Category "Journal in a Jar"
February 17, 2010
Our House, In the Middle of the Street...
I am a product of the eighties when This Talking Heads Song pops into my head when thinking about the house I grew up in...
Like the song, our house was in the middle of the block and it was a non-descriptive stick house just like all of the other houses on the block. We wanted to get away from home and my mom worked hard and needed a rest too. Maybe my house was white, or a tan color, or maybe something else. I remember helping to paint it and it took a couple of years. I also remember having to mow the two acres of grass with a push mower. It took one person about eight hours, including trimming around the trees. I remember the small bedrooms and how confining that felt before I graduated from high school, but I don't remember the color of the rooms. It was most likely white, or plain. We had a living room and family room too, but I don't remember the color of those either. There was paneling in the family room. And I think pretty much everyone's 1970's to 1980's ramblers could be described in similar fashion.
But I can say that I liked one feature of that house. It had the garage tucked up underneath the one end of the house with another garage door leading right into the basement. You could not even see the garage from the street. Above the garage was our family room where we spent most of our time watching TV and playing games.
Sometime after that era, houses were being built with the garage stuck way out front, so the garage became the focal point as you drove down the street. Our house was the focal point sitting way up on a hill of grass with flowering trees and shrubs. A half-painted rambler focal point on a beautiful lot with a park across the street that was later razed to the ground to make way for commercial progress. Our house was demolished sometime after we all moved away.
But select photos in my mind still remain. I close my eyes and I can see the rooms, the shapes, the same furniture we had, and the floors. The carpeting in the living room, the wool-like carpet tiles in the family room that we ripped up and replaced with a shag. I remember fighting with my brothers in our house. I remember getting ready to leave for the army after high school and being excited to go someplace else where the rooms were not so confining. And later, I remember helping to move my parents out of that house. I do not remember the color of our house, my bedroom or the living room. Curiously there is no color to those memories.
Category "Love your Neighbor"
January 5, 2010
I am now on Facebook and it has presented some interesting interactions and discoveries. It all started when I decided to upgrade my phone shortly before Christmas. Is anything by chance? I saw an ad for free internet-enabled phones and the expiration date was in two days. I checked my current contract and it had already expired months ago. I switched phone companies, got a new HTC droid and verizon wireless. Once I got it and set it up, I discovered what the real power of this phone is...connectivity. Instantly I was amazed at how connected with people I can be. Because it's easy to access google, I decided to switch email to gmail so I could get that on my phone. I then set up google docs so I could read and edit those on my phone.
Then a friend told me how she connected with so many old friends on facebook. I never had a desire to be on facebook, but then a couple other friends said they were on facebook too and I decided to try it. And of course, I had to try searching for old friends I might know.
A couple names later and poof, there they were. Two of my oldest and best friends from when I was in high-school. I contacted them and it's been fun finding out how their lives turned out over the past twenty five years. It is fun and interesting and I am thrilled to be able to reconnect after so long. I also have a lot of observations about this experience.
Number one, is that some mannerisms never change in people. But People do change. And I have changed. I see it in my reactions and my attitudes. I am more accepting of other people and compassionate. And I see that in my new-old friends too.
Facebook is the beginning of a new adventure for me in being connected with other people.
July 1, 2009
One thing that can be said for sure is that my body is changing. Exercise is different now than when my body was still growing. Now it seems that recovery is slower and I have other problems, such as breathing issues.
Physical issues can be overcome and change can be focused with the use of therepy, inhalers, vitimins, massage, special exercises, stretching, different running shoes, etc. And changing the mind to accept new physical challenges can also be done. Once I accept that I have a physical challenge, I know what I have to work on, changing my mind to accept and overcome each challenge, and changing my body to respond to special needs.
May 25, 2008
The most powerful weapon on earth
You know, at the end of world war two, we developed what seemed to be the most powerful weapon on earth, able to destroy a city with a single strike. But soon after that a new weapn was developed by the Soviet Uniion that could destroy ten times that. It is without a doubt that after all these years, we could destroy the entire earth in one blow. How much power is enough? If I warn others that if you attack me, I will destroy the planet and you will be dead, would it save the earth? I'd rather be dead than under another contries control., I ask why do people feel the need to expand and control others, probably,
April 19, 2007
For lack of a better system, I got started
This falls under the category Change by Will.
