Friday, October 30, 2015

Life: meaning, goals and the drive to survive

I have a lot of plans for my life, even when I'm much older. One of the most important aspects for survival in any given situation is a reason for doing so. Consider the case of Viktor Frankl, a Jewish psychiatrist who lived in Vienna. During WWII, Frankl was captured by the Nazis, forced into and ended up surviving several concentration camps, including two of the most notorious, Auschwitz and Dachau. According to psychiatrist, Claire Newton:

"Prisoners in concentration camps were deprived of everything which, in normal circumstances, contributes to a loss of psychological well-being, dignity, and worth. Yet it was in precisely these most adverse conditions that Frankl became convinced of the significant role of values in people's lives. Having something to live for was what enabled prisoners to hold on to the will to live in circumstances that made death seem like a solution.
Frankl believs in the (indestructible) significance of life. Death for Frankl is the boundary which makes life a unique, unrepeatable opportunity. he believes that life is given to us so that we can find meaning - even in suffering.
According to Frankl, suffering does not deprive us of the freedom to decide how we will deal with that suffering. If a situation cannot be changed, if suffering cannot be avoided, what is retained is the freedom to change ourselves. Suffering has meaning.
It offers us the opportunity to transcend adversity. By the way suffering is borne, a tragedy can be turned into a triumph. The freedom to live a life of worth and dignity remains, even in suffering."

Frankl himself said, "Everything can be taken from a man but one thing; the last of human freedoms - to choose one's attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one's own way."
He also said, "Live as if you were living a second time, and as though you had acted wrongly the first time."
Frankl found that if a person had a particular reason for living, they were much more likely to survive. The reasons could include reuniting with a loved one, completing a college degree, or even revenge against their Nazi captors. If didn't seem to matter as long as they had motivation. If there was a reason and they internalized it, they were much more likely to make it out at the end.
So too with life in general. If there is motivation to survive, despite the hardships, we are much more likely to do so--and to a very old age, I might add. Though we cannot thwart God's plans, we can maximize the life he has granted us. The bottom line is, have a plan, and have goals and you will be a victor. I'll end with one more Viktor Frankl quote: "Life can be pulled by goals just as surely as it can be pushed by drive."

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

GOP Debate: CNBC Media Farce

I just finished watching the Republican debate in Boulder, Colorado, hosted by CNBC. The liberal moderators quickly jumped out to make the ten candidates look bad, the first question being, "What is your biggest weakness?"
Within just moments, the candidates themselves took control from the moderators, banded together, and refused it jump into the fray. It was refreshing to see.
The debate itself showed a lot of highly qualified candidates, most of the adept at deflecting questions designed to have as negative impact as possible.
I was impressed with several of them including Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, and Carly Fiorina. Ben Carson held his own, and Donald Trump held his tongue for the most part.
One more thing of note. I'm wondering if Carl Quintanilla was formerly Eddie Munster.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Starting to get too cold to be shirtless. Final fitness update.

I began my fitness journey months ago. If you've been following, you know I've had some major setbacks including Ann's hospital stay, my own bouts with diverticulitis, etc. My original goal had been to make it down to 185. I had promised a shirtless photo if I made it. Frankly, I've been hovering between 186 and 189 for the past month. I'm in great shape for a 56 year old. I'm not bragging, but I'm telling you what's possible. I exercise between 3-5 times per week and usually for an hour to an hour and fifteen minutes max. I'd say I average four hours of exercise per week. It's generally 30-45 minutes of cardio, followed by 15-20 minutes of strength training. My own goal with this isn't to actually lose weight, but to keep fit enough to do the things I love to do, like hiking, fishing, and going on picnics (ha ha!). My eating regimen is a balanced diet, never eating too much junk, but not avoiding it entirely--just trying to be sensible. I post this picture to show those who think exercise requires large amounts of time to produce results, that it really doesn't. All it really takes is consistency, frequency, and trying to use common sense with the foods you eat. I will post this pic and then you'll never have to look at me shirtless again.
Even an old guy like me can stay in reasonable shape.

Hiking Bell's Canyon

The sky above the peaks at dawn was subdued but awesome!

