Wednesday, December 31, 2008

A Mighty Mo video

Here is a video I put together using photos from Mighty Mo's first season of flag football.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

All over the place

I just can't figure out what to focus on today so its a bit of everything.

First, my blog reader has been down, so I have been unable to read other blogs for the last few weeks. Working on it. But thanks to those of you leaving me comments. I really appreciate them and as those who do, know, I respond to almost all that have a valid return email.

Second, New York continues to increase its nanny-state tactics with a possible tax on regular soda. I said the government would issue a fat tax when they realized they could do a similar thing with cigarettes suits ten years ago. And I was laughed at. I said the same thing last year when New York city banned trans-fats in restaurants. I was challenged (albeit with some good points) yet my concern was unabated. Now, sure enough, New York looks to once again insert itself one step closer to what you stock your cupboard with. They will not make sugary drinks illegal. They will simply tell you that "because it leads to 'this', we are going to tax it."

It is logical to think that this tax would be below the line of your food bill, along with your other taxes but lets get real, all taxes are passed on to the consumer. Restaurants will hide the increase in cost by raising the purchase price of all their soda offerings.

Well excuse me but my favorite beverage after a long run on a hot day was a classic Coca-Cola. I could gulp it down and get the perfect burp to settle my stomach. Why do you think Ironman races offer it on the run course? Its the only time I drink classic Coke.

Oh, you don't drink regular soda, you also don't smoke and you didn't eat trans-fats, so you don't care. Again I bang my drum, by saying nothing you are allowing the government to insert themselves further into your life and soon enough they will tax something you do and by then it will be too late to turn.

Third, Oregon receives a lot of its income from gas taxes. Thanks to the rise in gas prices lately and the push for mor fuel efficent vehicles this fund has taken a huge hit in the state. Now their thinking about putting a GPS on every residents car. If they don't drive a certain distance then they will be given a penalty tax.

So if I get this straight, (and maybe i don't), but if your car breaks down, or you decide to ride mass transit to save money, or ride your bike to work twice a week because your training for an Ironman or maybe your unable to drive due to injury or travel, you would be penalized for that.

I suppose I should then dismiss the fact that some agency would then know exactly where you are at given moment. We would never think that our beaurocrats would take information they are already gathering on us and use it for another purpose. Maybe it would begin by an Amber Alert agency or the state police saying they need the information to perform a public service, then it just becomes a routine information request and any P.I. or person with an interest in you can log into a computer and up your car comes on Google maps.

Lastly, today marks 13 years of marriage to my lovely Mistress. God knows, I have put this woman through all kinds of hell and yet she loves me just the same. (At least I think she does) *single eyebrow raised* I kinda don't know what else to write, I wish I could be as eloquently as Nytro when she writes about her spouse, IronBenny, but in this matter I think only my heart has the words and not my mind.

There's treasure everywhere.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Its really basic

Raise your hand if your thinking of reigning in your out of control nutrition come January 1?

Of course you're not alone. I am hear to tell you that you don't have to reinvent the wheel. You don't need to buy a new book or try a new scheme or buy only organic. You don't have to invest in a bunch of frozen meals or powders, unless of course those worked for you in the past.

Really all you have to do is what you have done with limited success in the past, only this time don't stop the habit. I am telling you the foods that helped you feel and look better in the past are still just as good for you today. The habits you created at some point in your life to lose weight or build muscle or fuel your workouts are still just as effective today. A carrot has not increased in calories. Water is still better than diet cola. A turkey and swiss sandwhich still doesn't taste as good as a fast food cheeseburger but it's a lot better for you. A key lime yogurt doesn't taste as good as a big bowl of ice cream but it satisfys the same sweet tooth.

In all our rational minds, (Ironmen and Ironwomen may take a pass here), there is a voice in our head between loading up the fork and shoveling food into our mouth where we think, "This really isn't good for me." Shovel-Shovel-Shovel-Chew-Chew-Chew. A key component in our personal nutrional plan to actually listen to that voice.

Sidenote: I am a complusive unconscious eater. Sometimes I create amazingly heathly plates of food but load up twice as much as I need. Often times I fix my whole plate and then walk over and scrap half of it onto another plate, wrap it up and put it in the fridge for the next day. If I know there is a desert in the house and it is killing me to not eat it; I will go over and prepare the desert in the most decadent way possible and then flush it down the sink. In my situation it's the satifacation of creating the meal and getting it out of my house than putting it inside me then feeling guilty.

Often times its not the food we choose to eat, its the amount of it and then the complete disregard of our conscience. It becomes a shame cycle. We pick a healthy meal, then eat twice as much of it as we need to and then feel guilty about it. We massage that guilt by putting an alibi on the meal so we can eat desert or we alibi the whole day as if one meal sabotages everything else we can do and somehow sleeping on it makes it better. Never put off the opportunity to correct bad behavior.

In fact, it is in these confusing moments of not being able to stop eating that we gain our biggest leasons. Making a good recovery after a bad or gluttenous meal is crucial to long term consistancy in a healthy eating plan. No one can eat perfectly every day for the rest of their life. There are parties and specail dinners and occassions where giving in to the desire is completely appropriate. It is the choices we make in the amount we eat and the terms in which we allow ourselves the mental permission to have some fun.

