Monday, May 20, 2013

Brooks GTX 2013

It seems that I'm getting a new pair of running shoes every year now.  I bought my first pair of GTX last April and I bought a new pair a couple of weeks ago - I went with the GTX again.

It's always amazing the feel the difference between the feel of an old shoe and a new shoe.  The new pair feel as light as a feather and are very comfortable.

These days, I walk 4 miles every morning with my wife.  We usually can get up and walk for an hour every Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.  When our schedule allows, we are able to get 4 miles in on a Saturday and / or Sunday.

Other days, when I'm feeling really good, I'll run 4 miles ... I'll run at a very good clip for 60 seconds, then walk for 60 seconds.

One final word about the shoes ... I was a bit disappointed that they only had one option for 'color'.  I'm not a huge fan of the green accents.  I liked the orangish-red accents from last year's model.  I am glad they keep them in black ... I don't like white running shoes.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Second-Shower Phobia

Do you fear the second shower? You've already showered in the morning. You've shaved; you've washed and combed your hair; applied deodorant and you're ready to go for the day.

Then during the course of the day, you become sweaty because of the humidity or because you had to run from a rabid dog or you had to change a tire or your exercise workout occurred at night.

Now you're home again and face a dilemma: do you shower again or wait until morning? You might argue that the sweat has cleansed your body and when it dries you are actually clean! Or that you didn't sweat THAT much and that the shower can wait until morning. Or you're just too lazy to undress, shower and get out clean clothes. Perhaps you live in Arizona and since your house number is even, you can only shower on even-numbered days. Whatever the excuse, you fear the second shower. You're a second shower phobia.

I'm here to help you overcome this fear of the second shower.

STEP 1: Lift your right arm all the way above your head so that the armpit is fully exposed. Then have a friend sniff in the general vicinity of the armpit. The friend should promptly pass out. Be sure to place pillows around the area so your friend doesn't break a neck.

STEP 2: Sit down on a towel and then proceed to lick your leg. It should taste like a pretzel. An alternative method is to have your dog (if you own one) smell your legs. If he licks them, then there's a good chance you taste like salted pork.

STEP 3: Once your friend has regained consciousness, have him or her smell your hair. He or she should still be dazed and confused when he or she awakes, so compliance shouldn't be an issue. Again, be sure pillows are near by as he or she will faint at the smell of your greasy hair.

STEP 4: Take all your clothes off and place them in a pile. Then sniff the pile like you would a bouquet of roses. Be sure a barf bucket is close by because you may toss your cookies. Dry heaves will soon follow.
If none of these steps have convinced you to shower (thus effectively making you overcome your second shower phobia) then proceed to the next step. If you no longer fear the second shower after step 4, then proceed directly to the nearest bathroom and commence cleaning.

STEP 5: Place your back to a wall in your home. Or if you have a hardwood floor, lay down on the hardwood floor. Now attempt to get up. You should notice that there is so much grime on your body that it is actually sticking to hard surfaces - you are basically a giant piece of masking tape. If you are normal, this should gross you out and cause you to jump right into the shower.

If none of these steps help you, then you have far greater issues to deal with. You need to address these issues by attending a simple hygiene course at the local community college. Alternatively, you can elect to be a full-time street bum.

Friday, May 3, 2013

the kind of help mothers need

this morning, while driving into work, i decided to listen to some rolling stones.

one of the songs i played over and over again was mother's little helper.  if you're not familiar with this song, it's quite catchy and has a really good message.  go ahead and take a listen:

now for some analysis.
- the "mother's helper" is really just an escape from the pressures of daily life - drugs.
- today, mothers might not use drugs to escape so much - they turn to wine, a tv show, books or other things.

but i want to take one more step back ... why is there pressure?  is there a way to prevent the pressure in the first place?

let me jump right to it: mothers (and people in general) are too busy.  and to what end?  what are you trying to achieve?

a recent post over at becoming minimalist, discussed four ways minimalism can improve parenting.  number two in that list was, "it reminds you to guard the calendar and say 'no' to a lot of things"

he went on to explain, "Parents sometimes feel that we have to take our kids to every activity and enroll them in every sport. But, in case you've forgotten, you can’t do everything. We have to learn to say “no” to many good things so we can say “yes” to the things that are more important to us at that time. Manage your calendar well. You are the gatekeeper."

i submit that the kind of help mother's need today is an eraser ... and then use it liberally on your calendar.  furthermore, take the time to decide what is really important in your life and focus on that.  else they (you) might end up like the mother in the "mother's little helper" song ...

life's just much to hard today
i hear every mother say
the pursuit of happiness just seems a bore
and if you take more of those, you will get an overdose
no more running for the shelter of a mother's little helper
they just helped you on your way, through your busy dying day

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

the minimalism movement

Around Christmas time 1988, I was chubby 12-year old kid. During those days, my parents, sister and I drove down the hill and a few miles to my grandparents’ home to eat tasty treats, visit and watch a movie. This was an annual event which took place the during the week after Christmas, but before New Year’s.

I don’t recall how many years in a row we did that, but I do remember three of the movies we watched: The Mission, The Last Emperor and Empire of the Sun. Mission and Empire of the Sun had a profound impact on me as a kid. But one visual from Empire has remained with me to this day.

After Jamie and the POWs leave the air field prisoner camp and hike days and days, they arrive at a sports stadium. It is filled with cars, pianos, golf clubs, dressers and lots and lots of statues … . The visual was stunning – here are these starved-to-death British citizens, who just a few years ago “had it all”, then it was taken away and now here all of it sits – theirs for the re-taking. But they don’t need it. They need water; they need food. If ever there was a poster for the ‘why’ of Minimalism movement, this would be it.

As has been noted over and over again on the minimalism blogs, the movement is not about getting rid of stuff and living on less; rather it is about thinking about what joy and happiness means to you.  In my lifetime, happiness has meant having it all: the fancy car, the nice house, nice clothes, the pool ... all that.  But what we have learned and are still learning is that having possessions does not bring happiness.  Consumerism and all the gorging that goes with it only leaves people broke and empty inside.

Minimalism forces you to ask what it is that make you happy?  What are your priorities in life?  What should you spend your money and time on?  Do you really need all those possessions to achieve that goal of lasting happiness?

Living on less strips away all the irrelevant and unimportant and leaves only the truly valuable and worthwhile.

James Allen said, "The man who shrinks from self-crucifixion can never accomplish the object upon which his heart is set ... the sole and supreme use of suffering is to purify; to burn out all that is useless and impure"

And when all the useless has been burnt out, the pure gold - the pure joy is left.