Monday, March 30, 2015 we start.

I just started my outside running this year by running a measly 15 minutes in the dark. It was difficult. Number one, it's difficult running in the dark, but my new work schedule makes it impractical to run in the afternoons--especially since within just a couple of months it will be the hottest time of the year. Number two, it's different running on pavement/concrete, than it is running on a treadmill. Instead of pacing yourself by the steady rolling of a belt, you need to pace yourself by feeling your breathing and your heart rate. If you're not used to it, it takes time.
So, it was hard, but not that hard, and if I'd have allowed myself more time after writing to run, I could've gone longer. I'm not sure what pace I was running--likely ten minute miles.
My advice is this: if you are beginning an exercise program, or changing one up, take it slow at first. Work your way into it for a few days. Adjust.
It's important to exercise, but not at the expense of injury due to too much enthusiasm and biting off more than you can chew.
Now tomorrow, I will go longer, and stick to streets where the streetlamps are working, but I will begin slowly and build up speed as my body feels like moving. That's how it's done.

Just because I like R. Carlos Nakai

I post this for no other reason other than for your enjoyment. I like R. Carlos Nakai's music. So serene and peaceful.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Fixed NCAA?

There's something fishy about the NCAA basketball tournament. First, last night in the Sweet Sixteen, Utah's best player, Delon Wright gets saddled with a third foul in the first half, that really wasn't much of a foul. Here's an article on it: clickety-click
Duke went on to win the game.
Then, Saturday night, Arizona's best player, Brandon Ashley, gets saddled with early foul trouble on a questionable call.
Isn't it strange that after two number one teams (Duke and Wisconsin) make it to the Sweet Sixteen and  Elite Eight respectively, that a couple of questionable calls largely helps to decide who wins the game...when major stars of the losing teams were forced to sit out for major portions of both games? Doesn't it seem like they're trying to get the number one seeds to make it to the Final Four?
And then three number ones make it to the Final they should've if they were actually number ones, but the road seemed to be made easier for this to happen, just by making sure some PAC-12 stars got in early foul trouble.
I'm not saying that's the case. It could've been just circumstances. After all, Ashley was plagued by early foul trouble all year. But one has to admit that some of the refereeing has been less than stellar at crucial moments in certain games. Either there was a deliberate attempt to make bad calls on opposing teams stars, or the officiating was just plain bad. In either case, it needs to be fixed.


For the past few weeks, Arctic Circle Drive-in has had a sign up on their marquee that says: "We only serve real halibut". I wonder how many fish actually walk into that place, and how many of them get turned down for service because they aren't "real halibut". I can't believe the discrimination these days.

The value of hope

I have found that having hope is the driving force behind life. And that without hope, the road turns to despair. This become particularly important in helping those with long-term illnesses keep up the will to live.

Living, for all of us, has its challenges, but for one who faces each day with the prospect of pain, or the haze of drug-induced pain killers, and no end in sight except eventual death, well, that is far more challenging than everyday life for most of us. This is where something to hope for can help the person with a chronic illness cope.

If they have big plans for the future, something to look forward to, they can place their trust in that hope. If we who care of them take away that hope through our choices or actions, we cause them to drift down the road to despair. We need to be very careful when we make life decisions to include those who need hope the most, just to survive, to continue to have the will to keep fighting. If we don't think about the effect our decisions make have on our loved ones with chronic illnesses, then we can end up hurting them in ways we really didn't know we would.

The best solution then is to help them put their trust in God, but also to not take away their dreams. It's often a difficult and impossible conundrum, when we feel we must act a certain way, but that way seems to put their hope in jeopardy.

Life is a challenge, but people matter. Putting others above ones self is the most important. I'm a firm believer that once we do that, all things will eventually work out, even though it may take much longer than we thought. We can still treasure our own hopes and dreams in our hearts as we care for our loved ones.

Say good-bye to an icon...

Amidst the hoopla and the roaring crowds for the men's NCAA basketball tournament, nearly unnoticed by most of the folks gathered to cheer for their favorite teams, was the death of an icon of the sport of basketball. "Hot Rod" Hundley, most recently known for being the play by play announcer for the Utah Jazz for 35 years, died Friday at the age of 80.

Legendary, every Jazz fan remembers the "leapin' leaners" and the "frozen ropes" and the "yo yo'in at the top of the key"--descriptive lingo coined by the one and only Hundley. His husky, Texas-accented voice brought the games to life for thousands of fans. Who could ever forget "another gray hair on the head of Jerry Sloan" or "You gotta love it, baby"?

