Tuesday, May 22, 2012

5-15-2012 Choices

It's nice to have choices.
But, it's even better to realize that we ALWAYS have choices.
It's important to remember this.

When I read East Of Eden I learned the lesson again, with the key word timshel , we may do something if we choose.

Of course, sometimes choices are pleasant either way and presented to us in a fancy looking font - "would you like the steak or lobster tonight? how about both?"

Those kinds of choices are nice, too!

I'm grateful for choices.

5-14-2012 Being Behind

Today is actually 5-22-2012.  Last week I was almost caught up with this blog and was hoping that after that I would do one entry per day.

It's not good to be behind.  Usually.

But, there are something's good about it, like:
1. you get to catch up
2. you have the company of everyone else who is behind
3. It makes you appreciate being caught up

So,  right now, 8 days behind, I'm going to be grateful for that very thing!!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

5-13-2012 Moms

Today was mother's day.  I'm grateful for all of the moms out there, the mom to my kids, my mom, my mom-in-law, my friends moms.

Kind of pointless to ponder the "what-ifs" about if there were on moms, because that just doesn't make any sense!

I'm grateful for moms and all they do for everyone.

5-12-2012 Burgers on the Grill

Not too much else needed to be said here, except what makes it even nicer is if your son asked for them for dinner and was looking forward to them.  Then, they taste at least twice as good!

I'm grateful for burgers on the grill.

5-11-2012 Quiet Times to Think

It's nice when the day is almost over, and it kind of feels like you've accomplished something, so you feel a little bit relaxed, and maybe everyone else has gone to bed.

The house sounds quiet, but not in a lonely kind of way (that kind of quiet can actually be distracting or at least depressing). 

So, you find yourself with a few minutes to think about the day and reflect before going to sleep.

Of course, there are other times like that, but right now is that time, when it's quiet, it's almost time for bed and there's a little bit of time to think.

I'm grateful for those quiet times to think.

5-10-2012 A nice washer and dryer set

Well, I would still be grateful for having any washer and dryer, as many people do not have them and instead need to go to the laundromat.  However, since I do have a nice washer and dryer set I'm twice as grateful!

The old set was pretty good, but was slowly going downhill, and the dryer would take maybe 3 hours to dry a load (some of this was fixed after the vents got cleaned!!  (ok, there's another topic, routine maintenance!)).

The new set (about 2 years old now) is awesome.

But, the best part is the musical chiming noises it makes when starting and finishing, it makes doing the laundry feel like you are playing a video game.

So, I am grateful for owning a washer and dryer, but even more so since it is a nice set!

5-9-2012 Backyard Bananas

When I was in high school, and worked at a lawn and garden store, I liked to either purchase, or rescue from the dumpster, tropical plants to put in my room.  I bought/or rescued banana plants and had some luck growing them, but could never really keep them going forever.

But now, living in Florida, not that long after moving into the house I put in one plant in the corner of the backyard, and it is now a good sized patch of banana plants.  Right now, there are bunches of bananas already forming.

I'm grateful for these bananas growing right in the back yard.

5-8-2012 Things that Could have Fallen apart but Didn't

So, today, finally I was able to get my boat to a repair shop.  Among other things that needed servicing, the boat trailer probably was long overdue to have its bearings repacked.  Bad things can happen when this is neglected.  You can end up becoming "that guy" on the side of the road with the boat about to fall over because the wheel has come off on one side of the trailer.

To compound this drama, I feel terribly that I'm in this situation, since I'm incredibly lucky to have been able to buy a boat in the first place, but then to not use it and let things go like that, ughhhhh....

Oh well, time for action.

The wheels did not come off and I'm finally one step further to at least getting this small fiasco sorted out, now if everything else was just this easy!!

However, looking at this from the bright side, I'm grateful about these things, where it could have fallen apart but did not!!

5-7-2012 My Friend Dixie

I ran with a friend of mine this morning.  We ran in a neighborhood which is about halfway from each of our homes and there are a few rolling hills (pretty rare around here).  We used to run together here every Monday for quite some time, especially when he was training for his last marathon.  For various reasons it had been quite some time since we met and did this route.

When people hear the name Dixie, they sometimes mistake him for a woman or even a dog!

