A Moment of Zen

There a few things in life where I truly feel like I am one with the universe (I am one with the force, the force is with me.) Wood working is one of the few instances. In specific when I am sanding.

There is a little bit of prep work when it comes to sanding. One can not just grab a piece of sand paper or sanding tool and go to work. I won’t get into all the specifics as I  don’t want people falling asleep, but once that prep work is done the task is fairly simple. Bring the wood to a plain smooth surface.

There is something about the repeated motion and noise that provides a calming effect for me. Sanding even with the aid of a sanding tool can be one of the most laborious parts of and kind of working, but I enjoy it immensely.

When I was remodeling my house and I saw how much work the stair banister was going to need I was secretly excited on the inside, There was at least 3 evenings worth of surface prep sanding.

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The Man I Am

Over the last year I had the misfortune of loosing two men in my life whom helped mold me into the man I am today. After the most recent loss it has became very apparent to me that the number of elders that I look to for positive examples or turn to for advice is dwindling. Luckily one of those people still here is my father.

After taking stock of all those that have shuffled off this mortal coil it hit me like a ton of bricks. It is my turn to be the positive role model for the next generations and be the one to dispense the sage advice. I have been doing so for a while now through my role(s) as an educator and a scout master, but it is becoming more important that I do my best to light the way.

I don’t really have much thoughts beyond those I just expressed, but I feel that now is the time that I should make an earnest attempt to get back to blogging.

Did you loose weight?

Over the last few months or so I have received compliments from both family members and patients alike that I looked like I was loosing weight. From my last weigh in at my yearly physical I had lost over 30 lbs. At this point in the game I am confident that I have lost more as I have moved into a smaller pants size as well.

In an effort to get my weight under control a couple years ago I decided to cut my sugary drink intake. I essentially cut my soda consumption down to 1 can a week and limited other sugary drink consumption as well. This helped mitigate the problem, but was only a small step in the right direction.

Once I moved in with my wife (fiancée at the time) I was able to finally better modify my diet. With a combination of fried food reduction, portion control, and increased exercise I was able to finally start dialing back some of the pounds.

What really got the needle moving was when my wife found out that she would have to deal with gestational diabetes while pregnant with our first child. The conditioned was controlled with medication, but also with diet modification. I decided that I would embrace as much of her diet change as I was able to “stomach”. Since the lions share of it was carb control this helped get the pounds dropping off as well.

The drop in weight has benefited me greatly. The self confidence booster alone is enough to make getting out of bed easier in the morning. From a health stand point I have benefited on several points, but most positively stress reduction on my knees and back since they have both been damaged/repaired as a result of past injuries/abuse.

If you have stopped reading already your probably wondering why I posted all of this. Some of this is to toot my own horn. When your running on a confidence high keep the ball rolling. I also am posting it to maybe inspire/motivate others as well.

I’m Back…

So for the fifth or sixth time since I moved into my new house I’m restarting this BLOG. I’m probably only going to be posting one to two times per week as my schedule allows.

Just to clarify what happened to your regularly scheduled program, let me break it down. On top of getting married over a year ago I went through the process of buying a house….twice. As if buying a home and having to work on the house before actually moving in wasn’t enough I also became a father. As you can see my dance card was a little full.

Now that there is some normalcy in my life again I can start getting my thoughts back out into the ethos. As I have had 3 major life changes in less than 2 years time I should be armed with lots of life advice and stories to share in general for quit some time to come.

Strap in people. It should make for an interesting ride.

The Gift of Free Labor

Having recently acquired a new home I had to put some elbow grease into it to make it livable from myself, my wife, and our first child when it arrives. It isn’t quiet finished yet, but progress is being made on an almost daily basis. Although I have the good fortune having been taught a lot of different trade skills via my father and other tradesmen I have grown up with I have not mastered everything and still require some help.

I have the good fortune of having some relatives whose job is in a specialty trade. My best example would be my uncle who deals mostly HVAC, but is also a skilled plumber. He bestowed upon me as a housewarming gift of free labor fixing the small handful of things I needed done to get my heating up to snuff. The only thing I had to pay for was a couple of small valves that had to be replaced.

If you own a home or have owned one you should know how much money I just saved there. Without getting into detail it could have easily turned into a $300 dollar service bill before parts consideration.

You may be wondering what the hell I am pontificating about at this point. Well, if the title didn’t at least foreshadow it for you let me spell it out. If you happen to possesses a certain set of skills don’t be afraid to offer them as a gift to friends and loved ones. A day or weekends worth of free labor is sometime worth more than your weight in gold for someone because it doesn’t require them to hire a professional and pay a large sum of money to someone who may not be a true “professional”.

My jack of most trades carpentry skills/ standard issue grunt strength has accounted for some birthday/ house warming gifts in the past and have always been well received.

 

How Low Can You Go?

While watching one of my favorite vloggers  , Phlip Defranco , he said something that struck a cord with me. To paraphrase, ” Maybe its because I expect so little from people.” My brain stalled for a second when he said that and then I realized that I have that same mindset. I  promptly decided that was bullshit and I should be able to expect more from people.

It was a long time ago that I understood that for the most part I shouldn’t expect much from people in general. This unfortunately includes some family members and previous co-workers. However, I still think that is complete bullshit. I shouldn’t have my expectations bar set so low that anyone and their cousin Leroy could trip over.

Yes, there should always be a minimum expectation that is relevant to the task at hand, but I have always tried to expect a little more from people. The only reason I believe I can expect a little more form people is because I always expect that little bit more from myself. I don’t think I’m being unreasonable here to expect at least the minimum.

 

Learn Something New Everyday

I forget where I heard those words long ago, but it struck a cord in me and I have done just that. I make it one of my personal daily goals to learn some new tid bit of information. I don’t go so far as to go digging up some factoid and then committing it to memory. There’s to much information out in the either for that and I normally only hang onto things that are significant or important to me.

When instructing one of my students or scouts I make that the minimum barrier. I may not be able to convey the entire concept or skill, but so help me the student/scout(s) before me will have learned at least one thing before they leave me for the day.

The point I am trying to make is that everyone should be striving to learn something new everyday. I’m not saying run out and sign up for a college course or sign up for basket weaving classes, but take a second and read the paper, have a more meaningful conversation with a friend or co-worker, go for a walk in your neighborhood and be more observant. You never know what might be gleaned that could improve your life even just a little.