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Saturday, December 31, 2016

2016 - The Year of Living Dynamically

This post has been a year in the making because it consists of the makings of arguably, the most difficult, demanding, dynamic and rewarding year of my life.

It began with me discovering I was a cripple.

Yep - almost exactly a year ago, 01/03/16, to be exact, I woke up in the middle of the night, after a long hike the day before, and couldn't straighten my much maligned left knee.

For 3 months, I went through a 1 - 2 hour routine every morning, consisting of hobbling 1 legged from the bed to the shower, keeping my left knee under the hottest water I could stand until the hot water ran out, followed by 30 - 45 mins of painful stretching and exercises, just to be able to get down the stairs.

Walking was painful.  I could ride a bike which I did as much as I could and continued as much non-loaded exercise as I could such as my PIYO classes at Anytime Fitness.

I saw a couple of local Santa Fe orthopedic surgeons who basically pronounced the left knee dead and then set up an appointment with a Total Knee Replacement specialist, Dr. Gregory Stocks, at the Fondren Orthopedic Group, in Houston Tx.

In the meantime, I learned everything I could about Total Knee Replacements and continued to work out as much as I could to maintain as much range of motion and strength in the left leg and the rest of my body as possible.  I ate as clean as I could to get my weight down to take as much load off the knee as possible.

I met with Dr. Stocks on February 17th and scheduled the TKR for the first available date, which was April 4th.

I returned to Santa Fe and prepared myself physically, mentally, emotionally and financially for the challenge to come.

My trip from Santa Fe to Houston for the surgery marked the end of my left knee as I found myself unable to take another step on it while trying to get to the departure gate at the ABQ airport.

I hobbled to a nearby wheelchair and began wheeling myself to the gate where in route, a Good Samaritan intercepted me and wheeled me the rest of the way to the gate.

After continued logistical challenges getting to the hospital and getting checked in for surgery, the whole Total Knee Replacement Procedure and 2-day stay in the Texas Orthopedic Hospital, was like a cake walk.

The post-surgery pain was nothing compared to the intense knife in the knee pain I had been experiencing for the prior 3 months and to a lesser extent, the prior 2 - 3 years.

Recovery was fast and complete, with me walking for short distances without crutches within 3 days, riding a bike within a week and doing a full Rx CrossFit workout a month later.

The New Knee was the ticket to a whole new Show and I felt like I had been given a new Lease on Life.

I spent 3 weeks at my daughter's house during my recovery doing 12 Rehab Sessions at Brazosport Rehab and Wellness and then went for a few days of visiting relatives and then to work on a project that would have be going back and forth from Santa Fe to Texas 6 times in 2016.

During that time, I ramped up to my old routine of workouts and activities - PIYO, Strength Training, Core Strength and More at Anytime Fitness, CrossFit workouts at Praxis, bike riding to / from each and hikes with the Santa Fe Strenuous Hiking Meetup group twice a week, with dancing 3 - 4 nights a week - and created a new routine of a circuit of body weight overhead squats, push-up and pull-ups.

The New Left Knee had me doing more than I had done in the previous year and with virtually little or no pain.

Ironically, this freedom of movement and the joy of life it gave me also brought a sense of caution and appreciation of what I had lost and regained.

When you are crippled and unable to move and in pain and you doubt whether you will ever be able to be whole again, it feels like you have been born again when you are able to walk and run and jump again.

While the tenacity and zest for live, adventure and stretching my body to the limit was still there, it had been tempered by the memory of what I had lost and what had been given back to me.

It was really scary there for a while because I realized I had lost my independence - that I was no longer 9 foot tall and bulletproof - that I could be put down, and most importantly, I had to depend and rely on others to help me.

It was a humbling and enlightening experience, one that rebooted my Life Operating System and reprogrammed my Priorities.

2016 brought me Physical Death and Resurrection.

And it brought the end of several familial relationships.

One because it was Poison to my Soul.

One because some People can't handle the Truth.

One because I couldn't undo the Past.

It also brought me a short but intense relationship that showed me that Being Alone was better than trying to Share my Life with Another.

2016 brought me more Work than I had in previous years, more Pain than I had experienced in a Lifetime, more Joy and Restoration than I thought possible and more Heartache than I wanted.

What did I learn from my Year of Living Dynamically?

I am mentally, physically and emotionally stronger than I thought I was.

I ALONE am the Master of my World and am the Best One to Know what is Best for Me.

I am still a a Flawed and Fallible Soul, Servant to and in celebration of my Character Weaknesses and the Unpredictable and Spontaneous Nature of my Mind, Soul and Spirit.

I am Unique, Fringe and a Combination of Mental, Physical and Emotional Anomalies that People that don't know me Reject and that people that do know me find difficult to Assimilate and Process.

I Stand Alone on this Last Day of 2016 Stronger than I have ever been in anticipation of the Next Breath, the Next Day, the Next Year and the continuing Discovery that is this gift called Life.

Create your World, Build your Body, Strengthen your Mind, Search your Soul, Refine your Spirit and Love your Life.

These are my Goals for 2017 and my Wishes for You.

New Year's Eve Feast

Picked up a couple of 16 oz bone-in New York Strip steaks from Smith's for $4.99 / lb and prep'd them yesterday with Adolph's Unseasoned Meat Tenderizer, Salt, Fresh Ground Black Pepper and a generous coating of my Curry Powder, Garam Masala, Allspice, Cumin mix and forked the seasoning into the steak on both sides.

Into a smoking hot cast iron skillet for 3-1/2 mins on the 1st side - steaks were about 3/4" thick so 1 min for every 1/4" of thickness for Medium.

I keep boiled eggs in the fridge all the time for a quick and easy "Perfect Food" snack.

I boil them for 5 mins at this 7200' elevation in Santa Fe which gets them to soft boiled where the yolk is still moist but not runny.... that's the way I like them.

