Wednesday, July 09, 2014

Catching Up and a Possible Bad Apple

I have not abandoned my blog, but am dealing with getting caught up with work and life during a very busy time. Not helping the matter is the below image on my computer. I will get my longer hike post out there soon. Needless to say it was an awesome trip.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014


"I'm a lucky man, to count on both hands the ones I love
Some folks just have one, yeah, others, they've got none."
-Pearl Jam

Tried to master the elusive "get a 3 and 1 yo to look at the camera" shot. I love the pic, and am truly lucky to get to be the father of these kids and a husband to J. Best Father's day ever on Put-In-Bay Inland, OH.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

The Valley

Blue Hen Falls

The Cuyahoga Valley National Park (CVNP) is located along the Cuyahoga River between Cleveland and Akron, Ohio. The park offers so much for the locals, from skiing, hiking, biking, running, concerts, nature centers, fishing, snow showing, cross country skiing, waterfalls, ledges, horse bridal trails, the list could go on and on. Over 20,000 acres of protected land for public use. Until recently, I have only scratched the surface on what is available for use, but since February I have been all over the park.

What a beautiful place.

Top of the Valley! Along the Buckeye Trail.

Even though the park is almost always full of people when I am there, especially on the more popular canal towpath, I think the CVNP is a hidden gem in NE Ohio. I have lived within an hour of the park most of my life and never knew all that was offered. More folks in the area should try out the bounty of offerings. Get your kids out there, let them experience nature, and see something that inspires. The picture above of the view from the top of the valley, was truly inspiring in person, the image only captures a portion of the spirit I felt.

I plan on getting my friends and family out to the CVNP as much as possible. Go out and see a small area of the forest where the sunlight fills a little nook like a cathedral, walk through a patch of cattails, feel like you are on top of Ohio.

I am spoiling the natural beauty for sure.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Nine Days

I have been preparing for my hike for 5+ months solid now, non-stop focus and work. In nine days I will begin the trek, and I cannot believe the time has come. I am excited, nervous, ready, not ready; all these things wrapped up in one ball. I do not think I could have kept my job and family and physically prepared myself anymore than I have is such a condensed time period, yet I feel like I should have done more. I am easily in the best shape I have been in for the last 12-14 years, which took losing over 50 pounds. This trip will be amazing, and a sure physical and mental test of my strength and endurance. I cannot wait for the view from the first summit, it should be inspiring.

I am really thankfully to my friends Scott & Greg, who kindled the fire of inspiration that led to my transformation. I was utterly failing at setting and holding to basic good health and simple fitness goals, this trip got me more focused than I have been in years. The biggest thanks goes to my wife, who has supported my efforts without question for five months. J has manned the house, and managed the kids alone a lot while I was working out, running, or on long practice hikes. Thanks J, you are one of the biggest reasons I am doing this, to be healthy and strong for you and the kids for years to come. I love you.

So that is all for now, I hope to get a prep post or two in before the hike. I will surely have a lengthy post with pics following the hike. I may make two long posts, one for each day on the traverse.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Friends, you and I will be

I was able to fly out to St. Louis this past weekend with my wife to a friend's wedding. The guy is a Fraternity brother, one that I have maintained contact with over the years. I have worked through fun times, tough times, and given advice to this gentleman. When I was engaged he traveled to my bachelor party, and my wedding, long drives for both, and the wedding was only a week after another brother's wedding. When my buddy asked if we would come out for his I didn't even blink before I said sure.

This is what makes a friend. Someone that doesn't think before the help you, they just do. Good friends do not need to talk all the time, or hang out all the time, but when they are together, it is like no time has passed. I am a lucky man to have a lot of people I call friends. I know there have been times where I probably have been a selfish friend, or even a bad one, but I try hard to improve and earn friendship. I was a lot lazier at being a friend as a younger man, I do not think I understood how rare lifelong friends are. The more I advance in my career, advance in age and get pulled in 100 directions by life and family the more I need friends. Friends are where you can go laugh, have a blast, forget about your struggles and just be yourself. Then you can split, and return refreshed to your normal routine.

Today I will call a friend today, one that I have not heard from in a while. I am not sure who yet, but I am going to reach out and say hi. I have received enough love from friends, and I want to make sure I share the love today, and be a good friend to someone else.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Red Spots

Dub had a chemical reaction to some medicine he was taking, and developed a rash all over his body. When we first saw the red spots, were concerned it was something more contagious, but were relieved it was just a rash. This poor kid has had a much rougher first year and a half than his sister, but he is a tough little boy. A quick medicine change helped, and each day since he has looked a little better. 

Saturday I took him to an outdoor shopping center to walk around, get him some fresh air, and get J a Mother's Day gift. I was taken aback by the looks some folks gave my son, and their actions. First, I get it, you see a red spotted kid, and you think why would you have that sick kid out. But J and I are good parents, we would not take a kid in public that was in any way contagious. But the pointing, whispering, moving away from him, and looks at me like was the devil were bothersome. This is a reflection of where we are as people, assume the worst, cast judgment or assume I am an irresponsible parent. Now I know before I had kids, a screaming child in a public place would drive me crazy, and having kids has tempered my opinions on taking kids out a lot, but the general nastiness was surprising.

I know the day with Dub was a one day event, and hopefully rare, but this brings me to empathize with parents that have a child with a disability or physical uniqueness. The patience these folks must have with the negative public, casting judging eyes on their family, must be highly developed. Two hours of it and I was done, and ready to tell someone off. I respect the families that work through this daily, and pray to have some of their strength. I am sure their journey is not lightly walked, but I will commit to being more sensitive in my judgment of folks. And I will pray our world can have a little more love and understanding. 

Thursday, May 08, 2014

Draft Night

The NFL draft begins today. For weeks and months, the sports networks have forecast, re-forecast, and revised the re-forecast of what they think each team will do. I will admit I get wrapped up in the talk early on, but tire of the unending discussion quite quickly. Alas, the day is here. Funny how much time and energy is wasted on something the great majority of folks have no influence over whatsoever. I am sure ray Farmer, new GM of the Browns, is a busy man right now, but the fans have no power over this event. I wish my brownies well, but really cannot get worked up or nervous today. Tomorrow I will awake a browns fan either way.

Instead of focusing time and energy of things you cannot control, focus on one thing you can. Treat each day like draft day. Spend some time thinking about the choices you plan on making in your life. Choices at work, at home, in your spiritual life or with your friends are all in play. These are things you can influence, that you can work on. Spend time today thinking what or who your #1 pick will be to tomorrow. Will you commit to spend more time with your kids? How about not snoozing in the morning, or clearing out and responding to all your voice mails and emails. Maybe you will be your own #1 pick, give yourself a break, or pick yourself up and try again. 

No matter what you do, spend your energy on things you can "do." Take action, make a plan, follow the plan. Work toward your sphere of influence, or just identify it. Leave the things you have no control over behind, and step forward. You can still be a Browns fan in the morning.