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WWII Honor Flight

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Well I'm at it a little late tonight, but it's been well worth it.

A friend of mine that owns a restaurant in town called and said, "Hey tonight we're going to Pensacola to meet some returning WWII vets, let's go!"

It's a tradition they've had here in NW Florida for the last few years called the Honor Flight and today was the last time they'll be able to do it. Local businesses work with the Veteran's Administration and the local Congressman from the area and collect up any and all able veterans from WWII and fly them up to Washington DC for the day. Bob Dole meets them and so does Biden. They take them over to the WWII memorial, the Korea and Vietnam Memorials and give them the VIP treatment. Most all are in their mid-70s, a few in their 80s and the oldest was 99.







I was in awe! There was a huge crowd at Pensacola airport waving banners and flags, grand-daughters were in tears wheeling their veteran grandfathers off the plane, husband and wife veterans just smiled and said they had fallen in love in 1943 and have never fallen out and determined old men shook hands with everybody that greeted them and said they were proud to have served. WOW!

Sadly, this is the last time they'll be able to have this flight....every year there are fewer and fewer WWII vets around and it's even tougher getting large numbers together in this area. Many were in wheelchairs, but all were lucid and one 80 year old Marine was determined to crush the hands of anyone willing to give him a shake!

And talk about a Spark! I was in awe at their humility, their energy, their deep appreciation for being recognized (One WAC said, "I didn't think anyone remembered WWII anymore"....I almost lost it and shed a tear!) They were just so happy to still be up and about, to have had a whole day dedicated by the community for what they did.

And talk about honoring your elders! There were 60 year old sons and daughters, 30 year old grandchildren, and teenage great grandchildren there, all red-eyed and smiles watching great grandpa, grandpa, and dad come off that jet waving a flag, ear-to-ear grins, standing tall and proud.

Talk about a non-scale victory!



Good night Spark friends!

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ELISA322 4/16/2011 7:04AM

    I would have lost it for sure being there, crying like a baby! That would definitely be an honor to be there, so sad that they won't be doing the Honor Flights anymore.

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BRADOS 4/13/2011 8:36AM

    that would be an honor to be at such an event - nice

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FANGFACEKITTY 4/13/2011 7:43AM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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SAFARIBABE 4/13/2011 5:59AM

    What a great way to spend the night! You are honored indeed, my friend!

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BOBF15 4/13/2011 12:57AM

    emoticon

They get this flag, and what it stands for. The red, the white and the blue all stand for something.

I love the ideals of America. Freedom is never free.

It is not the politician that gives us freedom, rather those who served in the Armed Forces.

God Bless America.

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Sore....and liking it!

Monday, April 11, 2011

So today I decided, "I'm making time to warm-up for my workout" and left work 30 minutes EARLY, to go ride the spin bike for 20 minutes before hitting the weight room. What a difference a warm up makes!

Now I wasn't my usual speed demon, especially since I decided to get caught up on my Friend Feed on the iPhone while pedaling, but it was just enough to make the rest of the workout better. It also gave me some time to unwind from the day before hitting it hard with the trainer....I like it, now I just have to schedule in the extra time.

On the even greater side, I noticed I kept tucking in my shirt all day....it was way loose and I couldn't get it to feel right. I even looked in the mirror and decided I need to go to an alterations shop and have it taken in a little! Like I've said before, I'm OK with the slower weight loss, but I can tell that my particular combination of diet, cardio, and ST is shape-shifting my frame around....I'm dropping pounds slowly, but I'm replacing fat with muscle and that's leading to new wardrobe challenges.

That's it for tonight....even though I'm home, it's going to be a busy week, and a busy month, and a busy next month, and tonight, I'm nicely sore from the gym AND I LIKE IT!

Good night Spark friends!

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JUNEBUG1944 4/12/2011 10:10AM

    Good for you! You're doing a great job and will find that extra time! BTW, thanks for the hug!

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TEXAS_GRL 4/12/2011 8:27AM

    I have been noticing my own shape shifting and how clothes are fitting so differently. I also like to warm up before doing my strength training. I find I can push it harder when I do so. Keep it up... sore muscles are good muscles!

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HEALTHIERKEN 4/12/2011 12:24AM

    Let's hear it for shape-shifting!!!!

