Thursday, March 28, 2013

Another Anniversary. Is That Down?

As I sit here with my bad knee up, and thinking about Dad's anniversary I am reminded of our 1981 trip to the Great Smokey Mountains portion of the Appalachian Trail.

In 1981 Dad was 39, seven years younger than I am now, but he too suffered from a bad knee that year.  That combined with a bad experience he had on the 1971 attempt at the same trip made him take up a particular strategy for the '81 trip.

In '81 Dad and Rich Zeremba were the two adults and there were seven scouts, Jac Charlier, Dave McCormick, Don Cotar, Shawn, Ken Klusendorf, Myles and me.  I was the Senior Patrol Leader, but we were all very seasoned, experienced, expert campers.

Dad's strategy was to hang back with Z, be the last ones to leave camp each day, and to be the last into camp each evening.  We had no problem with this as we had a crack crew and a great youth leader (me) with a plan (duty roster).

We young bucks loved to stop for a rest and as soon as the adults reached us on the trial, we would hop up and rush off.  I rarely saw Dad on the trail.

One day as they we were hiking along we passed a Ranger who was doing some sort of ranger-y things in the National Park.  I remember I didn't pay him much mind, but when Dad reached him they had been having a rather rough day.  It was one of our longer days and it seemed like we were hitting several peaks.

Leaning wearily on his hiking staff, and breating heavily, Dad asked the Ranger how far it was to the campsite.  The Ranger said that it was only another couple of miles and not to worry because it was all, "basically down" to the camp.

It was five miles I think and when Dad and Z finally made it up the mountain to the top where our camp was he collapsed in the Adirondack shelter mumbling something about how, "Up" was the same as, "Basic Smokey Mountain Ranger, 'Down.'"  From that day forward Dad used that phrase whenever he could.

We woke on our last day on the trail with only seven members in our shelter.  Dad and Z were gone, and so were their packs and gear.  This was very disturbing because we woke with the dawn.  They must have left in the dark of night.

We quickly got ready and got on the road ("hit the bricks" as Dad would say) as soon as we possibly could.

I was hesitant and wanted to search around before we left, just in case, but the rest of the boys were determined to catch Dad and Z up before the end of the trail.

I was the last to leave that day.

Somewhere about halfway through the day's hiking Jac and Don caught up to the adults.  They wouldn't let them pass.  It seemed that my Dad was, despite being last every other day, and clearly the slowest member of our group (with his bum knee and all) determined to be the first to finish with whole length of the park.

Sure enough he was.  I found him laying on the grass beside the road with his feet up and his shoes off.  We had reached our pick up point about four hours ahead of schedule and with no way of alerting our Ground Support (Aunty Mae).

So, in the end the Ole Man put one over on us.  He pulled a Kobiashi Maru and changed the rules of the game so he could win.

As the song says, Dad, "...cut a hole and pull me through."  If anyone can, you can.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Weekly Goal Report - Some Good, Some Bad

I am very late in reporting.  This report is actually for the week of March 10-17.

That's not the bad news.

The bad news is that I have now missed 10 days of my P90X program.  I'm on day 73, but in the past 4 weeks I have missed at least one day in each week.  The program calls for working out six times a week, but in the past three weeks I've only worked out four days each.

This is due in a large part to my injured left knee.  I would estimate that it is now at about 95% and doesn't cause me pain at all when not in use.  When I first start walking or when I exert myself a little then it does cause discomfort.  I have no real pain at all with it unless I exert myself quite a bit at a certain angle.  I am nervous about it though and shy away from what may, at the time, seem like slight discomfort when I'm exercising.  When I actually hurt it this time I didn't really feel any pain when I was actually exercising.

Day 5 of the P90X weeks is almost always a leg workout, so you can see why Day 5s have been missed, deliberately and not.

Day 6 is Saturday and the day when I have to actually steal time from family time to make exercise time.

Excuses are over.  This week I am determined to do whatever it takes to get in 6 workouts.  I only have a few weeks left.

The question is begged though, with 10 days missing, should I continue until I make them up?  If I just go 90 days from when I started then the end is on 7 Apr 13.

The trouble with just continuing is that the program is not regular.  The concept is to cause muscle confusion by varying the workouts.  It is not the same thing every day or even every week.  There are two kinds of leg workouts and probably about three kinds of arm workouts.  Sometimes arms are combined with back and sometimes legs.

