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Annie Rem MazamaThis is such an amazing life!

Our spirits take to skiing like eagles ride the wind. We find excitement and an amazing recharge of our zestful lives, as we climb hills, then zoom down them. Fully alive, sealed in the moment, oblivious of past or future. Now is just so good!

Annie and Remington and I loved Sun Mountain yesterday, savoring amazing glide and enlivening exertion. The trails were awesome and the company was even better. When rain presented, a world class warming hut appeared. As we finished our refreshments, the rain stopped and we eagerly tackled more of the abundant trails. This is heaven on earth!

A Mazama trail narrative suggested easier terrain and fewer of the hills we love so much. So what might appear? A side trail, out and back, with the tracks of a lone skier before us. In mid-afternoon? Was this our special destiny? My smile continued to widen as we meandered ever higher, pushing our bodies while earning an amazing descent. Wow! I feel like we just got promoted! Can life really just keep getting better and better?

Rem Frank Mazama

Pat loves fine desert living!

Pat loves fine desert living!

Today is a transition, sandwiching golfing utopia and high-level football. Stanford travels to Washington State University in a battle for PAC-12 north supremacy. Pat and I savored swimming and stretching in warm water and weather at his home before cruising to Sky Harbor today. The Nevada mountains below me are topped with snow as the sun shines brilliantly. It’s been a dreamy week. Lyn and Pat are such great hosts. A victory tomorrow would taste like dessert. We’ve enjoyed a resurgence of kick-ass football. Pullman boasts one of the most exciting teams in the country, with remarkable players. Rain and wind are expected to return, granting the Cougars a chance to redeem their season-opening slop-drop against Portland State.

With the looming time change, lunches on the golf range sound appropriate. I hope for rounds at Veteran’s Memorial, Canyon Lakes and perhaps Palouse Ridge/Wildhorse/Othello on the near horizon. Autumn golf in the north will beg patience and restraint. How low can I go?

I’m wondering if my exposure to warm desert golf will be a life-changing event for me. To follow masterful links with a soothing swim is a great way to live. Would it be awesome for a month or more?

I hit golf balls from small mountains and soon I will ski across bigger ones. I believe that core work, strength training and high energy cardio-vascular adventures like hiking, spinning, squatting, running and climbing offer me avenues to greater achievement, firing my body and soul. How many mountains will I summit this winter? How fully will I savor the fruits of life as I dance to the passage of time?

I sense a need to mix it up, see the world and greet new adventures with a fiery passion, recognizing the fleeting nature of life. Work has enriched me and play has treated me even better. My spirit soars and dances and blossoms in wild community. These are the greatest treats. Want to play with me soon?

Quintero Golf & Country Club is heaven on earth!

Quintero Golf & Country Club is heaven on earth!

The Legacy Golf Club in Vegas. Los Caballeros Golf Club in Wickenburg.

Pat at Los Caballeros.

Pat at Los Caballeros.

Corte Bella Golf Club in Sun City West. Quintero Golf and Country Club in Peoria.

Quintero is wild and so fun!

Quintero is wild and so fun!

Amazing golf courses, incredibly progressive in quality.

Steady and free, stroking it sweet!

Steady and free, stroking it sweet!  Los Caballeros

Awesome views, manicured greens, impeccable cart paths, generous service, splendid landscapes, exquisitely executed strokes, family friendly camaraderie, close competition and perfect weather. This is so fun!

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Today, Quintero ramped it up on perfectly smooth and dangerously fast greens, running 11+ on the Stimpmeter. The fastest and best greens of our rich lives. Pat whipped me on Quintero like he did at The Legacy. Fortunately, I nipped him at Los Caballeros and Corte Bella. Corte Bella was sweet, but Quintero upped the ante again. Can we top it?

What would you do here?

What would you do here? A punch shot under the tree at Los Caballeros.

On the front nine at Corte Bella, I crafted a 39 that easily could have been lower. It was the best golf of my 52 rounds this year. Pat scored with two birdies at Corte Bella and nearly caught me on the back nine. Then I ballooned in score at Quintero to my highest score of the year. Still, it was so fun! Pat made another birdie and won going away. I’ve missed all of my birdie putts so far this week. Can I change that? The next round could be climactic, and likely full of fun!

Has Frank been bushwhacking at Quintero? Hint? Check the pockets....

Has Frank been bushwhacking at Quintero? Hint? Check the pockets….

I believe that’s what we need, from time to time.  Or always!

I shot my best golf score of the year on Saturday, hitting ten greens and missing nine of the birdie putts, including about four from a ten to twelve foot range and a four footer. The ten footer that dropped felt sweet. I hit about five fairways, but stayed between the trees much of the time.  It was a day to savor, for reuniting with Gary, sunshine, fresh air, a nice walk, and improvement. I made another stride towards scoring like I did decades ago. I think it’s because I was simply enjoying the sheer delights of golf. I must admit that the Cougars whipping Oregon on the gridiron was delicious dessert!

