Wednesday, April 27, 2011
Monday, April 25, 2011
Just a week later, and I am still talking to people about the Boston Marathon. Imagine if I actually participated in the darn thing! As it was, Tracey, B, and I attended the expo together and I went to the race solo. Met up with some other bloggers and online pals, had a blast, took a buncha pictures, and got on TV about a gazillion times.
Here's how it happened:
we were standing between Trader Joes and some bar. Riz, i think? I dunno bars. Anyway, we were all having a good time when the wheel-chairs went zooming by. The dramatic pass by the Japanese athlete Soejima happened right in front of us. It was a blurr of men, muscle, and machinery that got us even more pumped up.
Here's the picture that I took:
I am sure that most of you saw this on TV, from the perspective of the camera on the motorcycle. See it? I've circled it in this photo....
Even though the camera is obscured, it is clearly the same video delivery system in the other picture. (how they ride backward like that without HURLING all over the place is beyond me). In exhibit C (below), take from the TV coverage, I have indicated our relative place in the crowd. We were right up against the barriers, so there should be no mistaking us. We are clearly distinguishable among the throngs….right? I placed a yellow arrow in our general location. See???
How could you NOT recognize us! Of course, that black blob is my backpack, and we are all to the right of it. I couldn’t get the still shot right, but suffice to say that our entire crew was ON TV!!!!!
well, when I was thinking up this post in my head, it was hella funnier. seeing it now, though, it feels like a dud. well, you’ll have that, right?
thanks for enduring with me!
Thursday, April 21, 2011
Wednesday, April 20, 2011
Sunday, April 17, 2011
After much internal and some external deliberation, I am bringing my wife and youngest son to Boston this morning.We are going to the Expo for the Boston Marathon. I hope i don’t pee myself with excitement. At this point, it is a real possibility.I have never been to a race that had an expo. I guess, and pardon me for using the football in this analogy, it is like never having been to anything more than a Pop Warner football game, then going to the Super Bowl. I have no idea what we are in for, except that i am prepared to be amazed, hooked, and over-stimulated.yep, for sure.
Looking forward to meeting up with the folks from Arctic Ease (@arcticease), who i really enjoy. We’ve been actively communicating on Twitter, which is fantastic. Little ‘ol me, chatting it up with the CEO and all that. A very personable company with a great product and great customer service. Love it!
We’ll also be dropping by Nuun, Gu, Adidas, Brooks, Fila (?)…i dunno. i’m just listing off a buncha folks who i hope will be there! hahahaha….like a little kid creating his Christmas list (no red-rider bb gun, so no worries. go ahead, i dare you to lick that pole!) anywhoo….
I am certain to be tweeting and sending out pics. I’ll also likely post tonight about the experience, unless i wet myself. Tomorrow it will be up and out the door by 0500 so that I can get a great spot near the finish line like i had last year. This year, though, doesn’t look like it will be as warm or dry….but that’s ok. I won’t be in a singlet….
Wednesday, April 13, 2011
But this evening, I met Kris from http://www.krisgetshealthy.com/ (@krisgetshealthy) and James from http://www.priorfatguy.com/ (@jpnagan. It was very cool. Here's how it evolved:
I learned of an opportunity to go to Minneapolis (Bloomington), MN for work related training. So i hit them up on twitter, wondering if they knew where i was going to be, and if it was anywhere near them. Kris was like, ummm..YEA! of COURSE i know where that is, and JP was all....oh yea, i know that area! (turns out that the venue (hotel) is 1 mile away from the Mall of America. Cool.
Then i was denied my application to go.
So then we called the meet-up off.
Then i lobbied my boss to let me go.
And the meet-up was back on.
Thennn we had to pick a date and time, which we did. then they asked me where i wanted to go and i said,
Oh. wait. so i'm here at the conference, and people are
and i was right!
Kris picked me up a the hotel and we headed over to Chevy's. On the way we talked about her plans and progress along her C25K journey; that girl has it figured out! She's getting a bit...well, head to her blog to hear her story, but lemme just say that she is, IMHO, on the right path, and also has the right attitude for success.
JP and wee one showed up, and we went inside. Food was good, conversation was great, wee one lost a small piece of lego. Seeing James and wee one interact reminded me A LOT of Bryce and I; it was heartwarming to see. JP had an impromptu photo shoot while at the gym today. Head over to his blog to check it out. This man is driven, determined, and actively working toward his fitness goals, all while keeping his priorities at home in line (IMHO).
Wee one was getting a bit antsy, but still holding it together pretty well. we decided to head out while he was still good, and i was even able to get him to take this picture of us, rather than poke them with a stick....maybe next time.....
Thank you, Kris and James for taking the time to get together! Very cool.....