Beautiful Blackening of the seasoning on this steak - this is what a cast iron skillet does.  Most people don't realize the difference that searing that seasoning to the meat surface makes.  It creates an incredible layer of flavor AND seals in the natural meat juices.

3 mins on the 2nd side and then let that steak rest for at least 5 mins before eating.

Once that steak comes out, I pan grilled in the steak drippings an entire yellow squash sliced thin seasoned with the same spices as the steak.

Pan grilled an already baked sweet potato sliced into discs and added a 2nd starch in the form of a 90 second microwave packet of Uncle Ben's Red Beans and Rice mix.  Once the rice cooked in the microwave I pan grilled it in the cast iron skillet to get some of that steak seasoning into the rice. Add a beautiful soft boiled egg on the side, fresh basil for a garnish and a bodybuilding drink mix of Fruit Punch Creatine and Chocolate Protein isolate with a pan grilled Hawaiian Honey Wheat Roll with real butter for what I consider dessert and you've got a...

New Year's Eve Feast!

That's the way to finish off 2016 and put a good start on 2017.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Running the Human Race and Winning Everyday!

I have to kinda smile and chuckle inside when people in theses CrossFit-style workouts, or any workouts for that matter, say that they're just competing against themselves.

I almost wanna say - "Well then why are you here?" 

For me, the spirit of competition and learning from others around me in the spirit of competition, is a part of why I do what I do.

I look at the others around me in these workouts as a part of a competitive and elite community.

We are all individuals that, for whatever personal reasons, are seeking to better ourselves through a rigorous, varied, challenging and lifestyle functional program of exercise.

Despite me wearing my Extra Large Women's Pink Praxis tank top in deference to "Snatch" day, my Snatch sucked.

But that's OK.

I took my frustration out on a 5 Round + 3 Rep Rx WOD and walked away ruling my day anyway!

And followed up the 9 mile round trip bike ride and workout with a meal that satisfied the palate and the body's need for protein with a few creamy carbs thrown in:

1 link diced TJ's Jalapeno Chicken Sausage
1 - 2 oz link of diced Holmes Pecan smoked Beef sausage
2 slices of TJ's Peppered turkey bacon
1 cup of creamy southern style grits
2 over medium eggs
Garnish of fresh basil, kalamata olives, grilled artichoke hearts and fresh tomatoes.

I am running the Human Race and Winning Every Day!

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

The Ultimate Art Form of Self Expression: Body Sculpting

This is a post that I have hesitated to write because it goes so counter culture to the culture I now live in which is the Santa Fe NM culture.

But frankly, I've kinda gotten sick and tired of hearing so many people talk about and so many women swoon over the musicians and movie makers and sculptors and jewelry makers and the many other "artists" in this community, that I just decided Fuck it, let me throw my 2 cents worth in.

Everybody has different talents, different interests, different priorities and different ideas of what is art and how they want to express themselves.

For me, the ultimate form of expression is the Human Body.

While many spend their time expressing their images of mind and imagination on canvas or by dancing their fingers through melodic riffs on a guitar or flying across the ebony and ivory of a keyboard or carving their vision from marble or bronze....

I prefer to create my Masterpiece from the closest medium I have at hand.....

My own body.

Believe me - I have nothing but the ultimate respect for those artists who have spent their life developing their ultimate craft or form of self-expression.

But let's face it - that is just one form of self-expression.

I, too, and many like me have spent a lifetime or a good many years of pain, sweat and tears working on our own body craft.

Studying different techniques, practicing different workouts, working around and through injuries and setbacks, eating the right kinds of foods, going through trial and error on the combinations of exertion, nutrition, recovery and the effects of stress on the human body....

To carve and to refine....

At any age....

The Ultimate Art Form.

Friday, December 23, 2016

Being a "Tweener" at 54

  1. a person or thing considered to be between two other recognized categories or types.

    "Price considered him a tweener, too small for a lineman and too big for a linebacker"

One who doesn't fall in any category of people (cliques). The tweener walked through the halls helplessly looking for a place to belong.

"Tweener" is usually a term reserved for those adolescents between the ages of say 10 - 13.  They're not what you call children but not quite teenagers either but I kinda like the connotation of the 2 definitions above.

I'll condense it even further to "someone who is caught between age groups".

And that's exactly where I find myself in Santa Fe where the average age of the population is 63 years old.

Maybe I missed the sign but I haven't seen the street where all the people my age live.

There's a lot of people older than me and quite a few younger than me but not so many my age.

Which puts me in a really interesting situation, that being that I'm too young for the older people and too old for the younger people.

Which is quite amusing because I have what I would consider the values and principles of an older person but the perspectives, energy, outlook and physicality of a younger person.

I am a Young Person with an Old Heart.

And it's also funny that my 23 year old daughter and 31 year old son look at me as old because I don't look at them as young - I look at them as equals.

So I end up hanging out with people that are older than me on my hikes and in social situations like dancing and I work out with people that are younger than me in my CrossFit workouts.

Oh I've tried to make connections with people younger than me - say 40 - 45, but inevitably they look at me and treat me like an older person - which I am.

So I find myself stuck in the dead zone between those too old to take me seriously and being too serious for those too young for me

Being a Tweener at 54.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Living in the World according to ______

It's a fatal flaw of mine that I am drawn to and seemingly attract very strong willed women.

I respect their independence of Life, Spirit and Perspective and apparently the respect is mutual.

Until the Clash of Independence and Wills occurs.

Strong-willed People, especially older Strong-willed People tend to have unshakable, unalterable views of Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.

They also tend to be relatively sensitive to and intolerable of any thought, expression or action that challenges their personal view of how things should be done or how life should be conducted.

They exist in their Own World of Rights and Wrongs and no external force or being will change their Universe of Morals, Ethics, Axioms and Standards.