He lived and died with fortunes of  the team he worked for, his voice edged in emotion when they lost to MJ and the Chicago Bulls in two consecutive NBA finals, and his voice tingling with elation and excitement whenever the Jazz won a big game.

No Jazz fan will ever forget the simulcasts, before the Jazz got financially well-off enough to pay both a radio broadcaster and a television crew. Hot Rod handled both jobs efficiently and with aplomb.

As a broadcaster, he was missed when he hung it up. As a Utah Jazz icon, he will be missed by all who knew him. Guys like that, who really care, don't just fall from the sky. Folks like that, who live with passion, are the kind who make the world better, even if it's helping someone to enjoy a sport just a little bit more. They are filled with life and when they're gone, people notice. Good-bye, Hot Rod. You made my life just a little bit better by your exuberance.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Getting the garden ready

Yesterday on my day off, instead of going out and having fun, I did yard work. Yes, it's that time of year, and since I've sacrificed much of my time in the evenings to watching the NCAA basketball tournament, my time to actually do meaningful stuff is on my days off. Thankfully, March Madness doesn't last that long.

So Ann and I drove down to Riverton to IFA to pick up some blackberry plants. Just last week we had gone to the other IFA and they were out of them (they did have one left, which I bought). I made sure I called first. When I got there, they had a lot to choose from and I ended up purchasing two more blackberry plants, a boysenberry plant, and I was pleasantly surprised to find a huckleberry plant. I snagged that one right up, huckleberries being one of my favorite berries and all, though I'm thinking that I may not have success with it actually living. I remember quite a few years ago, Larry Sagers on the KSL Greenhouse program mentioned that it's very difficult to get huckleberry plants to actually grow in the home garden. Most of them are found in the wilds.

There's actually a place up near Bear Lake that has some huckleberries growing naturally. To the best of my knowledge, it's the closest place to my home that they are growing, and it's quite a drive, so if you don't time it right, you either find them still unripe, or you find that the bears have eaten all of them. If you really time it wrong, you find the bears still there.

I got those planted and also got the metal sheets for my raised beds cut. It actually wasn't as difficult as I imagined it to be--the saber saw worked well for the task. I'll still need to build the frames and fill them up with a combination of sandy loam and compost before they'll be ready for planting. Yeah, I'm thinking the cold season crops aren't going to happen this year.

The rest of the day I did just a few things, including moping because I hadn't actually taken the day off and done something fun.

Secretly though, I enjoyed getting those blackberry and that huckleberry plant in the ground. I'm looking forward to some good berries in a couple of years. And next week, I'm actually planning on getting out and hiking on my day off, so there's great things in store in the near future.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Humor for the day

This is about a year old, but I saw it for the first time today. Check out this link: Dad fills out questionaire for 11-month-old at daycare

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Monday, March 23, 2015

A time dilemma

I'm not good with adjusting to schedule changes. Saturday, my work schedule changed from starting at 7:30, to starting at 7:00. This may not seem like much, and over all, I like the idea of getting off work a half an hour earlier, but it puts me in a dilemma. The dilemma is when to write and when to get my exercise in. About a year ago, we changed from an 8:00 starting time to a 7:30 starting time, and I still haven't fully adjusted, and now, I have to adjust again. I do my best writing in the morning, mainly because there are too many distractions for me when it comes to writing in the evening. On the other hand, going to the gym after work is harder, because sometimes I work overtime and the need to get home outweighs staying until 6:00 at the gym to complete a workout.

My workout is generally completed in an hour, but there is drive time, and doing it after work puts me in the middle of rush hour traffic trying to get home. I'm thinking that I'm going to end up splitting my workout and running in the morning (I will have to anyway once it gets hot), and then doing my strength training after work. Running in the morning will still allow me to write for a while, so I think that may be the best possible solution. I'll need to be disciplined to do it, especially since I will need to get up at a consistent time, but that will be possible. The only thing I worry about is running in the dark. I haven't done that for years, and don't have the reflective gear for it. Of course, that can be easily purchased.

So there will be that, and I'll also try to get some cooperation around here with doing some writing at night. My computer just may have to be off-limits to the grandkids and others unless I'm watching a game or movie, or playing a board game with Ann. Of course, this time of year brings a number of things that take away time that could be used for writing—yard work that must be done, and of course the outdoorsy stuff that I always do and that nearly always takes precedence.

