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What if I know of real solutions for affordable health care, but nobody listens? What if I know of a simple cure for some types of depression, but no one hears me? Stress reduction? Better health? Peace of mind? Contentment? Freedom?

Maybe we all have to figure them out on our own, in our own time. It’s cool that the answers are real and widely available! They’re almost free, yet priceless. I hope you agree, in the most real sense of all, via actions. Live well!

It’s over three weeks until the Portland marathon and I’m already loading up on carbohydrates. Am I too early? I didn’t want to procrastinate. It did taste really good!

Polish Pesto

Polish Pesto

Don’t try to tell me pesto is not a Polish dish. I have 50% Polish blood and I’m here to tell you my pesto is as good or better than any others I’ve tasted. This is not bragging; it’s simply the result of practice and starting with high-grade ingredients. The basil and green pepper were freshly plucked from my garden. Local sweet onions, fresh garlic, extra virgin olive oil, Portobello mushrooms, pine nuts and whole grain pasta, plus optional chicken breast. How could it not be good? Would you like some? Come on over to the True Blue Cafe’!

Reservations available if you can find me.....

Reservations available if you can find me…..

Mom and Dad at Twin Lakes, their favored vacation retreat.  How sweet it was!

Mom and Dad at Twin Lakes, their favored vacation retreat. How sweet it was!

Nick made me eggs and hash browns, one of my very favorite breakfasts today. It was awesome! Annie’s celebrating Zach’s birthday with open-water swimming and hanging with Zach’s family. How cool! Like any weekend, I had about 400% more ideas than I have time to fit in. But it’s all good! I’m watching some U.S. Open golf, remembering wonderful games played with my Dad in years gone by. We had some great competition, and memorable times. Now I’m enjoying hackysack, bicycling, running, standup paddling, weight-lifting, skiing and swimming with my kids, among other things. The activity is much less important than the chance to spend fun times together. I’m one happy father! I love you kids!

My Dad taught us much about family, honesty, commitment, nutrition, willingness, priorities, love, kindness, adventure, gratitude and fun. I love you Dad!

What a day! Yesterday was a really big day for me. I’m not sure what was most important, but growth happened.

We anticipated our twenty-mile run, the pinnacle of our training for next month’s Coeur d’Alene marathon. To fuel up, Annie made green smoothies (Kale for breakfast; move over Popeye!), followed by coffee smoothies (over the top AMAZING!!!) and peanut butter and jelly toast. These accompanied hours of more research and then final selections of toys for our next big thing: standup paddle boarding. I ordered boards, paddles, racks, leashes and personal flotation devices. I’m so excited!

Throughout the day, I learned and re-learned about myself, noting impatience, apprehension, frustration, determination, perseverance and jubilation. When I recognize my motives, they can teach me valuable lessons. It’s even possible to grow from them!  Who knew? Serve, rest, recover, fuel, release, praise, accept, observe, enjoy, admire, bask, encourage and belly up! Food never tastes better than after a long-ass run. I don’t know it there are tougher “walls” yet to come, but we tackled some tough ones yesterday!

Perhaps we needed this mental challenge to round out our preparation. The eighteen-miler seemed almost easy to me; if it wasn’t, my mind has beautifully blocked out the tough parts. The half marathon up and down Badger mountain boosted our confidence further. Yesterday boosted it again, in a new way. We started with little spunk, and our bodies became tired, sore and weakened rather early in the run. Maybe that’s “the wall”? Did something inspire us to add those big hills early on, to help our growth? As we faced trepidation, around halfway done, a cool inspiration re-surfaced: “when your legs get tired, run with your heart.”  Yes! Now we know that even when we start partially tired and weakened by our training, we can still push through a long run.  Strong or weak, high or low, we can get it done!

You never know what you’ll feel like on race day. You never know about any day! But bringing our best, enjoying the process, loving the now, seeing the beauty, slowly blossoming and keeping the faith are paths to growth, joy and peace.  Sometimes they even end with curry! Yay!

John Denver’s “Colorado Rocky Mountain High”:

But the Colorado rocky mountain high
I’ve seen it rainin’ fire in the sky
The shadow from the starlight is softer than a lullabye
Rocky mountain high
(Colorado)

A delirium recollection from yesterday:

On that Bennington twenty-mile high…I’ve seen a lot of country passing by…The rush of adrenaline is sweeter than chocolate pie….Bennington High…Walla Walla…

Twenty miles give a LOT of time to talk, think and trip out!  🙂

I try to dance some fine lines.  Finding and following these lines requires balance. Each of us defines moderation, excess and sloth in different ways.  Many of the differences in our definitions stem from how honest we’re able to be with ourselves.

There’s a fine line to physical achievement.  On one side are treacherous injuries and over-exhaustion.  On the other, wasted potential. On the line, or in the zone, we find ourselves feeling stronger, more energized and full of zest for life. Getting in touch with truth begs differentiation between laziness and a true need for rest. Betterment encompasses fatigue, exertion and minor aches and pains. It begs for stretching, fueling, massage, diverse activities and recuperation. That’s just a short journey from over-resting, so awareness is paramount. Our minds must be in touch with where our bodies are now, not where they once were, or where we wish they were. Physical health is built over the long haul, dependent on regular practice of an artful balance of sleep, nutrition, hydration, spiritual re-charging and exercise.