Change your lens, change your life.  What a great message! I’ve used this reminder for two group talks lately, both of which seemed appreciated by the audiences.  I used it at the Portland marathon, massaging my personal worst time into a pleasurable interaction with many motivated souls.  What a wonderful chance for great fun with Annie and Remington! Our diverse adventures in Portland made the marathon a chapter, rather than a narrow focus.  It feels like evolution.

Now I get to take a southerly adventure with Pat, after another visit with Nick and Jaslyn in Pullman for some exercise, great food and hopefully more awesome Cougar football! Adventure is back in full swing in my life and in my soul. Yeah!

Annie and Julie are tackling adventure and wellness at every turn!

Annie and Julie are tackling adventure and wellness at every turn!

The full moon seemed to smile at me as the sun set, like an inspirational shift change. Despite the bug plastered windshield, it stirred sweet adventure memories and radiated wellness. What a fitting culmination to a full weekend! I tasted the riches of family, friends, travel, physical challenge, coffee, shopping, dining and peaceful rest. All is well!

Mark and Frank keep entering in a young guys division.

Mark and Frank keep entering in a young guys division.

It was pretty tough for a while. Bloomsday is a little like a plunge into an icy lake. Many people view it as a spring-time tradition. We see who we are. I was confronted with my past selves and I wished I could stride like some of them. And I think maybe I can. Or not. The mysteries will be revealed and created!

Adventure partners forever!

Adventure partners forever!

People are so interesting. We offer much and sometimes deliver little. Our potential is incredible. Our limiting beliefs dance with our willingness to try to be truly open-minded, fighting for the precious ground of our souls. We rarely know when we’re missing out, choosing to think that our opinions and beliefs are sacred, accurate truths. How silly we can be!

I may have done one thing right, or not. Bloomsday officials have a new ploy called “time up Doomsday.”  They measure how long it takes to ascend the brutal hill between 4.3 and 5 miles into the 7.46 mile race. It may be a good idea for some people to buy into this chase. For me, walking the entire steep part yesterday may have saved my life. I was red-lining, after zooming past hundreds of people on the steep downhill before Doomsday. I’ve learned that I’m very good on downhill portions, and I simply love to run fast. The mob hindered me during an early downhill section, but it thinned a bit and the course widened by the middle of the race. So I hauled ass! Then I accepted my need to walk. No, I would not post one of my faster race times. But I would still do the best I could on this day, and live to race again. Hundreds of people passed me on the hill. Many of them faded badly after the hill, and I passed them back. My ego loved the times when I passed guys who appeared to be about my age. Yay! I passed another old guy! How silly I can be!

I cannot adequately describe to you how good water, coffee and food taste after long runs. It must be experienced first-hand. It is amazing!

This is how Annie feels about Bloomsday each year and about adventure in general:

This is how Annie feels about Bloomsday each year and about adventure in general: “Let’s do it!”

Annie is lean and fast!  Here she is after smoking me by 7.5 minutes at the Badger Mountain Challenge, 2015 Hurricane Edition!

Annie is lean and fast! Here she is after smoking me by 7.5 minutes at the Badger Mountain Challenge, 2015 Hurricane Edition!

It’s a law of nature. Training hard enables running faster. Reducing training leads to running slower. It’s a cool rule, because you can’t steal speed. You can’t wish it upon anyone. You simply get what you deserve. It cuts out identity thieves and other freeloaders.

Annie has trained harder than me. She deserved to kick my ass and so she did. Hooray for her efforts and for justice in the world!

The Badger Mountain Challenge amplifies the disparity between the in-shape and the wannabes. I ran fast on the downhills, using determination and experience. The uphill sections tend to differentiate, beautifully so. Honest folks have to love it!

Annie’s been leading a life worthy of emulation, embracing regular, varied exercise and nutritional wisdom. She is a model of consistency. Each time I visit her, I make cool strides in the proper direction. I want more strides!

I slipped into ailments and distractions, also known as work, movies, overeating and settling for mediocrity. I feel re-awakened by Annie’s good old-fashioned ass-kicking and our day-after spin class leaders’ encouraging reminders: we must push to grow, you don’t know how much you can push until you try, YOU CAN DO IT!

Life deals out road forks. I see one here. Slippage or growth? Discouragement or encouragement? In short, live or die?

