Wednesday, December 30, 2015


Final update on my 2015 New Years Resolution...

I did it!

A dreamy image of 2015

365.3 miles logged in 363 days!  I actually had to play catch up in December and ended up running over 65 miles this month alone.

Considering I was not a runner at all before I began the year, I think that I have learned quite a bit while going  through this task.  Here's what I've learned:

-  Running is fun.  Seriously.  I've had some great times running around the countryside, taking photos of sunsets and a whole lot of selfies.  I've mooed at cows as they cautiously move away from the sound of my approaching footsteps and the strange sounding noises coming from iPhone's play list.  My playlist this year included a steady diet of Purity Ring, Ryan Adams, Duplekita, Avett Brothers, Dave Bazan, and Death Cab.  Kind of a mellow runner.

-  Running isn't that hard.  The hard part is starting.  Literally 2 minutes after starting, it's easy to push on for a few miles.  The difficulty lies completely in the motivation and preparation.  If you are not motivated or prepared (running clothes tucked away instead of hanging where you can see them, GPS watch fully charged) then you will not succeed.

- Kind of assumed, but I feel better.  I had neck pain before I started running (I also have had a standing desk since the Spring) and that pain is gone.  I am never short of breath.  Also, I made it through the whole year without getting sick once.  Not even a sniffle!

-  This time last year, after a good month of eating holiday treats, I weighed 240 pounds.  This last week, on the same scale, I weighed in at 216.  Carrying 24 less pounds around is nice and is a huge factor in me feeling healthier.

-  I slacked off a few weeks here and there, but that was okay as long as I paid for it later.  Totally okay to slow down here and there and then work hard towards getting back on track.  Of course, this is not ideal and I will work to avoid playing catch up in the future.

-  I ate super healthy until September.  No fried food, no burgers for about 3 months there, tons of kale & fruit smoothies.  In this area, I slacked off again.  However... I no longer crave soda pop or things like that.  I hope that this will continue and will apply to other kinds of junk food that I still like to delve into a little too often.  Bottom line is that abstaining from certain things can be a lasting thing that feels good.  Not a punishment because, in the end, you lose the craving for it.

-  I can set a goal and actually complete it.  This is probably the most important thing about this accomplishment for me.  I set out to do a lot of things, and most of the time I don't follow through.  A year ago I said that people laugh at New Years Resolutions because nobody ever follows through with them.

Well, I did!

I set a reasonable goal and I did it.  You can, too!  Whatever it may be.  I challenge you to set a goal this new year and to chip away at it all the way through the year until you complete it!  Go for it!

For this coming year I have set a new goal.  Because I like running, and it makes me feel good, I will continue.

At the Run For Life 13.1 mile finish.  Time of 2 hrs. 8 minutes

My goal is to run 50 miles a month for the year 2016.  I set a monthly goal because weekly goals are really hard to make happen certain weeks for me and I have the flexibility to work toward the end of each month with this goal in mind.

This goal is not a huge jump from 30 a month, but it's just enough to challenge me to not slack off at any point this year.

Along with my 50 miles a month, I want to add 50 push ups a day, 5 days a week.  This will help me in all around strength and give my core strength to continue running further and faster.

I will run the Run for Life in Stony Plain again in the Fall, with a goal time of 1 hour 50 minutes for the half marathon.  I might sign up for another run in the Spring as well.

So, that's about it.  I will keep you posted as I go along.  Wish me luck in 2016 and good luck to you!

Saturday, November 28, 2015

The Street

I wrote this about the street in front of where I lived for 6 years in the city of Xining, China.  It is the road that passes by the university where I studied Chinese.  It was where I would buy groceries, where I ate meals, and where I played with my children in an foreign land.

-The street-

The street shifts with the times; shiny red lights, power lines heavy under thick dust, and the feet that tilt it back and forth. 

Clothing styles come and go and come again.  Teenagers suck down cigarettes.  College students pop their collars.  Girls climb to the top of high heels and totter.

