Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Monday, February 13, 2012

A Pause To Reflect On Reflection

Ever consider the possibility that at some point you may never have another unique thought, that everything new in your life you will have thought, and then have to live the remainder of your life in a monotonous replay of highlights? The best we can hope is to be interested enough in the re-hash that for short moments we can pretend that originality is overrated.

Or so I worry as I try to project my mind into the future.

The problem with worrying about such things is that it forces the exact situation that I worry is going to happen on that ‘some day’. Here I am, thinking of all the thoughts I can remember having, the major themes, the hopes and the fears and-

“-hey, maybe that’s new, huh? I’m sure I haven’t thought that.”

Round and round, worry and worry more. That definitely isn’t new for me, the worry about nothing. Certainly the worry about nothing I can do anything about. So the best thing to do is to do nothing, I suppose.

For now, I do have something original, even if I have to dredge it up with a tow chain sometimes. I’m sure I do.

A long preamble to say that getting mired in meaningless mind-mud serves no purpose. It remains a reality, though, that getting stuck in patterns of behavior and thought is so damn easy that days can be wasted thinking that because hours pass and shit is getting done that somehow that means there is an accumulation of productive shit getting done.

That isn’t always the case.

So don’t let that trap spring on you, folks. An ounce of prevention... or in this case, a moment of reflection is worth days of what you think is production. Or something like that anyway.

So I’m in reflection mode. Forgive me as I pause and wonder, “Have I reflected on this before?”

Friday, February 10, 2012

A Few Pictures Of New Zealand

Two months since our return from New Zealand and still I have no words. If possible, I would jump on a plane at this moment and fly back so that I could re-visit each of the cities, all of the places, that my wife and I visited the first time. A hundred visits wouldn't be enough. Uprooting from Maine has been considered, Folks. Seriously considered. Instead of flying away, I often look at pictures and today, I guess I'll share a few with everyone. So...

Something's wrong with the steering wheel...

Auckland. My first time in a non-American car with the steering wheel on the 'wrong' side of the vehicle. Like a true gentleman, I let my wife drive. I'm enlightened... and scared shitless. No way I'm driving in the biggest city in New Zealand.

"Someone said pie? I like pie."

Apparently pies in New Zealand are entirely different than pies in America-no fruit. The lamb number I ended up with (a tasty foreign Hot Pocket) cured my disappointment and the L&P soda (world famous in New Zealand) was actually really great.

Breakfast at a B&B

Ah, more food! A thermal pool at the Kuirau Lodge in Rotorua, plus an amazing breakfast each morning? Yes please.

I was, I admit, tipsy when this was taken. And on a bicycle.

 Huia wine. Fantastic!

Can I say, "Typical view"? New Zealand is too gorgeous for words.

More Wine, more views. (We're not lushes, really)

Queenstown. Can you spot Santa? Yeah, nothing but class in all the places stayed.

I suppose all I really can say is that if you haven't been, why not go to New Zealand? This trip cured me forever of couch potato disease. Or maybe it infected me with traveler disease? Does it matter in the end?

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Winged Shoes Would Be Sweet

Not certain if writing about running is tiresome or not, but of late it has been on my mind, and as a consequence, I am excited and can think few other thoughts. I have a race in two months, a 5k that I have done two years in a row and this year with be my third. It’s called the Flattop and is usually held a couple weeks earlier than it will be this year, possibly because the temperature in Maine in mid-March can be brutal. Not sure of last year, but two years ago it was only 20реж F.

As a first race of the season, the Flattop is brutal, what with the cold and the fact that winter weight is damn stubborn weight, especially after a typical Maine winter.

Last year I ran with my brother who is new to racing and so I ran slower than I could have, but in 2010, I ran my all and still managed a slow 22:34. This year, I want to go below twenty minutes.

Blah, blah, blah, yes, I know. I drone and no one really cares, but... here I am, feeling old and slow and serious.

I cranked a 5:33 mile last May, so the question I have to ask myself is whether I can string three miles together while maintaining a per mile pace just under a minute slower. And Folks, I really want to say yes.

Once upon a time, I ran in the eighteen minute range for a 5k.  

Two months to train.

Oh, I found my shoes, so I have that going for me and on another positive note, after being married, I suddenly found out that secretly I harbored opinions on towels. Never knew before that I had opinions on towels. All it took to make this discovery about myself? My wife asked, “What do you think of these?”