When it comes to weight loss or body fat reduciton or general health, its not what you eat in front of others that counts, its what you eat when no is looking and judging you that counts. If you show up for a party or calorically challenging dinner event and you refuse the hard work of the host, but look exactly as you have for the last several years, then you create bad feelings and possible snide comments behind your back. However if you create healthy habits on your own time and show up for the same event noticably fitter and graze all the appropriate offerings you are lauded for your personal efforts.

As a peice of tactical wisdom in your nutrition strategy, never deny the host the ability to send food home with you. Never say no to leftovers when someone else has prepared the meal. Smile broadly, be thankful for their hard work and obvious love for their dish and take everything that is offered. As soon as you get home dump every last piece of it in the outside trash can. Don't bring any of it into your house. You and the host have won in the exchange.

It all comes down to this; you know what works for you to get into the shape you want to be in. You know your perfect path to health and your challenges. Its what you do when no one is looking that will create your habits for a thinner, fitter, stronger you. Don't buy into fad diets or quick get in shape exercise plans. It takes consistancy. It takes dedictaion. A goal or purpose to see you to the end helps too.

See you there.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

In the now

Life has been moving so fast that its been hard to breathe. Decembers are always like this. Each time I looked to post a success story or notable situation, another jumped into its place. I suppose this is actually living in the now.

This is the first time in 15 years that I haven't spent the end of the year going through fitness goals or race schedules for the next year. I suppose when my only goal is to ACTUALLY be able to workout without going to the ER...there's not a lot to plan out. Right now the plan is to do nothing until I MIGHT be able to do something. Then I suppose the escalation of training would be more akin to the tortoise than the hare.

Christmas morning certainly brought front and center that a new baby is coming to the house. Mo is so ready to be a big brother. Carol is so ready to be a new mother. I am.

Have a great weekend everyone. Lets get this year of happiness and strife behind us and turn a page.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Its all circular

I keep coming upon the words 'Hope' and 'Challenge'. Whether it is reading it, hearing it or seeing it in action. It keeps me in constant motion and faith to seek out inspiration in my life.

My life feels small compared to those with true limitations and hardships. I think this is why I in some sense I push myself so hard when I train. That old adage, "Someone in worse shape than you is training harder and longer than you right now." Its a challenge and it inspires me.

I know I am not a gifted endurance athlete. Look at me. I'm built like a linebacker. I have broad shoulders, wide hips and thick quads. And every time I did better than someone 2/3's my weight and a 1/4 my body fat, I smirked in satisfaction.

My secret weapon in all that I do that is physical is endure more pain than anyone I know. I have photographs and eye witnesses to me being in excruciating pain and yet I am in a deep, dark, yes angry place, that blocks all that pain out. I feel its drain on my body, yet it annoys me only as much as too much sweat in my eyes. It is only later than I pay for the price of my reckless abandon.

It is a gift and a curse. I have run the 10k portion of an Olympic distance triathlon with a stress fracture created on the same races bike course. Running with shin splits is bad enough, running with it busted shin is unthinkable. So I just don't think about it. I just do it.

I have mastered how to puke over my handlebars and dry heave while I run. Once in a fitness competition I leg pressed 650 pound 35 times a personal best for me and then went to that place in my head and did 20 more without stopping so I could Place. I blew an ear drum, some blood vessels in an eye, strained my larynx and received a standing ovation for my effort. I later trained two contestants on my technique who won the event.

Mind over matter? Maybe. Heart? Sure. Stupidity? I plead not-guilty but the jury always hangs me. My own body betrays me now. Mocking my former self with a condition that is still very iffy on a recovery that allows even quarter speed performance. I am the cautionary tale of not listening to your body. But I am also the tale of possibility. If I, a man of no obvious, discernible talent, can do something extraordinary, then why can't you?

I will hopefully be the man you think of when you think to yourself, "Someone in worse shape than me is training harder than me, right now." God I hope I'm right.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

More Support work

A few of my triathlon team mates have decided to do an epic swim today. They will circumnavigate Canyon lake where we swim apparently year round now. This will officially be the latest swim we have done in a year.

Technically I wish I could say WE. Instead I will be supporting by boat. That water will be cold, certainly 50's but perhaps low, low 50s. I need to be vigilant for hypothermia.

Not only am I still not cleared for training, but my wetsuit has a 2" rip in the chest next to the arm pit panel. I actually found that rip as I was putting my suit on for the swim start at Ironman in April. My level head found someone with duct tape and I had a PR at the distance. Still haven't got it fixed though. Why bother having another piece of kit is great working condition while I am not.

It will be cold but should be fun. I love working with my team in either a competitive or support role. One person is training for IM New Zealand and a couple for IMCdA next summer.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Hope for the hopeless

I see the skin growing thicker on almost everyone I meet. Its a natural inclination when someone focuses on their well being over the well being of others. Its not just wallets that used to fly open for charity that are now callused shut, it's pantries that used to give food to the less fortunate that now remained closed, it's smiles that used to be so friendly that are no longer be seen because people have their heads down thinking of their own little world.

Christmas is many things to many people. It is the symbolism and substance of many religions (including my own). It is a time in which people support or protest commercialism and all its ramifications. Its a time of giving thanks and giving back to the obligations we have created during the year.