Fall colors are fading fast
I went on another amazing hike today. I was having a hard time deciding where to go, then found out that Ann needed some help with some errands in the afternoon, so it narrowed my choices down a bit. I ended up doing Bell's Canyon. It's a place that I've hiked a couple of times in the past once alone, and once with my son, Ben. My goal this time wouldn't be to make it to Upper Bell's Reservoir as it had been in the past, but to get some good pics, to explore some side trails, and to try and find the supposed bridge that crosses the stream prior to the trail making its way along the north side of the stream the rest of the way to the Upper Reservoir. Both previous trips had left me unsuccessful at this goal of finding the bridge. This one was no different. I figured out where I thought it was, but ended up with no time to verify due to needing to get home to do the errands. Anyway, I got some good pics. One of these days, I'll figure out how to post multiple pics on this blog and keep them in the order taken...
The stream is beautiful any time of year

Lower Bell Canyon Falls
Lower Bell's Reservoir. Note the fish hitting the surface. I'll go back with my fishing stuff sometime

The trail looks like this for much of  the way.

The trail to the lower falls is an unmarked trail heading north. Look for
a big bare spot to the left, with a bit of muddy area right after
you leave the main trail. You'll be rewarded with a view of these spectacular falls.

More lower falls

A small rivulet from the upper falls

Yours truly, near the upper falls

The lower trail was easy going. Not too hard here.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Cluttered freezers would be fun to dump...

In our household, we have our daughter, Rebecca, and her husband and four kids living with us. A household of eight. Sometimes it seems like an army of twenty. I'm frequently reminded of this when I open the freezer and try to find anything. Jam-packed with everything I don't need, I cannot find the stuff I do need. Our ice maker knows that an army lives here. It keeps making ice, dropping it behind the bin when the bin gets full, so that we have ice cubes layered throughout the freezer half of the side by side. I pulled out a basket today to try and find corn tortillas, and there were enough ice cubes to fill a plate holder, and then some, just behind the basket I pulled out.
The search for the tortillas continued. I emptied an entire shelf before I found any, cursing along the way. "Why do we need all this stuff in here?" I said, rather loudly. "I will be glad when it's just you and me," I said to my wife, Ann.
Mind you this was only minutes prior to searching in vain for measuring spoons. Lost somewhere in a vast concoction of toys, papers, food, and clutter, the spoons may some day turn up. Someone may have to move in order for that to happen, but some day, I'll find all the spoons, can openers, wooden spoons, and various other implements I need on a regular basis in order to make anything to eat.
It makes me want to bring home something for dinner every night, rather than try and cook, getting frustrated because every time I need to thaw some chicken, I have to wade through layers of burritos, hummus, hot dogs, and pecans that got put in upside down in an open bag.
I think instead of bringing something home for dinner, I'm going to run away...

I'm not lying.

Just try finding  what you need without emptying this bin!

This is where most of the random ice cubes are found.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Turning into a werewolf

When it's a full moon, I generally turn into a werewolf. I've never done a selfie of me as a werewolf, nor have I gone to a professional photo shoot. I took the liberty of creating an image that shows a photo of me morphing into a werewolf. I don't know how accurate it is as when I change into a werewolf...I

More signs of fall

You wouldn't know it around here with the unseasonable temperatures. For the past few weeks, we've been hard-pressed to find any temps below 80. I'm waiting for a little cooler weather to facilitate the most productive time for killing bindweed (better known as wild morning glory), and other noxious weeds.
Despite the warm weather though, there are some signs that fall is coming on. My tomatoes, which were coming out of my ears, have slowed their ripening process--just not enough hours of warmth in the shorter days. Pumpkins are quickly being bought up from the nearby vendors. We just bought a couple to make jack-o-lanterns with from Ream's, on sale for 13 cents a pound...and since it was the last day of the sale, we were picking from the last five or six they had, literally. With the recently announced pumpkin shortage, I'm not thinking we'll see another sale like that between now and Halloween. Just a couple of weeks ago though, we were up in Perry, Utah watching some guys unload pumpkins at one of the fruit stands up there.
Unloading pumpkins--a sure sign of fall.

