Saturday, January 26, 2008

Men, Boys and Yogi's


Last Night was the big Boys Club Pinewood Derby at church. It was quite a spectacle when it got going. It's all automated now including split second timing, software telling personal best times, automated results, the whole smash. Of course there were the technical glitches that go with any first time endeavor like this. The funniest of them though was the first race. With all of the build-up of "the first Boys Club Pinewood Derby in the history of Boys Club", none of the cars in the first race made it to the finish line. It seems that oil is an integral part of pinewood derby racing. Hey, we're all new at this...
Once the cars were all lubed up, the races went much better. No more cars failed to finish across the finish line. Oh there were a few fiery crashes, but no lives were lost in all of it. The boys (and boys disguised as men) had a great time and all came away happy. Ben even managed to win a trophy for "2nd place Best Design). So, all that hard work and angst put into building the cars actually paid off in the end.
In keeping with my intnetions of accomplishing some goals this year, I enrolled in a Yoga class. I did it with great trepidation and am still not sure what i've gotten myself into. The class meets twice a week, at work, after work. Of course I'm the only man among 12 ladies or so. I knew that would happen. I've heard so many people recommend it to me for everything from carpal tunnel to my back to just feeling better.
The first session was pretty funny from my perspective. Funny because though I'm in shape, I'm NOT flexible at all. I knew this going in, this course just confirmed that. Furthermore, I figured I'm in pretty good shape, so I can take a little stretching, no prob. Well the Yoga I saw that night was a whole lot more than a little stretching. Can you say muscle spasms? Shaking legs and trunk? Yeah, that was me.
The upside to it all was that when it was all over and done with I felt great! Absolutely euphoric, in a way that's hard to describe. Maybe I'm reading more into it than what's there, but it was good, whatever it was. So, I plan to keep it up for the 6 weeks and see what comes of it. If I turn vegetarian and start talking about feng shui, feel free to stage an intervention. The only thing worse than a yoga wierdo is a preachy-yoga wierdo.
More tomorrow I hope. Now I need to go chant. Ummmmmm...
Blogging off...
Jim

Monday, January 21, 2008

The Tundra's on Ice for another Year

Remember that playoff heartbreak I talked about? I'm livin' it, man! What a drag to get within one game of the big one only to have it all come crashing down on a Favre textbook pick. Oh, where's the joy?

My wife was quick to say "it's only a game." That may be true, but it seems like so much more. Oh well, I guess it's better that I get my life back.

The other day I went to work and it was nice out around 25 degrees and no wind. I purposely wore my lighter jacket it was so nice. Well then coming home was a whole different story. At some point during the day, the wind picked up and the temp dropped a good 15 degrees. I was so cold that at a couple of points during my walk home, I was running. Running as an attempt to not need amputation of some of my fingers due to frostbite...or so it seemed at the time. It was a wierd kind of panic-oia. Thinking all kinds of morbid thoughts on my two mile trek. Using my ipod backlight as a hand warmer. You know things are tough when you're doing that. I like to title the whole debacle "Coldplay on a Cold day", as that's who was playing at the time.

Alas, tonight again I am wiped, at the expense of my blog. More later this week perhaps.

Blogging off...

Jim

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Ahhhh, the Playoffs

It's that heartbreak time of year for many NFL fans. Fortunately I am not one of those heartbroken ones. I cannot believe the Packers who I didn't pick to win more than 7 games this year are one game away from the Super Bowl. I'd put the Vegas odds in the hundreds of thousands at the beginning of the season. Alas, here we are. After a 10 year wait, it's a good feeling, but I'm getting ahead of myself here. Don't want to do that.

We had friends over for the Divisional Playoff game last night and had a blast. Great game, great friends, and great food. Fellowship, laughter and joy. We are truly blessed to have good friends like Steve and Jill, Brad and Patty as part of our "Wisconsin Family". Dave and Grace and their 18 mo. old boy Joseph were here too and we got to know them a lot better as well. Good people, all of them. Very comfortable in each others' homes, we are. I think that's a Midwestern speechism, to put the subject at the end of the sentence. Oh, and is speechism a word?

The message in church today was "How do I manage my time?" It talked about how the pace of our current society is really a crisis that Christians in particular need to take a look at. We need to honor sabbath as a time of rest, to bring the needle out of the redline area. That is an area I've really tried to honor ever since the series on Jubilee. After all it is the fourth Commandment. Sabbath is hebrew for cease or stop. We've tried to make Sunday a day of rest and reflection. It's working for me so far.

The other thing the message drove home was how we need to determine what's important and try and keep the unimportant in perspective. That is why Donna and I have taken a new interest in spending time with friends and family. That to me is WAY more important than any material thing.

