Blue River

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You might not know that Blue River is a town.  It’s more like just the rural space south of Breckenridge, Colorado.  The 65 mile long Blue River running through it collects itself from Quandry Peak and the slopes of the Ten Mile Range, then flows north toward Frisco, through the Dillion Reservoir, and finally empties into the Colorado River in Kremmling.  Our friends Scott & Julie let us stay in their Blue River cabin for the weekend, something Ellie wanted to do for her birthday.

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Ellie brought some friends up with her to celebrate.  Brit came up as well and they all stayed up late playing games.  I woke up early the next morning to a half foot of fresh snow.  I made coffee and read Comey’s “Higher Loyalty”.  Despite my running blog where I try to present myself as athletic and adventurous, I’m a sucker for passive activities as well.  Reading a novel in a big leather chair with snow falling outside the window is as good as it gets for me.

It occurs to me the last book I read was in the political genre.  I guess I’ve started others but lost momentum and haven’t finished them.  I won’t comment on the political aspects of Comey’s book, it’s just a good read.  My interest was in Comey’s writing.  I was fascinated after reading his memos by his writing style.  I take notes all day long at work, sometimes on paper but mostly using Evernote.  My writing style when note taking doesn’t deviate much today from 30 years ago when I used to furiously copy down details in college while capturing information from a lecturing professor.

Comey writes memos with the flair of a fiction writer.  I know, that might be telling.  Seriously though, he adds adjectives and describes obscure observations on the mood of a room for simple record keeping.  It makes for great reading so I knew his book would be good.  It is.  He had a storied career and there is so much more than what he writes on the Trump saga, from telling mobster stories to prosecuting Martha Stewart.

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Karen wouldn’t let me stay inside all day.  We went snowshoeing on the Willow Trail at the Nordic Center.  It snowed most of the day but wasn’t cold.  Snowshoeing is my favorite couples sport to do with Karen.  So peaceful in the trees.

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This trip was for Ellie but I enjoyed myself too this weekend.  I needed a break from working every weekend.  I probably enjoyed reading inside the comfy cabin the most, but there was good social time, and of course the snowshoeing.

Slate River Valley

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This is our Austrian exchange student Caroline’s first trip to Crested Butte and the Slate River Valley, so naturally we stopped for a quick pic when we crossed the Continental Divide.  Monarch Pass sits 200 miles from our house, assuming you duck into BV for a bite at the Eddyline Brewery.  Ninety minutes later, we checked into the Elevation Hotel & Spa.  Don’t ask me to explain the holes in these girls’ pants.  I blame the influence of Emma Gonzales.

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Karen and I hiked Friday morning from the Slate River Trailhead.  The snow was packed hard enough that we left our snowshoes in the van.  Not a great snow season for Colorado, but there’s enough.  We trekked along another trail above town after lunch.  We’re learning our way around Slate Valley.  If you’re not familiar with Crested Butte, it sits in a gorgeous valley, north of Gunnison and south of Aspen.

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The girls got in a full day of snow boarding.  So warm they didn’t need their ski jackets.  Tomorrow should be even warmer.  Nice views from the mountain with the clear skies and full sun.  BTW, Camp 4 Coffee is the best in CB.

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We’ve yet to eat out at places we’ve been before.  As good as we know they are, we’re still exploring this town.  We ate at the Last Steep tonight.   Looks like a cheap sandwich shop but will surprise you.  We do plan on pizza at Secret Stash tomorrow though.  Too good to ignore that one.

Izzies

 

hashtag deletefacebook

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Sure, go ahead.  Delete Facebook.  Or better yet, just add the hashtag and don’t do it.  I chuckle over the irony when people post their intentions to take a pause from their social networking addiction.  Seems to me like they rarely make it past three weeks.

I don’t care if Facebook lost billions in market cap in this latest brouhaha over consumer privacy.  Like anyone else, cry me a river.  I also have little doubt their market cap will return before year end.  Just like every major corporate hack, Target, Sony, Heartland, their stock takes a dip and recovers in less than a year.  And while I don’t care about Facebook, if forced to pick sides, I’ll stand by Zuckerberg.  As culpable as they are for their own inactions, just like with prostitutes and drug users, the politico positioning is to punish the victims.  And it’s pretty clear why.