I hope to live, as fully as my mind can manage. I can learn from lots of people. There are many who teach me how not to drive, speak, write, eat and otherwise spend my time. There are fewer worthy role models. How fun to hope to hang with them! When they help me grow, to become a better version of myself, I become richer. I see the glow, feel the spark, embrace the excitement, taste the depth and hope for even more. It’s the best way I know how to live. Thank you to those of you who remind me what to do, because I forget. We can save each other!

Mountain man Frank brings it home in style (go gravity!).

Mountain man Frank brings it home in style (go gravity!).

Nick and Zach

Nick and Zach

Life has been really good, in so many ways. Can it get any better than this?

Summer has blessed me with new experiences, which widen my smiles and broaden my perspective. I’ve delighted in new scenery on my street bicycle, feeling power grow in my legs. I promptly rebounded from a head-on collision on my mountain bicycle; thank God for pneumatic tires and pedal clips! Adjusting to the clips has involved two minor falls, but now I have a steady supply of power.

I’ve upgraded my fairway metals and a loft wedge and tried some new putters. So far this year I’ve played thirteen rounds and a couple of scrambles. Recently, that’s more than some five-year stretches! It is still frustrating, challenging, inspiring and befuddling. My first handicap in decades is 18.8, as the beautiful shots have been counterbalanced by the despicable, penalized and ridiculous. Trees, OB’s, traps, deep grass, lost balls, duck hooks and more. Golf is God’s direct line to my spirit. I think He plays too. Wine Valley Golf Course near Walla Walla made me beam like a kid on Christmas. By the seventh hole, I was delighted to realize that it felt like my favorite course ever! Treeless, rolling hills lead to smooth, fast and rolling greens. Putts roll perfectly and every shot pattern can work. Holes are well designed and maintenance is wonderful. I invite you to join me there soon! Friday’s fundraiser at Walla Walla Country Club for St. Mary Medical Center’s foundation was well-managed.  There are two ugly holes there, one with a blind approach and one with a blind tee shot. WWCC is also well cared for, but it reminds me, like so many things, that humans get smarter with time. The newer courses are often better, especially when space and site selection are not big limiters. Next weekend I’m scheduled to play Circling Raven in North Idaho (for the first time) and this fall I hope to return to Palouse Ridge in Pullman. That’s three of the best courses in the region, so I’m a very lucky guy! May the birdies be with me…..

Grand Luau at Honua'ula

Grand Luau at Honua’ula

In June Nick and Jaslyn and Annie and Zach and I all enjoyed our trip to Maui and agreed that it was a fun and memorable week, perhaps the best of our lives. For most of us it was our first trip to Hawaii. We loved the Maui Hill 3 bedroom/3 bath condo. It was the perfect way to enjoy paradise. Snorkeling with sea turtles was amazing. Boogie boarding each day on increasingly larger waves was so fun! Every morning I took coffee on the deck and savored the blessings of utopia. Our Luau was fun and entertaining, and Lahaina and Kihei offered interesting shopping. We also had fun in the pool and hot tub. We all hope to go back as soon as possible. The wood carvings of sea turtles and tikis remind us of our adventure!

Maui snorkeling

Maui snorkeling

At Rainbow Beach in July we were scorched by the weather. On Sunday morning, Annie and I turned our first paddle of the year into an epic experience. I thought it’d be a short outing and absent-mindedly forgot sunscreen, food, money and backup beverages. We remembered to bring some water and adventurous spirits. It was very fun, so we had paddled several miles, through the channel and well around the other lake before we decided to paddle the entire perimeter of both lakes. Like a marathon, the course seemed to get longer and longer! New bays appeared, each one bigger than we remembered. They are effortless in a power boat. On a paddle board, not so much.  Stroke or sit dead in the water. Luckily, I’ve done a lot strength training on my shoulders this year. With little recent paddle training, the standing became tiring to our feet, however, so we eventually alternated between standing, kneeling and sitting. As the temperatures rose, we had to jump into the water or douse ourselves more often. We were hot, tired and thirsty. Hey, we’ve been here before. We can do this! This is like a marathon! After completing the south lake and passing back through the channel, we faced a tough challenge. Our energy was spent and it was a lot longer path to complete circumnavigating, as compared to straight-lining to drinks, food and shade. Could we make it? Should we try? Are we in late-race delirium? In the end, we couldn’t envision doing it again later in the week. It needed to be done. Let’s do it! Ironically, as we neared completion of a large bay and turned back towards our cabin, the wind came up. In our face! I flashed back to marathon training runs. It was four letter word time! Somehow, we made it, over 4.5 hours after starting out. Spent, thirsty, hungry, sun-burned, hot and victorious. That was one tasty Coke Zero! A dip in the lake, some food and a long spell of shade: how sweet it is! The ensuing days brought water-skiing, which was as thrilling as ever and delightful huckleberry treats. Seeing loved ones in a vacation setting is sweet deja vu. It’s especially rewarding to see the good choices and growth in people’s lives.