We repay our obligations with gifts and tidings of joy; cookies, cards, toys, jewelry, electronics, anything and everything that we think brings our karma back in alignment with people we are indebted to.

There is another way we affect the obligation in our heart and our psyche and that is to give until it hurts and then give some more. For some of us, it hurts to smile right now, doesn't it? Trust me someone is hurting more. If your reading this from your office, think of the person who lost their job this week. They need a smile. If your reading this from your house, think of all the people who lost theirs this year and celebrating Christmas in an unfamiliar setting to them. They need a smile.

Its takes very little effort to buy a few cases of top ramen or packets of pasta or cans of vegetables and give that food to a local charity out front of the store. When you drive up to front and see the bell ringer, take a moment and collect your pennies in the cup holder or ash tray and pour them in. Even if you have nothing, make eye contact, smile and say 'hello' to the volunteer ringing the bell. Do you know how many people do not make eye contact with that person. They are doing a selfless thing, acknowledge that.

You used to be a light in the life of dozens if not hundreds of people. Its in the American spirit to be our best when we feel our worst. Do your part today, in any small way, to give back to your local community in a meaningful way.

There's treasure everywhere.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

if you ain't great, your ain't giving it your all.

You cannot escape the gloominess out there. Even if you are not personally hurting financially you may be making cut backs in your spending as a preventative. It’s a natural inclination to look at this time as a survival situation.

It seems this is a time where many are sacrificing greatness for survival and that would be a mistake. You can be great in anything you do if your mind is right. Of course part of that is preparation, this does not happen overnight but there are clear steps a person to take to be prepared for greatness yet these are generally hard habits to create, thus so few people are truly great in life. Another part of this is being generous. If not with your money than with your time or at the least with your heart. Have a sense of gratitude that coveys a love of people and life without expectation of return, this is what changes the hearts of other people.

When it comes down to it, the government is not going to get this country out of a recession, it’s us the individual American who exudes appreciation that will do it. To add on top of that for us as individuals, there is very little difference between doing something good and doing something great. So be great. Don’t settle for survival. Don’t settle of anything less than excellent. Become indispensable in your relationships and in your office. Really there are only a very few things that each of us must do each day that are the most important things in our life; when you master those things and execute them perfectly we find the rest of our life gets better. The easier things we would want to do first either get done as consequence or they really didn't need to be done to begin with.

I know how tough it is in this economy to keep an honest account of finances. I have never shied away from expressing my money issues on CMS. Perhaps the moral high ground is that it is family medical bills and not dissipation issues. I struggle mightily with cutting back my financial footprint and being generous at the same time and I am certainly not great in all areas of my life. Its the application of getting better every day that moves a person from just surviving to being great. By making the hard decisions first, you grow the envelope around you to manage more things with less effort.

Be brave. Be Strong. Be courageous. Be great.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Rapt Attention

Mistress and Mo huddled under the blankets on the couch this morning to await the morning weatherman report. He teased his next segment with words like, 'Rain, cold and snow." Egad. Here in Phoenix could we have a snow day?

As it turns out the rain is down south, the snow far east, and the cold? Well the morning temperature will be around 48 degrees. With a snap of her fingers Mistress proclaimed, "Well Mo, looks like pants for the next two mornings."

Pants. The Phoenix equivalent of a snow day to a elementary school kid.

No, it will not be 17* today like in Chicago. Instead our daytime high is closer to 75*. I may be wearing my watch cap today and my down jacket. The sky may be cloudless and the sun not quite as bright, but I'd hate to get a bit nippy.

There's treasure everywhere.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

up is down?

After my July trip to Seattle, I was weighing myself several times a day to judge hydration levels. After a couple months it just got a bit too much for me and decided to forgo what I considered an effort in staying positive. No one likes to see their weight up and down, day in and day out but never going the way you want.

On a whim I decided to step on the scale this weekend. Having not trained for the last seven months it is not something I wanted to acknowledge. I fit into the same pants but the waistband feels a bit more snug. I fit into the same shirts but they feel a bit tighter. I now look to see if I am going to wear a Large or X-Large.

Before I stepped on I thought to myself, "Okay, you're ten pounds heavier than the last weight you saw." I stepped on and was surprised to see I was the same. Actually two pounds less. Shock. I stepped off, tripped the reset and stepped back on. Same thing.

It goes to show that even though my nutrition has been only 75-80%, (read: late night snacking) what is getting me the redirection of muscle and fat. Nutrition is such a critical component to fitness and health yet what I truly need is to do is apply some progressive resistance with weights and cardio.

I am hoping that with a clean blood test this week, I can start getting back onto some sort of easy training. It is a stretch but one that I am willing to take, (and hold for a ten count, now that I think about it).

There's treasure everywhere.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Fueling your winter

I'm not going to lie, its effing gorgeous hear today. Mid-70's, no clouds, sunny. We're spoiled this time of year.

That doesn't mean I don't worry about being prepared for something that would knock out electricity at our house or disrupt my community. So I am reviewing my preparedness of cooking and heating fuels.

Don't misunderstand me. My number one priority is the safety and comfort of my family. Depending on the situation I will pack up and stay with family or friends in another part of the city or another city altogether until the scenario has passed. I never understood how families 'suffered' through winter power outages. We always drove somewhere close by for dinner and a movie. Worst case we slept next to the wood burning stove or in sleeping bags and skipped a shower in the morning.