Change requires an change agent doesn't it? One force acts on another and there is a reaction of some kind and an effect or effects. Change occurs in one force or the other or both and maybe even the surrounding objects. Maybe my description is crude, but in my view change is basically cause and effect. So at work I'm trying to implement personal change in order to accomlish what I was hired to do. I realized right away I did not have the skills, knowledge or wisdom to to tackle the challenge ahead. I began to study project management and improve my technical skills. Six months later, I'm still working on it.
But right from the beginning I started keeping a daily work journal. It's already proven very useful, but now I'm finally getting around to doing what I meant to do all along. I'm creating a weekly summary of what I did with an ongoing task/completion list. The next logical step is to take the time to reflect on my week, plan for the next week and look back at the big picture. Why am I here?
I answer that by accomplishing what I was hired to do. And for that I needed to change.
March 31, 2007
Out with the old books, in with the New
I have learned that some things about me have not changed in my entire life. I don't know if I was born with these traits or it's something I've learned along the way. Some of it most likely comes from my training in the military many years ago.
Over the last several weeks I have been cleaning out my living spaces of clutter and old, unused items. At the same time I discovered Twincitiesfreemarket.org mailing list where people post things they have to give away and you get an email notification. I get about 28 emails per day, so it's kind of like spam if you are not interested in the items people are giving away. But anyway, I wanted to try giving something away. As I was cleaning in my library, I saw a whole shelf of books I never use anymore. Old C and C++ programming books. God it seems like a life-time ago when I last used those books. It was too. 1989 to 2000 were years of intense learning for me. I became an expert in CAD very quickly and dove into Computer programming with a frenzy. I bought all of these books, took a few classes, and mostly taught myself to program. It worked until I discovered that I didn't really like the way the software worked, or how tedious it was, or that I really wasn't interested in writing computer programs for a living. I was more interested in the objects I was designing than the code in the software used to design. Thus my current direction in my career.
What has not changed about me is the intensity of my studies in any particular area. When I get something in my mind to do, I am a learner. "One is taught in accordance with one's ability to learn," has special meaning for me, because it's how I work. I don't blame other people, especially Teachers for my inability to learn something. Because it is not their responsibility to do something with what they are teaching. If I can't use what I'm learning, it's my fault not theirs. My intensity of learning also brought me to the point of purchasing a few new books in the areas of Civil Design, Project Management, and Leadership and High performance teams. I'm on a mission and the intensity increases.
In this way I have not changed. I'm not so sure I want to change that because it's fun and fulfilling. But what I am changing is that I am more willing to abandon areas of study or work that I am not really interested in. Instead of holding on to a career that I'm not really interested in staying in, I retrain. I get new books, new focus and new intensity. I also let go. I didn't always do that. But now I am giving away old books. Yesterday I gave away three of them to someone with an intensity to learn everything about programming. Today I am going in to work to study and practice lessons from one of my new Civil design books. Out with the old, in with the new.
March 14, 2007
Changes in life due to circumstances
It's amazing how things change when our circumstances change. It has to do with all creature's instincts for survival.
January 18, 2007
CAN PEOPLE CHANGE???
YES. For yourself and others, you have to believe it or it won't work. And I think most people want to believe it. And everyone involved has to believe it. It is possible to change. I think again that one of the first questions we should ask is "WHY?" With purpose we can change. The simple answer is YES, we can change. We can and we do.
December 26, 2006
Are you thinking about your New Year's Resolutions? This is a time when people make resolutions, mainly because we've learned that that's what we are supposed to do at this time of year. Just like birthdays, New Years Day is only one day out of an entire year, one day out of an entire lifetime and it's arbitrary. New Year's Day could be celebrated at different times of the year by different cultures. Our civilization decided on a demarcation of time to represent a one year period, and so it goes around.
Without New Year's day however, we would simply live life as it happens, without worrying about making resolutions once per year. If we want to change our lives, we would just do it. The change might come in July or August. We couldn't say, "I'll work on that next year." Without New Year's that would turn out to be a vague statement of desire like, "I'll work on that sometime, later." It's a matter of perspective I think. Often we make New Year's resolutions, with the intention of doing them usually with the purpose of changing our lives, but they never happen. We start out strong, with good intentions and after a concerted effort at the beginning, we lose sight of our goals, or at least lose motivation to do what's necessary to change. And then it haunts us for a whole year until we are reminded of just how many resolutions we let slip over the year.
