Sunday, January 18, 2015

The Chise has Risen

If anyone has every listened to the Jim Rome radio show, you know what "The Chise" is all about.  Those people can skip the rest of the paragraph.  The Chise is the most important player on your team or league, the one that gets it done regardless.  Scores the big goal, scares the competition, you know the drill. 

Well, "The Chise" that lives in this house--Linda--finally got some recognition from her company.  Even though she only worked 10 months last year, the knee recovery eliminated January and February, she was the top Lab Specialists in the US.  Not in the top group, the top, the pinnacle, numero uno.... The LS's are measured on the amount of new start ups and the amount of money that those new installations earn, pretty simple math.  Worked 10 months and took the money!!  That is pretty cool.   She would of had it last year too, but the knee work eliminated 2 1/2 months from her year.  The award winners get a 5 day--all expense paid trip-- to Cabo  in  Mexico in June.  The resort is on the Southern trip of Baja.   Your spouse goes as well.  I will do what I can to support The Chise.    Plus I get to brag that I know The Chise and she likes me.

Congrats to The Chise, you earned this award.

I did some treadmill work this week, some was good and some was a little scary.  I was staying at a hotel this week with some junk treadmills.  One did not work and the other was a little difficult.   I was going to do my normal fitness routine of a couple 4 minute 800 meter runs.  I got warmed up and started to run and had nothing.  Out of breath in 30 seconds and I really struggled.  I thought it was humidity and the fact I ran the day before.  The next day, same deal. WTH??  I had a really strong suspicion that the deck was not level.  Since, I am an engineer, we carry weird tools and I have a compact digital level in my luggage.    I checked the deck and it 2.5 degrees off level!!!!  That does not sound like much, but it is a lot.   Any deviation from 0 is a problem.   Finally a reason for the difficulty.  So, I slowed my pace and got a work out.  Next trip I will use a different hotel.  Fixed that problem.

It was warm enough to run outside yesterday, but too windy.  Hopefully,  I can get some outdoor running soon.  I had to waste the sunshine we had yesterday.  I did some yard work to make sure I got some sunshine on my body. Felt great.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Ramping Up

It is winter.  I need not tell almost anyone in the US, but it is cold, frozen, windy and for anyone North of the Ohio River-white.    Even us fair folk her in Tennessee have been tolerating the cold.  I have had long johns for days, whether I am outside or sitting on the couch.  But, and this is a giant but, the sun does come out during the day and helps wash a lot of the depression off my body.  The sun has been a real blessing and has made the cold sustainable, but I am impatient to say the least.   Sprinter like the warmer weather.

Phase I of the kitchen remodel is basically completed.  The result looks pretty good.   Now we need to find the money to do Phase II, which will require a new stove (and we really like one of the pricey ones) and a dishwasher and a lot of cabinets.   I will not be getting any bonus this year, so Phase II may be put out a little longer than we would like.   But, it will happen...

 
 
We are pretty happy with what we have created thus far.  Not bad for a kitchen that is 135 years old..

I have been working from home this week and have gotten to the gym on a regular basis.  I have been running every other day on the treadmill or track (145 meter) and also doing some leg work in the weight room.   My fitness is coming around, I am at the same place I was last year in February, 2014 and the body weight is the same as well.  My weight cycles up and down with the seasons and the Holidays usually pack it on me. I will continue to work on the fitness as February approaches.  I still have my sights set on the indoor meets in Kentucky.  I joined the USATF today, which will allow me to compete  at the Masters level in various meets and this meet as well. 

It is also time for football teams to show their stuff.  I am  Buckeyes fan from way back  and hope they can pull it off.    I used to time my farm work around their games on Saturday afternoon while in college.  I worked on a farm that had dairy cows and pigs and I would clean the pig floors during the games so I could listen on the tractor AM radio. This 'cleaning' was a nice scoup shovel and you would deposit it in the spreader, repeat.   Life was sweet when you can do that while standing in 3 inches of pig poop.     Shoveling shit for the Buckeyes, I guess.   

The NFL is getting serious and we will be keeping an eye the action, our Steelers are out.  I got my money now on The Evil Empire (Ravens) and Seattle for the finale.

The sun is shining on my desk again, I need to get some rays.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Tennessee Winter Gardening

This winter season  I attempted to keep some veggies going through the cold season  to see what happened.   During the summer, the carrots were not what you would call-nice.   They seemed to be stubby and malformed little creatures more suited for the movies, than the dinner table.   I also did not have much luck with spinach, it would really not respond, even though I did make sure plenty of water was available.  

This fall I tilled the garden up and mounded up some rows and planted several rows of carrots, some spinach and kale.  Kale has a horrible reputation for flavor, but it has many claims of a hardy winter plant- why not give it a shot.   Let's fast forward to November, where it was bitter cold here in the Nashville area,  and everything lived through that cold snap.  I have been picking some kale and spinach for salads and an occasional omelet in November and December.   