Currently I have enough canisters of propane/butane mix to fuel my Camping Gaz stove for several weeks. I also have a lantern attachment that provides some heat but enough light that equals a 80 watt light bulb. I also have 5 gallons of denatured alcohol for my WhiteBox stove. As it only takes 2 oz. for 20 minutes of flame, best described as a 'afterburner on a figher jet', I could get 300-500 uses for heating water and meals.

My propane is what I am really thinking about. I have a BBQ in the backyard that runs on the stuff. I have two 5 gallon tanks with one always full. In a conservation situation we will use the side burner and not the grill and get a lot more usage from the propane. I think I need at least two more 5 gallon tanks. Time to start looking at garage sales for extra tanks.

I have a fireplace but its never been used. I have no wood stockpiled. Had the economy not turned this year, we would have purchased a backyard fire pit and I'd have started stockpiled a cord of wood. In this part of the country right now we can simply sleep in our houses under a few extra blankets or sleeping bag and be quite comfortable. How different this is from my youth. Our home outside Seattle had a wood burning stove and 10 cords of wood cut and split lining our backyard wall. We usually cut down the trees in the spring, let them dry out in summer and split in the fall.

I know most of you live in areas that have tremendously cold winters. During a power outage due to a storm how have you prepared to heat and feed your family? Could you sustain that for several days?

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Expected & Unexpected blessings

I got a call from my brother today. He is being deployed to Afghanistan in March with his National Guard unit. He will be gone at least one year. This is his second deployment. The first deployment was also for one year but he only had four hours notice. This news given to him on September 12, 2001.

Our family is not new to deployments. My father only retired from the military when he was forced out due to mandatory age requirements. I spent ten years in combat arms. My brother has been in for fifteen years now, currently as a Drill Instructor. A position I once held.

This deployment is not blessing but the location is. Had he been kept stateside he would have lost considerable pay compared to his normal job. Going to Afghanistan pays much better and is not such a hardship on the family financially. And yes its a bit morbid but if your going to be called up, we Mann's like going where the action is.

Mistress and I got some unexpected news today. We've been overpaying my car payment for two years and the bank is not happy. I get to skip my next two payments with no penalty so I am back on their loan track. That is a boat load of money and man that sure comes in handy with a baby on the way.

See. There's treasure everywhere.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

A goal is not a life

Will you be a triathlete next year?

That is not a question I ask of myself. Its a question I ask of you. It doesn't matter to me if you are or not. What matters to me is that you do something you love; be it swimming, cycling, running or some other form of exercise. We all have our fads. We all have our goals that we'd love to hit, like becoming an Ironman finisher or complete an ultra-endurance race. But is it you?

At some point in our triathlon lives we stop looking at training as fun and more as a job. The dedication wears us down, way to early mornings, not enough sleep at night. Seems like all our nutrients are sucked through an aero drink straw, bottle nipple or foil gel pouch, most of it tasting like some sort of lemon-lime, citrus or fruit punch.

The answer to my question probably won't hit you till a year from now. When after a break you went back to your real exercise passion. Was it triathlon, or just plan running. Maybe something else like skiing or swimming.

Ultimately we all reset to what we get the most pleasure from, the thing we can do day in and day out and its not a chore, its a gift. Finding that gift is what makes trying all the other sports, so much more pleasurable for the time we do it.

There's treasure everywhere.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Be like Scrooge?

Wow. What a miserable weekend. Hope everyone else had an awesome, tremendous holiday weekend full of fun and love and merriment. Maybe even a little shopping. I think its okay to admit that my weekend did not go well and still be happy for that someone else had a tremendously great weekend. No reason to bum someones high.

I love this time of year and every day that brings us closer to Christmas Day is one more day that no matter what the obstacle, its hard to not smile.

Hope you all had a great Thanksgiving and no matter what issues we as a society are dealing with on a personal level, professional level, financial level or with our individual families, Christmas is the time to give of your heart. In the past our heart has been expressed with gifts. This year your heart may need to be more open. Its good for us. Instead of building up to one big morning (or night) of giving, give openly all month long.

Smile more. Give a stronger more intense handshake. A more sincere hug. Say hi and smile when you make eye contact with a stranger. Be a samaritan. Instead of telling someone, "Good Job", take a full minute to praise how pleased and excited you are that they did what they did. That would be 60x longer than "Good Job" but have 1,000x more impact.

Scrooge learned that lesson, though only in the last few minutes of his story. Being a good employer, friend, relative on every day of the year, is more important that how much you spend for one day a year.

There's treasure everywhere.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving

I am so thankful for all of you who take a few moments of your day to read my musings. I am a more complete person and more fulfilled individual because of it. You inspire me, you impress me, you challenge me and sometimes, sometimes you move me in directions I never knew existed. From the bottom of my heart, Thank You.

A Daddy First

On Tuesday night Mo and I went for our first father-son jog together. We put on our shoes, he made sure they were tight. He wore one of my running lights strapped to his arm and I a headlamp to guide our way.

