Donations to Discovery

Monday, August 31, 2015

Texas - the Land of Plenty.... of Work and Waistlines

My 2 month stay on the Gulf Coast of Texas reminded me that it is indeed one of the fastest growing and Work abundant areas of the country.

If you wanna work and make money, in most cases more money than you can make anywhere else on an income vs cost of living basis, this is the place to be.

Contractors are descending on this area like flies to honey.... like buzzards to road kill... and like....

A Poor Man to a Pot of Gold.

As far as I'm concerned, it is likely the best place for employment in the United States.

But with all that work comes the results of all that work.... Long hours, Stress, Poor Diet, No Exercise....

And all that results in an expanding waistline and poor health.

Couple that with a climate, culture and terrain that is not conducive to outdoor activities and exercise and you have the Best and Worst of the Texas Gulf Coast.

It was amazing and shocking to me to see how many people were more than 40 - 50 lbs overweight or morbidly obese.

Hey - I'm not sitting in judgment or criticizing or trying to write a negative post.... I'm just juxtaposing the Opportunity against the Balance of Consequences of that Opportunity.

It's one of the reasons I made the decision to move away from the area.

While I am deeply appreciative and thankful for the employment I have had in the Brazosport area of Texas, I also realize that, at this point in my life, balance is critical.

Basically I value my Health as much as the Money.

So I seek a balance between the two.

It's difficult to not get sucked in to the Frenetic and Hypertensive Get it Done at Any Cost mentality of the Industry work there. The work is challenging and intellectually and financially rewarding but frankly, it is very difficult to maintain any sort of Physical, Mental and Emotional Balance when you're working 50, 60 or more hours per week in a High Stress environment.

As a kind heart close to my heart once said after I listed many of the reasons I was moving away from the Texas Gulf Coast,

"Well if you don't like Texas, then you should just get the Hell out of here and don't come back".

Family visits and short term work assignments notwithstanding.....

That's my Plan.

Leg 1 is done... I'm in Waxahachie!

Keeping an eye on the Stang's heartbeat...

Loping along at 60....

With a UHaul Pack Mule in the string....

Getting almost 21 miles per bale of hay...

Yes Santa Fe - I'm coming!

Checked in at the Motel...

Fed the Mustang.

Stopped and fed myself a marg and some beef brisket enchiladas....

Now got the Stang and the Mule tied up in the shade.

Easy Girl.... Easy....

And he's off!

Well you already knew that so let's just say I'm on my way!

I love the feel of fresh KT in the morning...

It feels like...

Security and Stability!!!

Make a List.... Make a Habit.... Make a Lifestyle

It's no big secret I value Order and Organization in my Life.

Frankly, creating and maintaining Order and Organization in my Life is the basic foundation for the 4th element of a Healthy Lifestyle.... which is Stress Management.

Because, from my experience, if you don't organize your Life, i.e. take control of your schedule, then IT WILL CONTROL YOU!

What are the other elements of a Healthy Lifestyle?  Well - let's just list them all:
  1. Diet and Nutrition
  2. Exercise
  3. Restorative Sleep
  4. Stress Management / Schedule Control / Prioritization

Let me share a little technique I've used for years to help me manage stress and take back control of my life.

The first thing I do in the morning after waking up is.....


Yep, that's Priority 1 and definitely a part of every day's schedule.

The second thing I do is.....


Yep.... I take about 5 - 10 minutes and write down everything I want to get done for the day in roughly chronological order, i.e. the order in which I will do it or in which it will occur that day.

The list will include everything..... Family related events and activities, Work To Do's, Workouts, Grocery Shopping.... You name it.... If I want to get it done or spend any time on it that day, it goes on the list.

It can include thoughts, snippets of information, people I talked to, documentation of events / conversations, whatever.

This Daily To Do List becomes everything from a Daily Planner to a Diary to an Idea List to a Contact List to a Ledger for Important conversations.

I've tried different formats over the years but have settled on these inexpensive little Walmart notebooks.  They are already 3-holed so they will fit easily into a binder when they're full.  And yes, I do keep these for at least a year because as I said, they may contain information on Contacts, Conversations or Important Info that I may forget and have to refer back to.