This self-confidence and rigidity of spirit and perspective creates its own kind of stubbornness.

I can speak on this matter with some authority because I are one and have experienced a few of like kind.

It's something I have worked on with limited success because frankly I consider it more of a liability than an asset.

I mean - come on - if you think you have it all figured out, that you know yourself and the world around you well enough to NEVER change or admit there could be a better way or to at least consider ideas, perspectives and actions that might lead to self-improvement, then by my definition, you are pretty much stagnant or some kind of....

God on Earth.

One Walk out of the World according to William has been to try to be tolerant of and flexible with relational "lines in the sand" drawn by my selected mirror images of the female persuasion and in seeking not to draw those same lines in the sand myself.

In reflection and consideration of repeated attempts in breaking out of the World according to William and trying to live in the World according to ______, I guess I'd have to say I haven't been successful at navigating the Stormy Seas of Compromise, Self-Service and Independence that one must sail through to get to the calm waters of a lasting and meaningful relationship.

Perhaps the solution begins at the beginning of the voyage in recognizing the inevitable outcome of trying to build and sustain a relationship with a mirror image of myself.

There has to be some neutral territory or middle ground between the...

World according to William and the
World according to William's Significant Other.

And that search may be more about changing William's World than finding a World for William to share.

Monday, December 19, 2016

Outback Willie's Cosmic Chili

Woke up to 10 degree temps here in Santa Fe and figured it was about time to pull a Texas Chili into New Mexico but amp it up a bit.

So here are the main ingredients:
  • Holmes Pecan smoked beef sausage
  • 50 - 50 Ground 95% lean turkey / 95% natural pork ground meat with a wet mix of 1 egg, honey mustard, worcestshire, soy sauce, tabasco, sriracha, balsamic and olive oil and a veggie mix of diced sweet onion, poblano / red bell / jalapeno peppers, carrots and fuji apple.
  • Poblano, red and green bell and jalapeno pepper
  • Sweet Onion
  • Carrot sticks
  • Yellow Squash
  • Garlic and Ginger
  • Large can of tomato sauce, diced tomatoes
  • Small can of Mexican corn
  • 1/2 carton of chicken stock
  • Salt, Pepper, chili powder, cayenne, bay leaves, tarragon, herbs de provence
  • Pecorino Romano cheese
  • Pineapple (Huh? Yep - You had to know it would be different!)

Start by dicing the "hard" veggies.

Get those sauteing in a smoking hot cast iron dutch oven.

Dice up the beef sausage, ginger and garlic.

Yellow squash.

Obviously, everything is seasoned before it goes in the pot.

Add the sausage, ginger, garlic and squash and the tarragon and herbs de provence.

Roll everything together and saute for 3 mins and then add a good helping of the ground meat mix and roll again and saute for 3 more mins.

Here's the rest of the ingredients ready for addition.

Tomato sauce and diced tomatoes and corn in and then add a half a container of chicken broth and add more chili powder and the bay leaves and bring to a boil.

And here's the critical ingredient.  Gotta add a little brown sugar to cut the acidity of the tomatoes and meld the flavors together.

Dice and season a 1/3 of a pineapple with cinnamon.

Saute the pineapple in a hot cast iron skillet....

Grate some pecorino romano cheese.

Add the pineapple to the chili and stir in.

Add some fresh cilantro and grill up a piece of spelt bread.

Simmer for 5 more minutes.

Total prep and cooking time is 30 mins.

Serve over wild rice and sprinkled with the Pec Rom Cheese and some fresh cilantro and a couple of dobs of sour cream.

Not your regular Texas Chili but perfect for a cold day in Santa Fe and definitely.....

Out of this World!

Friday, December 16, 2016

Close only counts in Horseshoes, Hand Grenades, Atomic Bombs and Relationships

Another old saying bastardized for the purpose of making a point.

The concept is pretty simple.

The cases or occasions where 2 people meet and discover that they have no or very few points of contention or differences in perspective and lifestyle is pretty rare.

For the most part, the successful relationships I have observed have been those where 2 people have a number of significant core values alike and then have the ability to tolerate, live with and adapt to their fellow foibles, fallibilities and failures that follow which requires patience and flexibility.

I say observed because unfortunately I have never had a long term lasting successful relationship as evidenced by 2 divorces, which probably makes me the least likely candidate to comment or express opinion on the subject matter, but, again, observation of success is at least a way of gathering information.

One thing that doesn't work is expecting your significant other to meet ALL of your expectations ALL of the time.

Kinda like the old saying -

You can fool some of the people all the time and all the people some of the time but you can't fool all the people all the time.

Substitute in "please" for "fool" and "your significant other" for "people" and you get the gist of it.

So if you wanna get close to someone, find someone that gets close to what you want and then don't throw the baby out with the bath water.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Gaining Control by Giving it Away

Kind of a derivative or a continuation of the whole "Less is More" theme of Life from the prior post.

The more I've seen this concept practiced in my own life, the more I realize how effective it is especially when dealing with things involving the emotions of another person.

As I've gotten older and associated with people who are older, which is what happens when you get older, I've realized how much more rigid and unforgiving I am in dealing with other people's actions or in compromising or adjusting my own actions and style to accommodate those of another person.

The tendency is to try to exercise some control or influence over those you care about or are interested in to change their course of life and lead them to your own state of enlightenment.

And then there's that whole Life History thing where the summation of your Life Experiences come into play and influence your own perspectives on how to do things and how to interact with others.

In the end analysis, it's all about assessing the importance of differences in perspectives and style and deciding whether or not those particular elements are relational "showstoppers".

I've encountered this a few times in the past year where lines are drawn in the sand over things that to me are just minor perturbations in the Universe of Life, but to the other person, are actually Canyons of Controversy that couldn't be spanned with anything less than a Superman leap or an Evel Knievel rocket.