Our course was a simple and straight quarter mile jog in the dark down to a stop sign and then come back. At first Mo charged ahead but my quiet, "Slow down" every few steps got us in perfect sync. His little sneakers slapping flat footed on the asphalt as he sped up and slowed down not sure how far we would go. We walked once each direction, just to catch our breaths. Constant encouragement was his motivation to run farther than he'd ever run before.

As we got within a few houses of our own, our Christmas lights created the perfect finish line. "Alright Mo, run your heart out and beat daddy home." He tucked his chin against his chest and pumped his little arms and slapped his almost boy sized shoes on the ground. It always seems his feet move faster than his body. He say's he beat me to the driveway, I told him a bug flew into my eye and I couldn't see who won. But notice how watery they are?

The red on his cheeks, the twinkle in his eyes, the absolute glee in his smile, proved a powerful spell on me. I have never been able to run with a smile on my face. Running is something I love more than almost anything and yet my energy is drawn to places other than the muscles that make my mouth curve up. I am glad Mo does not have that problem.

I gave him a big hug and another high five. I told him that running like that is what Dr. Jeff and daddy do when they practice triathlon. He reminded me I am still 'sick' so he would have to run with Dr. Jeff for me. Could I please call him and set that up.

There's treasure everywhere. There surely is.

Monday, November 24, 2008

A different take on IMAZ Fall 2008

My goal for the November 2008 Arizona Ironman was to walk the course areas that I remembered so well from six months ago and support my friends supporting their family out on the course.

By 0545 I had guided the Trimama vehicle to a great parking spot close to the transition area and then supported Tacky while he fretted over his beautiful wife before the swim. Using his digicam I took about 200 pictures of him rocking the wetsuit area.

I remember in April exiting the water with an PR of 92 minutes. I ran by Boulder with a huge smile on my face giving him a low-five, I felt great. By coincidence I looked at my watch yesterday when I had that thought and it was almost exactly that time. It triggered a vast range of emotions in me and I stood there holding back tears and eventually letting them stream down my face. It became very emotional for me. It still is.

Big J, Momo's husband, landed a rockstar location for spectating and planted a 40 foot RV on the spot. I called it 'Legend-wait for it-Dary'. It was sitting on the hot corner, five feet off the bike course, 50 feet from the run course, 75 yards from the finish line. I will forever have etched in mind one moment, I am sitting in a leather captains chair, feet up, looking out the front of the RV window, spectators are looking at us in awe, cyclists are speeding past and I tilt my eyes slightly up to catch the football game on sattelite. Big J, you are an incredible man and I truly appreciate what you did not just for me or the other bloggers but for your wife.

I walked down a bit from the RV and saw several friends, all solicitious to my health and wishing me well on this day. They understood the pain I was feeling inside. The turmoil of my failed body and my iron spirit. I stood at the last spot I saw my soul brother Bolder as I headed out on my final lap.The final photograph taken of me on an ironman course done at this spot. Its an awesome picture. It hangs not only in my house but my parents. I love that photograph. Lots of layers to it.

I drove Tacky to the other side of the bike course to see Trimama at the beginning of Beeline. Three of my best friends Dr. Jeff, his wife Wendy and Hardcore Mike were volunterring on the corner. The same corner I laid in agony for several minutes as Mike, Wendy, Mistress and others tended me in April. In a moment of haste I had Mike verify where I laid and Tacky took a picture of me laying down in that spot. We laughed but later it made me feel dirty. Like I trampled a grave. My grave.

The run was confusing for me. It was not hard to give inspiration to those who needed it, but the sense of dread keep working against me. Thankfully there were so many wonderful people to keep my spirit strong. I gained a tremendous amount of strength from everyone, specail recognition to Bigun for the skype chat, but especially TriDogMom, IronShane, and SupaLinds.

You three, thank you from the bottom of my heart for our conversation. It was humbling.

Watching Momo finish and then sitting there as she held court, was again emotional for me. She had the ultimate day. That race where your efforts provide a result better than ever hoped for or expected.

I missed Trimama finish. But in the end, as much as I love her and her husband as dear friends, my job for the day was done. My focus was keeping Tacky loose and worry free as we hunted his wife down on the course. It did not feel right for me to stick around. TriMama needed her husband at the end of that race to share the moment together. I know when threes a crowd. I headed home with a mix of emotions and in the end another day of great memories.

I didn't think I would leave with as many great memories at Ironman spectating, as I would racing. I was wrong.

There's treasure everywhere.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Throw it all together

Mo woke up this morning throwing up. A trip to Urgent Care tells us he has a sinus infection and we get the script we need to get rid of it. For Mistress, Mo and I this is an easy deal. Just a year ago, simple colds turned into pneumonia overnight. Sinus infections equaled hospital stays. This is the first test of how well the surgeries did in fixing him back in March and we are happy. Mo is happy. A little pain in his cheeks is nothing compared to some of the other stuff he's had. You would almost not know he is ill.

My face was still hurting this morning and I broke down to take Advil. I can't do another Perocet. Sorry Doc's, I know the Advil is killing my kidneys but had to be done. Between the Advil for pain, a sudafed on the off chance its a sinus issue and my first cup of coffee in a week, the pain in my head is almost all gone today. I know my teeth feel loose which is part of the recovery from having other teeth taken out but maybe I just had caffiene withdrawls?