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BOBF15 4/11/2011 10:37PM

    Want something done, ... ask a busy person.

Great job, I was so stiff today, and don't even know why?

Keep at it, through thick and thin.

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SAFARIBABE 4/11/2011 10:36PM

    WTG on your soreness. That's such an awesome feeling!! And nice job on the shape shifting! Even though I haven't lost a lot of weight since I downsized my slacks, they are getting really baggy! So I feel your alterations pain. LOL And I'm sure you wouldn't trade it for anything. Have a great night! Get some rest.

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BRADOS 4/11/2011 10:23PM

    congrats on your continued loss - you seem to have a lot of momentum going - nice.
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Bring on the Change!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Ahhhh relaxing weekends....NOT!

The rest of April and a good chunk of May are gearing up to be frenetically busy. Like many of you, I've got a lot going on at work, and on top of that I've got a bunch of family about to descend on us (Mom, our son and girlfriend, my brother and maybe his wife & kids, and a nephew) the first week of May, with my mom staying for about 3 weeks. Then, SWMBO and I are fixing to get ready (sadly this Boston Boy has picked up phrases like "fixing to get ready" after living in the south for a few years) to move into some new digs sometime at the end of May, so while we're organizing and cleaning for the visits, we're looking at everything with a critical eye and sending tons of stuff to Goodwill and the local shelters (why is it mostly my stuff that gets chucked?)

And she reminded me yesterday that next weekend we're hosting a big hoopla we had made plans for many moons ago...an outdoor dinner event for about 14 people. And oh yeah, we had to go shopping for it today (she'll finish the rest of it at the end of the week, but we had to go get some of the staples today....ahhh shopping). AND she gave me the hairy eyeball about getting some new shirts, so we spent some time combing over a few websites and settled on a handful of twills and bengal stripes....hmmmmm, should I start ordering the slim fits now....?

But here was the cool part of the day.....I forgot to bring my cane shopping! I thought it was great....SWMBO and #2 son, not so much. Now I've been sneaking around the house without it on short jaunts, but this was my first outdoor adventure without it. Besides, this Wednesday is my last checkup with the doc where he's supposed to clear me for a life of bipedalism after the visit. I suspect it'll be another 6-10 months before I can even consider running, but my goal is to get him to clear me to ride the bike (the road bike that is) and to start back on some weight bearing leg exercises (lunges, squats, etc.)

Anyway, today felt great and gave me a taste of something good to look forward to the rest of this week.....even with the looming visits and lifestyle changes.

Bring on the change! Good night Spark friends!

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JUNEBUG1944 4/11/2011 5:44PM

    Congrats on losing the cane! I didn't realize that you needed a cane for so long with hip surgery. With knee, I had it for a week or so after a week of the walker. Enjoy all your company...and, eat healthy and feed them healthy, too!

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TEXAS_GRL 4/11/2011 6:56AM

    Sounds like you will be very busy the next few weeks! I was tired just reading about it. emoticon So how did you feel after your big caneless excursion? Safari is right SWMBO might just handcuff that cane to you if you try that again. LOL


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SAFARIBABE 4/11/2011 5:20AM

    Why is your stuff getting the boot? That's easy Sugar...b/c it's Swmbo NOT Hwmbo! LOL WTG on your temporary reprieve from the cane. Careful tho, your hairy-eyed SWMBO may handcuff it to your arm if you try that again. You have enough hours at the office to cheat under the radar, but I highly recommend you behave at home. So did you scope out the 55" at the new digs?

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BOBF15 4/10/2011 9:19PM

    emoticon...

http://www.youtube.com/embe
d/rMbATaj7Il8

A little Steppenwolf, Sir----

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Cleared to ride.... that's what I am sayin'

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Prom Night!

Friday, April 08, 2011

So today I went to the High School Prom....as a parent chaperone of course!

#2 son attends a special needs High School and these guys did some amazing stuff! SWMBO always tells me when we go to these things, "half the time you just want to cheer out loud, the other half your heart just wants to burst into tears."