The reason is clear when I read the op-eds in the Saturday morning papers.  Editors can finally take a departure from their vigilant stance as Trump apologists by directing their angst against Facebook.  There is no collusion and Zuckerberg is responsible for the Russian election meddling.  No better misdirection than an unloved corporate scapegoat.

I don’t think anything will come of this but the one thing I could get behind is if this leads Zuckerberg to stop pushing the lies about Facebook not being a media company.  Talk about some brazen bullshit.  They direct 20% of this country’s advertising dollars.  That’s the real story for me because I know Americans won’t change their privacy concerns and habits from this.

Even if you delete or pause your facebook account, you won’t stop looking for a free digital lunch elsewhere.  Facebook has two billion users, they aren’t going away from this.  Social Networking might lose this battle but technology will win the war.  Remember John Henry in his epic battle against the jack hammer?  Spoiler alert.  Tech wins.

Fat & Slow

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I like to blog on my good runs.  My fast races.  Those moments where running is almost an out of body experience of exhilarating performance.  Today, I’m just thankful for not ever speaking ill of slower, less fit runners because right now, those are my people.    Running fat and slow is certainly less satisfying but I’ll take it.  So happy to get in my one run each week.  Sad that I can’t seem to run both Saturday and Sunday, but I’ve learned to take and enjoy what the trail gives me.

I never ventured beyond the Brushy Creek Regional Trail as part of my trip to Round Rock, but I got in a couple of six milers.  My positive spin is that these massively slow runs in the Texas spring have contributed to my acclimation to heat and humidity.  Part of my prepping for the summer conditioning plan.  All part of the master plan.

I didn’t do much of anything down here outside of working my 12 hour days and spending what time I could with my mom.  I’d get up at 5am to spend some quality time sitting together in the morning, both reading the paper and watching CNBC.  Our conversations would center on her top concerns, and occasional family history.  I have to say, old people are extremely regular in their tendency to reference BMs and constipation in a sentence.  By the time my work day was over, it was nearly her bed time.  I did get some things done around the house and went to church with her on Sundays.  Roasting a chicken at this very moment.

Wish I could have met up with friends.  Sorry I couldn’t hook up with George at the 512 Brew Pub.  I did however sample multiple locally crafted IPAs.  512 was my hands-down favorite.  My brother-in-law, who plays tonight at the Carousel, told me last night to try their Pecan Porter. I head home Wednesday night.  Glad to have had the opportunity to visit.

SXSW

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IMG_1776Hah, fooled you.  This is not a blog covering the digital creatives that descend on Austin in March.  I am however in Austin.  I realized my mistake upon arrival at ABIA yesterday.  Conditions inside the terminal were claustrophobic.  Thank God I didn’t try to rent a car.  Still not sure how I scored a ticket on Southwest for under $100.  Must have beat the real crowds by a few days.

DIA was packed too, with home-bound skiers.  As bad as I’ve ever seen it.  Southwest maintains a seemingly random pattern of kiosks in front of the ticket counter for travelers to claim their baggage tag.  People didn’t know how to queue up efficiently.  It didn’t help that an agent walked around barking out instructions that there is no line.  No idea what she meant by that.

The lady directly in front of me panicked when her turn came.  She fumbled around in her purse for identification or her smart phone.  Her bag didn’t just spill, it literally exploded its contents onto the floor.  Apparently stressed, she shrieked like a banshee out of frustration.  Like in a scene from Home Alone, a hundred travelers all hushed themselves to stare at her as she sunk to her knees, sobbing, to collect her belongings.

After all this, my flight wasn’t full and I was able to spread out with my newspaper.  My brother picked me up and we stopped for lunch at some pub in the Domain.  I quaffed a 512, a locally crafted IPA.  Pretty tasty.  Looking forward to some more local food and beverages, and hopefully a few trail runs, over the next several weeks.

Bluebonnets & Cactus

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Feb 24 2018

After a brutally cold and snowy week, today’s near freezing temps felt fine for a seven miler on the LoBo Trail.  The warm Colorado sun helped.  The wind picked up at one point alongside a harvested corn field, and I put my jacket on.  I was able to tie it back around my waist again after turning around.  What were once head winds carried me home.