Tonight I am hopefully off to see The Pilgrams, who are staying with our mutal friend Andy. Brian is doing his umpteenth Ironman for the year and though I have talked much with Misty, we have never formally met. Brian is someone I really admire for his consitution. He has been none stop this year on ultra endurace events and he keeps plugging along. He's an inspiration that some time soon I can recover as quickly from endurance events and not have them leave me in dire straights with my body breaking down all the time.

I hope to have the laptop and camera with me tomorrow and uploading photos as the day progresses. I plan on being there for the swim start and then Tacky and I will be following Trimama throughout the day.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Silver linings

My new favorite tag line has been, "There's treasure everywhere." I stole that from Calvin and Hobbes. Funny how Calvin has always been my favorite comic and my mom used to laugh because I was so similar to him. Now I have a son who looks like Calvin with the yellow crazy hair, wild imagination and a constant companion, his ever present teddy bear 'DanBear' compared to Calvin's tiger 'Hobbes'. In fact in a completely unrelated move, the bully in the comic is named 'Moe'.

But there is treasure everywhere and God knows I have been looking for it this week. I don't think two hours goes by that I am not looking for an icepack and pain killers for my wisdom tooth surgery. Mistress and I made some drastic changes in our income that we didn't want to make because of the economy. Over a year ago Mistress went through the payroll company our business uses for a national carrier that funded maternity leave. We found out this week that their dropping that service. That meant she'd have no income while on maternity and she has planned to take 3 months off. Then a call with the IRS told us that they had not found the two payments I made last year that gave us back a refund which was supposed to have been given to us this month.

Whammy. Whammy. Whammy.

Why all this depressing stuff? Because I am an optimist. I think hard workers generally are optimists. I went down to the IRS office and was told the payments have been found, my refund has been sitting in an account for a month and I should be getting the money within the next four weeks. Why they want money so fast, but so slow to pay, I don't know.

My partners really took our payroll company and the national carrier to task and the carrier is flying out an executive next week specifically to talk about Mistress. Flying out. That's a big deal.

My jaw still hurts, (where's my icebag) but I mailed in my medical claim to USAT and trust me kidney failure hurts more. All USAT members have an insurance policy on race day and while my claim is much less than the maximum allowed, my out of pocket has been five digits and getting that back would be a huge relief. So far all my communication with USAT has been great so hopefully with a little due dillegince this will be done in a couple months.

I think most of the time people don't even look for treasure because they feel entitled to it, someone should be giving them the treasure, why should they look for it. Sometimes we miss the real treasure within our grasp because we think a bigger treasure is just out of sight. Sometimes we stop working towards treasure not knowing we are so close to reaching it. Sometimes the treasure is unexpected income and sometimes its just a moment of peace.

There's treasure everywhere. So true.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


The Ironman expo is up and running. I was expecting to see bodies in the water this morning as I drove by the course and have to keep reminding myself that Ironman Florida is a Saturday race, Ironman Arizona is a Sunday race which throws the beginning of events off.

I will of course go down and do the whole lookie-loo thing. I hope to have dinner with Tacky and TriMama. Its been a couple years since we last hooked up. I think our after race party in Florida significantly contributed to my kidneys shutting down 18 months later in an Ironman. They still had not recovered. Shouts out to Nytro for sending the Tequila and beer to us poolside.

I met with an fellow Ironman today who is just getting back into the swing of things after a three month foot situation. It drove him crazy and couldn't see how I have gone twice as long without being committed. I could only laugh like someone who gets the joke and its not very funny.

I look in the mirror and don't see the face that burned with a fever for training. I see a face that is a bit puffy and certainly with more gray on the temple. I look forward to getting my juju back and know that some day I will. Until then I can only dress the part and talk the talk. My walk has been medically controlled.

Going back onto an Ironman course, albeit as a spectator, I think will hold some demons for me. Certainly a sadness that I will most likely never be a particpant again but also a knowing that the distance doesn't control me anymore. I don't think I will ever again find a need to sit on a bike for six or eight hours or run for four hours at a clip. No, life is changing for me in not altogether pleasing ways and I will have to make concessions and sacrifices I did not expect.

I suppose having the Ironman distance taken from me instead of me willingly giving it up was a blessing. There's treasure everywhere.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


People tell me that everyone reacts to wisdom teeth extractions differently. Some are drinking beer and eating pizza the next day, others are laid up in bed. Truth be told I think I did nibble on some soft crust pepperoni the next day, but every day since I've had a ice pack attached to my face.

I don't think I have an infection, at least one can not be seen in the gum area, but my whole jaw from the top of my ear to below my nose and down to my chin is on fire and swollen. I felt like this once before when I took a a full force shot to my face with an M-16 rifle butt in a particularly rough close combat class.

It seems my recovery from injury takes me longer than I want or am prepared for. A year ago this month I suffered my 13th concussion and it took three months to fully recover. I'm still sidelined with my kidney issue that came up in April. Maybe this dental surgery is completely normal, I don't know. I can only try to keep a positive attitude and know that whatever happens it could have been worse.

I love ice packs. I seem to have quite a collection of them. So I have that going for me....which is nice.