There is a strange scene of status; the latest fashion in street sweeping attire.  Feet shift and shake on heels as her arms grow embarrassingly firm.

Children play, in the gutters and in the trash.  A blessed imagination takes them through the dirt, the dust and the day into some sort of wonderland.

Steam soaks out of an open piece of glass.  The damp humidity chokes, the flavors provoke.

A frying cart; soaking in oil and down the throat.  Slam some more salt on that lettuce, please.  Press it in there.

The tea shop, where they drink beer.  The memories made on the street.

The grass is where they grew up, but the times have changed.  A cement square here, a water feature there.  Yet there it is!  A time and a place for feet; on the street.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Ugly Sweaters

Did you see that most stores now sell mass produced "ugly sweaters"?  

Ben and Rose with their epic twin ugly sweater back in 2011

All of the fun and joy that's evolved and grown out of silly traditions like this gets swallowed up by the ones who love the mighty squeeze of the dollar. It will wring our Master Cards until every last nickel and dime falls out of this trend, leaving a million brand new, factory made 'ugly sweaters' to beautify the landfills with.

God bless the mighty dollar, am I right?

People used to have to go out to the thrift stores and actually work for their fun. Now Walmart and the gang have caught on. They've bottled up all of the silliness and hung it up on their racks for us to buy so we don't have to have any fun looking for those ugly sweaters.

What a world!

Who knows what other surprises the shopping malls and the television commercials have for us this winter.

Next thing you know they'll put wifi in our cars so that our poor kids won't have to look out of the window.

For me? My ugly sweater will remain to be this crappy looking Oilers pullover. For many obvious reasons.

Ugly since 2007

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

94 to go: Running through too 2016

Just a little more self-encouragement for my running goal.  If you plan a goal and are proud that you're still working towards it then feel free to tell people about it, right?

The Facts:

- I am 94 miles away from a mile a day in 2015.  

That'll be 365 miles in 2015.  I've got to pick up the pace here, but I think I can do it.

- Since January I have lost between 25-30 pounds.

Some of my clothes have lasted for over a decade, so it's nice to have them fit comfortably again after a handful of generous years.  I've burned off over 55 000 calories while running so far.

- My aches and pains are minimal.  

Something I learned from the old folks in China.  They'd be outside every morning stretching their legs, slapping at the blood in their arms, and dancing around in circles.  I think I've kept things loose and that's kept me mobile.

- My mind is clearer

I have to admit that running really helps me mentally and emotionally.  The constant rhythm of the steps, the arms swinging to the tunes.  It all melts off me and away.  When I miss a week of running I find myself lethargic, and in many ways short with Barbara and the boys.

I have dealt with mild depression issues (who hasn't?  Geez!) for a long time now.  I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that, as an introvert, I spend most of my time in my own mind.  It can get stale and stuffy in there.  Running is like throwing the ol' mind back on the hamster wheel.  Or maybe it's more like a water slide.  If I do it more often the dang thing won't get so sluggish all of the time.

In all, I recommend exercise.  It's tough at first, but it really does get easier.  Set goals.  Reach them and then set more goals.  Read books about runners.  Rich Roll.  Scott Jurek.  Christopher McDougall.  Be you, don't compare.  Give yourself grace, then build discipline and get out there again.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

This Election Year

This election year I'll do what I always do, because that's what I always do 
and why should I change for anybody else?

Deadbeat Dad

I've known you since you were born
But that's a given
No one gives you a ribbon
Just for knowing someone

Thursday, September 3, 2015


Hello again.

I've tried to shy away from writing too much.  Though I have a lot of thoughts, and some of them I'd like to share, I know that we're all flooded with blog posts, and commercials, and all of that kind of stuff.  Thus, I will only periodically write on here.  Maybe once or twice a month?

Today I want to tell you about the event I have decided to participate in next weekend.  It is the Rotary Run for Life.  It is a 1/2 marathon that will take place in my hometown of Stony Plain.