Annie paddling North Twin Lake at sunset

Annie paddling North Twin Lake at sunset

I’m sitting in Nick and Jaslyn’s living room now as they slumber, along with Annie. I’m stoked that I got over eight hours of sleep and a bit curious how much they will get. We all lifted hard at the WSU Recreation Center yesterday evening, focusing on our chests and triceps. They are quite inspirational, and I needed it! Today we’re doing back and shoulders. Tomorrow? The world! Or try to intimidate Pat with some big drives. Maybe even in the fairway? Nick turned me on to inspirational videos and I’m stoked to better my core muscles, which will open more doors and make things easier and more fun. Fun! Yes! Bring on the fun!

Many adventurers prefer self-propulsion. There are no noisy motors. Rather, there can be breeze in your face, sun on your skin and the beating of your heart, in rhythm with your soul, if you’re lucky. Delightful endorphins, abundant discovery and enriching fresh air transcend the routine, erasing complacency. Such privileges stoke my spirit and motivate me to pursue my elusive, greatest freedom.

Yesterday’s footrace was all of that and more, adding social interaction and competition. I’ll hope to do it again!

Today’s variation involved bicycles, enthusiasm and the sheer joy of pedaling. We happened to be in the foothills of the Blue Mountains. This heavenly experience offered soothing greenery, sweet fresh air, freedom from cars and invigorating blood flow. It was delightful!

During yesterday’s run, I may have approached ten miles per hour, at my fastest. Today, aided by gears and gravity, I entered a wilder zone. After a pleasant ascent of Cottonwood’s hill, the pavement ended. It was time to zoom! We hit thirty-three miles per hour. What a rush! Annie’s first thought? Let’s do it again!

Mom and Dad at Twin Lakes, their favored vacation retreat. My role models!

Mom and Dad at Twin Lakes, their favored vacation retreat. My role models!

Yours may be in June. Or not. I’m having one today. It may be the perfect day for it. To be clear, today is not as much about my privilege of being father to my children. I get those special days throughout each year, blessed with adventures, discovery and laughter with Nicholas and Annie. Today I’m thinking of my Dad, James Gilbert Erickson, the patriarch of this diverse clan I call family.

So it’s golf and gardening for me today. Pinochle too, if I can find it. NBA basketball would be right. I’ll dine on fresh asparagus and salmon later. My goal is to be a living version of my Dad! Well, if only I could have kept it in the fairways…..

Life deals hard knocks at times. Today’s round of golf played out like a microcosm of my life. I made three triple bogeys on the front nine. How? Value golfing! Why take only one chip on a hole when you can have more? Why play on the short grass, with clear paths to the greens, when you can easily find more challenge? Those trees were planted for a reason! Isn’t a circuitous life more enriching than a simple, straight line to success? Well, I’ve only had one path. The winding road has been fun! And hard. And depressing. And saddening. But enough of the tough. Today’s stark reality is that the triple bogeys are the good times. They are, after all, simply golf. Typically no blood or death. Besides, a tough time in life is still life. LIFE! The greatest gift of all? So I may have grown a bit today. After I’d chopped it around the first nine in 54 strokes, my newfound golfing friend remarked that he had more fun playing with me today than any of his other golf outings. I felt honored. Perhaps it was because I remained courteous, friendly and hopefully funny, despite the tally building on my scorecard. My highest score in over forty years was one of my most pleasurable days of the year. I was playing a game I love in perfect weather. I am a lucky man.

I parred our tenth hole, nailed a birdie putt after a sweet approach on the eleventh, and parred the twelfth. I was one under par for three holes on the second nine, after averaging double bogeys on the first nine (with no hole better than bogey). I was scoring as good on the back as I was badly on the front. The birdie was especially fun, but how I handle life’s situations is more important than what they are. I shot a pleasant 54 on the front and a grateful 40 on the back. So am I a hacker or a pretty good golfer? Attitudinally, I’m getting there. We’ll see what happens with the scores. Maybe there’ll be more birdies. Like the hawk that tried to scare us away from its nest today. That’s a double birdie day!

I love this time of year! Amazing fresh fruits and vegetables fuel us up. Sunny and warm days fire our spirits. Cool, calm nights rejuvenate us. Long hours of sunlight hone our endurance. There are so many fun things to do! Annie and Nick and I have almost finished painting the exterior of our home. Now we have a little more time before college calls.  What shall we do for fun?

Sometimes I fly like an eagle!

Sometimes I fly like an eagle!

Bicycling is cool cross-training. I can pedal hard for a couple of hours without feeling sore or overly tired. It’s fun, scenic, invigorating and healthy. What a win!