Many of us have worked too much at our jobs! Many of us have also worked too little, or gone to work tired, hung over, distracted or un-motivated. I love the correlation between healthy living and job performance. My brain simply works better when my body gets what it wants. It must like blood flow! Rather than pop pills, I prescribe myself exercise! This is one of the best choices I’ve ever made! I love it when I get more done in less time!

The line between serving others and taking care of myself also requires moderation.  If I feel disconnected, I may be focusing too much on myself. If I feel disgruntled, I may be neglecting myself. To best serve, I must be in the spirit of the servant.

I sense that we have so much more potential. How to get there? Am I on the path? Where does it lead? Am I missing a key part? How can I fuel better? What can I do to rest more effectively? How to recover quicker? How to open my mind more fully? Who can inspire me? Who should I serve? Where can I best serve? What is the best job for me? Where should I travel? How young can I feel? Can I really dance the line? Turn up the music!

Frank Badger finish closeup

Am I like other smack talkers? Why do it? Mostly to: (1) increase the likelihood that I’ll follow through with the actions and (2) motivate some of you, including my long-run training partner, Annie. I believe it’s a potential win-win-win scenario. Those are my favorites!

Sometimes, I’m a legend in my own mind. I start thinking I’m the most important person I know. Mom, I hope you’re chuckling a little here. I’m working on bettering me to become more capable of serving others. If I’m on the wrong path, someone should tell me.

So Annie, I’m coming for you! I’ll be faster, better fed, tapered and energized! I’ll do intervals, hills, long-ass runs and stairs.  I’ll even do the leg weights! If this makes you work even harder, I win!

Has anyone  out there lost the belief, desire and/or habits of being the best possible version of themselves? If you get anything at all out of this post, I win again! I could really be on a roll here!

If all you learn is that I’m an egotistical, unashamed self-promoter, well, I win again! Because you’ll know exactly who you don’t want to be.  It’s starting to look like I can’t lose on this deal…..

It’s my choice!

I loved running the St. Patrick’s Day 10k footrace in Kennewick yesterday, for many reasons. It was fun to start strong and fast. My ego enjoyed passing some people along the way. My pride loved watching Annie finish with the best kick I saw, to beat out a woman who sprinted in her attempt to hold Annie off. I fed off the energy of hundreds of healthy people, assembled to celebrate the spirit of competition. I was inspired by the finely tuned bodies of the fast runners. I realized that the harder I work at it, the stronger I get, the faster I run, and the better I feel. This applies to so much more than running!

I choose to be strong, healthy, optimistic, adventurous, playful and fun. I choose effort, mental toughness, dedication, persistence and faith. I embrace challenge and resistance, just as I accept wind and rain. My spirit will soar like a sail on the sea, an eagle in flight, or a racer engaged. I will use healthy fuels to run faster, think more clearly and explore more widely.

I will enjoy this amazing gift of life, in the fullest way I can muster. I hope I always stay open to better and better ways to live!

St Pat's 10k 2013

You are what you eat! The truth of this resonates in various ways.

Eat more fruits and vegetables! This is intuitively sound and consistent advice across the field of “experts.”

So? Yesterday was a classic day, including blackberries with breakfast cereal and a pre-workout treat of mango. The day climaxed at dinner, starting with green smoothies, following a long workout on elliptical machines, weights and StairMasters. Then we enjoyed Indian butter masala stir-fry:

Indian butter masala stir fry

 

Having eaten the smoothie, which was laden with kale, spinach and banana, the broccoli and red pepper in the stir fry made for a nice balance of health. The next course took us to a new level: roasted vegetables! Brussels sprouts, asparagus, butternut squash and sweet potato fries filled our bellies the rest of the way.  I slept well and now I’m charging into a new day! Thank you Annie for feeding me so well!

Since we are what we eat, what are we?

  1. Vegetables?
  2. Nutrient-replenished athletes, ready to charge into a tempo run?

Given my work schedule, and the resultant need for stress relief, I’m voting for option number two! Knowing Annie, I believe the run is more mandatory than optional!

Annie's 21st birthday celebration!

Annie’s 21st birthday celebration!  Her husband Zach & I

My daughter Annie grew from the baby in the picture on the wall to the spunky, sparkly woman above.  She brings joy, adventure, curiosity, nutrition, exercise, humor and flavor with her every visit.  This weekend’s flavors have included kale, spinach, chocolate and coffee.  Her new Vita-mix blender churned up wonderful smoothies, frozen yogurt and frappes.  I’m feeling hydrated, energized and happy!  Do I need a super blender of my own?