Some people, like me, have sworn off making New Year's Resolutions altogether, because I believe it's better to work towards understanding ourselves all year and feel it's counter productive to make New Year's resolutions in the traditional way. Making resolutions is a good idea, but just not in the way we've been taught; mainly to make an oath on New Year's Eve under the influence of alcohol, to achieve something we have no clue as to how to we will achieve it. In addition to that, I believe it's not good to be too hard on ourselves over the past. Yes, change if you don't like what you see, but don't let the past drag you into the mud and six feet under or keep you there if you've already buried yourself. Love yourself by finding solutions not self-destruction.
So, where does this leave the Auspicious Day of New Years? It moves it to the realm of thought. As everyone else is thinking of New Year's resolutions, we naturally think about our lives and what dreams we have and have not attained. Our desires and dreams come to the surface when summoned and we realize when we have done nothing to reach our goals. Or it can be a time of reflection and amazement at how far we've come in the past year. How much growth did we go through? Whether we make a New Year's resolution or not, It's auspicious to think about our own change. It's auspicious to think about how we can make a difference in life and how we can make a difference to those around us.
I took a good strong look at my life this past summer and made a resolution for change. It was not easy, but I changed jobs and changed directions my career was headed. It was very difficult to leave my comfort zone and be put under the spotlight in a new company, new job. But now I'm into my eleventh week on the new job and it's going ok. I do feel like it's getting better, but I wasn't so sure at first. I was also afraid I'd miss this transition feeling between a "newbie" and a 'real' employee and wake up one day to realize that I'm one of them. I'm not done changing though. I started some major changes when I started this job, like learning how to be more organized and communicate with others better. So as I look back at my life so far since changing jobs, I can honestly say I am happy that I moved on. That is an auspicious awareness.
Now on to my New Year's Resolutions. Yes, I did say I don't make New Year's resolutions any more, but my fate is tied to someone I plan on helping who is making a New Year's resolution. On this auspicous day of New Year's, she will embark on a remarkable journey, along with me. It's not's going to last a year, but a lifetime. Change doesn't happen in a year, but over the rest of our lives. In other words If we make a lasting change, it will last. I look foward to encouraging and being part of this new growth in another person. That will be rewarding.
To simply state her goals and mine for the New Year, and life, I will say that we will become better writers and know each other better than we did in the past. We cannot lose in this process. It's an auspicious idea after all.
October 10, 2006
Sleepless in St. Paul
This category on my blog is not really about external changes but about internal, personal change. Although, as we know everything changes, especially physical things. Conditions change, so we often have to react to them. For instance, I'm leaving one job on Friday and starting a new one on Monday. That's a major change for me.
I know things will happen in due time, but there are a lot of things left unresolved. I don't know if I can ever resolve them.
In any case, I'm here awake. I tried to sleep but I was too busy thinking about my current job, my boss, what I have to pack up before Friday, my new job, the commute, and so on. It has my mind going full speed. And my body is showing signs of agitation at my hard workout today.
How does this have to do with personal change? One thing we all wish for I think is peace of mind. Wouldn't it be nice to be calm and cool no matter what happens externally? Wouldn't it be nice to let go of worry? These are things that we wish we could change inside, so we can react to changes in the physical world much more easily, with less stress.
For the most part I am a calm, collected rational person. But there is room for change. There is a lot going on right now and the pressure is getting to me, so I'm restless and sleepless at the moment. There is room for change. That's nice to admit. It sounds like an empty spot I need to fill. Like a cup.
So I made a cup of tea and came online to write about changing how I react to stress. I like to have a plan. For instance when I was doing software training, I would stress out about it until I got the outline done. Once I had the outline done I knew I could work my way through the outline and the training would go well. The trouble is it's Wednesday tomorrow and I don't have a plan for my transition to the new company. I don't even know what time I'm supposed to start there on monday. I don't know how I'm going to get all of my stuff moved home from my current office by Friday. There are many other things going on in my life that also need a plan. For instance, until I had a training plan with goals, my workouts were suffering, but this week my training has been great so far.
Here's my plan:
Call new supervisor. Discuss start time, location, etc. Ask what my new phone number will be so I can give it to the people in my current office.