About the only thing you can do in those circumstances is shrug your shoulders and walk away and hope that time and consideration will bring a change in the other person's perspective or priority.

Leave the Control of the Outcome in the Other Person's hands and Live your Life.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Sometimes the best thing to say is NOTHING!

Another one of those social topics or techniques I had no concept of growing up because my family was loud, talked a lot and generally left nothing unsaid....

Even if it should have been.

It was a running joke that when all the Millers got together, it was a contest to see who could shout the loudest.

Partly as a result of this heritage, my "filter" for expressing myself was "No filter".

It took me about 50 years to realize this is probably not the right approach if you want to live a peaceful, productive and healthy life.

My son was always pretty good about knowing what to say and what not to say in critical situations so I started seeking counsel from him.

And the results of a healthy and active lifestyle, better nutrition, more sleep and less stress and the effects of aging seemed to have lessened my desire or need to talk so much and increased my understanding of listening and sometimes doing or saying nothing.

I've had several situations, encounters or interactions with people over the last year or so that has really illustrated how important it is to understand and practice this simple act of social elegance.

Perhaps ironically, all of these interactions have been with women.

I think it's most appropriately used with women than men because the interactions with women can often be more "feeling"  than fact based.

I'm a Problem Solver - I want to fix things and make them right.  To analyze the situation, figure out what's wrong and talk about and put into motion the things that are gonna make the situation better.

In a lot of cases involving intense feelings and emotions, especially if there's some history or precedent involved, the last thing the other person wants to hear is the solution to the crisis. They may just want you to "suffer" and take it.... feel a little bit of the pain and frustration they feel.

They own the pain and perspective of that situation and they want you to know what that feels like.

If you stand up like a racketball wall and bounce the pain back at them with your logic and reason, all they're gonna get is more pain returning with velocity and forethought.

And maybe also ironically, in most of these cases I'm referencing, in the end analysis, I really hadn't done anything wrong.

There was a history or a misunderstanding or just a need to vent that had absolutely nothing to do with me in particular and everything to do with the other person.

My approach with each circumstance was a little different but was always based on two ways of handling things:
  • Just shut up and listen.
  • If I said anything, it was to agree, console, support or accept blame, responsibility or at least complicity.
And in every case where the other person was just too jacked up emotionally to avoid getting jacked up emotionally myself, I just said "Hey, you have every right to be upset.  I understand but there is just no way I can talk to you about this right now. Can we talk about this again tomorrow?"

Every single freaking time I did that, I got some text or communication in follow up apologizing and thanking me for understanding.

And the situation was always resolved amicably.

Proverbs 15:1

A gentle answer turns away wrath,
    but a harsh word stirs up anger.

And sometimes the best answer is....

Friday, December 9, 2016

Deadliftathon and Facing what Faces you

Been fighting a cold virus most of the week but got a supply of Prednisone, Amoxicillin and ProAir inhaler from the Railyard Urgent Care Clinic and have just refused to succumb.

Interesting that my philosophy on being sick is no different than my philosophy when I'm well....

Keep moving.  Do everything you can do.  Even if you're having problems breathing, turn the oxygen over.

Put your body under physical stress and make it adapt.

I've tried it both ways - sitting around and suffering in a sedentary state - or staying wide open.

And wide open, I always get well faster.

I finally got a decent night's sleep last night so decided to push the envelope with a bike ride to Praxis and a workout that looked something like a session of marathon Deadlifts aka 


Lots of stretching and deep breathing during the warm-up because the WOD was gonna be a back breaking, lung busting one of 'em.

Crazy Workout.

Strongest I've been in over 2 years.

Did 6 sets of deadlifts for the strength section:

225 for 3
275 for 2
315 for 1

235 for 3
285 for 2
325 for 1

Got the 325# on a single rep pretty easy and that set the 85% of the strength section max deadlift for the 10 min EMOM - Every Minute on the Minute - Deadlift 275# for 3 reps followed by 6 burpees.

Doesn't sound like much but you do that 10 times and you'll feel it.

Sometime you just have to tell life to.....

Swing batter-batter Swing!

Hit me with your best shot!

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Learning Life Lessons from the Masters of the Universe

This is a post about learning from people who are Masters of their Lives or at least Masters of some aspects of their Lives.

It's hard for most of us little people to ever get in contact with these "Masters of the Universe".

They run the gamut of  "importance" of effect on the World from running large corporations, a state, a country, a foundation to loving and managing their family or just themselves.

As I have alluded to in many posts, I am a Life Observer, Student and Plageurizer.

I look for those people who are better than me at things, characteristics, outlooks, perspectives or actions that I view critical components of Life.

I consider it an essential element of Life to look up and not down, i.e. I spend more time and attention being around people who are su-peer-ior vs peer-ior to me.  There's that Outback Willy Wordsmithing again.

And let me say, at this point in Life, I have yet to find a single person who has all their Life Shit together in one pile.

But I've seen a few that come pretty close.

And I'm not talking about the Tony Robbins, Dale Carnegie, Blah Blah Blah Motivational Speakers with the 15 step program to worldly bliss.

I'm talking about brick and mortar people that have created their own lifestyles and don't advertise it or market it.  They just live it and in so doing, touch and positively influence those they come in contact with.

In this world of labels, some may call them Mentors.  I don't think that's the same thing I'm talking about.

Mentor is one of those "power" words describing someone you associate yourself with to teach you how to get ahead.

Not the same thing.

A "Master of the Universe" rarely takes on the formal role of Mentor.

They simply live their life in your presence and you take notes and are better for the experience.

So let's look at 3 examples of My Masters of the Universe and the Life Takeaways from my association with them.

I'll just call the first one Fred Flintstone.

He was a guy I worked for over 25 years ago.