There's treasure everywhere.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Loves me my spam

I have often spoke lovingly of SPAM. Let you haters firebomb my comments with detraction's to the origins, taste or longevity of the compressed spiced ham block. But SPAM has been one of my favorites for years. I took to the field while in the military. I lived on it as a valuable source of protein when typhoons hit and then living through a 8.3 earthquake.

As the economy makes everyone look at their shopping lists and how much to spend, there has been an increase in staple foods like jell0, kool aids, macaroni and cheese and instant mashed potatoes. But what is missing from this list? Protein. The article below regards the workers who put this fabulous meat out for us.


Go ahead, you know you want to. Buy a can and fry up some slices. Put them on a plate with two eggs over easy. maybe a little rice. What a breakfast.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Mo as Ironman

Mo dressed up as Ironman for Halloween. I updated the suit with a dome light as a chest peice and a Petzl e+lite headlamp wrapped around his left palm for a repulsor ray.
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Friday, November 14, 2008

That was fast.

I went to get my wisdom teeth pulled and they knocked me out to do it. They sat me in a chair, gave me some gas, put in a needle and next thing I know, their waking me up and I got a gauze strip hanging out of my mouth and being led to another room.

Man I haven't gone out that fast since the last concussion I got. Haha. Two hours later, I have been bleeding a lot from the site and soaked through a baby terry cloth napkin. Its starting to hurt now and luckily I have some great pain killers.

Welcome to my weekend. Hope yours is great too!

There's treasure everywhere.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Ironman Arizona November 2008

There is no doubt that the Ironman here in Tempe, Arizona next week is going to be big. Having done this race twice and can see the course from my business parking spot, I have some first hand experience on what to see and do.

First, if you have people spectating the course the swim start is not to be missed. The water start is under a bridge and heading into the sunrise. It is perhaps the most spiritual experience I have had in sports. I am blessed to have witnessed it from the spectator and the participant point of view.

For those looking for restaurants in the area there is tremendous opportunity. Directly across the street from the finish chute is Monty's a 100 year old restaurant with an adequate bar and outside seating. Foods pretty good too. Within a few minutes walk on Mill Avenue is a half dozen excellent pizza, greek, chinese joings, a Starbucks, Hooters, local brewery and other cuisines. There is no going hungry or suffering expo sandwiches at this event.

Local wifi is getting better, so it may be possible to fire up a laptop at the expo itself. If not a hotel on the SW corner of Rio Salado and Priest, a main corner of the run course, a mile west of the expo has free wifi and sure that plenty locations will offer low cost rates along Mill Ave.

I think there is plenty to do at the expo location and along Mill Avenue, but having a cruiser or mountain bike can greatly increase your exposure to the course. If a spectator can rent or borrow a bike they can get to some much better spectating locations without having to walk 30 minutes around the lake.

For those renting cars, I would recommend driving to the corner of McDowell Road and Country Club/Beeline Hwy/ Hwy 87 (all the same name). This the start of the beeline out and back. This is the approximate middle of the course and can see triathletes about once per hour. There isplenty of parking, shade, a grocery store with restroom and porta potties for athletes. Not many people spectate here so the atmosphere is happy and loose.

For everyone coming to town, a trip to TRIBE multisport is a must (Use Google Maps with Sattelite view and type in 'tribe multisport'). It is about 3 miles up Scottsdale road from Tempe Town Lake. Cross McDowell road heading north on Scottsdale and take first left down a side street (30 yards from intersection) into the parking lot. Drop my name.

If anyone has any specific question drop me a line. If I can't give an answer off the top of my head I will research it for you.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008


I keep kicking myself for not uploading Mighty Mo's Halloween costume. The camera has been sitting in the other car. Its something I really want to accomplish this week. No its not to get in a Masters swim, or ride 90 minutes or run an hour. Its to get some digital photo's online. My life is so simple right now.

Of course that is all going to change come January when Baby Mae is born. I keep thinking that much like a race where an athlete has a training plan that builds up the endurance and ability before the big day and maybe I need to do that too. Create new routines that allow me to build in time for changes and bottles and activity. Based on the last go around, I know that I am worthless and unnecessary for night feeding, so I need to plan for morning stuff. Getting up earlier and having more mental energy in the morning is something I have to prepare for now, it seems.

Okay, I am on to something here.

Monday, November 10, 2008

New Drapes

Well I am making good on the website updates. On Monday I cleared over 300 posts from Bloglines. Granted most of that was from news feeders. On top of that I had lunch with my wife and ate really well the entire day.

The training did not happen Monday. Oh well. Supposedly the less I train right now the healthier I get. Today I need to check in with my doctors and tell them I am done with the latest round of drugs. On Friday I get a wisdom tooth removed. Thank God for sedation therapy or I'd never do it. On a side note my surgeon is an Ironman.

On a parting note, I could watch Family Guy 24/7. Wait, I pretty much already do.

As good a time as any...

While I think the quality of my posts have not diminished I will admit that my attention to the blog has. I won't apologize for focusing my attention to other areas of my life, I think I apologize to much to be honest. I mean who say's, "I'm sorry," when someone tells you they can't find their keys? It wasn't my fault they lost their keys or whatever the issue may be, yet I find myself apologizing.