Meet with HR to discuss some unresolved issues with pay, insurance, unused vacation time, etc.
Get boxes from maintence guy. Pack all of my personal belongings to haul away on Thursday after work. Borrow bike trailer to haul it with.
Email again to the Relay team to find out if I'm in or out (they still have not called me to confirm they want me to race with them). I hope I'm in. If not, go to my mom's house on Friday night and spend two days with her and come back on Sunday.
going away lunch with a whole bunch of people I loved working with.
Friday - Go into work early so I can leave early and get to Duluth early enough to prepare for the Edmund Fitzgerald 105k relay running race.
Run like an idiot. Then relax.
Sunday - go visit my mother who is going for her fourth chimo treatment on Monday.
Monday - set three alarms, get up early, shower and arrive about 15 minutes before my start time. If I don't get an answer on when to be there, arrive at 7am. unpack some of my stuff until my 9am meeting.
See, it's good to have a plan. Now I can go back to bed, read a little and go to sleep. But part of what I might want to change about myself is to learn to recognize when I'm building up stress and deal with it long before bedtime.
August 8, 2006
Changes with age
One thing that happened to me tonight made me think about the changes going on in my body as I get older. As anyone who has been reading my blog I've been getting pretty physical and working out a lot and feel like I've made some incredible gains in the fitness area. But tonight in one instant I hurt my foot so now it hurts to walk. How? By crouching down next to my bike working on the rear derailer. Somehow my left toes bent funny or something and I felt this pain in my toes. now it hurts to put pressure on those toes.
I think this is part of not being well rounded in fitness yet, but more so a sign of the changes that happen to our bodies as we age. Things like that seem to happen a lot easier and our bodies are not as forgiving and do not recover as quickly. Though I'm far from being old, in our general idea of an average human lifespan, I'm no longer a growing teen and I experience the aches and pains of falling apart. I also seem to recover a lot slower than I did when younger.
However, I still have a long way to go to understand sports nutrition and proper, healthy living. So I'm sure there is a lot more I can be doing to minimize injury and make myself as healthy as I can. So I'm stilll on the track to better shape.
Change is inevitable. And I'm willing to accept change, but do I really understand what is changing and why? Sometimes I think we could attribute problems with aging when it's really years of unhealthy living catching up to us. For instance if I were a smoker still I'd probably be feeling much worse than I am now and have a lot less energy to go around. So I'm better off on this goal of good healthy living and general overall fitness.
May 23, 2006
I am determined
Last night I was running and hurt my leg, but today I went swimming and it feels much better. This is one of the reasons I wanted to get into a training routine that included swimming, running and biking. I think it's good for the body to have a more well-rounded fitness plan that helps a lot of different muscles. It's more balanced I think than just doing one event. Plus swimming is a low-impact, or no-impact activity, causing no shin splints and other shock-related injuries.
Today I really enjoyed swimming in the pool, but I must admit, I'm exhausted again. Yesterday I biked about 23 miles, ran for about 30-40 minutes or so and today I swam for 30 minutes. My swimming technique is getting better I think, so I'll have to keep practicing it. I'm excited at the prospect of being a better swimmer too.
Tomorrow is biking day...but tomorrow I have no time available. Well, I'm going back to the idea that I should be a morning person. Tomorrow I have to be if I want to get a workout in. How do I get a 45 minute bike ride in when I don't get up until about 7:30am? hmmm. Go to bed early, like now, haha, and get up early. Tomorrow night I won't get back home until around 10pm so it has to be the morning. So this might be a motivation to change me into a morning person. At least for a day. haha. Then Thursday I'll sleep in again because I'll be exhausted. haha.
There was a good article in the paper this week about someone who had trouble keeping a workout schedule because of other duties in life. It is difficult. It takes a lot of dedication and setting it as a higher priority than things like watching American Idol everytime it's on. Not picking on that show in particular but I just read about how some people are addicted to that show so I threw it in here.
I am going to stick with this training program and see what kind of shape I'm in by August, then try a Triathlon. Then my goal is to keep up the training routine through the winter. Let's see how it goes...
November 16, 2005
I don't think change is possible if we are in denial. If we are in denial of having anything to do with the problems we are creating. For my part, I am choosing to stand up for a whole department of bullied employees. But it will cost me I think because our management is protecting the bully. Today's meeting was very one sided like they had wrongdoing or part in the problems in our department. My boss sat there and lied and told the management representative that I walked out of a meeting with him and was unwilling to work with him. I couldn't believe it! He's creating a hostile environment that's intimidating and he's using his position to get me fired.