Annie just started nursing school, so we got blood pressure testing and heart and lung checkups.  I got a clean bill of health, as expected, so we did a lot of weight-lifting and cardiovascular exercise at the gym.  Last night we even danced a little after a tasty dinner. How sweet it is!  🙂

We are offered unlimited life paths, with so many forks in our roads.  Bountiful chances to stray, play, grow and show just who we are.  These choices define exactly who we are.  If we truly accept that we do indeed have all these choices, and believe that we can follow any path we like, we are free in spirit.  When we search our heart and soul to discover who we really are, we can make conscious choices to follow our values.

I had to start with empowerment.  Conscious or not, EVERYTHING we do is a choice.  How powerful!  So I am responsible for who I am.  No one else did it.  They did do everything they did.  I chose, often passively, reactively, irrationally, emotionally, defensively, selfishly and/or irresponsibly, how to respond or act.  These are lessons, whether I learned them or not.  They tend to repeat themselves.

So the troubles I’ve faced resulted from choices I’ve made.  Likewise for the sobriety, growth, peacefulness, acceptance, joy and gratitude.  I know in my heart that when I make the best choices I can, with as much faith, honesty and humility as I can muster, life will go better than if I reverted to making choices based on greed, pride, lust and fear.  The details make the story fun. Every step we take is on the biggest stage of all.  It’s almost always “take one.”  There are few Mulligans, do-overs or re-takes.  It seems like a good idea to be on our best behavior!

  1. Lighten up!  Going with the flow and finding humor.
  2. Brighten up!  Letting my light shine with optimism.
  3. Encourage!  Being the change I wish to see in the world.
  4. Explore.  Learning, enjoying, broadening.
  5. Experiment.  Opening my mind to better ways.
  6. Reach out.  Connecting, re-connecting, enlivening.
  7. Reach in.  Honesty, willingness, humility, acceptance, tolerance.
  8. Clean up.  Becoming more and more free!
  9. Share.  My blessings and my heart.
  10. Donate.  Stimulating, boosting, enriching.
  11. Carry on!  Persistence, dedication, faith.
  12. Smile!  My greatest gift?
  13. Dance!  Sharing the joy, living the love.
  14. Skip.  Freedom, playfulness.
  15. Run!  Staying young at heart.
  16. Read.  Learning, understanding, growing.
  17. Rest.  Recovering, rejuvenating, appreciating.
  18. Meditate…..  Centering, relaxing, gaining perspective.
  19. Love!  The meaning of life!
  20. Eat well.  Health, energy, focus.
  21. Connect.  Friendship, working together.
  22. Listen.  Supporting.
  23. Understand.  Considering & observing.
  24. Empathize.  Feeling their path.
  25. Contribute.  Getting involved.
  26. Participate.  Embracing life!
  1. Mind altering substances aren’t solutions.  Mind altering choices and activities are!
  2. No one ever became less sloppy, more coordinated, less promiscuous or more intelligent from drinking alcohol.  In this case, less is better.
  3. Laziness never helps a person or a society.  Entitlements are laziness defined.
  4. Integrity, cooperation, humility, persistence and creativity are often found in successful people.
  5. Nobody owes me anything, unless I’ve loaned them money.
  6. I am responsible for how my life is going.  Blame is denial, or a stifling, futile avoidance of the truth.  People do whatever they choose to do.  They have no control over my responses, unless I’m silly enough to grant it to them.
  7. I have no idea what’s happening next.  I have opportunity to respond well!
  8. I face continual choices that decide who I am.  Opportunity NEVER stops knocking!
  9. New trucks, bikes, golf clubs, televisions, clothes and other material things are rewarding.  They’re nice rewards for working hard.  They’re also like dust in the wind compared to relationships.
  10. The most fun days at work are dressing up in wild outfits for Halloween.  Someone suggested that I wish every day was Halloween! 
  11. Exercise is like breathing – don’t stop!
  12. My health is directly related to what I eat, drink, breathe, do and believe.  “Do” is a short word with a lot of impact!

A few weeks ago I golfed this course for the first time.  It is awesome!  The rolling hills offer many challenges, and they lead to lovely views.  Today, my daughter Annie and I ran around a small part of the course and much of the practice facility.  What a wonderful way to rejuvenate, invigorate and work up an appetite for her amazing cinnamon rolls.  They’re both the best I’ve ever tasted and the healthiest, by far!  How I love WIN-WIN solutions!  How lucky am I to get to eat her ever-expanding array of creative, tasty and healthy recipes!

An old song just ran through my head and became the title of this post.  Who knows what triggers our recall of memories?  It seems to be a complex thing.

Even when we’re in a good mental state, shaking out of it may be the path to greater enlightenment.  How can we expand our view?  Traveling opens our minds.  Varying activities stimulates excitement.  Talking with new people boosts our creativity.  Emptying our minds and really listening to them can expand our thinking.  Reading provocative works can do likewise. 

How do we let go of our preconceptions, biases and ill-founded beliefs?  We can start by recognizing that there are smarter people out there.  Also, we can admit to ourselves the many mistakes we’ve made.  We can let go of any remorse and hold on to the lessons.  We really do get to choose who we are.  Will we choose well? 