Weight-lifting leaves me sore, most often. It suggests a hint of masochism, mixed with egotism. Sometimes it feels great, sometimes it’s really hard. It always keeps me more fit, more youthful and better prepared.

Standup paddle boarding is a new addition to my life. It fits in beautifully with a self-propelled lifestyle, delivering great abdominal, back, arm and leg endurance training. It always feels adventurous to me.  Yay!

Nordic skiing has a very special place in my heart. I’ve skied into heaven on earth. The risk of cold, remote places is enhanced by beauty, adventure, invigoration, inspiration and wonderful endurance training. I love it!

Running is in my spirit, woven into my soul. It offers endurance or speed. Self-propulsion feeds self-confidence and a willingness to tackle new pursuits. Running opens doors to greater adventures, like awe-inspiring backcountry hikes!

Hiking with a heavy backpack, for many hours, feels like a marathon to me. I like that it makes me stronger. The process gets really tough. I learn mental discipline. I learn that “can do” trumps “can’t do” almost every time I really want it to.  The views are painted on the front page of the newspaper of my soul. Treasures!

Golf is the best game I’ve ever found. It challenges my mind in every way imaginable. It offers physical challenges in beautiful locations. It can not be mastered. I’m lured by the feeling of balls struck well. It’s been a busy couple of decades, but golf teases my spirit with a sense of impending reunion.

Volleyball is one of my favorite team games. It tests quickness, creativity, coordination and spirit. It’s fun to learn teamwork. Basketball and football are other favored team sports. The excitement makes these almost as much fun to watch as to play.

When I was a kid, riding my motorcycle was part of my daily routine. My bike gave me freedom and wild adventures. It got me high! I’m sticking with non-motorized bikes now, because I want to extend life if I can. But I still love to get high.

One way is water-skiing. Cold water slaps my face and everywhere else. Bam! The boat jerks hard, testing strength, balance and mental toughness. I rise above the fish and skim across the water, as free, wild and crazy as a teenager. Yeah! Hit it!

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!

Fun in the sun!

Fun in the sun!

Ahhhh, summer. Long days, outdoor play and lots of fun. New toys make it even better!

Enjoying the good life!

Enjoying the good life!

The Amundson TR-2 is a nice board; seemingly quite comparable in performance to the Tahoe Rubicon we tested earlier. We added a Go Pro Hero 3 for fun. Silly mistake! Annie set the damn thing on rapid fire and caught the sequence of my first ever capsizing of a paddle board. Freaking technology!

Abandon ship!

Abandon ship!

Today we paddled two laps of Bennington Lake. We’re learning to relax the muscles in our feet. In other words, we’re getting relaxed in our minds. So the early dunking did not dampen my enthusiasm, despite temperatures around 70 with evening coming on. We wanted adventure!

Paddling uphill with a jet stream? Go Annie!

Paddling uphill with a jet stream? Go Annie!

We got our wish!  It was so fun to be able to paddle together. We’re plotting races against kayaks, long paddle adventures, nature photography, etc. Life just keeps getting better! I think we’ll run the Portland marathon. If my foot takes longer to heal, maybe I’ll walk it. It sounds so fun. I hope I find some time to golf, plant the garden, clean, etc. Or play more! Yay! Let’s get our fun on!

Shake it baby!

Shake it baby!

Foot too sore to run? Get your bike out!

Foot too sore to run? Get your bike out!

Flat tire. What a great opportunity! Especially the three miles of pushing my bike home; it bestowed more time to talk with Annie. Ultimately, another lesson in patience, which must be needed. I’m grateful for the opportunity to ride for an hour and walk another, after my sore foot derailed our running plans. The fresh rain kept us off the single track trails, but fun is always available!

Rainy day? No problem! Fun is around every corner!

Rainy day? No problem! Fun is around every corner!

What a great toy! This Go Pro Hero 3 will be a fun way to document some adventures. Maybe we’ll be on the water soon! Where will the weather lead us?

Bennington dike. If there's wind, you'll find it here.

Bennington dike. If there’s wind, you’ll find it here.

What a fun life! What a fun girl! Just call me Mr. Luckyman……

I almost took a nap instead. I'm so glad I rode and pushed my bike home instead!

I almost took a nap. I’m so glad I rode and pushed my bike home instead!

Where to stand-up paddle board?  I’m starting a list!