Anyway, I can only tell the truth and eventually, since he's in denial, he'll screw up again and there will be no-one to save him. He's had 3 anger related problems in the past and still management protects him and believes his lies. And what makes matters worse his this man claims to be a Christian. Not very Christ-like. This is the problem of the centuries that Jesus spoke out against. And they hung him on a cross, putting his brutalized body on display and shoved a spear in his side. "What does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses his soul?" Or in this case, gains the miniture kingdom. I don't think abusive people see their own abusive behaviors. Change cannot happen until they do. Change won't happen here either because he's being protected and won't have to face his own problems and attitudes.
I will probably be looking for a new job eventually. I don't think I'll lose this one, but I don't think I can stick it out in this environment with an abusive, lying boss. I might be a little distressed about this, because overall I love what I'm doing and love the other people I'm working with. I get along great with other people in the organization too so that helps. I cannot see the future in this one because I'm not clear on where to go or what to do. I know I can only tell the truth and hope for someone to listen and believe what's really going on. I don't really believe that it will do anything to change an abusive manager though in this case. So I'm still trying to figure out what to do.
Life is very difficult sometimes. But maybe new opportunities will present themselves. I have to be more aware of those opening up. And I pray I am never so blinded by my own power that I abuse people and don't realize it.
November 6, 2005
Time, aging and work
Time, aging and work changes people. Here is some more archeology for you; an excerpt from a journal from about 20 years ago:
"My first quarter in college is almost over. On December 5th my final exam in science, December 9th math, December 11th language and that's it for this quarter.
I don't like college so far. Will I ever make it through?"
In May of the following Spring, there is this entry in the journal:
"I started college in the Fall. My grades were ok. In the Winter they fell below a 2.0 average. So far it looks pretty grim. I'm failing math and doing very poorly in science. To top it all off I'm short $400 this month to pay our bills. My wife was depressed about this today and that made things worse. So I had to reassure her that we'll make it just fine. But who is going to reassure me?"
Then one year after starting college:
"This is Fall quarter at the University. Money is even tighter now than ever before. I'm getting about 4 hours of sleep per night and I bombed a midterm in Geology already this quarter. I'm beginning to wonder what I'm doing, and even why I'm doing it. It all makes sense in the long run, but I wish I knew the secret to surviving day to day. I guess if there is a secret it would be to stop complaining, plan a course of action and do what has to be done."
The next two pages were ripped out of the journal, twenty years ago. I think the contents of those two pages were too painful to document in writing. I walked away from college the following Fall and got a full-time job in a factory.
A year and a half later:
"I quit my job on February 26th and started school on the 29th. I'm getting high grades so far. I believe this was a great decision. So far I like this school."
Two years after that:
"I'm very optimistic about my future career plans. I'm educating myself again (night school)..."
I think there is always hope no matter how bad things seem.
October 30, 2005
Site Meter Added
To any readers of this blog, I finally changed my mind and decided to add a site meter to this blog. Thanks to Jim's link and the ease of setting this up, anyone can now see the traffic statistics on this blog's home page. Maybe it does all pages, even archives? I'm not sure about that, but we'll see. I know I visit my own blog to check for comments and I can do searches and see if it tracks hits on other pages in the archives.
Mainly I was curious after Jim posted a map showing the locations of hits from around the world on his blog. This seems like a good curiosity feature and I thought I'd try it for a while. Evidently all the readers can also see this information the way I have it set up now.
Well, I've been blogging for a year and half now? Wow! But up until now I haven't felt the need to know who or how many people have been visiting my blog. But that map was kind of cool, so now I have a Site Meter. I'll let you know what I think about it sometime in a future blog entry.
August 24, 2005
Change Progress Report
Here it is 11:13PM and I'm typing my blog entry. Just like old times. How quickly we slip into old habits. It's not Midnight yet though, hehe. I thought since I'm thinking about it, I would let everyone know how it's been going turning myself into a morning person.