I choose to be strong and healthy, so I’ll commit to regular exercise, healthy eating and proper rest.  I want to have fun, so I’ll make exercise choices  that are fun for me, and I’ll be open to meeting new people, trying new activities and experiencing more of the world.  I want to be kind, so I’ll practice kindness.  I want to have an open mind, so I’ll read new things, travel to new places and take on new challenges.  I want to be a good golfer, so I’ll practice putting, chipping, ball striking and mental focus.  I want to be a productive, uplifting and creative worker.  So I’ll practice optimism, encouragement, experimentation, focus and dedication at work.  I want to be a good father, so I’ll practice helping my kids learn the skills they’ll use to better their lives.

Who do you choose to be?

Themed potlucks are gaining traction at work.  Today I’m taking a crock pot of butternut squash chili.  I didn’t choose squash, but I’m choosing to embrace it.  This attitude makes my life more fun.  I sure hope the chili is good, because there’s a lot of it!  If not: free dog food anyone?

Life is filled with growth opportunities!  Building a 2013 budget has been fraught with continual overhaul and bureaucratic delays, pushing me to laugh out loud throughout last evening’s run.  My interpretation?  Wonderful spiritual growth!

It felt great to run!  I wore quasi-minimalist shoes, without orthotics, and felt a natural flow.  I relaxed my right ankle, so the soreness I felt early slipped away.  Often, it gets worse as I go.  Yesterday I ran at least six miles, with no throbbing at the end.  Some of my other bonuses were a re-charged spirit, renewed energy, toxin removal, boosted confidence and improved endurance.  Yay!

Dr. Dean Ornish’s book “The Spectrum” is awesome!  If everyone read it, I’m betting our health care dilemma would be largely solved.  He lays wellness facts out clearly and offers beautiful descriptions of the joyous fun that better health delivers.  Better sex!  Ability to do incredibly fun things!  More energy!  A positive view on life!  No guilt or shame.  Rather, opportunity to feel great about ourselves!  I’m stoked!

It’s been a great weekend!  I took Friday off to start early, joining my brothers Pat and Jim for some very challenging golfing tests.  The Palouse Ridge golf club offers panoramic views, sloping fairways and smooth, fast and hard greens.  There is absolutely no boredom here.  Extreme side-hill lies, British style bunkers, tall native grasses and well designed holes offer challenge, opportunity and danger.  My best advice is to bring extra balls, especially the ones you can hit with a club!

After golf, Annie treated us to oven fresh bread, roasted vegetables with feta and parmesan, red pepper vinaigrette chicken, cheesy cauliflower quinoa and chocolate pumpkin bars.  It was all so good!  ( :

On Saturday we enjoyed good sleep, burgers and sausages at Jim’s fifth wheel party and awesome sunshine in the student section of Martin Stadium.  We had an impressive view of the stadium expansion and saw some good plays by the Cougars.  Not enough to win the game though, as they fell to Colorado, 35-34.  As usual, Mike Leach’s post-game interview was entertaining and enlightening.  He’s changing a culture; I believe he’ll get it done.

After a short rest and re-fueling, Annie and I visited the Rec center to exercise.  We started with 25 minutes of fast paced lunges and weights and then moved to ellipticals, rowing machines and 12 percent incline treadmills, for 40 more minutes of cardiovascular training.  It felt so good!  We then had wonderful leftovers and chocolate applesauce oatmeal muffins, fresh from the oven.  Yay!

Tomorrow we hope to hike up Moscow Mountain.  What lucky people we are!  I hope we smuggle some muffins along!!!

So tasty!  So healthy!  How could one go wrong?  I’m leaving the mainstream, abandoning white flour and sugar laced cookies and cakes for much healthier treats.  Greased white flour pizzas are replaced with whole wheat crusts and healthier and tastier cheeses.  There are many simple carbohydrate junkies running free, so most restaurants still cater to them.  Oh well.  My body knows the truth.  My energy levels show the wise path.  My creative inspirations and excited anticipation show me the ways to eat and live.  Recognizing the signs of how our choices affect us is a crucial first step.  Short-term highs correlate with long-term crashes.  Steady energy flows from healthful balance.  The complex interactions of health fostering health play out on all levels:  physically, spiritually, emotionally and mentally.  Spiral up or spiral down?  Faith means knowing the truth and sticking with it.  Discipline is a cornerstone of moving towards a utopian freedom.  Spaghizza plays a beautiful role.  Combining wonderful things opens up new wonders.  Now my body wants to run and jump and skip and dance!  Yay!  ( :

Hooray for themed potluck day!  My co-worker/friend Sandy instigated Friday themed potluck Fridays in our office with Zucchini Friday last week.  We had zucchini Quiche for breakfast with zucchini bread.  For lunch, zucchini salads and more zucchini bread.  It was fun!  Today’s ingredient is corn.  I was so tired from my run last evening that I’m cooking this morning.  I wonder if I’ll pass inspection with corn and steak and melted cheese?  I’m bringing garden fresh cherry tomatoes as a peace-offering.  Sandy mentioned corn hotcakes and I’m guessing we’ll eat cornbread.  I wonder what else?  It’s exciting and fun!  ( :

Wow!  It’s so amazing to me how life/God deals me what I need when I need it.  Or maybe I see what I need exactly when I’m ready to see it.  In any case, there are many lessons for me to learn along the path to a better version of myself.

