5.83 New Year’s Goals

I woke up yesterday, January first 2015 with a belly full of hope and a brain full of ideas of what I was going to accomplish in this upcoming year. I, like many other human beings when given a calendar with a new year number and a bunch of empty squares are immediately filled with the desire to create an assortment of tasks and goals for which to fill those squares.  Tasks which become the benchmark on how successful our year was.

So I set about the annual tradition of creating my goal list for 2015.  A list that in the past that has included items such as eating more donuts and learning all the words to the Nicene Creed.  Two goals by the way that I failed to accomplish.  Surprisingly enough eating a donut a day is much tougher than it sounds, although this was probably my most delicious goal I’ve ever set.

Goal #1
Start a Procrastinator’s Club

Mundane or Memroy

This one has been a desire of mine for the past 8.5 years.  Ever since July of 2007 I’ve wanted to start a club devoted to procrastinators.  I’m not saying that I’m a procrastinator, I just saw a need in the market for a club dedicated to the art of procrastination.  This is something that I want to get started in 2015 and yesterday I was supposed to write the bylaws.  Something that after opening up the computer to begin the process of creating bylaws and other procedural documents I put off in leu of riding my bike trainer.  I mean I’ll get this club started in 2015, I’ll just start working on it tomorrow.

Goal #2
Don’t Forget My Pillow

If you have ever traveled with me, and if you have consider yourself lucky as I make an excellent travel companion full of wit and handsome to boot, you will often times notice that I forget my pillow.  I don’t know why I always forget my pillow, I just do.  There have been many a trip where my pillow has remained at home and I end up using a sweatshirt or a pair of jeans to rest my head.  Now it’s not that I don’t mind sleeping on a pile of crumbled up dirty denim, I find it lovely at times expect when your head rolls over the rivets.  No it’s that I need to get a little better at remembering the small details in my life.  I sometimes get lost in the big picture of where I’m going and forget the small, yet important details, like a pillow, and I need to get better at looking at all the small details while keeping an eye on the big picture.

Goal #3
Upgrade my phone to OS8

OS8 scares me and I’ve resisted the upgrade to the new operating system, but not in 2015. No sir I’m upgrading to OS8 this year.

Goal #4
Race my bike

Pack Fodder Practice

This year I want to get up early on a Saturday morning with butterflies swarming in my stomach, get myself dressed in a kit that doesn’t quite match, and head to some dot on a map to race bikes with a bunch of other middle aged men who have something to prove.  Bike racing scares me and intrigues me at the same time, but I know if I don’t race at some point in my life I will deeply regret it when I’m 80 years old and sipping milkshakes on my front porch.  I’d rather be able to regale my grandchildren with epic stories about how their grandfather was pack fodder at small time Cat 5 races, then tell them tales of how I spent every Saturday going to Home Depot to look for deck boards and new kitchen faucets, speaking of which I do need some new deck boards.

Goal #5
Give stuff away

I have too much stuff and I need to give my stuff away.  I don’t know how I got so much stuff, but I have too much of it.  I think 10 plus years of Saturday morning trips to town have added up and I now have too much stuff and I need to get rid of it.  If you are in need of some stuff let me know and I’ll be happy to give it to you.  My stuff is pretty nice, it’s not all beat up.  I do have one caveat attached to this, I do not have too much bike stuff.  I’ve researched this and a scientist once told me that the science has decided that it is impossible to have too much bike stuff and hey who am I to argue with science.

Goal #5.75
Be more awesome

IMG_1124Going to take my awesomeness to the next level in 2015. Which in case your wondering is level 11 on a scale on 1-10. Yeah I’m that awesome.

Goal # 5.83
Grow in my faith

This is something that I all to often put off to tomorrow, where at night I often find I’ve forgot this important detail of my life.  I’m scared to upgrade and grow in my faith, convincing myself that time spent at Home Depot is more important than time spent racing around the inner workings of my brain wrestling with why I believe.  In the end when I do grow in my faith, I am more willing to give it to others, which in the end is pretty awesome.