So, with Monday approaching like a freight train, I'd better log off and go spend some time with Ben reading before bedtime.

Blogging off....

Jim

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Are the Voices In My Head Bothering You?

Why is it that our dog, or any dog for that matter will always want 12" more than the leash they're on at the moment. Toby will strain the leash, even after I switch hands to give him more rope, to try and reach the evidently-unreachable, whatever it is. If it was a 20 dollar bill every time, I'd be more than willing to give him as much leash as he wanted.

Usually though, it's poop. Just poop. Sometimes its a bit of discarded food someone had tossed out a car window three weeks ago. Either that or the occasional article of clothing. A few weeks ago there was a massive pair of tighty-whities laying on the terrace that he successfully sought out time after time, walk after walk.

All of this raises the question, if we provide plenty of fresh food and water for our dogs every day, why are they ALWAYS looking for more and/or different food? And why, in lieu of new food will their own vomit suffice? I guess dog food must be pretty bad, if garbage is a close runner up.

One of my New Years resolutions was to try and be more informed or up on the news. Over the years, in part because of my disdain for local newscasters who are the cheesiest bunch of schleps one could never wish for, and part a hatred of the whole media-in-general, I've just kind of checked out. Oh yeah, I read the newspaper, and in every way that is more informative than a 22 minute (20 less 8 min. of commercials) newscast. But newspapers aren't good for the "late breaking news" that society has come to rely on. They haven't perfected that yet.

Anyhow, on Thursday of this week I tell Donna that I'm going to watch the 6:00 news, and I explain to her my reasoning. As she passed me the remote, she gave me the whole "I can't watch it. It's too depressing." speech that I've heard and tended to agree with in the past.

I flick on the news and there's a story of a shooting with a cop car showing and grieving people standing around that I just catch the last part of. Then, without missing a beat, they switch to the &%$#* Presidential campaign. My response is to shut the whole thing off and say, screw that, I'd rather be a bit in the dark, out of touch from it all. I cannot take 11 more months of Presidential campain-ing (sp intentional), let alone the rest of the doom and gloom that the cathode ray brings along with each newscast.

So, it's back to just the newspaper and that's it. Am I a bad person? Am I in denial of some sort? I like to think of myself simply as "discretionary". Cheesy newscasters delivering the news bits just kills me to watch. I'd sooner be swallowed in a cloud of mustard gas than have to watch Kathy Mykleby tell me it was coming before she chuckled about those "amazing Packers" or some other restatement of the obvious or mundane. So, the next time we're slated to get blasted with 14" of snow, don't express surprise when I didn't know it was coming. Hey, all I know is what I read in the papers.

There are moments when I'm walking my dog with my Ipod playing Coldplay that I feel such elation and joy, it's hard to contain it. I keep those dance moves very subtle, because I don't want to unnerve the neighbors.

This is the effect that "new" music does for me. In two years though, the same song will have me switching right past it as annoying. Why is that? That is truly the self-sustaining nature of the music business. They are counting on peoples' continual thirst for new, new, new. I guess it's true of all entertainment really. If any of you will look at your VHS/DVD/CD collection, I think you'll know what I'm talking about.

I really wish I had more time to write. It seems every time I'm inspired, I'm either tied to other commitments, my kids are on the PC, or my mind is so fried by the time I get to writing that I write weakly or can't recall what I was so inspired about. (tonight is the perfect example of this)Tonight is the perfect example of this last point. It's these little voices in my head that I can't seem to tune out, but neither can I clearly hear what they're saying either. Maybe it's because of the new Ipod.

Well, I'm about tapped out and will have to cash it in here. More tomorrow I hope.

Blogging off...

Jim

Friday, January 4, 2008

Ridiculous Thoughts

It's been nearly a week and I've been negligent in my writing; something I vowed to do more of in '08. The first resolution down in flames in only 4 days.

Walking home from work today there was the most beautiful slate-gray sunset. Usually an orange or red sunset captures your attention, but this one was bluish-grey. Painted by God himself using a pallete of perfection.

Traffic was so loud it drowned out my Ipod. I hate when that happens. Trying to tune out the world only to be outdone by it. Grrr...

I saw a figure standing in a doorway as I was walking the dog. It was either;

1. A life sized Santa Clause
2. A hooded Monk
3. The grim reaper

Whatever it was/is it creeped me out. It was just standing there. I looked back once, but did not dare catch his/her/its gaze in case it turned out to be a hypnotic thingy. Weird, yes. Paranoid, certainly. I hope it wasn't the reaper. I'm a little busy tomorrow.

Gotta run for now. Will write more tomorrow, promise.

Blogging off...

Jim