Today the weather was warm and I did some tree work around the yard, although it was quite muddy.  I checked the spinach and kale and thought I would pick some before we get the single digit temps predicted this week and possible burn the leaves.  I also checked some of my carrots that I planted in late September and they were perfect.   No more of the stunted malformed crap.  Long slender beauty queens of the Earth to be adored.  Wow, you can garden all winter in Tennessee.  It is January 3, 2015 and I am picking veggies!!  We have plenty of carrots coming along and we should be able to get a salad a week from the garden.
Just for the record, the kale is incredibly delicious.   It is good raw in salads or in soups as well.  Linda included it in a chicken based soup and it was really good, great texture and flavor.  Winter garden is  muddier, it is never really dry, but you have no pest problems and the weeds are all in Florida.  I think I am going to like it more each winter.

I have been getting more active and doing some indoor running.  I am seriously thinking about some indoor competition in Kentucky in February.  That would be something new to me and many of  the 'life' experts are always preaching the  mantra to try something new, regardless of your age.  Maybe this can shut them up for a while.

By the way, Happy 2015 and go Buckeyes and Go Steelers!!!!!!!

Sunday, December 21, 2014

2014 winding down in a hurry

Ten more days and it is 2015.  If you have any 2014 goals to finish, you better hustle it up and finish. Linda and and I are basically done with work this year.  I have a monthly report and expenses to file next week and the year is done for me. Overall, 2014 was an OK year at work, no big projects or successes, just a lot of little things that kept me going.  The kitchen project is winding down, but I need to get some plumbing done to get it finished.

Linda and I will be visiting family for the Holidays, so it will not be that restful, but we will get to see everyone and catch up on the latest.    We also have tickets to the Music City bowl which is December 30.  We could not resist getting tickets to the game, two predominantly Catholic communities coming to Nashville for a mid week afternoon game.  There will be beer flowing and foaming up and down Broadway.  It should be a real spectacle, and we will be in the middle.   The Steelers are fighting to get into the playoffs and we are screaming at the TV for them.

I got an email this week from the folks at the Kentucky Senior Olympics and there is a series of indoor meets in Maysville, KY this year.  In late January and the entire month of February there is a meet each weekend.  I have never raced indoors and I would like to give it a shot.  You are never too old to try something new!  The track is 133 meters and the 400 is one lap in lanes and then merge for the last two.   That sounds pretty interesting.   Should be some interesting strategies and also plenty of contact.

Last week I did get to the gym and did some heavy leg work and was sore about a week. If I decide to get serious about running indoors, I will get started on the cardio work asap.   Our gym has a similar sized track as the one in Maysville, so I may start working on some speed work on it, although the door opening is in a spot I could run over someone and kill them.  A lot of people just walk in and don't thinks about some fat old man bearing down on them from their blind side.

Happy Holidays to all!!

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Feeling the Feeling?


The pantry project is crawling to a close.  I did get the door hung so the space is basically ready to use.   The floor went down last weekend and I need to do the mop board and the door transitions.  But it is taking shape.   Final trim paint will be needed, but that is pretty easy duty there. 

Generally, there is a build up to the Holiday season, a natural rhythm that evolves over the years to let you know Santa is really going to find you again.  This season, the entire Christmas clock is way off  and it just does not feel like Santa is in the picture.  Why asks the curious??  I still believe in Santa, so that cannot be the deal.  

This year, the season started off badly during Thanksgiving and it will not recover until we get to Chicago and see our babies.   The typical holiday season rhythm is Thanksgiving,  a deer hunt the next week in Ohio, shopping, decoration, baking, see the family and do the Santa thing, recover.    In 2014, the deer hunt was basically cancelled by some manadatory training at work ( something I will never use--check the box crap) and then I was asked by a customer to support some trial work in Mexico the week of Thanksgiving , including Thanksgiving Day.   Well, that got my rhythm so out of whack, it would be impossible to recover and I have not.  Throw in the very untimely death of my sister while I was in Mexico and you got he recipe for a very flat Holiday Season.   Enough?  Nope. 

Linda is involved with a lot of dead line based work and she is basically out of gas.  I am trying to finish the kitchen and keep up with my work and prevent the light based depression that I can slip into and continue to fight gout.  The deal in Mexico ended badly and we will have to repeat the work, and get it right this time.  If they would have listened to me the first time, it would have been completed correctly. I hate to waste time like that.  So this year, Christmas will just be a period of time where I don't go to work and Linda gets a short break before starting another big, pressure packed project. The feeling is just not there yet.....

Whew, where is the good, the hope, the cheer?   Family will have to be the cavalry this season, they have no choice, the calls has gone out.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

23 years

My wife wanted me to 'remind' everyone of this age difference.   23 years is the difference between my age and the next oldest player in the alumni basketball game I played in Saturday night.  I was back in Coshocton County, Ohio for my sister's funeral and needed some fun time.   It had been a very long week and quite draining mentally and physically.  I needed to have something to take my head to a different place  and the alumni game seemed to be way to get there.  