So my morning started off going to "Dude's Day" where a few dads (very few unfortunately) came in to help the teens learn how to tie ties, talked to them about not overdoing the cologne, emphasized table manners, etc. But the most amazing thing was that a local High School has a Leadership Program that helps our school put on this event. About 15 teen guys (the girls had their own separate program teaching them how to get all dolled up), came in and talked to their special needs peers about how to ask a girl to dance, how to behave when you're dancing etc. I was floored! I have never seen such a mature bunch of teens.

Then tonight, the same group of guys & gals came in dressed up in 50s clothes and each picked a partner to escort throughout the night. They danced together, they ate, they laughed, they helped them fix up their clothes, escorted them to the bathrooms, helped them work through their disabilities to have an incredibly great time....certainly a better time than I had at my prom back in 19......but I digress.

I couldn't believe it! A ROTC detachment drew swords in an entry arch for the kids where their escorts accompanied them down a lighted red carpet. Each of these teens I went over to and thanked told me that the pleasure was theirs, that they loved what they did to help out the school. WOW! I was awestruck by their sense of community and service.

SWMBO and I hung out and walked around....helped some of the kids that were having the most trouble and when we looked over at our guy, he had his little Jennifer Grey look-a-like escort (Think "Baby" Houseman not Dancing with the Stars) on the dance floor raving to Y-M-C-A!

Earlier today I had rushed home in a frenzy to get changed up for this thing....my entire day was a turbulent mess of putting out varied fires. I blew off lunch, had a few cans of emergency tuna I keep in the office, blew off the gym when crisis 99 emerged, then hightailed it back home to change and get #2 son's tie tied right. 45 minutes later, my days' troubles vanished into a puff of insignificance when I saw kids overcoming physical and mental afflictions having the time of their lives because a few dozen of their peers thought it the right thing to do devoting their teenage Friday night to helping another school put on Prom Night!

Wow! All of a sudden, any angst I felt about work, about weight loss, about not working out enough, about eating too much whatever was really put into perspective....I'm pretty darn healthy and have too much to be grateful for. A great lesson in humility.

Good night Spark friends!

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MAINLADY 4/10/2011 6:26PM

    Wonderful blog. I have a handicapped daughter. What a thrill it would have been for her to have experienced what your son did. It seems all we hear about today's youth is the bad stuff. Something like you've explained needs to make national news so we can sit back and say, "We're still okay." God bless those young men and women who gave so unselfishly of themselves to make someone else happy.

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JUNEBUG1944 4/9/2011 5:45PM

    Now that I'm sitting here with tears in my eyes, I want to thank you for this blog. What a wonderful time for those kids. And, how wonderful that the other kids were there to lend a hand and support the special kids. Here I was all smart mouth about your prom...sorry. My twin brother is brain-damaged and I remember what we all went through when he was in school. Wish he could have experienced such a wonderful night!

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TEXAS_GRL 4/9/2011 2:54PM

    An amazing blog! I was just floored when I read about the teenage boy volunteers. So often you hear what is wrong with kids today and it was nice to hear something so positive. Sounds like everyone had a nice time. Sounds way better then my own prom!

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TIFFGETSFIT 4/9/2011 12:06PM

    What a fabulous blog :) Made me smile!!! There ARE still thoughtful, unselfish, and respectable teenagers in the world!

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BOBF15 4/9/2011 11:41AM

    emoticon

Sounds pretty healthy to me. You should be off the charts on your next Spark check up, where it talks about how you are feeling. More to life than calories and minutes, but you know this.

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BRADOS 4/9/2011 10:46AM

    awesome experience and one never forgotten I would imagine - thanks for sharing - pretty uplifting to hear of teens sharing their time like that and everyone having a great time

great story to open the day with for me

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ELISA322 4/9/2011 9:12AM

    Oh that is wonderful! What a great group of teens, you must be so proud.



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FANGFACEKITTY 4/9/2011 7:16AM

    emoticon

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SAFARIBABE 4/9/2011 5:51AM

    Phew!! I thought you came back from Vegas having some kind of mid-life crisis!! Sounds like the kids had a GREAT time last night! There's nothing like a saber arch to set the mood for the evening...that was so sweet of the teens and ROTC to volunteer their time that way. I hope you and SWMBO were able to sneak in a dance or two. If not...take her for a spind around the living room as you whipser sweet hints of 55" plasmas into her ear. Remember dancing is good cardio!!