This little Lifestyle Technique or Approach has gotten more important as I've gotten older, because I don't remember things like I used to.

But there are many other positive things that a Daily To Do List provides:
  • It forces you to write down what you're gonna do.  It's a proven fact that you are much more likely to do or remember to do something and be more motivated to do something..... If you WRITE IT DOWN!
  • It encourages you to THINK THROUGH YOUR DAY and the time it represents and SCHEDULE THE DAY'S EVENTS.  This becomes critical when we're talking about things that are important to you and for you, such as what you're gonna eat and when and how you are gonna exercise.  
  • Because you have written down your Plan of the Day, you will be less likely to let New Events and "Emergencies" interject themselves into your schedule.  One of the most important elements of Stress Control is the ability to say "NO".  Committing a part of your day at the beginning of the day to a specific pre-planned activity is the first step to being able to say "No" and feel guilt free.
  • It gets you mentally, emotionally and physically prepared for the planned events.  Let me give you an example.  If I put on my Daily To Do list that I'm gonna do a CrossFit workout from 5:45 - 7:00 pm, and I look at that "task" on the list a few times during the day, then by about 4:00 pm, I am gonna begin being subconsciously preparing for that.  I will make pre-workout plans like eating a small nutritious snack or drinking a pre-workout drink.  I will also be more "on guard" about letting the rest of the world insert it's own personal emergencies into my schedule.  I may even inform my co-workers that I will be leaving work at 5:00 pm so I can get to my workout.... so they will know my schedule and the importance I place on getting to my workout on time.
  • Making a Daily List implies repetition.... and repetition of anything leads to a Habit.  Behavioral Experts tell us it takes 21 days to form a Habit.  So imagine if you started writing down something on your list and doing it for 21 days..... Hmmmm..... You might lose that 10 lbs or start that Savings Plan or or be on the way to that Promotion or Improve your relationship with your Spouse and Kids.... Hell - you might even start enjoying life a little more.
  • Another thing a Daily To Do List does for you is that it shows you where you're spending your time. When you get to the end of the day and you're exhausted and you can't figure out why, it's kinda rewarding to look down at your list and see the "crossed off or checked" tasks and realize "Oh yeah.... I did this and this and that".... I did get something done today..... or vice versa... maybe your To Do List is scribbled and edited with a lot of shit that came up that you had to handle....that's OK, you wrote it down, gave it its due diligence and accounted for your time....and there's something satisfying and rewarding about that.
Now right now, there may be some people reading this that are rolling their eyes and going "This guy doesn't have a clue how out of control my life is".

Spouses, Kids, Friends, Work, Church, Health Issues..... keep on with the list.... and excuses..... they all have a way of CONSUMING OUR LIFE.

I know that....I'm 53 freaking years old....I've been there and done that and lived that life.  I know there is only so much you can do to control your schedule.

But you have to try.... and you might be amazed how simple it is to gain an hour a day for YOURSELF....

If you begin the day with a List.

This Daily To Do List has longer term and more lasting ramifications / consequences.

Your Daily To Do List can contain specific items / goals / tasks that are part of a Longer Term Goal / Task List.

Yes, I am implying you should have at least a written 1-year, 5-year and perhaps Longer Term Goals and Plans List.

These are longer term Goals and Ambitions such as Completing a College Plan, Saving for a Large Purchase, Retirement Planning, Career Goals, etc.

Each one of those Longer Term Goals will have a specific list of steps to accomplish that Notable Task or Goal.

Those smaller tasks can be incorporated into the Daily To Do List such as "Call Financial Planner and set up College Plan for Amy".

Taking Control of Your Time, Organizing Your Life, Making a Short, Intermediate and Long Term "To Do" List....

These are all things that when repeated over and over will form the habits and foundation of a Happy and Healthy Lifestyle.

Try it and See!

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Working the Plan Part 2

Phase 1 is getting all the stuff from the Motel Room into the car.

Decided to take the bike with me to the storage room so I could load all the rest of the stuff at one time.

I initially thought I was going to have to take the bicycle apart - both front and rear wheels and racks removed - to get it to fit.

Told a friend of mine that loading, packing and moving is one of my top 5 things I hate the most.

But here I go again!