Every year, the River View High School basketball programs has a preview event and this includes an alumni basketball game and this year it also included a small ceremony to honor the 1975 AA State Champion Basketball team,   which I happened to be a member. Since I was not going to be in the area due to work commitments, I gave little thought to getting into the alumni game.  Before I left home I threw in some bball wear, just in case I could get in the game.  I do some crazy stuff on occasion.     At the funeral, I had a short discussion with Chad who is active in the RV sports,  and he indicated that they needed some players.  Well, I certainly could get in the show, so I decided to give it a shot. 


 

 
I did my normal warm up and stretching in the locker room and behind the bleachers.  Once I got loose, I joined Linda in the crowd and when the teams were warming up, I jumped in the queue and warmed up some more.   I had a lot fun yelling at the oldtimers from my team--they were all nicely dressed in the front row and obviously not ready to rumble, or sweat or whatever ....  I think they may have been a little stunned that I was getting ready to ball.
 
I played about half of the game and was cold as ice shooting.  But I kept up pretty good on the floor, had some assists and rebounds and had a grin that was impossible to wipe off my face.  It was lot of fun to run up and down the floor and play some bball.  The track training helped immensely with being able to stay up with the younger Black Bears.  The last time I had played on this floor--1980--I broke my left foot.  Well, it is still broken.  It never did heal and the bone still floats around on the left side of my left foot.  I have some history with this floor.  KT Tape kept the foot out of harms way for this game.
 
Few times in your life do you get to  have a blast, and this was a blast.   Our team got creamed--it was as fixed as the Generals vs the Globetrotters.   But that does not matter, I had  a massive that smile and some really great memories.  I had some soreness the following couple of days, but it was more due to the drive home than anything else. I basically got thru unscathed.  For a while, that night,  I got to get my mind to a better place and relived some fun with the champs. 
 
I might have to do this again!!
 
Walt Harrop, in the suit holding the Finals game ball, was our head coach and a great person and coach. He was the boss. Period.  He was also a Father Figure to me,  and that had a lot to do with my personal success.  It was great to see him again.  He and his wonderful wife Donna made it to the ceremony.  At 75, Walt has a bad back and had some trouble walking around, but he is still the winner we all remember.
 
As the group ages, we are all still alive, it is imperative that we embrace the social media to keep pace with each other.  I am going to do my part. 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

Monday, December 1, 2014

Jill McCall

Events the last couple of weeks have demonstrated to me that life is precious and you must make the best of your current situation. 

My younger sister died last Monday at age 52.  My Father died ten years ago and that was sort of expected and the family was prepared as best as it could.   He had been disabled from an industrial accident when I was 6 years old.  He spent the rest of his life in a hospital or extended care facility, unable to walk or talk.  He succumbed finally to pneumonia.  Jill died as result of cancer.  We learned of the cancer about a year and half ago and she battled hard to the end, but there was more cancer everyday and her body eventually was overcome. The end came very very quickly.  She only quit work less than a month ago.
Everytime a family member that is that close to you is gone, a really big hole is left in your life.  The hole is painful and will remain forever, nothing can take its place, nothing can really help the pain.  Time will mute the pain some, but it remains.  Thinking back to the 'what ifs' and 'if onlys' you try to find to scenarios where they are still on the Earth with you, but fate or whatever you call it--life- gets in the way and they are gone.  Hopefully they are gone to a better place and they no longer have the pain of their body and lives to haunt them.

I was in Mexico when I got the call of Jill's death.  It was Thanksgiving week in the US and travel that week is tough at best.  I changed my plans to return home on Tuesday and made it without any real problems.  Then Linda and I drove to Ohio for the Memorial and Thanksgiving Dinner.   We had a chance to eat and hang with the family and it was wonderful.  Jill's favorite Holiday was Thanksgiving and we tried our best to celebrate it in her honor. Jill was cremated and a Memorial was held on Friday night so her follow workers at the Oscar Meyer bacon plant could attend.  It was very difficult to meet the people she had interacted with every day for nearly 20 years, they will have a hole in their life too.  Jill was well liked and one of those workers who enjoyed the work and was good at it as well.

The 'what ifs' and tears will continue for a while, this is a tough one to try and get over.  Some people asked if I was  going to deer hunt this week in Ohio.  The last thing I needed to do was wander around with a loaded gun with a lot of time to think and ponder.  Instead, I will spend it with Linda as I work through the emotions and healing process.  The deer can wait. 

Today is cloudy. rainy and getting colder.  My energy is gone and I am basically exhausted from the process.  I napped some and it has helped, but in the end, my sister is gone and only memories remain.....