Or maybe you change your mind about something you thought wasn't possible, something you had tried before.

I'm grateful every time I come across some inspiration.

Monday, February 27, 2012

2-26-2012 Road Trips

Yesterday's main activity was supposed to be kayaking.  Instead, it ended up being more about spending time in the front of my truck with four other people - my brother Jim, my Dad, and number one and two sons.

It had sort of a road trip feel.  It was either raining or threatening rain.  We stopped in Weeki Wachee spur of the moment because I remembered they had kayak rentals there and the river is crystal clear - but we were too late.

Onto Homosassa Springs to the kayak rental place - but it was too rainy.

Then over to Homosassa Springs park entrance, followed by a short drive to the other entrance.

We spent a couple hours there then headed home (about another hour drive), and the skies cleared and temps warmed up as we approached home.

I thought about other road trips - like the time we had to drive to Miami to get a last minute passport - it was our first and so far only trip there.  Both sons loved that trip.  Again, it is the journey and enjoying the stuff that happens between the two points and the time spent together.

I am grateful for road trips.

2-25-2012 Airport Adventures

I've always loved airports for some reason (ok, there are some airports I don't love going to - but the concept of airports I love).

My brother was flying down for a business trip with an extra day beforehand to come and visit.  His flight was cancelled, and then switched to come into Tampa at 12:15 am instead of to Orlando.  So, I said I could pick him up.  The boys wanted to come, also.  I said ok.  We were all staying up late to wait to leave for the airport.  Then just after 11:00 I checked the flight status - delayed until 1:00 am. 
My youngest son - a sometimes surprising voice of reason said shouldn't we be getting sleep before kayaking tomorrow?  Yes, I was already thinking the same thing.  Sorry boys, I'd better go by myself this time.

I was tired when I got to the airport but had made a cup of coffee just before leaving the house.
My brother arrived a few minutes early (for the new late time), and we were home, and I was in bed before 2:00.

It's life, it's the stuff that happens, it can be tiring and upsetting or it can be something fun (although maybe not in a way you want to do every day!!).

I'm grateful for airport adventures.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

2-24-2012 Hot Apple Pies

From McDonald's of course!  2 for $1.00 or $0.89 for 1.  So, for an extra 0.11 I can buy a second one and give it away to someone who appreciates that small act.  Then I get to eat the other one.  I go way back with these pies (although I sometimes miss the old kind of greasy and flaky crust they used to have!).

Yes, today I bought two of these, I'm grateful for hot apple pies from McDonald's!!

2-23-2012 Coffee

Especially black coffee, just coffee.  The caffeine is a big part but it's not the only part.  Sometimes, the right cup of coffee at the right time can really change my outlook.  It's a taste experience and an act of deliberate enjoyment (if done right).

It's a little thing and a big thing.

I'm grateful for coffee!!

Why not??

Thursday, February 23, 2012

2-22-2012 Pancakes

I am grateful for pancakes.

I've always liked pancakes and they are easy to make and there's a million variations of ingredients.  Once upon a time I was under the impression that there was something "magical" about the box of pancake mix, something that you couldn't do yourself (this is true in some ways if you wanted to use the exact same ingredients down to the last additive and preservative!).

But, fortunately, my wife broke me of that habit and set me straight (and btw, her pancake making skills have improved exponentially over the years!)

Last night when I got home from work I felt like having pancakes, so I started making up the batter.

Whoops! forgot to check to see if we had eggs.  No eggs, no problem, they were ok without them - not perfect but still ok.

Another type of pancakes I've enjoyed are "healthy" ones from Body For Life - they contain eggs, oatmeal, and cottage cheese instead of flour and the usual stuff.

Of course, there are also pancakes you get out at  a restaurant like Cracker Barrel or Perkins.

There have been some diners here and there that I've stopped at for some great pancakes.   There was a diner near University of Rochester called "Pat and Sandy's" which had great pancakes.  They also served pancakes in the snack bar inside the Commons, they were good and cheap - only $0.85  (but that was circa 1988).

Yes, definitely grateful for pancakes - especially since they go well with syrup

2-21-2012 My Job

I have a good job, a good office to work at with people I get along with and respect and I receive respect and dignity despite some of my quirks which some people might not get.  There are low points here and there and times of great pressure, but there are many good points, too.

There have been some days when I need to bring the kids with me to the office, it doesn't happen too often but it's great that I'm able to do it now and then.  Not ever for the entire day, but maybe up to half a day, they sit in a nearby conference room and do something to keep them busy.  They'll come by my office to ask me a question, or I'll go over to check on them.  We can get a snack from the kitchen.  They are well behaved when they come here because I think I have made it clear that this is a privilege.