Crucifix

God Bless and have a happy new year

Advertisements

It’s Hammer Time!!!

His name is Lars Olenfuld the third.  He is the type of guy who will steal your girlfriend when you’re not looking and make you feel good about it.  His boom box is always rocking a intense guitar solo accompanied by the hypnotizing beat of the base drum.  He sports an epic mullet, a mullet of which there have been written many epic stories.  Stories involving pirates, sea monsters and riding horses backwards whilst juggling chainsaws.  Men want to be him and women want to be seen with him.

I first met Lars on a warm summer afternoon.  I was out on a training ride, heading into a stiff north wind and no matter how much I shifted I couldn’t find a gear capable of ending the burning in my legs.  I rounded a corner and there sitting upon the the wooden guardrail of a two lane country bridge sat Lars. He was listening to Simple Man and shining up his pair of aviator sunglasses.  I rolled to a stop pulling up next to Lars, looking like an awkward middle school boy standing next to the coolest kid in the high school.

“Hey there,” I said trying to be as cool and collected as I could dressed head to toe in spandex.

“You like riding that thing?” Lars pointed to my bike.  He reached over and cranked his boom box up to 11 just as the guitar solo began.

“Yep,” I said over the wailing guitar.

“No you don’t.” Lars spat at the ground near my shaking legs.  “You’re weak, you hate that bike right now.  In fact your secretly hoping I’ll give you a ride home in my sweet pick up truck.”  Lars’ mullet glistened in the mid-afternoon sun.

“No I don’t.  I love riding my bike. It’s well…awesome.” I said in protest. “I’m getting faster everyday.”

“Stop lying to me boy.” Lars stood up and moved towards my bike he placed his hand upon the hoods of my bike and gave it a shake. “Want to know the secret to riding fast?”  Lars said.

“Getting more aero?” I replied.

Lars reached into the back pocket of his tightly fitting Levis and pulled out a rusty ball pean hammer.  “This is the secret to riding faster.”

“You’ve been out here too long.” I said laughing. “No way a hammer makes you faster.”

“Oh but it does,” Lars calmly replied.  “If you want to ride faster, every now and again you must visit the man with the hammer and guess what? I’m yours.”  He raised the hammer high into the air above his head.  The rust on the head of the hammer glistening like rich man’s gold.  Lars dropped the hammer upon my quivering exhausted quads and a pain like I had never felt before shot through my entire body.  I hopped back onto my bike as Lars continued to reign hammer blows down upon my legs.  I began to pedal, gears I couldn’t push before I was now able to spin.

My pulse quickened, sweat dripped from my brow.  The average speed on my computer slowly rose. Lars followed along all the while beating me mercilessly with the hammer.  I rode faster than I ever had in my life that day.

Yes Lars Olenfuld the Third is my man with the hammer and if you want to ride your bike faster you must find your own.  Because as Lars says, if you want to ride faster you must visit the man with the hammer.

Dedicated to Lars Olenfuld the Third

Dedicated to Lars Olenfuld the Third

 

Have a tall glass of Kryptonite

I don’t like milk, in fact it is my kryptonite.  My wife knows this and when she wants to gross me out, she’ll leave a cup of milk on the table a bit too long and as the milk reaches room temperature my skin begins to crawl.

My hatred of milk started many moons ago when I was forced to dump out gallons of rotten milk down a slop drain at the grocery store I used to work at.  I used to plug my nose as chunks of curdled and sour milk glugged out of the jug and headed down the drain. Needless to say this wasn’t my favorite job assignment.

One day I was pouring two gallons of sour whole milk down the drain when I noticed the drain not fully draining anymore.  The curdled milk was starting to spread out across the floor.  Hmmm I thought to myself must be something wrong with the drain and when a sour milk drain stops draining, the only thing to do is to continue pouring milk down in hopes that it will eventually start to work.

I poured the remaining milk down the drain and hoped it would unclog. Alas it did not and now I had a pool of sour milk spreading across the floor.  Whoops better grab a mop.  I headed over to grab a mop and in the process caught my manager’s eye.