Bammo!, instant discovery of towel-opinion ability. I guess if I can suddenly learn of hidden talents in my thirties, then a sub-twenty minute 5k is within reach, too.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Two Things That Make Me Sad

My goal: run faster. Wife's goal: make me look like Beckham

There are two things I find sad as I begin week one of running:

1. It has been so long since I ran last, I am unsure where I put my running shoes

2. I was super excited to break ten minutes for the mile

Yeah, sad, I know. And I still haven’t found my shoes, but I think that I have them cornered and soon they will be mine again. In the meantime, I have run three miles, (total, Folks, in two days, which might a third sad thing) and have done so on the treadmill wearing my socks.

My first afternoon running came immediately after I assembled the new treadmill I bought last week, a nifty but low-priced rig from Wal-Mart. I wanted to run. I’m not sure why I haven’t been running because I love to run, love how I feel and how it drains me of tension, love to lose myself as the miles unwind.

That sounds nice, right? Almost poetic, noble even, or heroic.

The reality?

That first time I climbed on the treadmill, I was wearing socks and jeans and I thought I was cranking, but when I looked at the time, I knew I had to step up the pace to manage a paltry 9:40. But that 9:40 felt like a victory.

Then the next night, still not sure where I stored my shoes, I went for round two, again in my socks and wearing jeans. I ran for ten minutes in the shed (with oak hardwood floors, loft and some pretty effing nice windows, too) and feeling a bit restricted, I decided to shed the jeans. So here I am, boxers and socks in my really nice shed, watching the Food Network (because hey, every shed needs cable) and even I have to admit that the situation is rather ridiculous.

I now have a to do list so that my third day I am not in my really nice shed running on my new treadmill in my socks and boxer shorts. (And to answer the question, I haven’t misplaced my running shorts, but... well, I guess there are not buts. It is my shed, though, and I suppose if I want to run in my boxers, that’s my prerogative.)

I need to get my shoes, set some goals, concentrate on getting my speed back. And hope I don’t have any peepers in the neighborhood.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Just Me And My Friend The Evil Tumor

Maybe my tumor is like the Hulk/ Bruce Banner? Ready to bust free, all angry.

So, for some time, I thought I might have a tumor. In my back. Reading online, I learned that the sudden pain I felt, the general location, was almost always an either or situation. Either I had popped a rib, or I had a tumor.

I spent ten days in pain. Near constant physical distress, Folks where sitting was worse than lying flat on my back and lying flat on my back hurt so bad I sometimes hoped I did have an aggressive tumor that would end things quick.

My wife said I was being ridiculous, stubborn, ordered me daily to go to the hospital and frequently called me a ‘man’. By the manner in which she used the word ‘man’, I could not pretend that she was in danger of swooning any time soon, that somehow she was using the word in an appreciative, come-hither-to-the-bedroom-man kind of way.

There was little sympathy and apparently I don’t possess puppy dog eyes that make women melt. (I tried, Folks, and every time, same thing; “You don’t possess puppy dog eyes that make women melt, Dear”. Glad my wife added the ‘Dear’, it softened the blow.)

I eventually made my way to a chiropractor, a woman a friend recommended, operating under the assumption that I did not have a tumor and instead, the shovelling I was doing when the pain dropped me to my knees in the driveway, was the true source of my injury. Thinking positive, I had my back cracked and voluntarily allowed myself to be electrocuted by a woman I had just met.

It’s a funny world, full of funny people and I can say that I sure felt funny laying on that table with the juice flowing while wearing my work boots and imaging that electricity was not repairing a sprung rib (which after ten days was no longer sprung but it could be the issue my chiropractor said), but instead, that electricity was feeding an evil tumor. I could see that sucker inside my back cartwheeling in joy as the electricity made it grow.

That tumor was probably mocking my intelligence, too, calling me things like sucker and nincompoop.

But then, after a couple of weeks, I felt better.

I should be cheering, but... you know what? Maybe the electric shock therapy made that tumor super smart, Einstein smart and it’s just taking things easy, keeping things light and cheery and pain-free just to lull me before jumping out and declaring my body the site of evil tumor debauchery.

It’s possible. I’d run the thought by my wife, except she’s sleeping and she hasn’t had the opportunity to call me a ‘man’ in the past day, so I guess I’ll keep this one to myself.

Well, just amongst us, I meant. No tumor conspiracy stories are to be shared with my wife, so, shhh! All right?