First off, Fred was one of the smartest guys I have ever met about a lot of things.  He could quote the concept, the theory, the natural laws of Man and Nature and then break those complex subjects into simple speak that punctuated how well he knew and understood the subject matter and then apply that knowledge in the field of practical engineering with the foresight, ease, elegance and genius of an artist in front of an easel.

And that is a Key Learning in Life.  There are a lot of smart people in this world, but very few who can communicate that intelligence to you in an actionable and understandable way and not make you feel stupid in the process.

Second, Fred was a people person.  Everyone that worked for Fred loved Fred because he was Fair and Fun. The people who didn't like Fred were the people he worked for because Fred was not a corporate guy in manner or appearance.  Imagine an Engineer Santa Claus entering the building you worked in.  You could hear Fred come in the door - loud, jovial, laughing, cracking jokes.  And he looked the part - heavy of belly and flush of face from too much of 2 of his many passions which was eating and drinking. And he was almost always the smartest guy in the room and most of his upwardly seeking self serving managers didn't like that.

This man and his wife put on a Christmas Food and Spirits party that he would take off 3 days prior to prepare for.  I went to it twice and swear he must've spent $10000 on it and, again this was 25 years ago.

In a word, Fred was a Hedonist.  He crashed the Party of Life everyday and out thought, out ate, out drank, out joked and out worked all of us.

Fred was a Force of Nature and he made you want to do great things.  I remember one of my greatest fears / concerns when I worked for Fred is that I would disappoint him - as a worker or as a person.  He was the kind of guy that motivated you through example.  You wanted to be great because he was great and you wanted his approval and recognition.

He was a supervisor of mine for about 3 years at a petrochemical plant and I remember 2 examples of how Fred did things and thought that influenced me to this day.

In the first example, he had come to my office to discuss an issue that we had disagreed on several times.  I don't even remember what it was but I was kinda being a prick about it and was being insubordinate and obstinate like I used to be and just basically told Fred.....

"I ain't gonna do that."

I remember Fred's face turned 4 kinds of deep red and purple and he rared back and slapped his hand down so hard on my desk that the papers and binders I had on the top of it flew up 3" off the desk top.  I swear he should've broke his hand.  When the thunder that must've resounded through the building from the desk bitch slap administered from Fred receded, he stepped back and said....

"You damn sure are gonna do it and have it to me first thing in the morning".

Even in that day and age, that was just something you didn't do but it was exactly what I needed and the right way to handle me and that's another thing Fred was good at.

He could be whatever he needed to be to touch and make an impression on each individual that they would respond positively to.

In another conversation, Fred revealed one of the great difficulties in life when he said.....

"William - if all we had to do was make chemicals, this job would be easy.  It's the dealing with people that makes this job hard".

True that to the exclamation point of Life.

The second example is a guy I've worked with or for on and off for years as a Contractor Turnaround Manager or an Independent Contractor.

I'll just call him R&R.

Here are some of the major learnings I've gleaned from this guy over the years.

First off, there's no substitute for hard work and this is probably the hardest working, most productive and efficient guy I've ever met.  He sleeps little and stays on top of everything all the time.  He runs a pretty significant specialty service company with a skeleton staff of less than 10 people and knows and understands every person's job better than they do.

He can fly at the 70000' level as a general commanding the battlefield or drop down into the trenches and fight with the troops.

And that's unusual.  There are so many great company managers that don't have a fucking clue what their company actually does or makes or what services they provide and wouldn't have a clue how to do anything at the field level.

This guy knows it all from top to bottom.

Second, he is very organized with his time, his company and all of the components and the physical persona of his company.

He practices a concept I have called "The Disney Effect" for years.

It has been written about frequently, but I got my first experience with it in my first visit to Disney World in 1998.  Being an engineer, I was fascinated with how so complex and vast an industrial production as a theme park could function so smoothly, easily and CLEANLY.

I remember sitting in one of the parks - I think it was Epcot - and looking down a long street that probably had more than 1000 people on it and seeing CLEAN and EMPTY garbage cans every 50' or so for as far as the eye could see.

And multiple uniformed cleaning people with floor sweeper brooms and pick-up bins scattered down the street.

Nowhere you sat were you more than a short stride from an empty garbage can.

And there wasn't a single lunch sack, hamburger bag or gum wrapper or piece of debris in site.

The street, sidewalks, everything was immaculate.  There wasn't a single light bulb out or a dirty window to be seen.

I finished a hamburger and gathered up the remaining paper in a wad and walked over to a garbage can 15' away and disposed of it.

I sat back down and watched another guy who was just finishing his meal on a bench opposite me.

He got up and started to leave without throwing his trash away.

I swear - I watched the guy get up, take a step or two, look around like he was surmising how clean the place was, do an about face, pick up his trash and go put it in the nearby garbage can.

There was no doubt his normally sloppy behavior had been modified by the immaculate environment he found himself in.

It is a concept I learned and emphasized in my life from that day on.

My quality of work had always been great.  I made it better.

I had always presented my deliverables in an organized way.  They looked good.  I made them look better.

I put together Turnaround Packages with all pictures printed in color on card stock paper with printed tab labels and customized binder spines and faces.

The packages were detailed and beautiful and every Contractor that came in contact with them from the Contractor Company Owners to the lowest echelon field workers were required to review and use every element of the packages that related to their work or field of expertise.

I was told over and over again by the people that worked for me and with me that they knew they were in a different type of place when they came to the Turnarounds I managed simply by the work and effort that was evident in the preparation for the Turnaround as embodied in the Content and Beauty of the Turnaround Packages.

And because of that, their work was better and the Turnarounds were better.

The department I went to work for as the only Contractor (not Employee) Turnaround Manager for Dow Chemical globally went from worst to FIRST in one year based on their Global Turnaround Performance Scoring System because of this philosophy.

The Disney Effect in practice.