Annie is so fun!  We went to our second concert in as many days on Friday, and it was incredibly inspiring!  Jo Dee Messina had more life perspective than when we saw her at the Pendleton Roundup concert about five years ago.  Marriage and giving birth to and caring for two kids changed her world quite a bit.  But she has not lost her love of the stage, nor has she lost her powerful voice, or her passionate delivery.  Asked if marriage had dampened her tendency towards man bashing, she suggested that it had only given her more material!  Jo Dee delivered humor, songs about bouncing back from life’s hardships, and commitment to her dream when others thought her career was winding down She was better than ever.  Richer in the ways that matter.  She was real and she was in her element.   The crowd was not huge, but we were passionate, and she felt the love.  Her encore lasted half an hour!  We all left richer, inspired and full of treats for our souls!

Annie and I treated our bodies to her amazing culinary creations:  whole wheat pizza, zesty pesto, protein cinnamon bread, red pepper humus and quinoa with vegetables.  My taste buds and my health are loving them!  We also organized my kitchen and rode our bicycles for 95 minutes yesterday on the Bennington Lake/Mill Creek trails.  I was excited to keep finding ways to better my life, so I went to “The Dark Knight Rises” last evening and ran five miles this morning.  I plan to continue the re-organization and purging of my possessions today.  It feels good!  ( :

Annie inspires me often.  Her zest for life fires me up!  She makes me laugh.  She doesn’t let me take life’s ups and downs too seriously.  She loves me so much that she’ll suffer through my pity parties.  Luckily for her, I’m planning to be done with those! 

Annie thrives on life!  She lives as fully as possible.  We’ve enjoyed many adventures, competitions, shopping marathons, parties, games and gatherings together.  We LOVE to get high on exercise!  I mean REALLY HIGH!  Who could be as much fun as her?  How would I feel if I met someone who was just as much fun?  That sounds exciting!

Annie is the best cook in our little family.  The rest of us may not be world-class competition though.  Ha!  Annie really is a superb chef.  Her whole wheat three-cheese supreme pizza outclasses the New York pizzerias I’ve visited.  That’s saying a lot!  Her chicken quinoa was the rave of our huge extended family gathering.  My lucky co-workers, who enjoyed leftovers, were impressed.  It’s tasty, healthy, spicy and energizing!  Annie’s roasted vegetables are also awesome!  Her chocolate-banana protein milkshakes have become a staple of my wellness diet.  They may be even better when we add peanut butter!  Yay Annie!

Annie strives to be the best she can be at everything she does.  So she’s a stellar student and a ray of sunshine to the retired folks she serves at her job.  Who wouldn’t appreciate expressions of joy, compassion and encouragement?  Annie even tries to keep her home clean now.  That is a recent change for the better!

Annie’s now busy plotting more adventures for us to enjoy: river kayaking, camping, WSU football games, bicycling, running, nordic skiing, etc.  The more variety, the better!  That goes for activities, locations and participants! 

Live well!  ( :

How’s your outlook on life these days?  My glass is not half full.  It’s overflowing!  Can I learn to remember this, knowing it deeply in my heart, mind and soul?

Someone stole my new rain jacket with clip-on sunglasses in the pocket.  So I ordered prescription sunglasses, for the first time, and I’ll get to shop for another cool rain jacket later!

My right elbow and index finger have hurt, limiting certain activities.  I get a different variety of experiences!  If I’m unable to water ski at the lake this year, I’ll find other fun things to do.  Yay!  My pains also give me perspective to stimulate compassion for the sick and elderly. 

I relapsed with addictive eating.  I learned the depth of this substitutive addiction and my imperative need for fully working step one on this.  I am reminded of the persuasive nature of my addictive mind.  I now have nine days of clean eating and I’m moving to better health and confidence, fat loss and greater strength and endurance.  Yay!

The ropes course experience showed me that I can quickly jump to a defeatist attitude.  Perhaps this is tied into self-esteem issues.  Maybe it’s like the chicken and the egg .  Which came first?  Does it matter?  I can understand how I interpreted the outcomes of experiences in love, addiction and other events as failures.  Perfectionism seemed to hone in on the negative aspects, rather than the sometimes bigger positives.  Now I’m reminded of the amazing successes that positive living has brought to me.  I’m powerless over almost everything and certainly everybody, which sets me totally free to focus on being a better version of me!  I just need to do my part and let everything else happen as it will.

My assistant mistakenly wiped out most of the budget work I performed last week by neglecting attention to details when projecting her part of our budget.  I gained greater ability via repetition in troubleshooting budget problems, and was able to let go of the frustrations.