  1. Bennington Lake, Walla Walla, WA.  Done!
  2. Bateman Island, Columbia River, Richland, WA.
  3. Jubilee Lake, Oregon. Over 4,800 feet in elevation, so summer only!
  4. North & South Twin Lakes, Inchelium, WA.  Annually!
  5. Burbank Slough.
  6. Little Spokane River.
  7. Casey Pond, Columbia River.
  8. Flathead Lake, Montana.
  9. Curlew Pond, Columbia River.
  10. Lake Roosevelt, Coulee Dam, WA.
  11. Hutchinson-Shiner lakes, Othello, WA.
  12. Oahu South Shore, Hawaii.
  13. Coeur d’Alene, Idaho.
  14. Christina Lake, British Columbia.
  15. Aruba.
  16. Lake Tahoe.
  17. Hood River, Oregon.
  18. Florida Keys.
  19. Snake River, Clarkston, WA.

Where else should I go?

Bennington Lake

Bennington Lake on my second SUP outing.  Fun!

I love activities that blend fun people, natural beauty and enjoyable exercise together!

Little Miss Instigator! What will she think of next?

Little Miss Instigator! What will she think of next?

With my desk job, exercise is imperative for my health. Life is busy, so multi-tasking is naturally good for my soul. How else to get enough rest? The exercise gets me high and improves my chances for more time for more fun.

Mind expansion with core, balance, leg and arm work. Wellness adventure!

Mind expansion with core, balance, leg and arm work. Wellness adventure!

Mom, you were an amazing teacher of love, kindness, compassion, service and gratitude. I am lucky to have had you in my life for so many years. I hope to live your legacy and I believe that engaging in fun with my own kids is one good way to do so. I know you agree! Happy Mother’s Day! We love you!

Rubicon on lawn, TR-X2 hiding, like a Stealth bomber.....

Rubicon on lawn, TR-X2 hiding, like a Stealth bomber…..

Lately, I have a higher class of problems. How to transport my cool new toys? The INNO 446 standup paddle board (SUP) rack that a supplier claimed would work on my 4Runner will not fit, because the factory crossbars are too close to the truck. Luckily for me, David at REI Kennewick is helpful, knowledgable and friendly. REI in Kennewick and Spokane are two of my very favorite stores. They have a lot of cool gear. But their defining greatness lies in their people; they have great people who make our lives more fun! Thanks!

So now I have a great way to transport one board, with the potential for more. Putting multiple boards on one rig complicates matters a bit. Unless I get a trailer, which suggests a larger garage, thereby a new house. Whoa!

But I have two cool boards that look like fun! Some problems just need to be solved! Two rigs? Trailer? Move to a lake? But again, I digress.

This is like one of those confusing flashback movies. I wanted to try SUP, since I’ve heard great things about how fun it is and about the great abdominal workouts it delivers. I sense that I will really like it. I was convinced enough to want to buy a couple of boards to take to the lake this summer. Living in the north and facing the busyness of marathon training, the recommended “try before you buy” approach was ditched. So I’m risking a shaky approach, but it just may work out, if we get them to the water!

Via internet research, I decided on lake focused versions that could cut through chop nicely, tour well and deliver speed in our inevitable races. Remember how Annie and I are about competition. It even looks like my board could be a bit faster! My board appears to be slower, but I’m guessing I’ll still smoke Annie in races.

Since REI has my trust and their amazing satisfaction guarantee, as well as a large selection, I chose two boards at REI on-line, along with adjustable length paddles, personal flotation devices and leashes, if we tackle wild waters. As I continued researching, one of the boards sold out at REI.  So I ordered it from another source. Something prompted me to call them up, since their website hadn’t shown my board as shipped as soon as expected. It was because the normal shipping guy was away from work. So I talked with Jeff Morter from Paddle Surf Warehouse for a while. Why hadn’t I called around to talk with experts earlier? Anyway, Jeff sold me on a board that he was convinced was way better, more durable and considerably cheaper than the one I ordered. So I got the 12 foot 2013 Tahoe Rubicon, a board bag, an adjustable paddle, two dock/deck lock, plus a $52 refund, in the place of a Boardworks Raven 12.5 foot board.  I know there are many lessons here, so let’s hope I learned some of them.

The Tahoe showed up at my house last Friday. How exciting! Then came the “oh crap!” realization of the rack not fitting on my rig. Cool new toys that we can’t use? Just another spiritual growth opportunity! Have a little faith dude! On Saturday we picked up the Amundson 12 1/2 foot TR-X2. It’s carbon & bamboo design may be a hair faster slower than the Rubicon.  I guess we’ll see! David sold me two long Yakima straps with integrated cable and lockable padded cam buckles. They worked great, along with the Yakima tip and tail bra straps that I purchased earlier. I drove home through twenty-some mile per hour winds and the wing board rode beautifully. Later I found a website claiming that one guy transported up to five boards on one rig. So I’m searching for ideal padding to put between the boards.  I can either stagger the boards, due to the fins, or remove the fin from the bottom board. The weather is predicted to warm throughout this week, coinciding with my furlough day. What SUP?