I've been going to bed earlier almost every night, with the exception of the last few days and Wednesday nights, and getting up early every morning. This has caused a few problems with me not getting enough sleep, but I feel that consistency in my early wakeup time is the most critical right now. I was pretty exhausted at work today and tomorrow will be worse I think. But I'll deal with it
and keep working on going to bed earlier. I still don't know what to do about evening activities.
I like getting up early in the morning because it's peaceful and since my wife gets up early there is the added bonus that she has someone to talk to. I've been going to the coffee shop with her more frequently in the morning. That's kind of cool.
Except for the last week I've had many more early morning blog posts also and very few midnight posts. So I'd say it's going good so far. Now I'm rushing off to bed exhausted. Resistence is futile.
August 17, 2005
Another Late Night for a morning person ;-)
I've said it before and I'll say it again, it's difficult to get to bed early in order to get up early when I have activities at night that keep me out late. Tonight was volunteer night at the bike shop. We had a meeting there that was important so I had to be there. I left there early, at about 7:45pm to go out for something to eat and personal financial planning with my wife. So here it is 9:49pm and I have to go to bed again.
Change can be complicated and we may have setbacks, but if it's worth changing, then it's worth being persistent. I have to keep trying. Just like me changing myself into an athlete. I keep reminding myself that before March 16th, 2004 I was in really poor shape and doing NO exercise at all. Today I ran 6 miles at a pace of about 7:20 per mile. So I know I'm in way better shape than I was a year and a half ago. I have to be persistent, and keep working at it, but if I am not looking at the overall picture and keeping things in perspective, I can also too easily minimilize my changes and not value how far I've come. Usually that happens when I am constantly comparing myself with my future goals or with others.
My changes to be a morning person and an athlete is very challenging but will be worth it. I guess I could say that it's easier for me to change if I have a purpose for and desire to change. Maybe even I can say that I have to have a purpose for and desire to change for it to happen. Then persistence is one of the tools to make it happen. Even with minor setbacks it won't stop me.
August 15, 2005
The Problem with being a morning person
Just when all the other demands on my time are winding down, It's past my bedtime. I know you are all holding your breath waiting to hear about my vacation, hehe, but I'm only halfway done typing it into the computer. I guess that's the problem with writing by a campfire on paper. You have to burn the midnight oil to get it all typed in and posted in a timely manner. I need some good OCR or handwriting recognition software.
Anyway, 5:00 AM comes early and I plan on doing a County Cycles ride tomorrow after work. I need my muscle recovery sleep. ;-)
August 6, 2005
Friday Night at the BoBo Club
Last night after work I decided to ride by the bike shop to see if Dave was still around and there was a group of people hanging out so I stayed and chatted for a while. It was interesting because after the bike shop people left I sat and drank a beer with a few guys without houses at the BoBo Club next door. It's an interesting nightclub with live music and other shows. They have a nice outdoor deck where you can hang out. I talked for a while and then saw some other people I know and then talked to them for a while. Bill, the woodworker extraordinaire was there so we talked. I had another beer. Pretty soon I was hungry so I ate some Nachos, thinking I'd go home for dinner still. But I didn't. One thing led to another and it was 11:30 or so. Bill finally announced that he was going to bed. I did not even realize it was so late. I remember thinking as I was riding home that this was going to be rough getting up early in the morning. But this morning at 5:35am I woke up. I'm not counting this as a real change yet. It's a good sign though. It's only been a week and now I'm beginning to wake up without my alarm clock, which I had set for 5am all week, but this morning set for 7am. So I got up and ate breakfast and read. Now I'm going to the coffee shop to hang out before going to replace my freewheel cluster and chain and repair my bottom bracket. The shop won't be open 'til 10:30 so I get a chance to read the paper this morning too! Wow. How cool is that!? Ch-ch-ch-changin...turn to face the change. The change is going to happen and I'm embracing it.
August 5, 2005
Do you want to be a better student?
Iíve looked into ways to make myself a better student. Believe me, after living what seems like an entire life already, I need some help in the area of studying and learning. One of my favorite sayings is still, ďOne is taught in accordance with oneís ability to learn.Ē I thought to improve my learning capabilities I had do things like improve my reading skills and learn to take better notes. Those are helpful definitely, but not the total solution. They are part of the tools employed by the overall person. Some people think that they need the latest laptop or organizer or some other high tech gadget to be a better student. Those are helpful tools for many people. But they have to be used in order to be helpful.