My son sometimes suggests that we go lift weights or do something else together; he often changes his mind and cancels at the last-minute.  I learn to do the next right thing, which is usually to stay active myself, leading by example, as well as staying calm and demonstrating and enjoying the benefits of healthy living.

My boss sometimes gets wound up over job pressures, bringing the heat on me.  I learn to stay calm myself, calm him down and prioritize tasks.  I also learn to focus on solving problems, instead of being overwhelmed, and have faith that things will work out just fine.

I’ve experienced incredible highs of being in love with beautiful women, with some amazingly fun attributes, only to have them opt out later.  I’ve learned that I can’t solve their problems and I can be more aware of different aspects of people by using patient observation.  I can work to become a better version of myself and embrace the beauty of life as it is now.  I’ve learned how I can be more loving to others and more true to myself.  I strive to stay out of expectations.  I’ve learned to enjoy the simple moments even more, as they stream into my life.  I’ve come to peace with having absolutely no idea what is coming.  I have faith that whatever is coming will be “good!”

sunshine-blogger-award1

Here I am, delivering my acceptance speech in my birthday suit!  Please forgive me, as this hot bath feels SO good after the 6.3 mile run I just finished.  The Powerade Zero/frozen banana/frozen strawberry/vanilla whey powder shake even tastes decadent.  Ahhhhh…… the sweetness of life.  Not your idea of a perfect Friday evening?  Well, I’m glad I’m learning to go with the flow and love as much as I can of whatever comes.  ( :  If a serial pyramid blogging award is a hair lower than a Pulitzer Prize or an Academy Award, so be it.  It can be just as precious to me!  Thanks Prissy!  My favorite posts by Prissy are about her last day in one occupation, it’s followup sequel, a New York taxicab tale, today’s feature  on love and about startling medical news.  Her other posts are quite different from these!  ( :

If Prissy can nominate thirteen of us, then I can pick a number too!  Here are sites I’ve been blessed with recently that strike my fancy:

Blessed with a Star on the Forehead  – Although I plan to go back and read more, reading just this one post captivated me.  She may in fact be a female version of me, in a sense.  In any case, I see good stuff about relationships and healing.

Kerstenbeck Photographic Art – Cool pictures AND cool words!  ( :

Either WordPress has lost the list of blogs I follow or this computer is losing it!  That’s a bummer, because there are more I’ve love to recommend!  Prissy modified the award rules to ask for questions, not answer unasked questions – ????  So if you have any questions about me, fire away!

Accountability.  Sounds like a bean counter’s word, doesn’t it?  I’m a bean counter, so I should know!  I have a Bachelor’s degree in Beancounterology, as well as decades of experience.  I even worked in a bean warehouse when I was very young.  Perhaps this was God’s humorous way of showing me how big some challenges are?  There were literally mountains of beans!

Enough digression!  Accountability means being responsible to someone for something, or “the state of being accountable, liable, or answerable” according to Dictionary.com.  Accountability can help keep us honest, on task and productive.  One very important priority for me is to be a better version of myself (thank you Matthew Kelly!).  This encompasses spiritual, emotional, intellectual, social and physical aspects, which are woven together to make me.  It is a fact that I can love who I am now and still continually strive to become a better version of myself.  For as long as I’m gifted with existence.  Is that forever?  How many more days do I get in this life on earth?  What will make it more rewarding for everyone involved?  What comes next? 

Finding a better me is not pressure or monotonous work.  It’s full of exciting challenges!  Yes, there are times of desperation and praying for help.  Yes to sweat, shortness of breath and muscle soreness.  Bring on the interpersonal challenges!  I can love people for their Godliness, and not resent their human limitations.  Because y’all are likely much like me.  The ones who can admit it are well on their way to serenity!

What was the original intent of this post?  Oh yeah, accountability.  Well, Annie started it, so here goes:  May 22, 2012 is a date I want to hold on to.  My first day of being clean and sober from gluttonous eating.  That’s two nights in a row for us real bean counters.  It’s as important as my other sobriety dates.  Can I hold on to it?  Well, I’m a human, but God can do anything!  ( :

PS – Hey Annie, the ab coaster gave me awesome burn!  4,580 meters in 20 minutes of rowing and 200 flights in 40 minutes on the stair-stepper.  Will Super Peach be ready for the next challenge?  ( :

Sometimes I feel it, and sometimes I don’t.  Sometimes I’m motivated, and sometimes I’m not.  Today I felt good and strong in the weight room.  So I lifted steadily with minimal breaks between sets, alternating arm sets with leg sets and ab sets, mixing in stretches.  I kept moving for eighty minutes.  It made me feel vital, strong, and fully alive!  I pushed hard, knowing that progress comes with effort, not with comfort.  The comfort came later, in the form of a tasty chocolate banana protein milkshake, vegetable salad, Prime beef steak and Weight Watchers ice cream treat.  Now for a shower, reading, sleep and rejuvenation.  If I’m lucky, I’ll be graced with another day tomorrow.  Wouldn’t that be sweet?  ( :

If my assumptions are correct, this is a day for twos!  We can be two times as grateful as we normally are.  Any discontent will vanish.  Poof!  We can smile two times as much as normal.  Others will smile back.  This could get contagious!  I’m planning on two breakfasts, two lunches and two dinners, albeit half-sized.  Thanks Annie!  I’ll even try to work two times as hard as normal.  I’ll do two workouts and tell two people how they add joy to my life.  I’ll make two posts on this blog, since I’ve slacked off.  ( ;  I will pray at least two times and set aside two meditation periods.  Hopefully I can do it all and get way more than two hours of sleep tonight!  I hope you have at least two loving experiences today!  Toodles!