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!  🙂

"Three times up and down this mountain? Hell yes!"

“Three times up and down this mountain? Hell yes!”

We could have named her Adventure Annie! She’s fearless about challenges. I never know what’s going to happen, but it’s always something interesting!

How about three ascents of Badger Mountain, forty mile per hour gusts, swarming bees and 13.1 miles of rocky terrain? Just another Saturday. Vivid evidence that all miles are not created equal! This jaunt was as tough as last week’s eighteen miles, which had more hills than our previous long runs. We’re getting stronger!

That’s pleasing, in an achy way. We tear ourselves down to build ourselves up. Great material for microcosm man! Will I soon be marathon man? It’s been fun to watch our confidence grow as we take this journey. It’s about so much more than running. It’s pleasing for our bodies and spirits.

I played a lot of high school golf in high wind gusts. Sometimes I was glad to hit part of the ball. Whiffs are a little less embarrassing when you’re blown over by a mid-swing gust, but they’re still hard on your score. Not as damaging as getting blown off a mountain trail while running! Embarrassment passes quickly. Injuries tend to linger. Watch your step!

After our first clockwise ascent and descent, we ran the bottom of the south side, for variety. Then we met the bees! Thousands of them! We escaped with one sting each, swinging wide around their nests. But they filled the air, like the pesky little bugs near Mill Creek at sunset.  Adrenaline powered us on.

There’s something about pushing on through long runs, finding your toughness, running on when it’s just not easy. It’s empowering. Many things that once seemed difficult now seem trivial, easy or simple. The stakes have been raised. Belief grows. Horizons widen. Doors open. Faces glow!

We got our run on! We’re becoming fully alive! How about some fairways, lakes, mountains, oceans and more trails? Why not!

The little car that could, no longer can...

That could have been me!  Goodbye to my 22 year adventure partner……

Going to work is an adventure!  Financial challenges promise adventure. Instead of boredom, we practice juggling, imagining, testing, measuring, re-thinking, reporting, streamlining, etc.

Play time is still more fun! I seek new ways to build, tone, lengthen and strengthen my muscles and my mind. Active, fun and challenging pursuits fire up my spirit! Helping others experience these delights sounds so enticing!

Time for play! Or work? They both sound fun! Here’s to more adventures!

Let's ramp it up a bit!

Let’s ramp it up a bit!

 

 

Annie and I hiked up Badger Mountain yesterday. We were considerably later than expected, as we should have expected. Isn’t that the way life goes? All of the reasons we were late were awesome!  We had great fun picking out shoes and “The Stick” with Heather at REI; she is so helpful and fun! Then a delicious Thai Spice lunch, with green curry and spicy chicken and vegetables:

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Then we restocked at COSTCO. Ever try racing through a crowd? So it was 4:15 before we left the car to tackle the mountain.  Here’s how fun it was:

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The mountain adventure fired our spirits! I’ve been getting increasingly stoked about running and other adventures! Thank you Heather and Annie! Annie was much stronger climbing the mountain than me; I was breathing hard trying to keep up. Then she started RUNNING up the mountain! She may be a little more ready for the Badger Mountain Challenge than I am, but I’ll be there and I’ll be fired up about it!  Here’s what adventures like this do for my spirit:

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The view just gets better as you climb the mountain, of course.  If you are blessed with delays, you might even get smiled upon like this:

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The sunset was magnificent! Pictures can’t begin to do it justice. We made if off the mountain, in the dark, around six o’clock.  Going with the flow gifted a wonderful show!

I woke up again!  Yippee!  I’d dance around the house, but walking is hard.  Judging “good” or “bad” is truly beyond me.  How would I know?  I’m just me.  That’s freeing.  No pressures, just opportunities.  How to see them all?  Both opportunities and the myriad of ways to respond to them.  How to choose well?  How to expand awareness?  Culture wellness?  Open new ideas to polish older ones?  Humility, variety, discovery, adventure, curiosity, surrender, honesty, open-mindedness, willingness and acceptance?

Happy new day!   🙂

I surely didn’t expect to write this, but it’s true.  I’m inspired by my new 4Runner!  It reminds me of who I am.  It helps me visualize who I want to be.  It flashes me back to amazing discoveries, free-spirited friends and exhilarating adventures.  I’m a wild thing!  I like to go back to nature.  I’m fired up to climb mountains, ski slopes and bike wild trails.  I want to do more kayaking, snow-shoeing and sight-seeing.  I’d like to try paddle-boarding and wind surfing.   

I like listening to the sounds of nature.  I enjoy the splendor of a starlit night in the deep darkness of the backcountry.  Escape from electricity!  I love mountain-top views and alpine lakes.  Natural beauty polishes my spirit!