R&R runs his Company that same way.

His Work and Construction Packages are Clean, Detailed, Organized and Beautiful and always Exceed the Minimum Bid Specifications. Questions are answered before they are asked.  Contingencies are planned for before they happen.

Every piece of equipment he uses is the highest quality and is always meticulously maintained and cleaned prior to going on a job site.

His warehouses, where the company equipment and materials reside, look like a well-organized Master Bedroom Walk-in closet.  Everything has its place and a proper label. He pays a Warehouse Manager and a competent crew to keep it that way.

And he hires the best people and is willing to pay for them because he knows a job done right the first time pays off many times over in the long run.

He creates a sense of trust and loyalty for and with his employees by treating them fairly and with humanity.

In return, he expects the best and settles for nothing less.

And most importantly, he knows enough about everything he is involved with so as to assess competence and recognize deceit - oh so important in the World of Business and the Game of Life.

Be your own Expert has always been a Life Theme of mine and one I share with R&R.

In a recent discussion about an underperforming contractor that was working for him that was giving him misleading and false information about the completion of a specific action item, he related a Life Theme idea to me, something I had known about him for a long time.

"Don't they know I already know the answer before I ask the question?"

A hard, simple but necessary characteristic that effectively separates the Wheat from the Chaffe and identifies those you can trust and those you must shun.

And finally, a Life Lesson from a most recent acquaintance with a Mistress of the Universe.

Let's just call her Truth.

Have you ever met someone that when entering a room, is given the attention, respect, deference and even envy of those in that room?

Somewhat that projects and embodies Joy and Truth and Light.

That Walks the Talk of Goodness, Fairness, Trust, Integrity, Wisdom, Judgment and Discernment.

I watch this individual and how she interacts with the World around her and the People in it and am amazed at the magnetic attraction that close friends, casual acquaintances and even total strangers have with her.

It is as with the Blind Man who believed that if he could just touch Jesus, he would be able to see again and was rewarded by his faith.

People are drawn to Truth as though to seek her blessed touch and receive the positive healing and restorative energy that covers her like a Shroud of Enlightenment and envelops her like a God Bubble.

As a former Devoted and Diehard Pessimist who slowly transitioned over the last few years to a mere and only slightly less Cynical Pragmatist, I initially looked at this Oasis in the Desert of Life with the same cynicism as a dying man crawling in the desert sand who had seen many of these mirages before and, with disappointed repetition, dipped his hand in another pool of sand.

But as I crawled closer to the deep and bright green pools of water and saw my reflection in them, I realized that these were the Eyes of Truth.

Windows to the Soul of Someone who Lives the Truth.

And my Thirst of Life was quenched and my....

Search for Truth had ended.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Post PIYO Paleo

Despite being a professed loner, I have found solace in the fact that I have several outlets for social interaction.

And one of those outlets are my Group Exercise Classes at Anytime Fitness - one of which is a PIYO class twice a week.  Incredible how such a simple body weight exercise class can be so difficult.

After this morning's PIYO class, led by the muscular but oh so beautiful and feminine Liz P, I decided to pile on the Paleo for a Post Workout Recovery meal -

My now regularly consumed Cilantro Super Salad amped up even more this time and consisting of:

Fresh Cilantro
Carrot Sticks
Boiled Egg
2 slivers of Pecorino Romano cheese

Sided by deboned roasted chicken thigh meat seasoned with salt, pepper, curry powder, garam masala, allspice and cumin sauted in a hot skillet along with kale and a cold fruit salsa consisting of mango, fuji apple, red onion, jalapeno, cilantro and basil.

And to wash it all down - a mix of Fruit Punch Creatine and Chocolate Protein Powder.

And to be consumed over the next few meals....

Baked Sweet Potatoes and Carnival Squash.

I've been packing on the Workouts, the Hiking, the Biking, the Dancing, the Paleo and the Muscle.

I may Stand Alone....

But 8 months Post Left Total Knee Replacement.....

I'm Standing Stronger than Ever!

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Living with the Threat of Suicide

As I have alluded to in a few recent posts and in recent times, I have begun to pay more attention to the reality of the aging process, growing old and to the preparation and reality of dying.

One of the effects of that attentive preoccupation and study is that it makes me want to live what time I have left in life with that much more activity and purpose.

I want to Live My Life.

Not Take My Life.

Which is the subject of this post -

The Act of Taking One's Life aka....


When I told a friend of mine that I have been thinking a lot about Death lately and recently about Suicide, she made it clear that she was available and willing to talk about both at anytime.

I got her drift and explained quickly that I was not a candidate for suicide as I loved me far too much to ever kill me.

But I do want to talk a little about an aspect of Suicide that is potentially far worse than Suicide itself - if that is possible.

And that is the Threat of Suicide.

And that is something I can talk about because I've been on the receiving end of it.

This is a subject and content I have revealed to only a few people in my life for what will be obvious reasons.

In a nutshell, I grew up in a pretty dysfunctional family.

My Dad was pretty much a rage-a-holic and my Mom, either because of my Dad or some congenital contributions, was a Depressed Suicidal person.

I have 2 older sisters, one 9 years older and one 10 years older, and because of my Dad's domestic mental, physical and emotional abuse, my Mom sent my sisters off to a parochial academy for high school.

Which left me home with the 2 dysfunctional parents starting at age 4 or 5 - I don't remember exactly.

But what I do remember was the frequent and consistent depressed bouts of crying that my Mom displayed during which she espoused her desire to kill herself.

I guess that was back in the days before there was readily available material or counseling on the effects that this sort of maternal behavior has on a 5 year old kid, but suffice it to say I remember vividly to this day hugging my mom and crying with her and begging her not to kill herself.

It scared the shit out of me and made me feel even more insecure than my dad's angry, abusive tirades.