“Hey Undem, something spill?” my manager said.

“Nope, just need to mop up some sour milk that won’t go down the drain,” I grabbed the mop bucket and made my way back to the drain.

“That thing stop working again eh?  Well you best figure out how to get it cleaned out.” he said returning to his inventory report.

Oh crap, I need to clean out the milk drain.  The thought of the milk drain made me throw up a little in my mouth.  It was the probably the one job at the store I feared the most.  I’d rather clean toilets or pick up cigarette butts with my bare hands than clean out the milk drain.  That thing was absolutely disgusting, but there was work to do.  I rolled up the sleeves on my white dress shirt and hung my tie up in the break room.

Thankfully, I don’t remember much about cleaning out the drain.  My brain has blocked most of the images out of my head in an attempt at self preservation.  All i do remember is that it was probably the most disgusting thing I have ever done in my life and it has since soured me on my desire to drink milk.

CL1_2517Recently I thought I would make an attempt at drinking milk again.  So one evening I poured myself a nice talk glass of Kryptonite and took a small sip, and by small I mean a very small sip.  The milk made its way across my taste buds, who in turn lit up like a Christmas tree alerting my brain that milk had breached the system defenses and evasive actions where needed.  That one small sip was all I needed to confirm to myself that I still hated milk.

The next day i decided to try milk again, this time I would try while on my lunch break at work.  I figured since I was no longer at home and in a new environment that maybe, just maybe milk would taste better.  One tiny sip later and it was confirmed that I hated milk while at work too.  It doesn’t matter where I am I don’t like milk.

As I ponder my recent milk experiment and it’s bearing on my life I can’t help but call to mind part of the Lord’s prayer, “Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven”.  We all struggle at one time or another in our lives with God’s will.  We fail to do what He asks of us or simply don’t like what He wants for us to do.  Truth of the matter is if we don’t like God’s will here on earth, we aren’t going to like it heaven, just like if I found out if I don’ t like milk at home I’m not going to like it at work

If we truly desire heaven we must first learn how to do God’s will here on earth.  I just hope God doesn’t desire me to like milk that may be kind of hard for me to swallow.

God Bless.

I’ve got some work to do.

We are now three weeks into the Year of Awesome and so far the year has been just that awesome.  Even the weather has been awesome, but not in the traditional sense of the word, I mean awesome in the fact that I can now say I’ve survived a polar vortex, whatever that is. I just know they are awesome.

So in an effort to keep up with my year awesome, I decided it was time to see if my cycling skills were as awesome as I remembered them being.  This year I’ve taken some time off the bike, not a lot mind you, but I’ve taken some time off.  It’s been nice, I’ve used my extra time to take up knitting, (not really), basket making (not really,) and have donated some of my time to the rescue of dust bunnies from being killed by brooms (it’s a very worthy cause as brooms kill more dust bunnies in one year than any other cause).

What should my return to serious cycling look like? I thought as I looked upon my bike locked in to the clutches of a trainer.  I fancy myself in pretty good shape so I decided take on one of the workouts I was doing while I was nearing peak form last season. I couldn’t have lost all that much fitness, I mean I’m walking a ton in my work for the dust bunnies and I have been riding at small amount.  This has to account for something right?

The workout I chose to do was a Sufferfest video.  I love these videos combinations of pro race footage, snarky onscreen comments, and good music make the hours fly by while on the trainer.   Which for those who have ridden trainers know this is no small feat.

I was barely through the warm up when I realized the grave error in my ways.  I mean I was still reading the workout instructions and my legs were already aching. Oh well I’m committed now soldier on there Danny Boy, Soldier on.

Before launching into the workout I had informed my wife and daughter that they might hear some “noises” coming from the trainer room.  My daughter describes these “noises” as puking sounds and she’ll often ask how many times I threw up during a workout.  While my family thinks these noises are of me vomiting, I like to think of the as grunts of awesomeness.