This could be my final frigid February run of the year.  Next weekend will be March and I’ll be in Austin.  Wish I hadn’t gained so much weight this past year, otherwise I’d run some races down in the Texas springtime.  I’ll visit some of my favorite trails though, limestone paths through Bluebonnets and cactus.  Perdernales Falls will be on my list, along with the Austin Greenbelt.  Maybe I’ll get back into running this spring.

Virtual Currency

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Pretty sure I blogged late last year on my plans to buy Bitcoin.  I finally got around to doing that a couple of weeks ago.  I don’t care to start conducting transactions with virtual currencies.  This story is the best of many I’ve read that details exactly why virtual currencies aren’t really a thing yet, and won’t be for some time.  Perhaps not until quantum computing becomes pervasive.  I’m doing this for the experience.  To be able to relate accurate details in my next novel.  I referenced a bitcoin transaction in my last book but I glossed over the details.  One can’t write a tech thriller on cyberwar without speaking to virtual currencies.

I won’t go into too much detail here on my experience.  I think I’ll mostly provide links to some of the best stories I’ve discovered, and you can click on them if you’re interested.  I actually repeated a number of stories from my ten years of blogs in my last novel, and I will again.  So writing this post is more about building my reference library of content for book two than anything else.  Some of this will be useful to you if you are considering purchasing a virtual currency.

Since my goal isn’t becoming rich, I only purchased $100 of Bitcoin.  I wanted to invest just $5, and that’s an option, but there are transaction charges, and it occurred to me it’s more easy to do the math on $100.  It’s quick for me to understand the $2.99 cost of buying my $100 of Bitcoin is basically 3%.  I’ll incur similar future transaction charges and they would all be much more from a percentage perspective for only $5.

My first step was to read the Internet to understand how to begin trading Bitcoin.  I discovered I needed to register at an Exchange.  I settled on Gemini because it seemed the most professional to me.  It’s run by those Winklevoss twins whom successfully sued Mark Zuckerberg for a substantial share of Facebook.  After registering nearly two months ago, the Winklevoss twins still have not completed verification of my identity.  They did contact me once to inform me that my drivers license photo was too blurry and that I should resend it.  I did.  Nothing but chirping crickets since.  Seeing this as a red flag for future customer service interactions, I signed up with Coinbase – which is probably the most popular exchange.  Took a couple of days for verification, mostly because I did it over the weekend.  Go with Coinbase.

My research indicated that one should not leave their virtual currency sitting with an online exchange, given the history of these places having their reserves constantly hacked.  North Korea’s Icarus has made attacking exchanges their specialty of late.  Icarus is the modern day Bonnie and Clyde.

So I purchased a digital wallet.  I think I blogged on this already too.  I received the Nano Ledger S as a Christmas gift.  It’s pretty cool.  Cost about $79.  Another reason why purchasing only $5 would have been stupid.  The idea is one can transfer their Bitcoin from an exchange onto the digital wallet to avoid being hacked.  It’s mostly offline and connects to your computer via USB when you use it.  Transferring Bitcoin is essentially a copy/paste process.  Very easy to understand YouTube video here on how to do that between the Nano and Coinbase.

If I’m honest, using digital currencies is fairly complex.  But for a techie, sort of fun.  I created an account for myself at Bitsane too because I want to trade my Bitcoin for Ripple – another virtual currency that banks are starting to use.  Even more complexity as one cannot directly buy it.  Rather, you have to exchange Bitcoin for Ripple.  Yet more complexity.

There is nothing simple about trading Bitcoin.  It’s not something one can easily do from their 401K account.  But I’m a writer and my genre of tech thriller encumbers me to actually know what I’m talking about.  Fiction allows me to take some liberties, but readers of tech are interested in detail like this.

My Bitcoin stash is currently worth $130, after a single week.  $10 of that came from purchasing it from a recommendation, which you can do too from this link.  It will give you a quick 10% return on $100 transaction.  You and I will both get $10.  Seems like a better business model than actually trading Bitcoin.

