Life Experiences & Observations

Sit Down, Buckle Up, Hang On, and Enjoy My Blog Ride

Month: April, 2014

The Grand Finale – Prizes Involved

00000 fireworks
I made it!! The last post of my April Blog-A-Thon! Through blood, sweat, and tears, I persevered. And there truly were tears considering I have spent 5 of the last 6 days visiting my Dad in the hospital. I am happy to report that he went home today. To all my supporters who are currently following me I can’t thank you enough. Whether you joined months ago or joined yesterday, I appreciate you listening to my stream of consciousness rambling. And as a result, I want to give back.

So here is the deal. I want to reward both my current followers and my soon to be new followers. To do so, I am going to give away 3 copies of one of my 4 favorite motivational books that I have read over the past year. Three books in total not three of each. I don’t love you that much… at least not yet. The three books are as follows:

1. The Art of Non-Conformity by Chris Guillebeau
2. The Power of Less by Leo Babauta
3. Career Renegade by Jonathan Fields
4. Choose Yourself by James Altucher

I will randomly choose 1 of my current 46 followers. If you are already following my blog you already qualify to be in the random drawing. If you are not following my blog, then following it today through the last day in May will allow you to qualify. I will randomly choose 2 winners from today through May. I will do my best to contact you through the details based on your current follower profile. If I am unable to contact you I will ask you to contact me on one of my future blogs. I will pull the current follower winner later this week. I will pull the other two winners the first week in June.

Once I contact you I will need you to only provide two details.

1. Your Address
2. Which book you want

I promise not to use or publish your address for any other purpose except to mail your book. Thanks again everyone and good luck with the prize contest. While I may not continue blogging everyday, you will definitely see at least two blogs a week from me.

It has been a blast and will continue to be. Don’t get off the ride just yet. Sit Down, Buckle Up, Hang On, and Enjoy My Blog Ride!!


The TRUE 2nd to Last Post – Valuing Time

0000 Valuing TimeThis time yesterday I was so delirious I couldn’t even count. I thought it was Tuesday and was my second to last post of my April blog-a-thon. Well this post is my TRUE second to last post. Now that I am easing back into my normal routine, with my Dad scheduled to be released from the hospital tomorrow, I am seeing things with a new light. This has happened to me before and when I think about it I get sad since this feeling ultimately fades away. The feeling that life is short and you need to enjoy every minute. The feeling that life’s inconveniences and frustrations in the long run don’t really matter. The understanding that the only minute that matters is the minute you are living currently. So how do I keep this understanding of life’s most precious commodity which everybody knows is time? I will come back to that. You have probably heard others state this about time and it is actually somewhat false. The most precious commodity, at least for a human being, is air. You can’t experience the passing of time without air. Essentially, air is the most precious commodity but time is the second most precious commodity.

Well I have found the answer to consistently value both time and air. That answer is meditation. I am still working on meditating more regularly but I am not there yet. Once I do get there though, I feel like I will truly value life’s two most precious commodities. If you have yet to try meditation, I encourage you to do so. There are hundreds of different resources to learn how but too many to mention here. I will default to one of the best bloggers in the world who I highly admire… Leo Babauta. Click HERE to access his meditation for beginners which details 20 tips for quieting the mind. You will be happy you did. Meditation uses the breath, also known as air, to appreciate the present moment. Two precious gifts rolled into one. Am I getting too hippie fru fru for you? If so, just skip it and go about your stressful, time draining life. As harsh as that sounds I will not judge you if choose that path. I have chosen it before myself and been stuck there. But when you feel like you have hit rock bottom and can barely breath due to the stress and anxiety; come back to this post. Better yet, go to Leo Babauta’s Zen Habits blog. I have been at rock bottom before and know this helps.

The Courtesy Blog

00000 courtesyThis is the 2nd to last post for my April blog-a-thon. While I have technically failed (look back at my “Missed it By That Much” post), I am going to finish this sucker out. I really don’t have much energy left and this time is not due to the blog-a-thon difficulty. I have basically been living my life, the last few days, between home and the hospital with my Dad. He is improving but there have been some complications that will likely extended his stay. I have not been to work since Thursday of last week and tomorrow will be my first day back. Hopefully by tomorrow I will have some grand finale to share as my last blog ends the month of April. Stay tuned as I crawl my way to the finish line.