I won't go into every last thing that I am grateful for about my job, but, yes I am grateful for my job.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

2-20-2012 Fixing Things

Today, I fixed a burnt out backing up light in my truck (is that what it is really called? sounds kind of odd).

The concept and putting into practice of recognizing something that is broken, knowing how to fix it and then doing it.

Sometimes I can even do it myself.

Not everything can be fixed, but the things that can be fixed and should be fixed, I guess they must be fixed.  Sometimes things go too long being broken (like when I drove around for over a year and a half with a big crack in my windshield before getting it fixed, once I made the call, it was embarrassingly easy to have it done).

I'm grateful for the concept of fixing things and the result of fixing things and most grateful when I can fix it myself.  Although there is a lot to be said for knowing when to call in an expert and then finding that person.

Yes, today I'm grateful for fixing things.

2-19-2012 Jenny

I'm grateful for Jenny today.

She is my wife and I love her but there is more than just that for which I am grateful.
Jenny has touched so many people's lives and brings new ideas and a special type of energy.
I'm grateful that she is who she is and grateful that she came into my life.
There is no one else like her.
There is always more to know about her, to find out and learn from.

Today I'm grateful for Jenny

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

2-18-2012 Endurance

There was a lot of things to be grateful for today, but in keeping with the theme I'm only going to pick one.

I ran 100 km today, or just over 62 miles.  The furthest I had ever run during training was a little over 32 miles.  It took a lot of faith to keep on moving.

I had to try and find out how deep the well was, how much endurance was there.  I fortunately did not find the bottom even though it felt like I almost did at one point.

It was inspiring to see the 100 mile racers continuing on - it put my distance into perspective.

Endurance didn't let me down.

There have been other times in my life when I have called on endurance - like months at a time at sea while in the navy, driving a car 24 hours straight, staying up all night with a sick kid, or getting through some other bad times which seemed like they had no end in sight.

It takes faith to keep going.  But endurance is like putting the faith into practice.  It's all sorts of things.  I won't pretend to understand it all, or be able to define it for everyone.

So, I'll just be grateful for it.  Today I'm grateful for endurance.

Monday, February 20, 2012

2-17-2012 A Day Off Work

When growing up and in school, you get holidays off, weekends, and summer vacation to name a few.  Once you hit the world of work, the days off become more rare, and even the days that are allotted sometimes end up getting skipped due to unforeseen circumstances.

But, today I took the day off of work.  There have been many other events when I probably should have taken the day off.  I'll try not to dwell on the ones that I missed.

Today, I'll be grateful for the day I did take off.

2-16-2012 Finishing a Plan

(my life got a little more busy, so I seemed to have missed a few days, whoop!)

Sometimes, you put together a plan, follow it and find you come to the end of that plan.  Not everything can be planned out in such a manner.  I'm not inherently good at planning.  However, I've been following a plan to get ready for a 100K race.  That kind of planning I'm able to do.  Today was my last scheduled run on that plan, so, at least the running portion is finished (just need to get all my gear together).

I'm grateful that the last run of the plan is now finished, and whatever happens next I'll have the confidence that I finished the plan - for that I am grateful.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

2-15-2012 Good Luck

I'm grateful for good luck.  I'm not sure how many times I've been bailed out of some pretty bad situations as well as some ones that weren't that bad but would have been sort of a bummer.   Good luck can strike at any time.   Now, sometimes the good luck is the result of working hard and unintended consequences in a good way, or it may be some sort of cosmic karma paying back for some good deed that went unrecognized a long time ago.  Usually it seems to happen for no apparent reason.

But, whatever the reason why it happens, it sure is nice.

Please, be grateful for it.

I know I am.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

2-14-2012 Love

There is so much to be said about love, there has been so much written, there are many kinds of love and countless definitions.  There are poems and cliches and songs.  It is plain and insight and mysterious and hard to describe.

Love gives and takes away, makes us feel good and bad.

But always alive.

If you can feel love, then you are feeling something, and if you feel something then you are alive.

There are no right and wrong answers as long as it is true.

So much to think about and share, so powerful.

Where would we be with no love in this world?

So, today I'll write that I'm grateful for love.  But more importantly, we all should be grateful for love each and everyday.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

2-13-2012 Birds

I was driving to work, stopped at a traffic light and looked up and saw a flock of black birds on a telephone wire.  I thought about how birds are everywhere.  Except for people who are into bird watching, many people do not think much about birds.  They are everywhere.  Every part of the world.  In the city, the suburbs and out in the country.

I love the birds in Florida.  It is one of my favorite things here - the egrets, herons, osprey, eagles, hawks, vultures, little birds, ducks, pelicans, birds that live here and birds that are just visiting.

When people go out running on a trail here, they like to talk about what wildlife the saw - they say "I saw 2 deer, one of them was a buck with huge antlers" or, "I saw some wild boar", " a bobcat" , "I saw an alligator".  If all they saw were the birds they might not mention it. 