I discovered a long time ago the relationship between the amount of time I put into things and my ability to learn. I learned how to take better notes but it didnít help me on my tests until I realized I wasnít putting in enough time studying and filling in my brain.
Do you want to be a better student? Thatís an admirable goal. Thatís something that can happen in the future right? We look to the other shore and try to figure out how to cross the river. But the secret to being a better student is not in reaching the other shore, but in realizing the other shore is here, now, as an awareness and state of being a better student.
Last night in the group ride Charlie talked to me about bike racing. He said that Ďsomething happensí by doing bike races. A lot of being able to give it our all and sustain it is a mental condition that cannot be reached by planning on doing bike races or training for them. In other words I cannot reach the other shore without being a bike racer.
When I look at how Iíve changed over the years, I realize that change never happened to me by continuously trying to reach the other shore. I had to implement the change for it to become part of my being. Itís tortuous sometimes. Like when I quit smoking. That was a serious addiction. I smoked probably for over 15 years, I donít even remember now. I tried many times to quit and failed. Quitting smoking is an admirable goal but to realize it, I had to actually be on the other shore now, not smoking. I knew that for lasting change, where I would never smoke again, I had to remove the addiction, not just remove the cigarettes. I had to be in a state of being where I was a non-smoker. Now I can smell cigarettes and donít crave them. I donít remember smoking as Ďenjoyable, wishing I had one, but thinking that I shouldnít, lest I start smoking all over again.í I remember me being a smoker, but that is not who I am now. I am a non-smoker that has no need or desire for cigarettes. The other shore is not the past or the future, but it is my life now.
I want to change myself into a morning person, so I have to be a morning person. I get up at 6am, granted itís only 4 days now, but I canít be a morning person without Ďbeingí a morning person, if that makes sense.
I want to be an athlete, but I canít do that without thinking and training like an athlete, and without competing like an athlete. My lifestyle is changing because Iím doing and living it. It has to change. There is no other option because Iím already on the other shore. Iím not rowing some boat across the river just to get to the other side. Once I get there, then what? Do I stop trying to get there? I cannot be it without being it.
I want to be a better student so I have to look at my ability to learn. I have to look at the excuses I make for not learning and not being a better student now. When I was in college in 1985, I thought I wasnít a good student because I wasnít living on campus surrounded by other students and the student community. But it was an excuse. I wasnít studying and putting in the time to learn things properly. I thought that not having a word processor was stopping me from being a better writer of papers. But I wasnít writing. Being a good writer is not dependent on the technology, but on how we think about things.
I told this story before, but it fits in this situation. One of my German teachers got fed up with my lack of learning progress, and told me that I should look at a different career because I might not have the capability to go further. She was right. I did not have the ability to learn because I was not being a student. I was looking at the other shore as if I wanted to be there, but didnít have the right boat and didnít think Iíd ever have the right boat. But the other day a nice German man from Frankfurt came into the bike shop and I had a great conversation with him in German. He said my German was perfect (though he was probably being polite). But we did have a conversation in German. The other shore is our life now. Change in our life comes into being when the changes are implemented not by looking into the future and wanting it to be so.
I am a non-smoker. I am a better student than I was 20 years ago. I speak German, Korean and Russian with complete strangers and they are no longer strangers and neither is their language to me. It is my language I am using now to communicate with another human being. I am a better athlete than I was last year. I am more of a morning person than I was a week ago. I am living it and change happens as a result.
We can be better students by being students and learning.
Category "Cycle Racing"
August 4, 2005
Charlie and the Cyclist Factory
Tonight I went on a training ride with the SPBRC group for 40 miles. It was a pleasant ride with a relaxed pace. I had a great conversation with Charlie, who I've also ridden with once on a Gopher Wheelman ride. He's a really nice guy and offered me a lot of good advice about bike racing. And he taught me a few more things I never really learned about pacelines tonight. I'm glad I decided to go.
On the way home, about a half-mile from my house I rode past a DQ and bought myself a treat. The Reeses Peanut Butter Cup Blizzard fit nicely into my water-bottle holder and was only marginally melted when I got home. It hit the spot.
Tomorrow morning I'm going to try again to get going, but given that it's 9:46PM now, I may have to exercise in the evening again. We'll see. The alarm's still set for 5AM.
Training is better if I have goals to look forward to. Sunday will be a good race I think.