Thursday, April 7, 2011
I am ALSO thankful for you, my readers. I was very....hesitant to publish my last post. Since then, however, I am very happy that I did it. I have received many comments, and it received more hits than any of my other posts. And it was just about me. I find that odd, but hey! s'all good.
There were many good, thoughtful comments. I even received some emails on the topic. I am humbled, honoured, and thankful for your words of support and encouragement.
That's about it for today.
Next week i'll be in Bloomington, MN, for 3 days of training. I'll be attending courses to earn myself the titles of "Wellness Coach" and "Smoking Cessation Counsellor" for our hospital. I am pretty excited about this 'collateral duty'. I was very interested, and applied, but was denied by my supervisor. Lemme tell ya, I was wikkid bummin' that day. In true Tracey/anonymous style, though, she encouraged me to persue it. "if you really want this, which it seems you do, you have to GO AFTER IT."
So I did.
And i convinced my boss that I was the right person (the ONLY) person who we should send to this training. She (Tracey) rocks.
So I am going. There are a bunch of us (perhaps 100?), and I sent out an email to the group, suggesting that we convene sometime Monday afternoon/evening for a walk/jog/run to help loosen up our legs after having sat in airplanes all day. Within 10 minutes I had a dozen or more replies, all wanting to join in! How cool is that? Very.
I won't have computer access while i am away, but i will have my phone, which means i will be tweeting....
AND....Boston is just over a week away!!! woot! I asked Tracey if mebbe we could go to the expo on Sunday....hopefully see the peeps from @ArcticEase and Arctic Ease. That'd be awesome. AND the folks from @GenUCAN and GenerationUCAN. Ok, enough name dropping for today.
Have fun, be well....thanks for stopping by.
Sunday, April 3, 2011
I have been planning and editing this post in my head for almost a month, and now that I am sitting in front of the computer, it is all a blank. I am starting this at almost 10pm on 4-3-11. I write that because I am interested to know when I will be finished with it. Time will tell, right?
Well, eff it, I am just going to type…..if you are looking for a break from posts about running or planning for races, then read on. I might suggest a nice fresh cup of tea or coffee first. We might be here a while.
Has anything you’ve done or said forced you to take a long look in your mental mirror, even if you didn’t want to at the time? If not, I believe that one of two things is true: 1) your time is coming, or 2) you aren’t being honest with yourself. I had one of these situations a few weeks ago, and have been stewing on it ever since. In doing so, many, many things that I have always wondered about have fallen into place.
Let’s examine a few things, and how I believe they apply to me:
• Lack of managing appropriate social conduct I have a tendency to hide or avoid social interactions. You may be thinking, “but Gene, you do so well here and on twitter….” Here’s my reply, “it is because I can’t see you, and I can walk away from the conversation at any time, and that is acceptable in these realms.” Imagine if we were eating dinner together and I just got up and left. Not quite as acceptable, which makes me feel strange, and I don’t like that, so I have always tried to avoid those things. Knowing that we have an event to attend (even a sporting event) causes me to be edgy for days in advance.
- Problems engaging in "small talk" I am not good at social hours or cocktail parties. I can’t engage with others at conferences before the speaker starts. I sit there, either writing, playing some logic-based game on my phone, or categorizing people in the crowd. I don’t mingle….even at family gatherings, and this has become a problem in my life.
• High intelligence While I have never been accused of this, and it is uncomfortable for me to talk about, I agree. Or at least high on the average scale.
• Anger management problems Oh, yes. This is ME! I have a tough time managing my anger and frustration. I am nearly always at the boiling point, and I don’t really know how to control it. I tend to pound my fist on a table, or my cell phone, or the fridge, or…..once I kicked a concrete pillar so hard I had to be on crutches for a week. Dumb.
• Controlling feelings such as depression, fear or anxiety Depression can either sneak up on me or ambush me in the middle of a great day. I rarely see it coming, as many of you can recall from some tweets that I have sent out. Fear? not so much. Anxiety? mostly as it relates to being in large spaces (I don’t like to go shopping. WAAAAAY too much stimulus…)
• Lack of empathy I can be empathetic, and I think that I am fairly empathetic. Thing is, I don’t always express it in such a way that other people see it….
• Inability to listen to others I’m sorry, what? I listen well, I think. But part of being a good listener, I am told, is being empathetic. See above…
• Inflexible thinking Black/white. That’s it. Moving on…
• Repetitive routines provides feelings of security Not in the sense that I have to check the back door 15 times before I leave the house, but…I will re-arrange items on a table at a restaurant, straighten out the sugar packets, align items on our shelves so that all labels face the same way, etc. All of the screws in my light sockets are straight up and down. At least they were when I put them there. Hang on, I gotta check….yep.