Snow Run

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Feb 10 2018

I don’t get out for runs like I used to, but I wasn’t going to pass up today.  The snow flakes falling outside the window were so big, they drew me out into the cold for a postcard perfect run.  I donned my tights but didn’t bulk up too much, wearing just a long-sleeved t-shirt and light running jacket, hat and gloves.  This storm is uncharacteristically humid for Colorado, but without wind, 15° is fine running weather.

After discovering last weekend I’m no longer fit enough for eight mile runs, I planned to turn back at this footbridge.  I continued on though for another half mile to Ogallala Road for a six miler.  Apparently I can still run six miles.  I was able to pocket my gloves after a short while.  I love snow runs.  I’ll be back out again tomorrow for another six.

Muscles Awakened

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Ran today for the first time in weeks.  Bronchitis has taken its toll in January.  From running a marathon last May to now, it’s been a slow decay.  By mid summer I was only running weekends.  By fall, just Saturdays.  And January, mostly not at all.

Heading out, initially it was my massive midsection that I noticed.  Like Sisyphus, I powered my stomach forward, enslaved to my fattened body parts.  Twenty pounds heavier since running the Colorado Marathon down Poudre Canyon. I didn’t bother timing my pace.

I ran by Allison, strolling her baby on the LoBo Trail.  I stopped to chat since I can’t remember the last time I’ve seen her, and because I didn’t think a full stop would noticeably impact my overall pace.  A half mile later, I soft-tapped a low five to her father Steve, running behind her.

Heading back, after making it to my four mile turn-around point, I discovered my atrophied muscles.  I’d been wondering when my legs would lose their tone.  Overall, my legs still look fit but it’s the high thigh, the quads, that shouted out to me on my return.  It’s the same feeling after about twenty miles into a marathon when those quads begin to melt.  When you’re out of shape, this occurs at four miles instead of twenty.  I had to stop and walk a couple of times, not because I was winded from my heaving belly, but from the pain screaming from the tops of my legs.  Regaining my conditioning is going to be a challenge.  I’m starting over, from the bottom again.

WIX is the Website for Authors

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My friends think I’m technical.  I suppose compared to many of them, I am.  I would argue that ten years in personnel management killed my skills at the command line, but it’s all relative.  I just built a website for my novel.  I probably sound like a techie having just done that, but hear me out.

This morning, I built a decent web site for a book I published over a year ago.  Okay, so maybe I am technical, but lazy?  No, I tried to build a website earlier, it just sucked so badly I never really launched it.  Ultimately I deleted it.  And this is the point of my post, where I share my writing experience for other aspiring self publishers.  I built that first website with GoDaddy.  GoDaddy leverages WordPress for their platform.  Software that competes with Microsoft for the highest number of known vulnerabilities.  It’s so kludgy to use, I’m at a loss for words.  I could never get it to look how I wanted.  I couldn’t even use my own fonts.  That’s a big deal to me because I like to use a stencil font to give a military air to my book.  Think MASH.  I’d show you but this blog is on WordPress so I can’t.

It was my 15 year old daughter who talked me into using WIX.  I’m a happy camper.  Took me less than an hour to have everything looking how I wanted.  Much less than that to launch it but then I  tweaked things for over half that time because I was having fun.  WIX even provides simple-to-use email subscription forms.  Everything was so easy, a writer could do it.  I’m not just being funny there.  My experience meeting other writers is the majority of them are barely technical enough to format fonts in a Word document.  They refer to the people who publish ebooks as ebook coders, like it’s actually software development to publish a book in electronic format.  I’ll admit, it did take me about twenty hours of YouTube videos to learn Adobe InDesign, but seriously, it’s not coding.

So, if you are an author.  One of those writers who is just savvy enough to download Scrivener but not clever enough to integrate file sharing with DropBox, then Wix is for you.  Trust me, stay away from GoDaddy, it’s a POS.  That’s “Piece of Shit” for you non techies who shy away from acronyms and can’t RTFM.

A Fine Winter Day

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Man, what a fine winter day.  This was my first day running out on the trail since this Christmas Day photo with Brit on Town Lake.  I’ve been a bit under the weather, and still likely have a ways to go to fully recover.  I can tell you though that recovery will be hastened outdoors under the warm Colorado sun.

