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!
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!
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!
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!
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!
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