• Stress when their routine suddenly changes Oh, Lordy this is a big one. Going grocery shopping? cool. ummm….WHY are we at Khol’s???? there are NO grocery items in that store. Shopping list? cool. ummmm….strawberries aren’t on the list. why are they in the cart? Just ask my wife about this one. yea. shopping with me is NOT fun.
• Inability to think in abstract ways Au contraire, actually. Sometimes my thinking is so abstract, I can’t get anyone to understand me.
• Specialised fields of interest I have had several. Read many books on Everest. Many on climbing techniques. Other things, too. I love music. Can sing along to almost anything prior to 2002. After that, I just pretty much stopped listening to the radio.
• Visual thinking I like to, prefer to, sketch things out. I love, LOVE maps. I have a few full sketch books, and even have one for small carpentry projects from around the house.
If you have hung on this far, you might be wondering what I am getting at. I’m taking lists of criteria and characteristics and seeing how I feel (think, actually. I FEEL with my fingers, etc.) that they apply to me. Many of you are certainly bored at this point. others may not be yet, but are getting there. others have gone for a second cuppa coffee. what’s better than reading about someone do this to themselves online? not much.
- Friendships are usually formed through mutual interest areas or activities Check. Runners, hikers, climbers. While I am very interested in Z’s athletic endeavors, I am not friends with the other ‘team dads’. My wife has had a daycare for nearly 5 years. Some of the parents have been with her since day one. I know them, but wouldn’t consider hanging out with them. (see small talk, above).
- Some individuals have extreme hyper or hypo sensitivity to light, noise, touch, taste, or smell yep. at night, if one of the cats fart, I’m awake. overhead lights drive me nuts. I sometimes wear a baseball cap at work. contrasts between light and dark are very distracting. when in stores, I have a tough time blocking out all of the ancillary conversations and announcements around me. most of the time, light touch is uncomfortable. most of the time…
- Sensory and social demands of life make more downtime essential When I come home from work, I crave alone time. sometimes it is a run. sometimes it is playing video games, or reading, or just lying on our bed. this doesn’t always happen. when it DOES, though, I think that I am much better. at family gatherings, I often will drift away from the party. I need to let things quiet down in my head. this has often caused problems, because people have felt that I didn’t want to be around them, or that I was mad, or whatever. nope. just need some quiet.
Thing is, for all of these categories listed, I could never actually group them or understand them like this. I just always thought of myself as odd, as the one to blame, as, well, as just the way it was. and I struggle to change it. I have tried on several occasions, in this marriage and my first, to be more….’there’ at gatherings. So far, it hasn’t worked. But I will keep trying, especially now that I have a ‘reason’ for my aloofness.
My enlightenment came after a text message from one of my cousins. I had sent out a tweet saying something about ‘why do my weekends always fall apart, even after a good week?’ She replied, “it is because you are Autistic.” whoa. what? when I asked her, she said, “dude. you totally have Asperger’s. look it up.” And so I did. And, after reading article after article online and taking 3-4 online ‘tests’, I agree with her.
I am a self-identified (not self-diagnosed) “Aspie”. The bullet points above are characteristics of people with Apserger’s Syndrome. As a syndrome, it is not a disease or a disorder, but by definition it is “a group of signs and symptoms that occur together and characterize a particular abnormality or condition.” When I look at the criteria for diagnosis with Asperger’s Disorder, I don’t quite fit, which is good.
Asperger’s is on the Autism Spectrum. Is there a cure? NO! It isn’t a diesase. Autism is a neurological condition, and this holds true for all other conditions on the spectrum.
Ok. I am drained. Time check reveals 11:37 on the same night I started this. I did better than I expected. cool.
Thank you for reading this far. I wish that I had a chunk of cheese for you, or a finisher’s medal. All I have is my gratitude for having an ‘audience’ to talk to. even if my hit counter stays below 5.
It has only been in the past few months, say since October or so, that I have really taken any notice to Autism. As a 42 year old, and a health care worker, of course I had heard of it. Of course I know people whose kids have it, or they, themselves, are Autistic.
But I never, honestly, gave much thought to how it might impact me.
Then I started to pay more attention to things, and causes, and decided to join in on the Operation Jack virtual run and fund raiser right after Christmas. It was fun, but I didn’t raise much money or awareness. But I became drawn to something that I hadn’t been in the past, which gave me an opportunity to learn more about something that I hadn’t known much about. So I chalked it up as a win.
As many of you already know, April is Autism Awareness Month, and the 1st and 2nd are Light It Up Blue days. For more deets on that, go to www.lightitupblue.org. I mentioned to Tracey that I wanted to get blue bulbs for our two exterior lights, and she readily agreed. But I failed to make it to the store in time for Friday, so we went out yesterday and got 2 bulbs.