But, Dixie has kind of a special quality about him, a truly positive spirit.  He might be talking about a car accident, brain surgery, trouble making ends meet, or any number of crises (come to think of it, he does seem to get more than his fair share).  But, while he's talking about these things, there's always a hint of optimism and if at all possible, a hint of happiness at things not being worse than they are.  If someone can be happy through the worst of times, they must be doing something right.

So, today, and many other times I am grateful for my friend Dixie.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

5-6-2012 Kids that Grow Up

When I first moved down here, the guy at the office who helped hire me, took me out on his boat, along with his son.  It was a nice way to get to see the waters nearby.

After the boat ride,  my friend was getting his boat ready to be put away and I accidentally spilled his sons snack.  My friends son was so little then, he looked at me and said, "that's ok don't worry about it, it was just an accident."

Ok, maybe he didn't say those exact words but something like that.

So, today, there was my friend from work and his son, but now, this son who is no longer a little kid was there to help out.

We had to tow my boat to the boat ramp.  My friend drove his boat to tow mine, his son sat in my boat to steer it while being towed, and I drove my truck and trailer to the boat ramp.

Everything worked fine and my friends son did a great job.

Where was that little boy whose snack I spilled?

Sometimes people think it's said to see kids grow up.

But, sometimes you see it a different way and are grateful for kids that grow up.

5-5-2012 Things that Wait

Like a good number of boat owners, mine has gone unused for far too long.  It's the worst thing you can do for a boat unless perhaps if you are diligent about preparing it for storage.

Long overdue for taking action, which makes it harder and harder, I finally had to do something.

First stop was the trailer for the boat, sitting all by itself in the storage yard.  I had to make sure I had the wiring adapter, the code to the yard, the key for the trailer pad lock, the hitch itself, and I hoped the trailer was in towing shape.  I had checked it out about a year ago, but was still a bit worried.

But, somehow, there it was ready and waiting, still working.  Got in ok, hooked it up, lights worked, nothing was stuck and I was on my way.  I dropped it off at my parents place, all ready to take on the next step, which was to get the boat out of the water, onto the trailer and off to a repair shop.

It's nice when you go back to get something which has been sitting, and it's still there.

It's a small thing of course, but still nice.  I'm grateful for things that wait.

5-4-2012 Spin racer

About 9 years ago almost (I think), I was on a business trip at a customer sight.  I had gotten little sleep and was stressed out trying to solve some problem.

My wife had gone out of town with the kids to go visit her sister.

While I was working on this problem, all of the sudden I had sort of this flushing feeling going up and down my left side, through my shoulder, down my arm.  I didn't know what was happening, I thought maybe a heart attack or a stroke.  I was able to calm down enough while at lunch and took some aspirin just in case.

This would be the start of over a year of worrying about my health which was made worse by a glitch during a stress test.

Anyway, I somehow made it home from the business trip (with the help of a few glasses of wine on the flight).

Jenny and the boys came home the next morning.

In the back bedroom upstairs we had this toy race car set up which had cars which were spring loaded.  You could release the cars on the track and they'd go through a couple of loops and turns.  A played with this toy set called spin racer with Andy, and somehow it made any problems I was having at the time temporarily disappear and it gave me a new outlook.

It did take a while to completely get the heart attack/stroke nonsense out of my head, but that morning with Andy and spin racer was the first moment when things seemed ok.

5-3-2012 Lt Dan

No, not that Lt. Dan, not the one from the movie Forrest Gump.  I knew a Lt. Dan in real life.  When I was in the Navy, one of my room mates on the ship was the XO (executive officer) of the marine detachment on board the ship.  He was a big tough guy with a rough exterior but with a good heart on the inside.

When we first met, we did not get along well at all.  It looked like things were going to be miserable.  A lot of things already weren't going well and it just seemed like things were going to go from bad to worse.

Then something happened, I'm not sure exactly what, but we somehow became friends.

Dan was a good guy.  It was nice to be friends with the biggest and toughest guy on the ship.

It's really a gift when the right people come into your life when you need them.

5-2-2012 Wild Blackberries

While pulling out some weeds in the backyard, and thinking about planting some things in the square foot gardens I saw just over the fence some wild blackberry plants.  I went through the gate but the weeds had gotten pretty high back there.  I cut through the weeds and made it to where the blackberries were.  I picked some that were ripe and weeded around them so they could thrive.