I also can't just go back and do those exercise days that I missed because as I said, quite a few of them are leg workouts and I can't do back to back to back legs.

I'll let you know what I figure out.

The good news is that I'm on Day 73 of P90X and the last time I weighed myself I was 227.  That's the lightest I've been this year.

In other good news, I finally signed up for Girl Scout Outdoor Training Module 2&3.  This is an all day outdoor training and I'm going to do it tomorrow.

And to close out with just a hint, a pinch, a whisper of bad news, it is supposed to only get up to 37 degrees tomorrow.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Happy Saint Patrick's Day!

I wrote two new jokes this year, but I only like the one so that's the one I'll share.

A man was drinking in a bar one St. Patrick's Day and he needed to relieve himself, so he went into the men's room.  He couldn't believe what he found there.  Standing on the rim of the urinal, dressed in green knee pants, a velvet green long coat, and a tall green hat, was a tiny man with a huge orange beard. 

"Oh my goodness, are you a leprechaun?" the man asked as he joined the strange little man in using the facilities.

"Why, sure and begora.  A leprechaun I am certainly, lad."

"Do you have a crock of gold?"

"Well, I sure do, but t'day it's cloudy and there are no rainbows, so here I enjoy the day, safe in knowing me fortune is far from prying eyes."  He closed his fly.

They young man finished up and went back to his friends.  A little while and not a few beer later he needed to visit the facilities again.

In the men's room he found his new friend standing on the edge of urinal again.

"Hello again."

"And hello yerself.  Are you enjoying the day?"  the leprechaun asked.


"Slan leat!"  They went their separate ways once again.

The young man drank even more with his friends then he had before, and it wasn't long at all before he had to make another visit to the little boys' room.

Sure enough the leprechaun was filling up the urinal again.

"We seem to meet here very often," the young man said as he move up in the next urinal.

"They don't call us the Wee folk for nuthin."

Slainte chugat!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

The New Pope is an American

Pope Francis is an American in the proper sense in that he is from the Americas.

I'm very excited about the possibilities.  Being a Jesuit he has taken a vow of poverty and is dedicated to education, I'm really digging that.  It's a great start.  He took the name of Saint Francis of Assisi whose peaceful association with nature and charity I greatly admire.  He seems to be doing some things that show he is going to be a reformer with common sense and lead by service.

There are just three things that concern me.  He is old; and he is against birth control and gay marriage. 

Clearly birth control is the right thing to do in a world of over 7 billion people and not seeing that is troubling. 

The problem I have with his discrediting of gay marriage is not really about gay marriage itself.  I can certainly see where there is a very long and well established tradition of heterosexual marriage.  I am personally not opposed to gay marriage, but I wonder if someone who is against it doesn't see homosexuality as a sin.  That I have a problem with, and I think it would be detrimental to bringing the church into the modern age.

Clearly you and I were not elected Pope yesterday (unless Pope Francis is reading this and in that case I am very honored indeed Your Eminence) so my poll is somewhat moot now.  No body has voted on it anyway.

Clearly there is going to be an emphasis on where I think religion should be, charity, community responsibility and service.  There will be a de-emphasis on hierarchy.

On my poll I'm guessing we can forget about any moves to make homosexuality not a sin, I doubt priests will be allowed to get married, birth control will continue to be a sin, and fertilized human egg cells will probably still be considered humans (Pope Francis is against abortion).

Any moves to reunite the churches and ordain women is to be seen, but I doubt they are likely.  On the other hand, I'm sure there will be a zero tolerance on sex crimes. 

You can still vote on what you think the new Pope should work on, and I encourage you to in the most extreme way.

Whether you are Catholic or not, this is an important and historical event.  When 1.2 billion people have a new leader there will be changes in the world that will likely impact almost everyone in some way.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Weekly Goal Report

I missed two days of P90X this week. 

The first I laid off of because it was Legs & Back.  My knee is about 80% or 90% back.  It still hurts a bit and I can't really run on it without the kind of pain that makes me shy away from fully using it, but I can walk fully normally and I can do all  the other exercises.  I could probably do the Legs & Back, but I didn't want to risk re-injuring it.