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Stand Tall! Sit Tall!

Thursday, April 07, 2011

So I'm a people watcher.

Now I don't leer, and I don't stare, but I spend just enough time at airports that when I get bored and pull my head out of the iPhone & Crackberry, I like to watch the hustle & bustle.

So of late, I've taken to noticing how people carry themselves. It's purely selfish you understand.

As I've slimmed down about 10 lbs and gained some muscle & girth where it should be, I've paid more attention to my posture and bearing. Hence I find it interesting to watch how much variety there is in how people stand, walk, sit, etc.

Today I noticed a slim man in his 40s who stood very straight, but also looked very relaxed. I could tell that he focused his movements and posture through his core. No belly pushing out, no sway back, no shoulders slumped forward, just a balanced stance and gait as he moved. He just looked like he had his center of gravity just right and held his core firm as he moved.

"That's how I want to be," I told myself. So I took to noticing how many other people stood or moved like that.

Not many. Lot's of people slouched over, shoulders turned forward or hunched up. Almost everyone sat with a big old curve in their back. Many folks had their heads and neck thrust forward (unlike cool 40s guy who had it balanced right over the plane of his shoulders).

So I forced myself to sit up straight, engage the core, tighten the butt, get my lower back off the back of the chair, and it felt pretty good! But it took constant attention. Every 2-3 minutes I noticed how I got back into my slouch. As I walked, I made a point of standing straight, firming up the core (front and back), pulling my shoulders back and down. Again, it felt good, but again, after a few moments of wandering thought, back I would go. Tried it again driving home....felt good, but when the next song came on the radio, I had gone back to my slouch.

I'm going to spend some more effort on this one....I think it could be a high payoff item in a healthy lifestyle....more to follow.

Good to be back home....goodnight Spark friends!

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JUNEBUG1944 4/8/2011 8:59PM

    You will look so HOT if you stand tall! LOL! When I learned to type, we had to sit straight and our backs could not touch the back of the chair. I did that for many years but find myself slouching now...I'll have to straighten up and fly right! See, when I people watch it's to find the stupid-dressed ones, not the ones who look good...guess I'd better mend my ways...

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NEEBREW 4/8/2011 7:51AM

    I noticed a coworker of mine sitting at her computer yesterday, back perfectly straight. I only noticed because it is very abnormal to witness someone with really good posture. I admit, it is very difficult for me to sit with my back straight but today I'm going to make an extreme effort to monitor myself just in case I'm the object of someone's people watching!

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SAFARIBABE 4/8/2011 5:56AM

    Welcome Home!! Loved the blog, tho I do miss your mis-adventures with TSA agents named Bubba feeling you up. LOL Seriously tho, when I was a kid I had a naturally (read that as grandmother forced me) ram rod straight posture. But years of sitting slumped over laptops and teenage years where you want to appear cool and not like you had a rod rammed up your...back... have led to more curvature and less straightness. This is something that I've also been thinking of for a bit and trying (off and on) to improve. Thanks for the reminder!!

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LOVE_LIANE 4/7/2011 11:06PM

    It's so interesting how losing weight and gaining muscle affects posture - I've been a lot more conscientious about mine lately, as well. It IS hard, but so, so much better for us.

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BRADOS 4/7/2011 10:52PM

    neat observation - and always good to be home - have a great weekend
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JONESINATOR 4/7/2011 10:52PM

    It's a great pay off. I've gotta be honest, as my back as strengthened significantly and I've lost weight in the lower back, my posture is 100% different. I've noticed that old chairs in classrooms have that classic lumbar spinal curve built INTO the chair. Now, most chairs are straight backed, and when I sit down a lot, I find my upper back against the backing and my lower back unsupported! Talk about painful after a while!

If you get your back into super powerful strength and have the core going, you're going to walk with perfect shoulder and spinal placement. Also, not lying, but more than just people watchers notice - everyone notices!

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KENNY83 4/7/2011 10:38PM

    Interesting observation. The way people walk could be a manifestation of their confidence. Maybe if you walk with a good posture it'll give you the placebo effect of instilling confidence in yourself...just a thought. Thanks for the insight. emoticon

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