Gut Wrenching Emotions

Feel and accept fear through soft belly meditation
The pain of an arterial episode is transformed into body shivers and boxing glove swollen hands
Will tomorrow bring the right reading for the right levels
Or will the fear slam the meditation like a gut wrenching sucker punch

Sleep is slowly crawling away and escaping me like a snail dressed in camouflage
Food shards slice my stomach, no blandness seems to dull the blade

Media box distractions, tank of sharks and minutes of 60
Writings become the impossible as words fail to capture the Hiroshima emotions
6 Million gone and remembered while I am a screaming dust speck that hopes to matter
Grasp deep for a positive outlet, its my skin of innateness

Can’t write no more
Can’t think no more
Can’t sleep no more
Can’t eat no more

Can continue to sit here doing absolutely nothing.

Life Appreciation Elixir – 15 Movies to Motivate

0000000000000 MoviesIn times of struggle and hardship I tend to gravitate to watching movies about death which inspire me to cherish life. For most people that are going through tough times, they try to avoid any items or things that remind them of negativity. That’s just not me. One time in an interview for a position at the Multiple Sclerosis Society, I was asked “What is the one thing that motivates you the most?” My answer, which I was hesitant to reveal, was death. They admitted to me right then and there that it was the most profound answer they had ever heard. I am not trying to brag, its just what happened and shows the true motivating factor that death can provide.  Just ask the departed Steve Jobs.

Last night after waking up from my early evening nap, I decided to finish watching the movie “The Bucket List.” I had started it earlier in the day and really wanted to finish it despite it being 27 minutes past midnight. Of course I first had to finish my blog which had me admitting failure of accomplishing my April blog-a-thon goal.  I have seen the move multiple times and to this day it is one of my favorites and always seems to make me cry. I cling to this movie in the face of troubled times like a security blanket. Below is a list of 15 of my favorite movies I like to watch when I need a little does of life appreciation elixir.

  1. Beaches
  2. American Beauty
  3. The Bucket List
  4. Schindler’s List
  5. The Doctor
  6. Mr. Holland’s Opus
  7. The Pursuit of Happyness
  8. Dead Poet’s Society
  9. The Shawshank Redemption
  10. Good Will Hunting
  11. My Life
  12. Grand Canyon
  13. Pay it Forward
  14. Rudy
  15. Life is Beautiful

I could include links or descriptions for the movies above but if you have not already heard of them you are just going to have to discover them for yourself.  After all, isn’t that why they invented Google?  So next time you having difficulty appreciating the preciousness of life, trying watching one of the movies above.  It may just light a flame of motivation underneath your ass.  What are you still reading for?  Life is short, stop reading and start doing!

Missed it By That Much

0000 sad faceSo here I am at the computer after falling asleep on the couch while watching the baseball game.  It’s 27 minutes passed midnight and I have technically failed my April blog-a-thon.  And I was doing so well and was getting so close to the end.  Some would say it’s close enough but for me I feel that would be cheating.  Will I finish out the month anyway??  Absolutely!  A combination of my Dad having surgery today (which went fine), and me having one too many Gin & Tonic’s this evening caused my body to be just too tired to make it.  To my faithful readers, all 38 followers I believe at this point, I apologize for letting you down.  I still feel I have gained a lot from this experience and maybe even became a better writer along the way.  Sad but sleepy, that’s all I have for this evening or this morning I should say.

Medical Roller Coaster

000 roller-coasterI wish I could say I was a new rider on the medical roller coaster but I am a seasoned veteran. It’s kind of par for the course when you have a special needs child, two parents growing older in which one has heart disease and diabetes, a father-in-law with Parkinson’s, a dead friend from HIV, various co-workers get thrown out of the seats of life, and myself in multiple car accidents. Of course there is always too many funerals to count due to close relatives passing away. Their amusement tickets have clearly expired. When you think through medical incidents in your life you may start to get depressed. But there are two things that I have begun to realize:

  1. These unfortunate incidents happen to everyone and are just twists and turns in the coaster ride.
  2. You can’t truly appreciate the good without some of the bad.