I was about 10 seconds in to the first interval when the first grunt of awesomeness exploded from my lips.  I was gasping for air, legs burning, sweat running down my face and I’d only being riding for 10 minutes. I had another 52 minutes of this to endure….AWESOME!!

IMG_1311

I stopped at minute 15 to adjust my bike’s seat.  Comfort is key after all when suffering.  I nearly bailed out at this point, but for some reason thoughts of my former glory forced me to once again throw my leg over the bar and climb aboard to resume the agony.

This workout features a 20 minute interval where that is does it’s best to mimic a hill climb.  Now in the summer I love a good hill, they are some of my favorite things as a cyclist.  Something about reaching me top makes me want to sing out like Julie Andrews in the Sound of Music.  Simulated indoor hills, however, stink.  You can climb and climb all day long and not end up at the top of the hill, No you end up exactly where you started. Not Awesome.

So I was about 4 minutes or so into my fake climb to nowhere when my water bottle escaped from my death clutch and landed just out of reach on the floor. Now I realize that during a race there is no stoping for a dropped bottle, but this wasn’t a race this was survival and survival dictates that one must be hydrated so I decided to retrieve the bottle as soon as the interval was over.  An agonizing 16 minutes later my throat was as dry as the Sahara and I was grunting awesomeness every 2 seconds.  I was miserable, but loving every second of it.

I got off the bike and headed out to fill up my bottle.  When I reached the kitchen, my wife and daughter both looked at me with strange looks.  I vaguely remember making conversation with them as I filled my bottle, but as it turns out instead of speaking intelligently I was merely mumbling and grunting loudly.  Henceforth the strange looks and the cause of my daughter’s next three nights of nightmare.

I don’t remember the second half of the workout.  All I remember is waking up on my bike as the credits rolled.  My lungs were burning and my legs felt as it they had just seen a very large man with a hammer.  A large smile spread across my face as I realized it was over.

It was in that moment I realized something very important.  If I want to improve as a cyclist I have work to do and for me that’s AWESOME.  Time to punch the clock.

God Bless.

My 13.5 Resolutions for the Year of AWESOME!!

Ahh New Years Day, my 245th favorite day of the year falling between March 15 and November 19.  Simply Magical.  This year to celebrate the arrival of my 245th favorite day of the year, I’ve decided to write a list of of the top 13.5 things I hope to accomplish in the upcoming year which I have dubbed the Year of AWESOME!!

Why 13.5 things? Well the answer is simple. I first took all the numbers in 2014 and added the together to get 7 then I multiplied by 4 to get 28 divided by pie (because it’s delicious) ending up with 8.917 since this a silly number I simply picked 13.5 out of a hat.

These resolutions/accomplishments appear in no particular order of accomplishment.

Number 13.5  Find a rock that looks like Abraham Lincoln.

English: Abraham Lincoln, the sixteenth Presid...

I think it would be super neat to find a rock that looks like Lincoln. When I find this rock this year, I will build a special display case and proudly show my Lincoln rock to all those who visit my house.

Number 13.  Wear this hat more.

IMG_1309

Simply because it’s an awesome hat and it will look really good with a pair of mirrored sunglasses and a glass of lemonade.

Number 12.  Run a 5k while wearing a cape.

Superman in North Dakota

Not enough people run wearing capes.  Bonus, the flapping of the cape makes you appear faster

Number 11.  Find out the true meaning of this saying.

IMG_1311

Number 10:  Plant a garden containing the following vegetables:

English: Heirloom Tomatoes

English: Heirloom Tomatoes (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Carrots, heirloom tomatoes (so I can tell all my friends they are heirloom quality), peas, okra (cause I have no idea what it is), kale, and sweet corn.

Number 9:  Spend more time dressed doing this:

Castelli Photo

Because coffee always tastes better while wearing spandex!!!

Number 8:  Memorize the Nicene Creed

Number 7: Spend more time climbing hills on my bike. 

Grant Ferguson, Dooleys Cycles

Hills are awesome and when you get to the top you get go back down and climb it all over again.

Number 6:  Build a bird house.  They need shelter too.