I'm glad my time dilemmas are only between things I want todo and not between things that I have to do.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

I'm feeling a bit sucky today

Some days, you just don't feel all that great. It can be a physical thing, or it can be something emotional or mental. Sometimes you can't even do anything about it. Like now. For me.

We all feel down sometimes. And we all need to know how to climb back up. I know. You've felt down before too. Maybe you're even feeling so now. So, now, how to climb back up. That's the million dollar question and there often aren't easy answers.

Here's my suggestion. Grab your life by the scruff of the neck and make it do what you want it to do. That's it. Be proactive. Don't wait. Do something. Maybe knocking yourself off dead-center is what you need to do in order to get out of the blues.

It's what I need. Or at least, part of what I need. The other part lies down the road, and only time will cure that part.

Until then, I (and you) need to make the best of what God has given us. We all do. It's those who can do so who end up living happy lives filled with great things. And that's what I want.

Cats are strange

Sometimes my cat Scout is frankly, a moron. First there are the times when she hops up, strides in front of the monitor, walks on the keyboard, and prevents me from interacting with websites. Pay attention to me, she seems to say, not that screen. It can be irritating and endearing at the same time.

The thing that takes the cake though is this morning. I just happened to be in the bathroom, urinating (Sorry for the graphic description. You can stop reading now if you want. But come on, we are all adults here.). Scout hopped up on the bathtub edge, then walked over onto the front part of the toilet, right underneath the stream, and stood there. What was I supposed to do with that situation?

You make the call...

It's great mailman weather

Spring is  here, and with it comes one of the best times of year for mail delivery. I should know--that's my job. There's nothing like being outside when the weather is nice, but not too hot. As an added bonus, I got to deliver an hour off of a walking route yesterday. Now driving around in a truck all day isn't bad in this kind of weather, but getting to do a walk in it is amazing. Walking all day kind of defeats the purpose of enjoying it, but just doing an hour? That I can handle. I used to walk all day delivering mail, up until five or six years ago. It kept me in great shape. The thing is, when I went to do the things I loved to do after walking all week, I didn't want to do them. Hiking doesn't sound fun after packing around mail for 27 miles in a typical week. I finally took advantage of my seniority and bid on a "mounted" route, which is basically another name for a driving route, and presto, my hikes became much more fun.

I never expected to be still delivering mail after this long. In August, I'll have worked for the USPS for 32 years. That's a long time. I'm not really a big fan of government jobs, in fact, I've supported legislation that would be detrimental to my own job, simply to cut down on governmental waste. I'm not a hypocrite when it comes to my ideals and how they apply to limited government. That being said, the need to put a roof over my family's collective heads, and food on our table kept me doing the job for longer than I'd planned. I'd always thought I could go back and finish my degree at the University of Utah, and never realized that there was some kind of statute of limitations on the courses I took. I actually went back to school for a few months to Salt Lake Community College, but again, the family needed my income more than I needed another job and I stopped attending. I learned a lot of math though, and some computer skills.

When all is said and done though, I have other options. I've got one novel completed (not a very good one), and another one that I've completed 58,000 words on. When I get that done, it may not make me rich, but it may help me to end my postal career a bit earlier than previously planned. I'm not counting on it, but I am going to try and finish it to see what will happen. Right now, it's a pretty awesome story line, with a lot of exciting scenes, although most of those scenes have kinks in them that need to be worked out. I'm estimating that it will be around 80,000 words long when completed.

The thing is, delivering mail has its perks. For one thing, the nice parts of the year and being outside. Another advantage to being outside is to not have to hang out with the managers. There are very few with whom I'd like to hang out--too much watching you--you know, the kind of feeling you get when the boss just walked into the room? I know that feeling from both sides, btw. "GG" was the last manager with whom I actually liked hanging out. So "GG", if somehow you're out there reading this, let it be known that you were a cool person to hang out with.

Okay. It's another spring day today, with temps in the low 70s. I think I'm going to wear my mailman shorts today.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Hiking near Heber, Utah

Heber Valley, Utah, is a place where many choose to stay for family reunions, etc. Heber itself is really a gateway to numerous outdoor adventures. If you're an avid hiker, Heber is a location that makes hiking in both the Wasatch and Uinta Mountains accessible. Within just an hour or so drive time, you can be into the heart of the Uintas, up along the Mirror Lake Highway (Highway 150), or up along the scenic Alpine Loop Road, with access to Mt. Timpanogos in the Wasatch Range and more. To say nothing of various walks and short hikes along the edges of the Heber Valley itself. For some great hiking in the Uintas, check out this link:

Of the hikes mentioned in the preceding link, I've done the Bald Mountain Summit, the
Cascade Springs Interpretive Trails (some of them), Crystal Lake Area Hikes, the
Currant Creek Nature Trail, and the Provo River Waterfalls.