Sure there are always going to be people that have it better than me but there will also always be people that have it worse. With just over 7 Billion people on earth you have a much better chance of winning the lottery twice than being the person that has it the absolute best or the absolute worst.

What has me thinking about this today is two events. My youngest daughter having an MRI today to finalize whether or not she will need growth hormone injections due to a deficiency and my Dad having colon surgery tomorrow. Both instances would probably freak most out big time but my oldest daughter has already been taking growth hormone for years and my Dad already survived triple bi-pass surgery years since past. Welcome to the silver lining that turns to gold.

You have to appreciate what you have. Being 42, my life could very well be close to half over. You have to appreciate the upswings of the ride or the downswings will dribble your life away with you not even noticing. Welcome to my pick you up post. What do you mean it’s not working? Thanks for being my unknown therapist and reading through my blog today. You will probably be the one view in my blog stats that I check later this week. One is better than none. Yes, I still stick to optimism like duck tape sticks to scorpions. Never mind, that analogy is just for us desert dwellers.

Burnt Beets

000 beetsI bought beets over the weekend in hopes of using them in my Nutribullet to makes Smoothies.  They ended up overpowering whatever additional ingredients I decided to put in.  Because of this, I ended up not utilizing them in smoothies going forward.  I did, however, still have a large number of unused beets.  In previous conversations with some friends of mine, I had been told that roasting is the best way to cook and eat beets.  So off I went to the internet to pull up a beet roasting recipe.  

Most of the recipes were similar so I just dove right in and started preparing my beets for roasting.  Preheat the oven to 425, dribble olive oil on the beets, add salt and pepper for seasoning, and walla.  After 40 minutes of cooking they should be done.  The fork test is the key.  If the fork softly goes into the cooked beats then they are done.  Well after just short of 40 minutes I checked them and they fork still had difficulty penetrating the cooked beets.  So I decided they need longer to roast.  Back into the oven the beets go and I do a quick check on Facebook to see what the social world and my friends that are in it are up to.  20 minutes later my daughter says to me, “Dad, you should check on the beets.”  Damn, that’s right I have beets in the oven.  Or I should say I had beets in the oven.  Nice beautiful purple beets has turned into shriveled up lumps of coal.  Regardless, I decided to try them since I has already put in all this effort.  So what did they taste like you ask?  Burnt beets and pretty much inedible.   And the moral of the story is, don’t check Facebook when you have something cooking in the oven.

Freaky Coincidence Time

0000 poker coincidenceAs I have blogged about before, I have been reading the dictionary two pages a day for just over two years. I have definitely not been doing it consistently since I would have been done long ago if I had. Well I happen to be on page 443 this evening and what word do I come upon at the conclusion of Passover? Matzo. If you are good at math then please comment as I am interested to know the chance of this occurring mathematically. The mathematical details are as follows:

1. Passover occurs once a year for 8 days.
2. The dictionary I am reading happens to be 852 pages long
3. There is 1 page with the word Matzo.

This is your chance to wow me with your math skills. Calculate away and leave your answer even if you only have an inkling of what it is. And don’t ask me for the answer or to validate your answer since I have no idea. I leave it to my readers to do the truly difficult tasks. Have Fun!

All News is Bad News

00000000 newspaperDespite the title of this blog post I don’t really believe it. Unfortunately mainstream media does. They get paid to sensationalize our world. Shock value sells. I wish I could say it is all the media’s fault but watching the rubber necking that occurs while driving past an accident scene I know we as a society are being delivered the evil stew we want. Also not all news is bad, you just have to dig deep into that newspaper haystack to find the shinning jewel of a needle. If you want to find only the good stories in your local newspaper, I suggest reading it backwards. That is correct as all the warm fuzzy stories are in the back. If you are saying what is a newspaper, you are letting the digital age blind you to some of the great physicality of life. Call me old fashioned but I love the smell of a fresh newspaper that gets black ink on your hands, and takes a PhD in origami to put it back together.

Enough with the sidetracking, now back to the point. The point is, we need more positive news in our society. The outlets are there but they are just not getting the recognition they deserve. I am encouraging everyone to spread the word. Two of my favorite good news sources are the Good News Network and Daily Good. Both serve up a hefty and filling warm fuzzy dinner. So share my blog or better yet, share the sites. They need the press more than I do.