August 3, 2005
How do I do that?!!
Changing into a morning person is a complicated process. How do I get to bed early when I don't get home until 10:00pm and I'm covered in sweat, panting from riding uphill? Now I replenish fluids, rinse off in the shower and get to bed by 11pm. Wow, 5am is going to come really early and Thursday is going to be a tiring day after exercising. :-( Early mornings rock don't they? Well, maybe for now I should be happy with being a night person one day per week on Wednesday nights. Change is a process that requires discipline and time. Dave told me today that it will take me a year to change my internal clock. I am now wide awake, ready to go for another few hours at least, but I'm going to bed. A process that requires time. Be patient, have discipline.
This morning I didn't get a workout in so I went running at lunch. It was extremely hot, but I felt really good! If you remember when I started running in January, I was struggling to run a mile. It hurt, and my body complained. I had a hard time breathing. But recently I've been enjoying running. I think once I broke the 5-mile distance, running became fun again. That's a great distance to run and leaves me "blissfully tired," as another blogger described this feeling. It's a good kind of tired, like "Wow, I did that and feel like I'm on top of the world!"
To keep the rhythm going, I'm still setting my alarm clock for 5am and doing my exercise in the morning. 30 days from now I'll be a changed man, or in the PROCESS of changing. ;-)
Well, last night I was in bed by about 9:08pm. I was not tired at all, so I read until about 9:40pm. Then I tried to sleep. My wife came to bed at 10pm and woke me up. My daughter came home later and it woke me up. Then in the wee hours of the night my daughter decided she wanted to clean and was looking for something, making noise. I woke up again. I was sleeping very lightly. The alarm clock went off at 5am and I was exhausted. I hit the snooze and woke up again at regular intervals until 6am. I was experiencing various states of dillusion until finally shaking it at about 6:10am. Now what? I intended on being at work by 7 this morning. Do I give up my training ride for the morning? Ah, if only I was a morning person who loves mornings. Now all I want is a cup of coffee. haha.
Still, here I am, three days into my makeover and I'm up by about six. I've heard that '30 days makes a habit.' I wish my fitness training was really a habit also. Change. Force change? Desire to change? Lasting change? I look back on my life and reflect on what I've really been able to change and what I haven't. It's interesting. We must first believe that change is possible.
August 2, 2005
Change requires discipline
It's 9pm and this 'morning person' has to go to bed. 21 mile ride in the morning. I'm going to try to get up at 5 am tomorrow instead of 6. Man this is hard. I don't even feel tired now. But it will be worth it. That is if I really have the discipline to do this.
Early to Bed, Early to Rise?
Makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise? Last night I went to bed at about 9:15 PM. Wow, that's early. I couldn't sleep at first so I read for a little while and finally just put the book down and began some breathing/relaxing techniques, like yoga, to calm myself down enough to fall asleep. The last time I saw on the clock was 9:39 PM.
This morning my alarm rang at 5 AM but I couldn't get up. I finally woke up at 6AM. That's about 8 hours of sleep! I have to admit I feel pretty good right now! But it just doesn't seem right to go to bed so early! haha. Now I'm going for a bike ride and then to work by 7:45.
I guess the wisdom part comes in when I realize the importance of getting enough sleep, regardless of whether I'm a morning person or night person. I see it as shifting my internal clock, which may not be easy. Regardless, I still need to get the right amount of sleep for proper health and balance in my life. We'll see how it goes. Today is a good second day of conversion.
Have a great day!!!
August 1, 2005
Becoming a morning person
Yesterday I said that I was going to turn myself into a morning person. Last night I went to bed at about 10:00pm and got up this morning at about 6:30 AM, left the house for a 13 mile training ride with an average speed of 19 MPH. That was very difficult to get up that early and muster up enough energy to ride my bike hard. It didn't feel good until after I showered and had something (more) to eat after getting to my desk at work. And everyone was surprised to see me at work earlier than usual.
All in all, today was a successful first day of becoming a morning person. Is a drastic change like this possible? Ever since I can remember I used to be a morning person when I was younger, but after getting out of the Army I changed into a night person, staying up late and getting up late in the morning. I even changed my working hours to start at 8:30 AM so I wouldn't have to get up so early.
We'll see how it goes. I think I can do it because I really want to do it, for various reasons. Day one is a success.