But, everyday we see birds.

They look free, they land where they please, then fly away someplace far away, who knows?

They are amazing.

Today I am grateful for birds.

Monday, February 13, 2012

2-12-2012 Dinner Out

If you go out to eat a lot, then dinner out does not seem so special.  However, if it is once in a while or not more than once a week or for some celebration then it can be special.  It is a time to enjoy being together where everyone at the table is there to just spend time together, dine together, and spend time talking.  There is no worry about who has to do what before or after the meal, it's just eating and enjoying.  You can't do this all the time and the things about making a meal at home important are no less important.  But, there's a lot to be said for a dinner out.  Laugh, eat, enjoy, sit together.  It can be like going on a very short vacation.  Oh, yes, and dinner out while on vacation or some road trip (like driving to Miami and back in the same day to get a passport), can be even better, because then it is also a bit of necessity.
So, maybe there's no place like home but sometimes a dinner out is nice (not to mention how grateful I am that we have the means to be able to afford a dinner out).

So, today I'm grateful for dinner out.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

2-11-2012 Dogs

Dogs know and practice unconditional love.  A dog never judges you.  A dog is always glad to see you and you can easily make a dogs day by getting out the leash and taking him out for a walk.  Dogs help people live longer in many ways.  Petting a dog can lower your blood pressure and there are many people who might never get up off their couch if not for the gentle persistence of a dog.  Of course, books and movies and magazines can go on forever to say great things about dogs.  I love having a dog around.
So, I'll just end this by saying that today I am grateful for dogs.

2-10-2012 Gratitude

I am grateful for gratitude, both giving and receiving.  When you do something nice for someone it should be reward enough to know that you have helped someone.  But, it is nice to be recognized and hear and feel the appreciation.  When someone does something nice for you, it is sometimes hard or impossible to repay them, but we can always show our gratitude.  It works both ways and lets the giver and receiver know how important they are to each other.
But, it's not guaranteed, there isn't always a chance to give or receive gratitude, so we can't always see it or feel it.  But, it is there.

I know, kind of vague, but without gratitude, it would be hard to be grateful for anything.

So, today I'm grateful for gratitude itself.

Friday, February 10, 2012

2-9-2012 Sleep


When people are younger they take sleep for granted.   Then someday, you wake up in the middle of the night and can't fall back asleep for a long time.  Maybe not at all, or maybe a few minutes before the alarm clock goes off.  It is sleep that divides between the previous day and the next day, between the worn out feeling (sometimes) at the end of the day and the promise of a new day the next morning.  We can dream while asleep.  The body gets stronger from sleep and sometimes our minds get clearer.

There have even been times in my life where I had to stay awake all night - all nighter for school, driving through the night by myself, midnight to 4 watch in the navy, etc.  It's never any fun when you have to stay up all night.  It's even less fun when you don't have to stay up all night, but just can't fall asleep.
I had been missing more and more sleep recently.   Last night I was able to get some sleep.  I heard my wife's alarm clock go off at 5:00, then I fell back asleep until my 6:00 alarm went off.  On mornings she had been waking up at 5:00, I would wake up too and be wide awake even though I didn't have to leave for work for a long time and I didn't have any sort of big long run.

So, today I'm grateful for sleep (actually should remember to be grateful for sleep every night when going to sleep and every morning I wake up after a good night's sleep).

Thursday, February 9, 2012

2-8-2012 Laughter

I am grateful for laughter, especially if you haven't heard someone laugh for a long time, and then you hear them.  It has to be genuine.  I think I can tell when it is real.  It is such a happy sound.  Sometimes I wish there was more laughter.  It's often what makes something a good time.  A party can be missing food, drinks, and music, but if there is lots of laughter, then it is the best party ever.  A laugh can make things right or break the ice or tension.

Today I'm grateful for laughter.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

2-7-2012 Backyard camping

A number of years ago, my brother was coming out to visit.  He thought it would be fun to go camping down at Fort De Soto with the kids.  So, I bought a tent and some camping gear.  We had a lot of fun and it was one of those things I would have thought about but probably not gotten around to it.

One weekend, sometime later, I thought it would be fun to set up the tent in the back yard for some back yard camping.  We did this a couple of times when I was growing up that I can remember.

We've now done backyard camping a bunch of times, and it's something that Thomas especially looks forward to and asks for.  Sammy (the dog) absolutely loves the tent more so than the other dogs did.

It's such a simple thing to do, so little planning and it makes it worthwhile that I bought a tent which was pretty much only used once (although someday hope to use it again even if just at one of the very close local parks like Starkey).

