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.....

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

58 years old

Linda helped me celebrate my 58th birthday this week.   The actual birth date was on Monday the 17th, but I managed to milk the event into a several day event.   We went to see Daughtry do a show at the Ryman on the 16th,  and he was a lot of fun.  His voice is  unique and they put on a good show. He has recorded several commercial pop hits in the last 10 years and did them all.   He spent time between songs talking about the music and trying to connect to the audience and they seemed to have a great time.  Fun show..

On Monday the 17th, Linda got us a hotel room at the Union Station in downtown Nashville.  Union Station is a railroad depot/ hotel that was built over a 100 years ago and it is a gorgeous old building.  The stone building is still in great shape, with great service, and they have a very interesting restaurant where we had complimentary breakfast he next day. The central hall is really spectacular, with all the turn of the century architectural details. Check it out if you get into Nashville. 

The reason for staying downtown, we were going to  Monday Night Football at LP Field--aka "Plywood Field".  The Steelers were in town ! So how cool is it that MNF has a game with your favorite team on your birthday?  Really cool I think!! 

The weather in the last 10 days has been brutal,  cold cold cold. It snowed on my birthday, snow is unheard of this early in the season in central TN.  The MNF game was the coldest ever played at LP,  25 degrees with a breeze from the North.  LP was trying to deliver a taste of Lambeau this year.   We dressed accordingly-- a lot of layers and some carbide handwarmers-- and survived in good shape. But we still got cold feet and hands that we had to cure with a soak in the hotel bath tub. 

When the Steelers are in town, the town explodes with black and yellow jerseys and Steelers colors.   Everywhere you looked it was Steelers colors, and it is always fun to be part of this invasion.  In the stadium, it was close to 50% Steeler fans.  The upper deck was about 50% empty and with good reason, it would have been miserable up that high in the wind, the rest of the stadium was relatively filled.    We were in the 6th row on the 20 yard line on the Steelers side, and it was 75% Steeler Fans in our area and we all were excited to be there. Linda knows how to get good tix.    We were also near the tunnel where the players entered the Stadium.  We would give the team a great ovation as they came and went,   and Pouncey and Harrison acknowledged the attention as they entered.  I think the players were a little shocked at the noise  for them as they entered.  The fans also gave the Titans a very resounding booing as they entered, and they actually reacted.  That was really fun!!

The game was very hard hitting affair.  The Titans and Steelers were in the same division for many years when the Oilers were in Houston and that old rivalry was evident. I was a real slugfest.  The Steelers jumped out to a lead , lost it and by grinding it out late, ran the ball and won.  This win put the Steelers back in the payoff hunt and they need to get back into the playoffs this season.  Classic late season game.
The kitchen project is the coming along.  Linda has her blackboard up and taking notes.  The deco tile is ready to grout and we are getting closer to the finish line.  The flooring is on order and we are still waiting on a door to be delivered, but we are getting some final details done and the phase one will be complete soon. 

My gout situation is under control and that is a good thing. My diet continues to be low on meat and void of alcohol and some other weird foods.  But I am not having pain in the left foot.  As the Holiday season approaches, I will continue to test the diet to see how my body reacts to the uric acid elimination.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Do we need a spreadsheet to show the folly?

Flying home today we had an oil leak of some sort in St Louis on the SWA plane I had just loaded.   We had boarded the plane and were basically ready to hit the switch and leave for Nashville.   There was an eerie lack of activity from the crew after we loaded,  and then some pounding underneath the plane—and shortly thereafter the announcement to deplane.  There was on oil spot that someone had noticed on the tarmac.    I will give the people from the Midwest a huge amount of credit, no moaning, groaning, bitching and the expected outbursts you could expect as we unloaded.     Midwesterners take this crap is stride.  We got up,  grabbed our stuff and shuffled off the plane.     In the Eastern US, where everyone is infinitely more important, the reaction would have been chaos and some uproar.   Not the Midwest.  The Midwest gets over looked on the news constantly,  while living thru hot summers, tornadoes, floods and bitter winters. God bless the Midwest, he blessed us with a lot of patience for imperfection.  