I enjoy college football games on snowy Saturday afternoons.  Go Cougars!  It’s a huge blessing to have a sure-footed vehicle on slippery days.  Modern safeguards like air bags and computerized traction and braking also add to my peace of mind.  

I appreciate having a rig that can handle a variety of conditions.  I’m enjoying the chance to sit up higher.  It’s a new perspective on life.  Exceptional ground clearance and a stiff suspension make my world bigger.  I have room to carry several friends, or a lot of gear.

This ride will help me live fully.  Time to get wild!  ( :

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!  ( :

I just remembered an inspiration I had to write about inspirations.  This blog may be the closest I get to writing a book, or my memoirs, and that’s okay.  Writing is writing!  After decades of procrastination, I can’t believe I’ve written this much.  It feels rewarding.  I recently thought that I should cut back on writing to do more reading.  Nonetheless, I want to get this idea started on the path to fruition. 

In the book of my life, many of the most important chapters are about the people who have inspired me along the way.  In various ways, they’ve helped me become a better version of myself.  My life has been blessed with many inspiring people, so there is a huge risk that I will overlook some of the most important ones.  I might take them for granted.  My life path offers chances to open up my tunnel thinking, so I’m willing to take this risk.  I’ll rectify these mistakes if I see them.  I won’t be able to talk about all the important interactions of my life.  I don’t know how many of them I even remember.  I do believe I am a reflection of where I’ve been, and the people who’ve formed me, so there may be therapeutic value in this review.  If not, then perhaps there will be pleasant memories and a resolve to take care in whom I spend my time with!

I don’t know yet whether to discuss the people who seemed to pull me down.  My fourth and fifth step of recovery dealt much with them and really, about me.  They could have been anyone. 

What about the exciting prospects of the unknown future?  I’m praying that I’m open enough to let great chapters unfold as they can!

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! 

Do you love adventure?  I do!  I like trying new things.  Like tastes.  Food is so fun!  We all need it.  I like variety; I feel blessed to have such wide tastes in food.  I’m always happy with any restaurant choice!  At least my taste buds are happy.  Obviously, my health fares better at some places than others!

Experiences make life so rich!  I haven’t even tried skydiving yet.  Should it be at the top of my bucket list?  To be honest, I don’t know where my list is.  But I found my approach to life:  it’s generally open to new thoughts, new approaches and fresh experiences.  Willingness to try new things has saved me from the depths of desperate addictions.  It also invites sweet memories that infuse my soul with joy, inspiration and more willingness!  Then I can try more new things, making more wonderful memories, gaining more willingness and blossoming! 

I can become a better version of myself when my mind is open to new ideas.  You mean I’m not always right?  Correct!  Or is that incorrect?  There are many ways to learn to do things better, and I may be aware of darn few of them.  Reading, listening, considering and experimenting are pathways to growth.  Talking (and this typing!) simply express what I already think I know, right or wrong.  Listening is the door to expansion and connection.  Trust me, I’m reminding me of this as much as I’m suggesting it to you.  Whether my writing  benefits others or not, I feel that it is helping me, by cementing truths.  If it helps you, it’s a double bonus!  ( :

I sure picked well last time!  My 1990 Corolla All-Trac wagon has been awesome.  All of the plastic is breaking off, but it’s running strong after 238,000+ miles.  There are a few tricks, like lifting part of the female seat belt connector, to coax her into accepting the male.  Is that a life lesson?  If you want to add gas without help, you’d better have an old-fashioned coat hanger.  Want to open the hood?  Give the hood release cable a little extra tug.  Adjusting the heating or air conditioning in the dark?  I hope you’ve memorized the controls!  Slide the front passenger seat ahead?  Not any more.  Run the rear wiper?  You’ll be okay without it.  Old cars raise our ability to appreciate things.  I just installed new wiper blades.  It felt like a new car!  Last month’s new headlamps were equally impressive.  Both paled in comparison to the new spark plugs and spark plug wires that Nick and I installed last summer.  It ran like new again!  Yippee!  Every day I drive it I probably save about $20 in new car payments.  I know it won’t run forever.  I like the idea of a new vehicle.  The designers have dreamed up some really cool features!  I probably deserve them.  Yet Little Blue packs a lot of cool memories for me.  I’ve owned her through a wife, a near wife, multiple other girlfriends and all of my two kids’ lives.  She’s taken me on hundreds of amazing adventures, like mountain biking, cross-country skiing, alpine skiing, backpacking, snow-shoeing, Christmas tree hunting, camping, kayaking, football games, foot races, family gatherings, etc.  Anyone think I can pick as well again?

frankoshanko

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

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