House Wren Bird House

Number 5:  Figure out once and for all if soy sauce is effective at replacing lost sodium while racing.

Would finally allow me to use the stack of soy sauce packets living in my fridge.

Number 4: Dance more.

My current dancing style needs a little work.  Although, my choice in dancing apparel is second to none.

Number 3:  Eat more Raisin Bran

Number 2:  Watch the sunrise while sitting on this seat.

IMG_1310

Number 1: Work on becoming the person God desires me to be.

CL1_2115

(This one may take a while)

 

 

 

 

(But don’t worry, I have help)

IMG_1246

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

God Bless and Happy Year of AWESOME!!!

My relationship with Bran and Jesus

Last year, one of favorite New Years resolutions I undertook was to eat more donuts.  I know this time of year is typically reserved for weight loss and other healthy resolutions, but I felt sorry for those who make donuts and other tasty treats for a living. January must be a bad month for them so to help stimulate the economy I made the resolution to eat more donuts.  To which I lasted about 4 days before I was off the donut wagon.  Turns out I don’t really like donuts all that much.  Every once in a while they are awesome, but day in and day out…..ish.

So this year I’m making a very simple resolution.  Try to eat breakfast more and this new resolution has lead me back to one of my favorite childhood cereals, raisin bran.  Oh man how to I love raisin bran.  I could literally eat this every day as it is absolutely delicious.  Pour a little milk on the bran and the sugar coated raisins and I’m in breakfast heaven.

Single raisin (a dried grape)

However, I must admit that I’m a big fan of the raisins and not as a big of a fan of the bran. Don’t get me wrong I still love the bran flakes, but given my choice I’d rather eat the raisins.  I always smile when my spoon lifts from the milk filled with raisins and only a few bran flakes.  Those are spoonfuls I remember.

Through my many spoonfuls of deliciousness, I’ve discovered there is a symbiotic relationship that exists between the bran and the raisins.  Take away the raisins and no way am I eating a cereal consisting of only bran.  I don’t care how backed up I am, I’m not touching a bran only cereal.  On the other hand throw a bunch of raisins into a bowl of milk and hand me a spoon and I’d be running towards the front door of my house screaming like a tween at a New Directions concert.  Gross raisins and milk. (I just threw up a little in my mouth just thinking about it.) But when you put them together they are perfection.

English: A bowl of Raisin Bran cereal shown in...

I’m now going to do something to a bowl of raisin bran that will blow your mind.  In fact, you might to sit down as you read this. Oh and be sure you check your watch as well as your grandchildren will ask you where you where when you read this.

So here it is.  The Church is a bowl of raisin bran.  There you have it mind blown….right?  Just let that sink in for a moment. I realized this connection the other day when i was eating my raisin bran.  When the bulb went off I sprang up from the table and a did a quick little dance, ran around the house twice and then sat back down to finish my bowl of deliciousness.

When I converted there were many aspects of the Catholic Faith that I absolutely loved.  These were the teachings that drew me into Faith and started me on the my journey towards being Catholic.  These are my raisins.  They were the teachings that kept popping up in my daily life that made me smile, made be glad to be on my way to being Catholic.

On the other hand, there were a lot of Church teachings that I struggled with and man did I struggle with some of the Church’s teachings.  At first I kind of thought, if I just focus on what I like about the the Church I’ll be okay and those teachings that I struggle with well just ignore them and you’ll be okay.  Turns out I need those teachings I struggled with more than I first anticipated.  These struggles I had and still have are the bran in my faith.  I need them way more than I ever thought.  It is through my struggles with my faith that I have learned more about my faith and have grown more and deeper into my faith.  They have brought me a deeper love and understanding of the raisins in my faith.

If one fills their bowl with only raisins the result is too gross for words and if one fills their bowl only with bran, the same things happen.  However if you fill your faith bowl with the right blend of raisins and bran the result is so magical so inspiring so wonderful, you might just find yourself eating breakfast everyday and smiling the entire time.