Then we went to her parents’ house to celebrate Bryce’s 5th with the family. I should have known better, but I didn’t assume that we would stay until nearly 9pm. On our way home we could see that a local hotel had lit up their entry blue:
When we got home, I promptly put in the bulbs. Here’s our front door, which we never use:
The other entry has a motion sensing spot light, so the blue didn’t show up in the picture. I left the lights on all night (power company can thank me later). Earlier in the day, Bryce and I took some time to make some blue pancakes. My cousin in North Carolina made some, too, so it was ALMOST like we had breakfast together, which would have been pretty cool had it actually happened. She sent me some pictures, but I can’t figure out how to get them from my phone’s text messages to the web….. rats.
Here are our pictures, though. For those of you who support any foundations or movements that are important to you, I humbly give thanks. For those of you on the fence about such things, I can appreciate that, too. Have a great Sunday!
Friday, April 1, 2011
It's time again for the annual 'Stella Awards'! For those unfamiliar with these awards, they are named after 81-year-old Stella Liebeck who spilled hot coffee on herself and successfully sued the McDonald's in New Mexico , where she purchased coffee. You remember, she took the lid off the coffee and put it between her knees while she was driving. Who would ever think one could get burned doing that, right? That's right; these are awards for the most outlandish lawsuits and verdicts in the U.S. You know, the kinds of cases that make you scratch your head. So keep your head scratcher handy.
Here are the Stella’s for this past year --
Kathleen Robertson of Austin, Texas was awarded $80,000 by a jury of her peers after breaking her ankle tripping over a toddler who was running inside a furniture store. The store owners were understandably surprised by the verdict, considering the running toddler was her own son
* SIXTH PLACE *
Carl Truman, 19, of Los Angeles , California won $74,000 plus medical expenses when his neighbor ran over his hand with a Honda Accord. Truman apparently didn't notice there was someone at the wheel of the car when he was trying to steal his neighbor's hubcaps.
Scratch some more...
* FIFTH PLACE *
Terrence Dickson, of Bristol , Pennsylvania , who was leaving a house he had just burglarized by way of the garage. Unfortunately for Dickson, the automatic garage door opener malfunctioned and he could not get the garage door to open. Worse, he couldn't re-enter the house because the door connecting the garage to the house locked when Dickson pulled it shut. Forced to sit for eight, count 'em, EIGHT days and survive on a case of Pepsi and a large bag of dry dog food, he sued the homeowner's insurance company claiming undue mental Anguish. Amazingly, the jury said the insurance company must pay Dickson $500,000 for his anguish. We should all have this kind of anguish Keep scratching. There are more...
Double hand scratching after this one...
Jerry Williams, of Little Rock, Arkansas, garnered 4th Place in the Stella's when he was awarded $14,500 plus medical expenses after being bitten on the butt by his next door neighbor's beagle - even though the beagle was on a chain in its owner's fenced yard. Williams did not get as much as he asked for because the jury believed the beagle might have been provoked at the time of the butt bite because Williams had climbed over the fence into the yard and repeatedly shot the dog with a pellet gun.
Pick a new spot to scratch, you're getting a bald spot...
* THIRD PLACE *
Amber Carson of Lancaster, Pennsylvania because a jury ordered a Philadelphia restaurant to pay her $113,500 after she slipped on a spilled soft drink and broke her tailbone. The reason the soft drink was on the floor: Ms. Carson had thrown it at her boyfriend 30 seconds earlier during an argument. What ever happened to people being responsible for their own actions?
Only two more so ease up on the scratching...
Kara Walton, of Claymont , Delaware sued the owner of a night club in a nearby city because she fell from the bathroom window to the floor, knocking out her two front teeth. Even though Ms. Walton was trying to sneak through the ladies room window to avoid paying the $3.50 cover charge, the jury said the night club had to pay her $12,000....oh, yeah, plus dental expenses. Go figure.
Ok. Here we go!!
* FIRST PLACE *
This year's runaway First Place Stella Award winner was: Mrs. Merv Grazinski, of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, who purchased new 32-foot Winnebago motor home. On her first trip home, from an OU football game, having driven on to the freeway, she set the cruise control at 70 mph and calmly left the driver's seat to go to the back of the Winnebago to make herself a sandwich. Not surprisingly, the motor home left the freeway, crashed and overturned. Also not surprisingly, Mrs. Grazinski sued Winnebago for not putting in the owner's manual that she couldn't actually leave the driver's seat while the cruise control was set. The Oklahoma jury awarded her, are you sitting down?
$1,750,000 PLUS a new motor home. Winnebago actually changed their manuals as a result of this suit, just in case Mrs. Grazinski has any relatives who might also buy a motor home.