The second day I'm going to blame on my oldest child returning home for Spring Break. 

Although it wasn't a goal I did enter a story in the latest Anotherealm Flash Fiction contest.  Please go there and vote for me.  It's based on my Howlina country work.

Friday, March 01, 2013

Καλό μήνα Popeless Lion

Retiring to Cancun? Via con Dios!
Today there is no Pope (well, there is, just not a Roman Catholic one) and March came in like a lion around here.
There is an old saying that goes something like, in like a lamb, out like a lion.  In other words, if the March starts out mild then it will end bitter and cold.  I've always considered the opposite to be true too, in like a lion, out like a lamb.  So this lion business today is good news.  It was snowing this morning and in the mid 20s (F).

Pope Benedict XVI's resignation was official yesterday so there going to have to elect a new Pope.  I am putting up a new poll about what you would do if you were elected.

Before I get into that I wanted to report on my goal progress.  I'm continuing with P90X fairly well.  I've got some aches and pains which seem to come to me right around the 60th day.  The wear and tear gets to me and I'm going to have to fight through it.  I have been bouncing around the weight I started with (actually I've been yo-yoing under it) so I'm hoping the last 30 days is when you loose all the weight.

I've been very lax on working on Greek.  I've let it slip and I'm going to have to buckle down.  It's mostly a matter of discipline.  I have some things to work on and I planned on working on it whenever I get a free moment, to fill up the empty minutes between things.  I haven't actually been doing that though just because I've had a hard time motivating myself.

I've also let the job hunt slip a bit.  They've changed the job search system  here at work and the automatic notices of posting has stopped working.  I haven't figured out how to get it back yet.  That's the next thing I need to work on.

I have to get my Girl Scout training in this month, so I'm going to be VERY busy doing that.

We are moving our Commissioner meetings starting this month.  I think that is an important step in getting our Commissioner staff right.  We will see what we can do with that.

I've been reading a lot of Chicago history blogs and forums lately.  I have a bunch of DVDs produced by WTTW and Geofery Baer about Chicago and I watch them pretty often.  I think I've decided that I'm going to go with a detective theme for my Chicago History Podcast. 

I've figured out a way to synergize my spiritual and Archaeology goals by learning how to make fire the Amerindian way.  This will involve learning the correct woods to use, which involves learning the trees.  I love it when a plan comes together.  I'm going to work on it after it gets warmer, later in the Spring.

My last goal is to join a club.  As you can see I've been pretty busy and this is my last priority so I haven't done anything with this.

Last month's poll was, "When do you think the USA will fall from superpower status?"  This poll didn't get very much traffic at all.  There were only 3 votes including mine.  Within the next 15 years won by two to one against, "In this century."

Pope Tawadros II of Alexandria
My new poll will hopefully garner more enthusiasm.  Since the College of Cardinals is currently meeting to elect a new Pope, and conceivably they could elect ANYONE that God tells them to, they could elect YOU (or me).

The poll has this in mind as a starting point.  Assuming you are elected Pope and assuming you accept the job (pretty secure and it includes room and board, and uniforms) AND assuming (and this is the biggest assumption) you can actually change some things, what would be the FIRST thing you change?
  • Homosexuality is no longer a sin - This would allow gay priests and presumably gay marriage etc.
  • Priests can get married,  and/or married people can become priests (all clergy really)
  • Women can be priests (bishops, Pope, etc.)
  • Birth control is not a sin, do it people
  • Fertilized human egg cells are NOT people - we can argue the validity of abortion and so forth so other time, but here I'm thinking about the RC policy that as soon as a single egg cell is fertilized it is a human and must be treated as a human, even if it would be naturally aborted and COULD NEVER develop into an actual human being.
  • Zero tolerance policy on pedophilia and other sex crimes - if they are found they are out, excommunicated, turned over to the law enforcement community instantly, no exceptions
  • Reunite with the Orthodox Church
  • Other
Oddly enough none of these things are really theological except maybe reuniting the churches.  They don't really deal with who God is, but more about who we are.  I don't know if these are really the most important issues, even though they are certainly the issues we more secularly minded people are most interested in.

Let's talk about it and certainly vote on it.  Come on people let's vote.  The Cardinals are doing it, so should we.