Sick or not, my conditioning is far from where I was a half year ago when I ran a 3:40 marathon.  Twenty pounds heavier, I shuffled along the trail like an old man.  Eight miles used to be a short distance where I hardly broke a sweat.  It now appears to be my maximum distance.  It doesn’t matter though.  Short and slow as my run was, outside in 45°, running in shorts and a cotton long-sleeved t-shirt, I felt like I belonged out on that trail.  It was so perfect.  Just like that Christmas Day run where Brit couldn’t stop laughing at me.

She did the same thing to me last night.  Apparently I broke out in song at the neighborhood party.  Brit gestured hand signals to lower my voice as she looked around. I didn’t stop singing though.  I was making a point that the world needs more dog songs, so I started singing You and Me and a Dog Named Boo.  That was the first 45 I bought from the local record shop as a kid.  We need more dog songs.

I was just as happy out on the trail today.  Only in Colorado can 45° under the sun feel so nice.  I do belong out there.  The LoBo Trail called out to me like a siren, letting me know everything is alright.  As long as I’m on a trail, running, I’m good.  I’ll be back out tomorrow.

New Traditions

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Matts El Rancho

My family didn’t always meet up for a post-Christmas dinner at Matt’s El Rancho, but now that I think about, I suspect we’ve been doing this for well over a decade.  For this extended family, it’s become a new tradition.  I imagine it appears to you that I’m seated at the end of the table in this photo, but I assure you that from my perspective, I was seated at the head of the table.  There’s an upside-down world reference in there somewhere.

I generally end my blog year with a contemplative post, introspective, thankful and hopeful for the year ahead.  Absent any running exploits to focus this running blog on though, it’s been a sappy December and such content has become my new genre.  I’m a regular Hallmark channel.  Doesn’t bother me though because I welcome change.  I suggested I might stop blogging altogether in my last post but what I suspect I’ll do instead is simply post stories with less regularity, and put more thought into them.

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The photo above is of my family at my mom’s house on Christmas Eve.  She is currently in the hospital with a chest cold.  Born in September, 1933, she is 84 years old.  On the drive back home, my kids speculated on how we would celebrate Christmas when our grandparents are no longer there for us to visit.  Our traditions will evolve, likely around the new families my kids themselves will bring forth into this world.  Christmas without my mom and in-laws is something I don’t think about and prefer not to until the time comes.  There are still plenty of good memories to be made without dwelling on sad thoughts.

It’s like which side of the table I’m sitting on.  Am I avoiding conflict?  I would argue no.  I know the future will come, and I’m an optimist.  Making the most of the now is the benefit afforded to optimists.  This was a dark year for many.  I felt it as much as any other social liberal, climate concerned conservationist, or secular scientist.  I’ve refrained from sharing my political views since the primaries because, well partly because I became bored with it, but mostly because I prefer to turn my attention away from negative discussion.  I know that must make me sound like a pussy, it’s certainly not very aggressive.  I’m not that way at my job, but I am outside of work.  I’m not a protester.

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This photo is of the girls with their cousins the other day at the graffiti wall in Austin.  The two blondes are mine.  I can assure you, they are a passionate bunch.  Not me.  I believe the best approach to all this year’s hate-mongering speeches on campus would have been not to protest – to not attend at all.  Ignore them.  Don’t attend.  Don’t feed the beast.  Sure, physical aggression requires counter aggression.  But the hate-filled loudspeakers operating in today’s media only exist on the attention we afford them.  I think I learned this at age eight from an episode of Star Trek.

My favorite TV is the news.  This makes me a fairly boring person in conversations, but I can’t help it.  Still, I stopped watching the news this past year, after the primaries, once I determined it was only making me feel worse.  Occasionally, when there was a big week of news, I’d allow myself to watch Rachel Maddow for a couple of nights.  I mean, who else do you know that can giggle throughout their entire newscast?  I still read the morning paper but for the most part, I no longer watch the news.  I decided it wasn’t helping me, so another new tradition.  I now watch Murdoch Mysteries.  I think enough seasons remain to carry me through 2018.