Got the first layer in the 4x8 trailer.

And then decided to try to leave a "hole" on the left side of the trailer to fit the bike in intact.....

There's the hole on the left....

And that is an empty 10' x 15' climate controlled room where most of my former life's possessions had resided since December 19, 2014.

The Plan worked perfectly as I got everything in the trailer including my bike intact and the bike rack!

Freaking amazing!

Left the trunk of the Stang for clothes and overflow....

The Stang squatted a little bit but not too bad so I guess I loaded the trailer pretty good.

The Stallion looks even badder with a U-Haul trailer hung on the back....

Can you say Pack Mule?

Wouldn't have any place for her to sit even if I met one.....

Stang and Trailer are ready to roll in the morning...

Think I'll walk down the street and have a Marg and a Meal.

I think I deserve it!

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Plan the Work... Then Work the Plan

Part of doing anything worth doing involves having a plan and schedule.

The first step in moving from Lake Jackson Tx to Santa Fe NM is getting the trailer to haul my stuff.

And this morning.... I did just that.

This is the smallest available enclosed trailer that U-Haul rents and it fits nicely behind the Mustang.

Yep.  My entire life has to fit in a 4' x 8' x 4' enclosure.... kind of ironic.

But also indicative of the new lifestyle I am transitioning to.

Light, Mobile, Detached.

I told you I love all kinds of music....

Today is Hair Band day with Whitesnake Radio.

Signs, Signs, Everywhere there are Signs.

Signs, signs, everywhere there's signs
Fuckin' up the scenery, breakin' my mind
Do this, don't do that, can't you read the sign

I love to travel in a Clean Car so I gave the Mustang the full treatment.... with a nice rubdown inside and out!

Nothing like riding this Lady.... 420 horses will definitely keep you Shaking All Night Long!

Hadn't eaten since 8:00 last night so I hit La Casona in Angleton for Beef Fajitas!

Yep that is one Lean and Sexy Beast!

And the Rider ain't half bad either!

5 out of 6 ain't bad

When I came back to Texas for what was supposed to be just July, I had several things on my To Do list:
  1. Figure out what was wrong with my left knee and get it fixed.
  2. Prepare for that and Recover from that.
  3. Clean everything out of my storage room that I wasn't taking with me to Santa Fe.
  4. Work as much as I could to build up a money cushion for my stay in Santa Fe.
  5. Have Fun and Enjoy my hometown / home area one last time before "committing" to Santa Fe.
  6. Load everything of material possession I valued in life and haul that and my ass to Santa Fe.
1 is done.
2a is done and 2b is in progress.
3 is done.
4 is done.  I've put in 4 - 40 hour weeks with a local company and have a little breathing room.
5 I've made a concerted effort on recently with a trip to the House of Blues and a couple of runs to the Wayside Pub in LJT.... Hey it ain't much but you gotta rejoice in small triumphs right?
6 I am beginning on the logistics of #6 today by picking up a small U-Haul trailer to stuff the rest of my life into.  Monday I will turn the Stallion's nose North by Northwest and will make a short stayover with my son to shoot a few Peace Birds out of the sky and then Drag Ass (which is probably what the Stang will be doing because it will be more like a Pack Mule than a Mustang) to Santa Fe.

Patio DJ at the Wayside Pub.

Don't know if I've Got the Life....

But it's damned sure Got Me!

And yes, with my self-prescribed change in anti-inflammatories I've made a transition from the Land of Pain back to the realm of Humanity.

And part of that realm has been rehab at CrossFit WMD.

Up and Down this list.... all I can say is that if you can do this sort of regimen in 90 degree heat, I have MUCH RESPECT for you.

Yeah I was chasing one of the trainers on the way down the list, but age, the left knee and insufficient cardio had me fade in the run back up the list.

If you think this was easy,  just take a look at my face immediately after the workout. That is not the face of Pleasure....

But that is a Full Moon.... and you know what that means.

Lots of odd and mis-behavior from the Human Race

Which I saw a lot of last night..

Did I?

Not Exactly but I tried.

So yeah..... things are coming along and resolving themselves.

Emerging from the Fog of Uncertainty, the path is slowly becoming clearer.

And the path leads to Santa Fe NM.