God Bless

Life’s little annoyances

My car has developed a personality as of late, despite the fact that popular science has shown that inanimate objects are incapable of developing personalities, my car has developed one.  I blame it one the fact that it’s been hanging around with a bunch of other cars in local parking lots after dark.  Nothing good ever comes of hanging out in parking lots after dark.

Parking Lot, Clarendon and Stuart Streets

It used to be such a sweet car.  It always listened to what I told it to do.  It accelerated when I hit the gas and slowed down when I hit the brakes.  When I was cold, it provided heat, when I was hot it filled the passenger compartment with icy cold air.  Even when I left it alone in parking lots and locked it to keep it safe, I was greeted with friendly honk of the horn.  It was as it the car was saying “So long Danny, see you in a bit. I’m just going to rest here for a while.”

Oh I’m still greeted with a honk of the horn when I lock it, but the horn has changed tones.  It sounds more defiant.  Now, instead of the “So long Danny” sound, I hear a “get out of here, leave me alone to hang out with my friends” attitude filled beep.  This has been going on for weeks now and I’m not sure I like the change in my car’s tone.

There is another part of my cars attitude shift that has developed, the car has randomly started flashing the brake lights and emitting a warning tone so loud it would end up on the decibel scale somewhere between a running washing machine running filled with rocks and a jet air plane taking off.  The first time this light and sound show happened I nearly spit coffee all over the windshield.  I was driving down a dark country road early one morning and to see a flashing brake light and a jet engine toned beeping that early was a little concerning.  I gently applied the brakes to ensure they were working and then the light went off.

False alarm I thought to myself, no need to panic just keep driving.  Then 10 minutes later another beep loud enough to wake the dead and the flashing brake light.  The brakes were once again verified and as I applied them I swore I heard the engine laugh a bit.  Was my car simply playing around with me?

Well this has now been happening for weeks now and each time it happens my blood pressure rises and I get madder and madder at this phantom problem. In other words, my car is winning.  If it’s goal is to annoy me, it is doing a fantastic job of it.

The beeping is driving me nuts!!

The beeping is driving me nuts!!

I’ve been complaining of this to my wife pretty incessantly since it started, yet she has never heard it.  That is until yesterday.  We were out running a few errands, when my car messed up, it forgot that I wasn’t the only one in the car when it launched into it’s screaming light show.  The first beep caused my blood pressure to rise, the second nearly blew out my ear drum and the third forced me to emit a loud blast of frustration.  To which my lovely bride turned to me and said “Is that the noise that’s been causing you such problems?  That’s nothing.”

“Nothing,” I muttered back “Did you hear how loud that thing is and it does it all the time.”

“Simple fix,” she said. “Next time you hear it say Father Son and Holy Spirit and then offer a quick prayer for someone.”

“Wait, what?” I said in protest. “You did hear that right?  That loud, annoying, random beeping. I’m not just hearing things am I?”

“Just pray the next time you hear it.”

The simplicity of her statement struck me. Take this horribly annoying thing my car was doing to drive me batty and turn it into a positive.  My wife’s idea was put to the test moments later.  Beep Beep Beep…prayer.  Five minutes later beep…beep…beep…prayer.

For the rest of the journey I took my wife’s advice and every time that silly brake light came on, I said a simple prayer. By the end of the day’s journey I was no longer annoyed by the noise, but rather enjoyed hearing the ear piercing scream fill the car.  I had become like Pavlov’s dogs only I prayed rather than salivated when I heard a beep.  Take that car, bested by a human.  Who says German engineering is superior to American ingenuity?

In fact I’m going to start looking for other little annoyances in my life as opportunities to pray.  Stub my toe, say a prayer, dog won’t come home when called, pray. Stuck in traffic, pray.  Take all those little moments in life where there exists an opportunity to move further away from God and turn it around and use them as moments to grow in your faith.

Thanks to my wife, I’m no longer angry at my car for developing a personality. Instead I’m rather thankful, although I’m still banning it from hanging out with other cars after dark.  Nothing good happens in parking lots after dark after all and we’re still going to have a talk about the tone of it’s horn.

IMG_1246

Always keep praying.