I feel good about myself when I’m able to change my pattern.  I can’t say it means growth but do feel that change is usually good.  It bothers me to know just how predictable, just how pattern-bound, I am at times.  Blogging every weekend for 8 years.  Running every day.  A drink every night.  A relative commented to me over the holidays he noticed I wasn’t drinking.  He thought I’d quit.  I haven’t but I’ve gone a week now without drinking.  I quit for half a year in 2014 when I had cancer because I couldn’t drink half a beer without finding myself sitting in a dark room listening to Pink Floyd.  I don’t mind a little melancholy but that was time in my life when maintaining positive thoughts were paramount, so I simply quit drinking.  Don’t feed the beast.  Of course, I was happy to start drinking again because that signified I had moved on.

New Years resolutions are all about change.  Change is good.  At least, it can be.  Embrace it.  Set some goals for yourself for 2018.

Pensive Thoughts on Blogging, on Writing, on the Year

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This was the first photo I ever blogged, on December 31, 2009.  I suppose I started blogging at work a few years before that, but it was the same photo that I started with.  I don’t consider myself visually-oriented.  If you’ve seen me dress, you’d agree, but I generally give attention to my blog photos because I feel they oftentimes tell the story better than I can in words.

I’ve been thinking about putting my blog on hiatus for a few months.  I don’t know that I will but it’s fair to say I haven’t been putting much thought into my blog stories lately, and that makes me a bit sad.  It used to be I would curate my thoughts all week before finally capturing the story into words over the weekend.  Even some of my longer posts only take me five or ten minutes to write because I’ve already written the stories in my head.

I should perhaps reword my statement above and say I haven’t been putting stories into my thoughts lately, because that’s how I think.  I wouldn’t say I’m a vocal storyteller.  I lean towards laconic.  But my pattern of thinking is to structure free thoughts into stories.  I imagine I have the same thoughts roaming around my mind as anyone else, but I typically form a narrative for them.  It’s clear to me that I should have considered a career in journalism back in college, but then writing is and has been one of the strongest components of my job and career.  From the fifty or so emails I type every day to the PowerPoints I create for Sellers and Customers.  I’ll be putting a few hours into creating a story today for how my company markets security information and event management.  In a PowerPoint form factor of course.

Working on a Sunday segues into why I might pause my blogging.  Not that I don’t have the time, as I already said it takes very little effort for me to actually write.  It’s that my free thoughts are so focused on work right now.  And I haven’t been reading much fiction lately, which has always been my muse.  I suspect I’m going through a boring phase so why write about it?

It is my personal digital platform to leverage for marketing my book, but it’s not like I’m doing anything now in that arena either.  Ellie said she would build me a website for my writing over Christmas break, maybe that will replace my blog.  I stopped blogging back in 2014 for over a month and no one seemed to notice.

I think what I’m struggling with here is that I don’t want to blog if I don’t have anything halfway interesting to share.  It is a good exercise even if I have nothing clever to say.  It helps me to be introspective.  And it’s practice writing.  I have a good friend whose writing I love to read.  Every paragraph is like a Dali painting.  Each sentence a masterpiece in creativity.  Yet he rarely writes because he says it’s a struggle and he doesn’t enjoy the process.

I’m the exact opposite.  I can write about nothing and find it easy.  That might actually be a bad habit that blogging isn’t helping me with.  If you’re a writer, than you are familiar with the strong attitudes authors have toward blogging.  They either say it’s a good exercise and serves as a marketing platform, or they despise it as cheapening the medium.  I’m asking myself that question now.  I’m wondering if it’s in my interest to continue or to take a break.  We’ll see.

It Ain’t the Miles Darlin’

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iStock drunk

Is it too early to set some new years resolutions?  I thought mine through on an eight mile run today.  Plural, because I might need more than one to get to where I want to be.  I’ve gained twenty pounds over the last twelve months.  Unless you’ve gained more than that, I expect you to agree with me that I shouldn’t wait to start until January.

My weight realignment though won’t target a return to 165 pounds.  That was unnaturally thin.  It served its purpose to run some really fast times.  I set PRs in every distance from the 5K to marathons over the last few years.  Under 20 minutes for the 5K, a 43 minute 10K, and a 3:30 marathon.  I enjoy racing but it’s not worth looking prepubescent.  And I can probably still maintain an 8 minute marathon pace at 175 pounds.  So my first resolution is to return to 175 pounds, which is the weight I was at for several years before dropping to 165.