Thank you Bullu!  This makes my day, because that is exactly my hope for my life:  to inspire others!  So to think that I have done so makes my heart smile!  Yay!  Bullu has inspired a real yearning in me to experience tea in England.  The food looks and sounds amazing!

I have found much inspiration in many of the blogs I’ve read!  Thank you to all of you!  At the risk of omission, I’ll still list a few here:

Fitnessaficionada – aka Super Peach and Annie.  Annie is my daughter and adventure mate.  Her blog inspires me to exercise, eat healthy foods, cook new recipes and experience adventures, like writing this blog.  Being a father to Annie and her brother Nicholas is the most amazing thing that’s happened to me so far.  Annie, let’s hit the adventure trail!

Cauldrons and Cupcakes – Nicole delivers a consistent stream of spiritual truths and a beautiful approach to life.  I look forward to reading her blog at every opportunity.  She absolutely helps me become a better version of myself.  Blessings to you Nicole!

Bucket List Publications – Lesley’s publication is based on living life fully, embracing and creating the amazing opportunities we have.  She lives her life that way and inspires me to add danger, variety and more adventure to my life, enriching it for me and for others.  Thanks Lesley!

sherrylcook – Sherry is wise and full of great perspective.  I always enjoy her writings.  Thanks for brightening my life Sherry!

Random facts about me:

  1. I grew up on a small farm in eastern Washington, enjoying nine siblings. 
  2. I am passionate about play.
  3. I am very competitive, but I am a good loser.  I love the challenge of competition.
  4. My day job is in finance and accounting, until I have enough money to focus on the bucket list!  ( :
  5. I believe in lasting love.  My heart is willing.
  6. My son Nicholas and I once melded a double family and a double pinochle in one hand.
  7. I was a nationally certified official for USA Swimming and observed multiple world records while serving at high level meets.

Here are the rules for the the ‘Very Inspiring Blogger’ award:

(1) thank the blogger who nominated you (2) include the links to their blogs, (3) include the award image in your post, (4) copy the award image to your site, (5) give seven random facts about yourself, (6) nominate 15 other bloggers for the award, (7)  when nominating other bloggers include the links to their sites, and (7) let those bloggers know they’ve been nominated!

I believe that unhealthy actions are manifestations of mental/emotional/spiritual challenges.  One challenge I see in my life is addressing the source of my tendency to overeat at bedtime.  This is eating when NOT hungry.  Perhaps it is eating to pass out, to avoid pain.  Maybe I’m eating to avoid facing my fears.  My life is full of blessings.  It’s just not “perfect”, according to my design for my life.  How can I become the best version of myself?  Maybe through prayer and meditation, in place of gluttony.  Prayer and meditation, instead of mindless activities.  Willingness to change.  Surrender.  Acceptance.  Gratitude.  ( :

The dynamic duo!  No mountain is too tall for this tandem!  Nothing could stop us!  On Saturday, we picked up our race packets, fancy new running shoes and shorts.  My new shoes are red and Annie’s are peach.  Our personalities don’t really lean towards blending in with the wall.  Play the cards you’re dealt!  For dinner, we enjoyed great company at Barb & Ryan’s home and loaded up on Annie’s delightful creations:  avocado pesto over whole wheat pasta, with a side of roasted vegetables dusted with parmesan and feta.  Finishing with Weight Watchers frozen confections, we were ready for rest and rejuvenation.  Bring on Bloomsday!

Sunday morning arrived.  It was race day!  Let’s get to it!  A few nervous pre-race thoughts threatened to attack, but we were very calm.  We enjoyed a perfect breakfast of bananas, Annie’s homemade whole wheat bread with almond butter and jelly, a little coffee/cola and orange juice.  We enjoyed a relaxed drive down to park the car and then jogged slowly to warm up, in the cool shade of tall buildings.  We arrived in time to wait for the porta pottys, do our business and jog to our starting spot, just a few minutes before the start!  Sweet destiny!  Just like Saturday, when we found an open parking spot very near the entrance to the parking garage, immediately in front of our destination.  God seems to enjoy teaching the beauty of going with the flow.  ( :

The flow didn’t seem to be working when the race started!  We had WAY too many people to pass, so the early downhill miles took longer than we had planned.  Our strategy was to go out fast, on the easy miles, then hold on at the end.  Oh well!  Acceptance again saved us.  Annie didn’t even see the guy hurling on the bridge; she was fully involved in running the best possible race that she could.  Exactly like she lives her life.  Yay! 