When we first moved here, before we had the fence installed we found some blackberries, so many that there were enough to make a dessert with.  They seem to have not really left.  It was like finding a forgotten treasure.

I was grateful for finding these

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

5-1-2012 "GICK!" and other nonsense words

Once upon a time, when my oldest son was very little, he started this thing where he said I should say the word "gick" on the first day of each month.

I have no idea what the word was supposed to mean, but we say it, at least someone usually remembers on the first day of each month.  I guess it means happy first day of the new month.

Nonsense words are fun and they can take on their own meaning.

I'm grateful for gick and other nonsense words like them.

4-30-2012 "follow me to Boston" Kenny

This is a flashback post, something that popped into my mind.
Back in 2008 I was trying to qualify to run the Boston marathon and was "planning" on running a 3:15 at the San Diego marathon in June.  Sometime in April I injured myself and had to take some time off.  With physical therapy and a few good sports massages, I was able to get back in shape enough where I could at least complete the race which I had signed up for already and had plane tickets and a place to stay arranged (my brother's house in Carlsbad).

On race day I felt a little bit better than I thought I would.  Headed down the hill from Balboa park into San Diego's gas light district.  I came up behind a man running with no shirt on who had written in marker on his back "Follow me to Boston!! 3:20 or bust".

The man's name was Kenny and I followed him, and suddenly the running felt easy and I was really enjoying the day while running at a nice pace.

I didn't quite make it to the Boston time that day (had a 3:24), but it was one of the best marathons I ever ran as far as feeling good and being able to do more than I thought I was capable of.

I'm grateful for "follow me to Boston" Kenny.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

4-29-2012 Rediscovering a Favorite

Sometimes, when you think you've seen and done it all (which of course you haven't!) it's good to rediscover something that you did a long time ago and experience it again.

My parents were about to head out of town and then back up north for the summer and wanted to have dinner with us, so they picked a restaurant which we used to go to but not for a long time.

It's a place called the Lucky Dill Deli (a New York city style deli), and I'm not sure how long it had been since we were last there.  The kids remember it but they were pretty small the last time we went.

It felt new and familiar at the same time.  I think I'll go back there again soon.

I was grateful today to rediscover and old favorite.

4-28-2012 A Chance To Lead

I'm not often the one leading people out on new adventures or new experiences, I'm usually more of a one on one type of person in a supporting role.

But, today I had a chance to do something a little bit different.  99% of the people associated with the group I run with usually sticks to the main biking path in the park where we often run.  But, there is also a network of miles and miles of off road trails.  The paths are pretty wide and dry, often with good tree cover for shade.  There's some sections of very sandy stretches which can be a challenge to run on.

But, a lot of people are afraid to try these trails because of many unknowns.  The routes aren't well known, they think they need special equipment, special shoes, there will be too many bugs.  I used to think I'd have to run through a lot of swamp.

However, there is some pretty mild easy sections that don't require anything special other than to try it out.

So, I offered to take a couple of people on a stretch of trail.  The couple of people turned into about 8 people and everyone thoroughly enjoyed it.

I used to be one of those people, afraid to try those trails.  But, one day I went along with some other people, saw they were actually quite pleasant.

Today, it was my turn to lead some other people so they could see for themselves.

I was grateful for this chance to lead.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

4-27-2012 Intentions Kept

Sometimes you say you are going to do something but then don't get around to it.  Eventually it seems it is all but forgotten.  About 4 years ago, Andy was reading a book for school and something about the cover drew me to it.  The book was on loan from the library and I said I wanted to read it but did not get around to it.  I often thought about reading it.  Finally, last week I went to the library and checked it out.

It was a wonderful book and had some valuable lessons about looking for the wondrous things that are right around you.

So many times we have the best intentions and they get swept aside, but sometimes we remember, and for those times, I am grateful.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

4-26-2012 Perspective

I had some bad news today, and then later heard about someone who has much worse problems than I do, a friend who is dying.   It help put things into perspective about what is really important and those things which will eventually move on.  It is sad about my friend but also she is the kind of person who I think would be grateful that she is helping someone.

I'm grateful for perspective.

4-25-2012 My Thinking Pond

I go here each day during work, usually just a few minutes...
It's not necessarily always my happy place (sometimes it is), but it is a place to be alone, think about things, and watch a turtle or maybe a duck going about their business

I'm grateful for this spot.