This went on for years until I got old enough to realize that this kinda shit was neither normal nor proper.

I don't remember what age it was - probably 12, 13 or 14 - one day my mom went into another one of her depressed suicidal episodes and I just stood over her and said....

"Hey - why don't you just go ahead and kill yourself and put us all out of your misery."

Maybe things got better after that - I really don't remember, but at least I got loose of the stranglehold that the threat of suicide by my mother had on my emotions.

She ended up never killing herself but died of congestive heart failure at age 74.

Well - she really did commit suicide but just did it over most of her lifetime by not eating right, not exercising and not taking care of herself, which is basically the recipe for the soup of congestive heart failure.

It's kinda funny, some years back, I talked to my sisters about this whole subject and their reaction was -

"We don't believe you.  Why are you making this up?  Why would you say such a terrible thing?"

I was shocked.... for about 10 seconds. And then responded -

"How the fuck would you two know what went on at the house after you were 14 years old?  You were 200 miles off at a parochial high school.  I lived this shit. I know what happened."

Based on my experience and the relating of similar circumstances to me by others, the biggest takeaway for me on the subject of suicide is not what it does to the self-executioner but more importantly how it affects those around them.

And perhaps the most negative and destructive effects are seen and felt from the threat of suicide even more so that the realized act of suicide.

Death, of any kind in any manner, brings closure.  There is finality and there are memories of the lost but there is not the present and living mental and emotional abuse that the threat of suicide offers.

In many cases, the threat of suicide is a plea - for help - and it should be addressed as such.

But in other cases, the threat of suicide is a ploy - for manipulation - and it too should be addressed as such.

And in fact, it may be the worse of the two because it bastardizes and belittles the real act and meaning of a suicidal threat from a person who is actually suicidal and just trying to ask for help.

For those that practice either type of suicidal threats - get help.

Seek counseling, communication and support for whatever the source is inside you that creates this behavior.

Because Life is Precious and should be shared with those you care about.

But the Threat of Taking Your Own Life is the best way to destroy the relationships with those same people and leave them with emotional scars they will carry for a lifetime.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Tuesday Praxis Workout!

Looked like an All Body All Everything Workout so I signed up for the 9:00 am class.

With my early morning stretch and mini workout in front of a blazing fire.

Loaded the 2 - 80# bags of Sakrete in the back of the Stang for traction cause it snowed last night and thought they felt kinda light.

Turns out they were as I walked up the 5 sets of deadlifts to 275# for 6 reps with ease.

Didn't hurt that I had the BADDEST SHE BEAST Brittany in the WOD right next to me!!!

With my favorite instructor - the indomitable Sheila B - keeping a close eye on things.

We ended up sub'g in 1 arm DB snatches for the KB swings which I thought was better anyway.

Knew I would never come close to the Bad Ass Brittany but made a good showing.

Best All Body Workout I've had in a long time!

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Living a Life that Death would be Proud of

This may be one of the most difficult posts to piece together that I've ever done.

Because that's just what it is - a bunch of pieces....

Concepts, ideas and phrases that I have collected, thought about and experienced over a Lifetime but much more intensely in recent months.

With that stated, I'll just list the pieces of the puzzle that will be assembled to create this image of Life and Death:
  • It's not how you die that counts... It's how you live that really matters.
  • Getting a Divorce from Myself.
  • Practicing the Art of Growing Old.
  • Recent Interest in Death and Music about Death.
  • A Life to be Thankful For.
It's not how you die that counts... It's how you live that really matters.

This is really a controversial statement because obviously there are a lot of people that have died heroic deaths in sacrifice of their fellow man.  And of course, there are countless others who have died courageous deaths in the face of debilitating disease and sickness.  In these cases, how these people died may have been the defining point of their lives.  This is not what I'm talking about.

For the majority of us, we have 65 - 95 years of daily activities to define our lives - and we do it one 24 hour day, one 60 minute hour, one 60 second minute at a time.  We are all given the same 24 hour day to work with and yet a select few seem to make so much more of their day.... and their lives.

These people are not looking forward to dying.  They are too busy living lives of honor, integrity, accomplishment, with expression of love, peace of spirit, development of mind and strength of body.

I have to shake my head when I hear people talking about looking forward to heaven or the next life.

My first thought is "What's wrong with this life? What are you doing to make this life better for you and those you come in contact with?"

For these people, 10 lives wouldn't make things better, because they have never learned how to live 1 life.

Getting a Divorce from Myself

Part of the reasons why marriages don't last is because people change over time - physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually.

Their interests and activities change and for people who are married, if they can't find a way to deal with that, then they grow apart and after a while there are "irreconcilable differences".

I got to thinking about this in connection with a transition I've gone through over the past 7 - 8 years.

It probably began in 2009 when I realized my 2nd marriage was just not working and that most of the blame for that lay on my shoulders.

I was unhappy with Myself and My Life.

I really didn't like Me and what I had become.

I wanted a Divorce from Myself.

I mean, seriously, that's what you do with a spouse - right?

You get to a point where you just don't like them anymore and don't want to be around them so you get a divorce.

Same thing can be applied to yourself.

You can just look yourself in the mirror and say "Hey Mother Fucker - I don't like you and I want a Divorce!"

Now obviously, I'm not talking about getting rid of yourself physically, aka Suicide, although I will list a song about Suicide later in this post.

What I'm talking about is removing from your life, your being and your interaction with the world, those things that have led you to this Tipping Point of Personal Despair.

For me it was the Fat, the Love of Money, the Anger and the Frustration of Living in a Climate and Community that neither Supported nor Appreciated the Body and Spirit that I was made of.

I Divorced Myself from the Past and the Man I was and Married the Right Guy this time.

And I'm not even Gay.

Moving on...