So, today I'm grateful for backyard camping.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

2-6-2012 Fun Exercise - aka Boot Camp

Today I'm grateful for the boot camp class which my wife teaches two days a week and I have been able to go many times since she started.

I have done many of these exercises on my own in the past, but she adds new ones all the time and it's so much easier to just do it when someone else has it all planned out for you.  Also, I have met many new people as well as working out with people I know from running.  The exercises help make up for the rut my body can get into from mainly just doing running - getting to move around in 3 different planes.  Doing some exercises I'm good at, as well as the humility from the ones that make me look clumsy and sometimes even weak.  We all have room for improvement and we are all in this together.

So, today I'm grateful for my wife's boot camp class.

Monday, February 6, 2012

2-5-2012 My Dad

I hope I don't get in trouble for thinking of my Mom first, but today I was grateful for my Dad.  My poor neglected boat which has been sitting on a lift at their house was not starting.  It hasn't been starting for a while.  My Dad said why not try some starter fluid in the carburetor.  This engine is an inboard / outboard engine aka sterndrive, so it basically looks like a car engine for the most part.  But I couldn't tell where the air filter was it.  He pointed it out to me,  yup that was it alright.  I sprayed in some of the spray and tried to start the boat and the engine caught for a second but didn't continue to run.  Well, at least it's getting a spark.

I had been kind of resentful on one level because I didn't feel like I was getting any help or suggestions.  He'd just sort of watch me while I tried various things and would help if I asked him to do something for me.  So, when he made the starter fluid suggestion and helped me find where the air filter was so I could remove it and spray inside the carburetor it was kind of nice.

After that tiny bit of success, and along with the success of the new mildew remover I bought (so the boat doesn't look as run down now).  I at least have a plan in my head as to how I'm going to get this boat thing all straightened out.  Things just became clearer.  Maybe it was how spraying in the fluid and hearing the engine almost starting showed me that the engine could still make a spark, that was the spark I needed to know was there.

So, today I'm grateful for my Dad.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

2-4-2012 Saturdays

On Saturday, the weekend is still new, there is work or school is not looming for the next day.  I can go for a run, hang out at home, get some chores done or maybe go someplace fun.  There's no rush or worry to get away from work early because that was yesterday.  I have childhood memories of Saturday morning cartoons, which I looked forward to all week.  Saturday has been my long run day pretty much since I've been running (or at least since marathon training).  Every now and then and at times in the past I've had to work Saturdays, but for now I don't. 

Today I'm grateful for Saturdays.

2-3-2012 My Truck

I'm grateful for my truck.  I've had it 8 years, it is reliable and comfortable and still in pretty good shape despite the fact that I'm not the best at taking care of it.  I mainly drive back and forth to work in it, but sometimes I have to haul something, I've loaned it out to people who needed to haul something and I've towed my boat with it.  It's not the easiest vehicle in the world to park but it's not that bad either.  I'm grateful that I have a vehicle and it's a vehicle that I like.  I may not have it forever, but for now and for the past 8 years, I'm grateful for my truck.

Friday, February 3, 2012

2-2-2012 Air

Honestly, I'm not feeling very creative or overly grateful at the moment.  It's at those times when you need to look at the very basics that we take for granted.  I already mentioned tap water.  More basic than water of course is air.  Living and breathing go hand in hand and we need air for that - clean air is best along with a healthy pair of lungs.

But mostly today, I'm grateful for air.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

2-1-2012 An Invitation

I received an invitation this evening - an invitation to leave my comfort zone.  I was planning on running the next morning and planning on putting in a good effort, warm up , then 4 miles at whatever I could manage under 7:00 pace.   But, my friend Raj texted me and asked if I could run with him 3 @ 6:35.  That was not what I had in mind.  I might have ended up doing the last mile somewhere around that pace, if I was feeling good.  But to hit that pace early on and go the whole way, it's not what I thought I could do.

But, I accepted the challenge.  It's hard to leave your comfort zone on your own, but you've got to venture outside if you want to grow and expand and also if you don't want your comfort zone to shrink.

So, I was sent the invitation and I accepted it.

I'm grateful for that.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

1-31-2012 A Push From Behind

Push from behind - also sometimes known as a good kick in the rear

I was running yesterday morning and it wasn't going so well.  I was finishing up and had slowed down with a mentality of just finishing the run.  Sometimes running slower can be enjoyable but if you are running slow because you weren't enjoying the run then it's not so good.
One of the faster girls in the group came up behind me and startled me because I wasn't expecting her (because I had also cut my run short so thought no one was near me), and I was also listening to music.  I decided to follow her in, but she told me to run in front of her so she could push herself faster trying to catch up.   So, I did.  I went faster and she picked up her pace to try and catch me.

It changed the run from so-so just get it done to something much better.
So, today I was grateful for a push from behind.