Along this line of thinking, if you do complain and moan and whine—that behavior indicates that you are perfect. The person whom never lost anything, broke a nail, bumped your head, fell downs some stairs, fell up stairs ( one of my favorites) bled on anything, screwed up at work, got fired….  You get the idea.   So Midwesterners are not perfect by a long shot, but we can handle a broken plane with some level of sophistication.  And for that,  we can be proud.  

And another thing:
I travel a lot and always check luggage.  I see absolutely no reason to drag—yes drag—your luggage with you in the airport.   SWA will take care of it for free, what else do you want??   This recent plane deal was an example, drag it on, stow it, drag it off, watch it and drag it around with you to eat and go potty.  Drag it back on with you and stow it.  Drag it thru your final airport, it is exhausting and pointless.  Let the pros pack it the plane and drag it around for you.   It amazes me every time I fly, they drag this stuff on the plane…   A SWA flight attendant on one occasion gave this group a pretty good tongue lashing over dragging all this stuff on the plane.  He was spot on and then he suggested that Macy’s and Target had everything they needed when they arrived, and that should try that option instead.    Hear Hear !! 

I did run this week on a treadmill.  I ran 1600 meters without stopping at 8.5 minute pace.   I felt good and hopefully the back pain is gone for good.  My feet felt fine, so I may need to start dabbling a little in some conditioning before the weather  goes completely winter.   If it is sunny, I will need to get out and get some on me, this time change is a shock to the system—getting sunlight is a lot harder to achieve.  

Sunday, October 26, 2014

All over the Map

Literally, all over the map.    Linda and I drove to Green Bay, WI about 10 days ago for my oldest daughter's wedding.   We stayed in Merrillville, IN on the way up to split up the trip.  Linda's new knee gets stiff if we do not stop regularly and move about.  The next day we stopped at Betty's place-- the bride elect-- and dropped off some dining room furniture and discussed any last minute details for the big event on Saturday.    Then it was on to Green Bay.    

While in Green Bay we stayed at one of Linda's cousins house while she was out of town.   The house is gorgeous with a lot of bedrooms and space to sleep 10 people if needed.   I liked the Viking appliances and we got to try some of them out.  The dishwasher is SILENT ! and the cook top with griddle is to die for, really nice stuff in this house.  It was a real gift to use, because it was a Packers home game weekend, and hotel rooms are pricey for home games.  It was like staying at home in many respects. 

The big event went off without a hitch.  The weather was great- clear and sunny and a little cool, but as good as can be expected.  The wedding was outside and the reception was held in a nice little hall that easily held 200 people.   Everyone in Linda's immediate family turned out and we got to spend quality time with all the Lundins. Our daughter made it from Texas and she brought her room mate who was going to do the hair fashions.   I think everyone had a great time, I did.    We got in some dancing and had some cake--big deal at weddings for me.  Linda created a very popular cheese spread to start the evening off and the damage was severe as the cheese heads pretty much inhaled the 15 pounds of cheese selections.   With some advanced planning, the brides asked for separate plates to be saved for them during the picture taking, good thing,  the pictures took over an hour to crank through and only crumbs would have remained.   
The day after the wedding, we got in some visiting and started back South.   We stopped in Schaumburg, IL at IKEA and picked up the last batch of stuff for the pantry--except for 4 pieces.   We picked them up in Cincinnati the next day.   IKEA has been our source for pantry's cupboards and lighting.   In between these two stops, we stayed at the same hotel in Merrillville. 
Fast forward to this weekend.  The wall board is all in place(mud is needed) in the pantry job and the cup boards are in place but are not permanent yet.  Progress is steady and I think we will have a final project by Christmas. 

As far as being an Olympian, I feel like I am currently retired.  I just have been way to busy to run or train.  I did get in some stretching and core work yesterday as Linda did some leg work at the gym.   When the pantry gets done, I will get back to training.
  I had a follow up doctor visit about the gout.  My uric acid level was improved, but I need to continue some medications to prevent relapses--relapses do suck.   The doctor and I are going to try and get any of the crystals completely out of my systems so I do not have any tissue damage that can be avoided.