Practicing the Art of Growing Old

When I was doing research several years ago on the city I wanted to move to from the Texas Gulf Coast, I included several criteria such as Climate, Terrain, Infrastructure, Proximity to Airport, Cost of Living, etc.

One of the things I missed was Average Age of the Population.

You know what the Average Age of the Santa Fe NM population is?


Yep - it's basically a Retirement Community.

The irony of this stat is that it's off by about 15 years when measured by how people look and act and live.

On the Gulf Coast of Texas, I could usually guess a person's age within 2 - 3 years.

In Santa Fe, there's no way to guess because this city is a natural filter for those people seeking longevity, activity and quality of life through good health and balanced lifestyle.

A person who looks 40 might be 55 and a woman who's 67 might look 55.

Hell - there's 75 - 80 year old men and women on the strenuous-grade hikes with me every week.

I mean - first of all, the city is at 7200' elevation so just breathing adds a 20% workout compared to breathing at sea level.

Plus this place is an Outdoor Enthusiast wonderland with Mountain Biking, Road Cycling, Hiking, Skiing, Hunting and Fishing and more.

A lot of People move here and live here because they want to live longer and more active lives.

I have become fascinated with the observation of this for almost 2 years now.

It's become especially significant to me during that same time frame because I have suffered many physical setbacks highlighted by a left knee replacement in April of this year.

The realization that I am aging and growing old is setting in.

And because of that I have turned my attention to these living examples of Life Enhancement, Extension and Activity that exist all around me in Santa Fe.

These people that are 10, 15, 20 , 25 years older than me that have not only defied the effects of age but in some cases have reversed it right before my very eyes.

Such is the case of my Dancer friend from Group Exercise Classes at Anytime Fitness.

After working out with her for a couple of months in early 2015, she started asking me about building muscle and getting stronger.

I answered her questions and gave her general concepts and specific recommendations based on what I have learned, experienced and practiced.

And she starting practicing them.

And getting stronger and more muscular.

At the beginning of this year, she came to me and expressed frustration with seeming to hit a sticking point.

She wanted to advance even further.

I knew she was a strict vegetarian and I told her "Look - I understand you want to be a vegetarian but if you really want to add muscle and get strong, quit eating all those beans and lentils and all those other shit carbs that vegetarians use for protein and start eating Lean Meat and lots of it. Cut the bad carbs and sugar and focus on meat and low carb veggies. Believe me, if you do that and you keep working out like you're doing, you're not gonna believe what you look like in 6 months".

Well - not too long after that I went to Texas to have my Left Knee Replacement surgery and then was in Texas working on and off so I really didn't get to see my Dancer friend for several months.

Then about late July, I saw her in a local dance club and she was wearing this sleeveless outfit that really showed her arms and shoulders and she looked like a Fucking Bodybuilder.

I couldn't believe it - I told her "My God, you've put on 5 pounds of lean muscle just in your upper body!"

And soaking wet, she only weighs a buck 02 so 5 pounds of muscle is a lot on her frame.

Seriously, I could see the entire deltoid rounded and defined from the bicep and triceps and she had veins running down her bicep and about an 1-1/2" of traps coming up behind her neck.

It was an amazing athletic and bodybuilding transformation.

And Oh.... did I forget to tell you this lady just turned 73 years old!

Talking about inspiring and giving me the confidence of knowing that it can be done because I see it nearly every day!

Interest in Music about Death

I was talking to another friend recently about my recent interest in Death and Music about Death.

She asked me why I was interested in Death and I didn't really have a good answer for her.

Perhaps it's been my visits with my 89 year old Dad in Beaumont - another one of those people who just continues to defy the odds.  Needless to say, I realize and he realizes and has talked to me about the fact that he is just trying to live each day to its fullest because he knows he is reaching the end of his life.

It's hard to listen to this kind of thing coming from someone you love and have known your entire life and not be affected by it.

Perhaps it's been my affiliation with and affinity towards people who are older than me.

Frankly, people who are older than me are more interesting, inspiring and attractive to me than people my age or younger than me.

And maybe, as I alluded to above, it's my own realization that there is far more life and even far more active life behind me than ahead of me.

And maybe, it's the fact that I've been alone for so long.

Alone and Death seem to go together - don't they?

So in consideration of all of that, I offer to you my top 3 songs about death from completely different genres, styles and contents....

Death by Suicide by Hollywood Undead - Bullet

It's funny how such a happy sounding song can deal with such a final and fatal subject.

Death by Hedonistic Indulgence a la Lemmy Kilmster - Killed by Death by Motorhead

I heard this song and sent the YouTube video link to my son and daughter and told them that's what I wanted on my tombstone -

He Lived a Good Life and was Killed by Death!

And finally one of the most beautifully tragic love songs I have heard in a long time and a concept that is a reality for many - when one of a couple dies, the other simply cannot live without them and chooses to quickly follow.

I Will Follow You into the Dark by Death Cab for Cutie

A Life to be Thankful For

In the days following one of the most memorable Thanksgivings of my Life, I have thought about these Matters of Life and Death - and realize that this is a subject that has been contemplated by many since the first life and death.

And one of the wisest men in History, Solomon, documented his Life Learnings and Lessons in what, for me, is the best book of the Bible - Ecclesiastes.

In conclusion, I leave you with these 2 admonitions from Solomon from Ecclesiastes 3:18 - 21

18 I also said to myself, “As for humans, God tests them so that they may see that they are like the animals. 19 Surely the fate of human beings is like that of the animals; the same fate awaits them both: As one dies, so dies the other. All have the same breath[c]; humans have no advantage over animals. Everything is meaningless. 20 All go to the same place; all come from dust, and to dust all return. 21 Who knows if the human spirit rises upward and if the spirit of the animal goes down into the earth?”

And from Ecclesiastes 12:13

Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the duty of all mankind.

I'll keep working on that as I...

Live a Life that Death would be Proud of.