Here is the info on the event.

Basically, the day is to help raise awareness and funds for suicide prevention and awareness.  This is the first year I've participated, so it could be more than that.

This summer, 4 different instances of suicide has affected people and families I am directly connected to.  I don't have the words to say to these people.  I don't think anyone does.

My conclusion is that the best thing we can do is stand together with these friends and family.  Or sit together with them.  Or sit and listen to them.  Or hold them.  Or, in this case, run with them.

As far as my running goals, I have been working on them since January.  My original goal was to run 300 miles this year.  I upped the goal to 365 a few months into it.  As of now, I am at 213.7 miles.  I'm somewhere in between my two goals, and that's something I am happy about.

The best thing about running has been the healthy feelings.  I've lost weight, so it's nice to feel healthier that way.  I've had less headaches than I used to.  I've enjoyed the time on the road to think and process things as my muscles flex and bend on themselves for an hour or so.  It's a very nice thing.  It's hard work, but work worth doing.

So, my final comment is that I hope to raise a modest amount of money for the cause.  $500.  I think that's a doable number.  Even though we all have obligations and bills to pay, I think that there could possibly be room for many of you to toss $10 or $20 bucks this way for the cause.

If that's something you think you'd like to do, please click here.  I am running in support of the Simon Poultney Foundation but to donate just leave it as "pledge an athlete" and it will go under my totals.

Anyways, thanks for reading and wish me luck for next weekend!

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

My Brother Had a Daughter

Dear friends, there is a good feeling in here for you somewhere.

When my purchase of Sufjan Stevens' new record arrived in the mail I was delighted to find a download code to go along with it.  I know record purists consider included Mp3s to be in poor taste, but I am not one to want to purchase the same music twice.  I punched in the code and soon enough I would have my very own legally burned copy of Carrie and Lowell to listen to in the Matrix whenever I pleased.

Now, first of all, that album is a heart breaker.  When I had heard the first track a few weeks earlier online, I teared up in the office.  It hit me slowly.  Like a crush more than a hit.  This is an album I would recommend to you if I were writing about it, and I am, so I am.

In my car, I was introduced to the second song.  It's called I should have known better, and I honestly, should have.

The heartache struck again.  I heard a line that made me think of my beautiful niece Katie:

My brother had a daughter 
The beauty that she brings, illumination.

I often think about lyrics that transcend specific meaning and intent.  Though I am not quite sure what this song is all about, with this seemingly obscure line, Sufjan seemed to have been thinking of me.  Maybe it's the mystery of the lyrics that surround it.

I think of her every time I hear it.

And here's where things really light up.

After this realization, and as I was really starting to enjoy the whole album, particularly my line, my other brother had a baby.  A beautiful 4 pounds and 6 ounces of a baby girl!

So, a few weeks after meeting her, I was listening to the song again and the line hit me in a whole new way.  More life breathed into an already vibrant meaning and feeling!

I pulled the car over.

What is this joy that I should have 2 beautiful nieces to think about from this song?  Who am I?  This line, tucked away in the 2nd song of Carrie and Lowell.

It's for me.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015


Kathmandu you know what I feel for you. The scar you've left on my heart.

Give me your wishes and ill swaddle them deep and warm inside my insecurities.

Breath through the craters that plague your ruined mind; scrape against your lungs.

I broke down somewhere between Tamil and Jawalakhel's traffic circle.  The blind cafe gave me relief.

I turned aside tiger balm, couldn't get rid of slick shoes slinging songs.  The mountains climbed higher as the days wore on.

That hill.  Teaching English.  Carrying a television on the back of a motorbike, past a corner and into the sunrise of Fish Tail.  I couldn't believe the things you were showing me, the people you held inside.

Kathmandu you remember me.  I was only there for a short time.  You gave me a name, Barroon it was.  You startled me in the night as I walked up the path to our home.