We were so focused on our path through the maze of people that we missed a lot of the distractions.  I did offer a half-dozen raised arms salutes to the up tempo bands, as well as multiple wild screams to set the mood.  Hey!  Have fun or go home!

I remembered two hills on the course, but in truth there are four.  Two of them are doozies!  The smaller two just suck a bit of energy out of you.  The last hill is called “Doomsday” hill, and it is as merciless as its name.  It’s a ratbastard of a cruel joke, punishing participants about 4.7 – 5.2 miles into the race.  Annie and I were committed to running as a team, and I let her make the call on how to approach our doom.  One of my best laughs of the day was watching Annie’s speed walk up Doomsday overtaking someone’s running pace.  Annie’s 34 inch inseam challenged my 32 inch legs, so I had to jog a bit to stay up with her.  Not fair!

The best part of the race for our egos was after we summited Doomsday.  Annie and I passed a LOT of people over the last two miles of the race, including a frenzied, climactic last quarter-mile.  We sprinted down the hill with clasped and upraised hands at the finish, relishing our successful teamwork!  ( :

After finishing, we could relax.  One of the most amazing sights was green man!  Sporting a body that rivaled Under Amour mannequins, he was completely covered with a fine green netting, plus black running shorts.   He said that trying to get a drink of water into his mouth through the netting was nearly impossible.   I can picture the entertainment!

Our return walk to the car offered soreness, gratitude, relief and accomplishment.  We were glad that we ran the race, and immediately made plans to run again next year, perhaps a bit faster and a little smarter.  We can do this!  ( :

Spring is so beautiful; there are so many flowers to admire!  My Bloomsday anticipation is like life in general:  I don’t know what will happen, but it’s likely to be quite an adventure!  Interesting people, high energy, sensory overload and physical challenge should make Sunday exciting.  Challenging ourselves to grow in one area of life often promotes growth in other areas.  So far the Bloomsday challenge has grown my belly with Annie’s “best of my life” pizza!  Yay!  Now she’s pulling fresh bread out of the oven.  This may take carbohydrate loading to an unprecedented level!  Ice cream anyone?

Well now!  The experts say we can’t get to where we want to go if we don’t know where that is.  Or do they say we can’t get what we want unless we know what it is that we want?  Or is it something like, we have to go after what we want, to get it?  Maybe they’d say my memory lapses make my repetitive “ideas” seem original?  Whatever!!!  It feels right to take a stab at a bucket list, so here goes!  Thank you to Lesley Carter for inspiring me to assemble this post, which may prove to be pivotal in making a better me!  Trying to rank order them blows my mind, so they’re numbered only for reference:

  1. Live happily ever after, deeply in love!
  2. Visit the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
  3. Run a half marathon with Annie.
  4. Jump out of an airplane AND live to tell about it!  ( :
  5. Help people to smile and laugh every day.
  6. Make a hole in one.
  7. Be an inspiration to others.  Thanks Sherryl!
  8. Watch a PAC-12 football championship game in Pullman, WA.
  9. Watch the Washington State Cougars WIN a Rose Bowl.
  10. Purchase a fun, sporty vehicle.  Thanks to everyone who has tolerated Little Blue!
  11. Snorkel in Hawaii.
  12. Play with grandkids.
  13. Write a story that lives on after I’m gone.
  14. Eat great sushi.
  15. Do 12 pull ups in a row.
  16. Love those who persecute me.
  17. Dance at Nicholas’ (son) wedding.
  18. Swim with dolphins.
  19. Dance at my wedding.
  20. Live peacefully, contentedly, generously and socially connected.
  21. Write a popular blog.
  22. Help Eric solve the obesity problem, inspiring people to better their lives.
  23. Enjoy tea in England.  Thanks Bullu!
  24. See Niagara Falls.
  25. Fly in a hot air balloon.
  26. Do 50 push ups in a row.
  27. Record a great hackysack video of Nicholas & Annie & friends.
  28. See Alaska in person.
  29. Take a vacation in Italy.
  30. Take a Mediterranean cruise or vacation.
  31. Visit Australia.
  32. See Celine Dion sing live.
  33. Live a long, healthy life.
  34. Shoot great photographs.
  35. Hike more of the northern section of the Pacific Crest Trail.
  36. Write a collection of poems.
  37. Collect friends, including five-minute friends – thanks Katie!
  38. Grow fresh herbs & prepare gourmet meals.  Thanks Annie!
  39. Score three or more birdies in one round of golf.
  40. Earn a single digit handicap in golf.
  41. Catch a big fish, say 20 pounds or more.
  42. Visit each of the United States of America.
  43. Add to this bucket list………and get busier on checking things off!  ( :  I welcome any and all feedback, such as critiques and more ideas! 

frankoshanko

I love health, humor, adventure, exercise, romance and competition. Well, I just love life! ( :

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