Some comments on the hikes mentioned above. The Bald Mountain hike is one of the most spectacular hikes in Utah when you factor in how easy it is to do. Within just an hour or so from the trailhead, you are treated to an amazing view of the many surrounding lakes and peaks of the High Uinta country. Incidentally, you can also join my "High Uinta Lovers" page on Facebook. Here's the link: Clickety-click

Another one in the high Uintas are the various trails that can be taken via the Crystal Lake Trailhead area, just off the road that heads to Trial Lake. I've gone on the trail that heads over to Weir, Duck, Fire, Beaver, and other lakes, as well as the other trailhead from the same parking lot that heads over toward "the Notch", Lovenia Lake, and other spectacular lakes. Amazing scenery along any of these trails, but if you can make it as far as Fire Lake, you're really in for a treat.

A short one, just off Highway 150, is the Provo River Waterfalls Trail. If you are short on time, this is an enjoyable short hike that basically parallels the highway.

The Cascades Springs Trails are nice shaded trails past, of course, Cascade Springs. You won't get a lot of exertion out of this one, but you will enjoy the peaceful nature of the trail. And it's beautiful in the fall. Great for adults and young children.

The Currant Creek Nature Trail winds its way up from the Currant Creek Campground facility, through aspens and then some evergreens to top out with a great view of the reservoir below and the surrounding countryside. This too is great for both adults and young children.

Another great hike is Mt. Timpanogos from the Aspen Grove Trailhead. On this hike, you can go all the way to the top, or do a shorter hike up to the waterfalls. To get to the trailhead, drive out of Heber down Provo Canyon to the turn-off to Sundance Ski Resort and the Alpine Loop Road. Just up past Sundance and a bunch of cabins, you will find the trailhead. Here's a link to a good description of the hike: Mt. Timpanogos, and a map that shows the route to the trailhead: Route: Heber City to Aspen Grove Trailhead

Remember, that most of the high country in Utah has a lot of mosquitoes, until about mid-August when the colder nights of approaching autumn seems to get them on the run. Take bug spray with you for sure if you're going earlier in the season.

Finally, for the real adventurous, and you're going to need a four-wheel drive, high clearance vehicle to even make it to the trailhead, there's Pittsburg Lake, up American Fork Canyon. Here's a description of the trail, written by yours truly: Pittsburg Lake Trail. This is a very cool place. On second thought, I will be your guide. I'm always up for a hike to Pittsburg Lake. Then again, I'm always wanting to go to any of these places. Utah is just amazing.

Saying what you mean

Have you ever finished a conversation and then minutes after hanging up the phone (I still say that, but who hangs up a cell?) thought of some things you wanted to say, but couldn't think of at the time?

I think all of us have. We have all been part of a two-way conversation in which not all is said that one would want to say, and it is only later that we think of something we wished we'd said, but didn't think of at the time—and then the moment is gone.

We often cannot go back and fill in what we left out.

It's kind of like when you drive past a place that holds memories for you. You can't go back and physically be there again to relive that time in reality. But God gave us memories for a reason. We remember the bad as well as the good, and luckily for me, I remember the good a whole lot better and more frequently than I remember the bad.

There are places I go that trigger a sudden memory of something good. Physically, I'm still in the present, but mentally—my mind can recall my favorite times with amazing clarity. That my friends, is called a blessing.

The same thing holds true for a good conversation with a good friend. And, you never know. You may get a chance to say the things you wanted to say and forgot to say. Not all conversations end permanently.

We've all heard the sad stories of people who wish they'd have told a loved one how much they loved them, and then that person dies and that moment is lost for good.

Most times though, we reunite with those very people with whom we wanted to say more. The moment may be gone forever for saying certain things, but the chance to talk again nearly always happens. And then again, you may find the right moment to say what you should have said, in a conversation minutes, days, or even years before. If you get that chance, take it. If you get the chance to tell someone you love them, take it. It too is a blessing.

Saturday, March 07, 2015

My favorite song about the moon

We had a full moon this week, and it was beautiful. Here is my favorite song that includes the word "moon". Neil Young's Harvest Moon.