You welcomed me with a bowl of lentils and a folded hat.  You showed me who you are, the kind of endless in your will makes me feel small.

Makes me feel.

Saturday, April 11, 2015



I just passed 72 miles of jogging this year so far.  That is officially double what I did all of last year.

I'm feeling good.

I've also been limiting my diet in a few ways.  I've cut out pasta, which is a complex maze of confusion for my digestion system.  I've limited bread, which would weigh me down and drain me of energy.  I've given my stomach a bit of a break.

I've limited my meat intake significantly.  I haven't had beef since last month.

I've cut out a bunch of sugar.  Even though I'm still drinking 2 cups of coffee a day, my headaches are few and far between.  Maybe I can get that down to one cup.  Maybe no cups?  I don't know.

I feel light after meals.  I feel full quicker, almost shockingly quicker.  I couldn't finish a 9 inch Quiznos sub the other day.

What have I been eating?  Lots of veggies.  I eat them raw, I blend them with fruit.  I've been eating spinach and kale, peppers, onions, potatoes, tomatoes, cucumbers.  I've been throwing some of the amazingly magical chia seeds into the blender along with everything else.  Super good stuff.

Barbara made strawberry jam with just strawberries and chia seeds.  Amazing.

I've been eating almonds, and beans, and chickpeas.  Barbara made humus the other day and it was tasty, filling and energizing.

I feel good.  My jogging has been easier to tackle each time.  I've been pushing myself more, not in speed, but in endurance.  The other day I jogged for well over an hour.  That's a big deal for me.

I am usually not the most energetic person.  These changes have helped me big time.  I even have more patience with my kids.  It's been a nice thing.  I want to continue to feel good and I want to continue to run and play with my boys.

I will continue to write here so that I am challenged to continue on with this thing.

Until next time!

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

New Year Resolution: Quarter Report

Here we are.  3 months into 2015.  Time flies.

I ran 36 miles last year.  A whopping 264 miles fewer than my goal.  Fail.

This year I upped my goal to 365.  Here's where I stand thus far.

So I'm still way behind, but I've got a lot of good weather ahead of me.  That photo also makes my skin look a little peaked.

I've gone a full 20 miles further this year than all of last year!

I feel good.

For me, the point is that I'm still pursuing my new year's goal.  To all the people who think New Years goals are dumb I say It was good for me to set a goal at the beginning of the year because I'm still at it. 

Hopefully writing this out in anticipation of my halfway report come July will add to the motivation for me to push forward.

I would suggest that you set a goal and write about it to help hold you accountable, not to mention have a few good people to cheer you on.

Wish me luck!  And best wishes to you.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Good News

This world is full of awful things.  People everywhere doing unspeakable things to other people.  It's just awful.

We hear about this stuff all day every day.  Nonstop heartache.  Gather around your T.V. set every evening and watch the world burn, right?

Seriously.  How many of us are guilty of being a daily 'Debbie Downer'?  Life is tough, and we seem to think that the only way to get through it is to talk about how tough it is.  Seems kinda backwards.

I came across this news site today.

I was actually purposefully looking for something like it.  I wanted good news.  I wanted it to be just good news and only good news.  Period.

I know that good things happen.  I know that this world is full of more good things than bad.  I know that there are more good people than bad.  I had a hankering for some good news, and I think that this might be the place.

Look at that front page.  To me, it's odd but mostly sad that this front page shocked me so much.  It sort of took my breath away for a minute, being bombarded by only good things.

I am so accustomed to bad news that this good stuff shook me up a bit.

I mean, the Grandma for the elephants!  Right?!

I'd suggest taking a few minutes every week to read through some of these articles.  It's so different from bad news.  So life giving and helpful.

The pervading theme these days is fear.  Be fearful of anything and everything.  I say fight back with good things.  Good thoughts.  Good deeds.

It's easy to get down on life.  But remember that there are good things happening and a lot of good people working hard to impact the world for good.

Good Good Good