With the shorter days, it also means that I'm leaving for work before the sun rises. This has created an opportunity to take some shots of the dawn sky. I wish I could remember to set up the good camera on a tripod and get a wonderful shot, but instead, I just think about it when I'm already nearly late for work, so I pull out the cell and snap a shot. Like this.
The Moon, Venus and Jupiter have been close together in the morning.

Before long, it's actually going to cool down enough to turn on the furnace, and to spray the weeds. Summer, with its hikes, fishing, and barbecues will be done. But fall and then winter have their own unique activities that make them special as well. And who's to say that you can't hike, fish or barbecue in the fall and winter? I do all of these activities year round. We've cooked our Christmas Eve steaks on the grill outside when it was snowing. It was a wonderful experience.

There will be more wonderful experiences in the days and years ahead. We need to look at each day as a God-given opportunity to grow, learn, and love. Of course, there are often challenges to endure and to survive, Those are part of life. Some times may be hard, but if we keep our eyes focused on what's truly important, and our trust in God, we will eventually become not spectators, or unwilling participants, but victors. And I kind of like that.

Tuesday, October 06, 2015

A rare fall treat

Yesterday after eating an excellent lunch at Pazzo Vita Deli in Taylorsville, Ann and I drove up to Alta. It was definitely a spur of the moment thing. I kind of wanted to see the snow on the peaks and the fall colors. Just below Albion Basin, we saw these two bad boys fighting over a female.
An unexpected encounter with the best nature has to offer
We also saw the snow. And  the fall colors were excellent as well.
I always like to see the quakies that turn orange. Yellow is nice too.

Okay, so this was my first day trying to take pictures with my phone

Monday, October 05, 2015

Thursday, October 01, 2015

What a wonderful president we have...? You can't be serious!

Some president. Take a look at Iran. Take a look at Iraq. Take a look at what's happening in Syria right now. Our president, drew a red line in the sand a few years ago. It was crossed, then redrawn, then crossed again.

"No, I didn't mean that red line, I meant this one." Frankly, his total ineptitude has caused violence to erupt in the middle-east. His lack of response has enboldened evil-doers worldwide. Now, Russia is creating havoc in Syria, and it looks like they are planning on joining forces with Iran. Israel is getting mighty nervous, and for good reason. The big red machine is on the move again and who is it that will try and stop them? Apparently not us. John Kerry stated 'We agreed on the imperative of as soon as possible, perhaps even as soon as tomorrow, but as soon as possible, having a military to military deconfliction meeting." Yeah right. Today, the bombing of non-ISIS (ISIL for those who give a darn about who or what these slime balls call themselves), America friendly targets continued. This is after the big red line in the sand in regards to Russia's invasion of our NATO ally, Ukraine. War is imminent and his policies of shaking a big stick and doing nothing haven't worked. If we are drawn into a war with Russia, it can be blamed solely on the non-functional policies of this man, a man who considers global warming to be more of a world threat than Islamic terrorism.

Meanwhile on the home front, he stands in front of the camera and blatantly lies about states with more strict gun laws having less murders. Evidently, he failed to include his home state of Illinois on his chart of states with strict gun laws and fewer gun deaths. Sadly, he chose a moment  when people are mourning over their murdered  loved ones at a small community college in Oregon, to put the blame on the weapon, rather than on the killer. But we've come to expect as much. He's basically done the same thing with every mass shooting--except of course those caused by the rampant gangs in Chicago. Mum's the word on those.

The 2016 elections cannot come soon enough. It is hoped that the American public will choose someone worthy of this great nation, someone who will take the lead in throwing down those who wish to harm us. Elections have consequences and if we haven't learned that through this debacle, we never will. We are tired of those who choose to bad mouth a nation that has done more good in the world than any other nation in history. We are sick of those who would deprive us of our 2nd Amendment rights to defend ourselves. We are sick and tired of a president who thinks climate change is the cause de la journée, the cause of the day, and ignores real evil. Conservative radio host and columnist, Dennis Prager has said, "Those who don't fight real evils fight imaginary ones." It's a disease of the left.

My only hope is that by the time this man is removed from office, irreparable harm hasn't occurred. One of the few things he hasn't lied about is fundamentally changing America. That he has done. And not for the better.