My next goal is highly related to the first, because it’s how I’m going to lose weight.  I’ve learned enough over the last eight years to know that I experience weight gain and loss much more dramatically from alcohol consumption than running.  Harrison Ford was wrong, it’s not the miles darlin’, it’s the drinking.  I quit drinking for much of 2014 and that was largely responsible for my weight loss.  Probably due to my age but it was strangely difficult to start drinking again.  I rarely finished my drink, that is until this year when I seemed to rediscover my sea legs.  That has to stop, and it will.

Third goal is more complicated, yet still related in a way.  I might have gone a couple of decades without having any personal goals, until I got back into fitness around 2009-2010.  Since then I believe I’ve become more goal oriented.  Not always personal fitness goals.  Last year I slouched towards the intellectual by writing a novel.  This year I changed employers, after twenty-three years at IBM.  Both those endeavors took some commitment.  Problem is, the focus is so one dimensional.

I’ve put some real effort into learning my new job.  Twelve hour work days.  Another four on Sundays.  Which explains why I’m no longer running much.  Worse, I’m not doing anything productive at the end of the work day.  I uncork a Malbec and I’m done.  I don’t like that my interests are so myopic.  A full day should be more than just work.  More than just working out.  Like two sides to a coin.  Man and woman, husband and wife.  I don’t want to be like Tom Wolfe’s A Man in Full, one dimensional for years at a time.  I want to get the job done at the office, enjoy dinner with the family, and exercise a personal hobby before going to bed.  Nothing exceptional, but both halves of each day  complete in every way.

That’s what I want for myself in 2018.  My idea of a full day.  It’s not enough to just focus in one area.  Alcohol is a massive productivity killer, so I expect limiting consumption will increase my bandwidth in other pursuits.  I’m not looking for anything dramatic, I’ve had enough of that.  I know that I went through the middle-aged, little red sports car moment in 2014.  I’m conscious of the vitality kick.  After sporting a buzz cut for ten years I let my bangs grow down to my chin and ran more miles than Meb.  My bangs are growing shorter again with each hair cut.  I’m ready for some normalcy in 2018.  But normalcy doesn’t just return on its own.  Hoping my resolutions will help steer me straight through life’s winding road.

 

Christmas Party Banter

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iStock winter ornaments

I celebrate the holidays with my friends with an annual fondue party.  Everyone brings something to dip or the dip itself.  One person noted at last night’s get together that we’ve mostly known each other now for twenty years.

Perhaps because we’re from Colorado, or simply our generation, not sure, but we are an athletic lot.  Not necessarily healthy.  A fair number of us have replacement body parts.  Several have artificial knees and ventured how it would be cool to eventually get blade runners.  So much of our talk centers on our sports pursuits and our decaying health.   Half my group of friends could easily pass for under forty by looks, but to listen to us talk you’d guess closer to sixty.  Ask us how we’re doing and replies come back enumerating blood counts and protein deficiencies.  This has to be a sign of aging.

My friends are well educated and all lateral thinkers, so conversation can steer in any direction.  But we tend toward the inane and don’t often discuss politics.  With that said, I barely arrived last night before being asked if I believed in God, and the Russian investigation did come up at one point.  Maybe we’re maturing.  Probably not though.  As discussion turned toward the recent spate of celebrity sexual abuse allegations, there were no deep thoughts on the need to establish equality and respect for women in general.  It was all jokes, with the most ribald coming from the ladies.  Apparently aging and maturity are two different things.

For my part, trying to come off sounding clever and sophisticated, I brought up bitcoin and blockchain tech, letting everyone know of my recent Amazon order for a hardware wallet.  I was immediately challenged to explain the value of this virtual commodity.  I couldn’t.  Honestly, I don’t even understand how we derive value from fiat currencies.  Some things though are like time travel, trying to understand how they work ruins the story.  I’m not investing in bitcoin.  I just like to participate in tech to better understand it.  That’s what writers do in order to speak to things.  They experience it.  I’ll purchase less bitcoin than I spent on the wallet.

In the end, it didn’t matter what we talked on, the talking itself was the means to the end.  Seeing everyone doing well and sharing in laughter has launched my holiday season with good cheer.  Karen has our house looking festive and I’m excited now to visit family at the end of the year.  Happy holidays everyone.