Anyway. I will finally be getting around to cleaning up the sidebars and links on CMS. Maybe tweak a few of the borders. Get back to proper regular posting. I'd like to see if my doctors will let me start hitting the weights a bit harder and more consistently. Get a little more connected with Mistress and the baby growing inside her. If anything my connection with Mighty Mo is as strong as ever. I am growing as a father of one child, I hope I can duplicate with two. It's something I am suffering with terribly. Still, don't expect any advancements in the kitchen though I may attempt some work on the grill.

Most importantly I will connect again with the friends I have made on the blogs. Expect to see my presence again on websites. Its been a guilt on my heart for months that I have not supported people the way I have been supported.

I wouldn't say I have been in a dark phase, not at all. I have been through a lot and suppose trying other things out. Of course the down side, which I should have known all along, is that my life runs on routines. When the exercise routine fell apart in April and then the pregnancy a few months ago and the end of the year coming up, I realize this blog is as much a positive routine in my life as anything. I suppose for forgeting that, I am sorry.

There's treasure everywhere.

Friday, November 7, 2008

into position

I had every intent of going to Starbucks and getting their protein plate and a small coffee for a snack. I got cut off by a driver and forced to drive ahead to the next entrance lest I cause a traffic commotion. Then a large truck blocked my path into the parking area I needed so I drove up the parking lot to turn around and somehow ended up in the drive thru of an In & Out Burger ordering a Double-Double.

I'm not disappointed in that. I like In & Out and haven't eaten their in months. But life is a lot like that, isn't it?

You're so set in getting what you want that you shock yourself when something unexpected forces you to take a detour and get something you would really enjoy. I really enjoyed that burger. I won't have one every day or every month, but its a nice diversion from a bagel and hard boiled egg.

There's treasure everywhere

Thursday, November 6, 2008

I roll

Man this week has flown by. The drugs I have been on for my recovery have really done a number to me. I won't compare it to somebody's health who maybe more threatening than my own, but this private hell sucks. Su-hu-hucks. Bet you didn't know 'sucks' is three syllables.

On top of dealing with my own little issues, I have a pregnant wife and ever more aware son. This truly is the life I wondered if I would ever have. You know when your younger and your invincible and never think you'll make it to thirty and then you realize your 38 and well into the life you thought you'd never have? I HAVE IT.

Haha. Its funny. Its painful, sad, rewarding, tiring, constantly amazing at what comes at me next. At least I am alive. At least I have a wife who is with me through thick and thin, do you think the pastor means body type or just life issues when he says that?

In any regard, this truly is a light hearted post and I wish everyone a great day.

There is treasure everywhere.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Accepting Tolerance

I think the older I get the more I consider my tolerance to something over the acceptance of it. I tolerate a lot (a lot) of physical pain, I don't accept it, as that would I think make me give in to it and dilute my life. I tolerate losing, I don't accept defeat. I think its hogwash that someone should lose to learn a lesson. If a person or team loses a race or a game, others can certainly point to the issues that caused them to not win, but to legitimize that losing is a positive a learning tool as winning is total crap.

I think acceptance is a stronger affirmation about a subject than tolerance, but you can force acceptance you can't force tolerance, therefore acceptance does not make something valid in the eyes of the majority. I tolerate someone has power over me, but not accept it. People work in those situations all the time. Maybe you are today.

I tolerate ideas that are counter to my own but don't accept them. I suppose in those situations if I am intolerant enough I might act to counter the idea so much that my actions work to make it unacceptable. But if someone is trying to force an opinion on me don't they find my idea or my tolerance to them unacceptable and they are forcing me to bend to their will.

For those that think this is some quasi-political rant, you would be mostly wrong. Lately I have really had to consider what I will tolerate and what I will accept. What I will be forced to accept. Mostly this goes to my health and my growing family. I tolerate that I can't workout but don't accept it. To accept it would make me give in to so many more temptations.

Maybe this is all sort of the difference between a Hoedown and Hootenanny.

Oh and my newest sign off, from the great Calvin (& Hobbes)

There's Treasure Everywhere!

Monday, November 3, 2008

A bizarro world

Of course the election tomorrow occupies a lot of my thoughts today. As I am sure it does for many of you. Of course today when I just want to put the blinders on and power through the day, I have to think of much, much more. None of it pleasant or helpful to me.

I mean look, pain whether physical, emotional or intellectual, real or perceived, hurts. And it seems today already I have suffered dozens of of these silly paper cuts that add up to a lot of bleeding.

Trust me. I am not Atlas. I don't want the weight of the world on my shoulders. Crap I'd be happy to shoulder my whole load and that of my family, if I could just get away from some of the other stuff. It used to be that I turned to exercise to get through this, but like everything in this Bizarro world, the less I workout the healthier I get. So its better for me to not workout but then I can't process the stuff in my head.

Its confusing. I'm confused. Oh well. Tomorrow is another day.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

A mind wipe

Isn't it funny how what we watch can affect us so strongly. I remember after Mistress gave birth to Mo she couldn't watch the nightly news for about six months. She realized just how violent the news can be in the first six minutes. I remember that I couldn't watch horror movies the same way after my son was born. Every time I watched a bit actor bite the dust I transposed my son as the random character and not the one who lives at the end. I have for the most part gotten over that.

There are a few shows I watch, mostly on DVR, that I think are brilliant. The Unit and The Shield. Its been a few weeks since I have been able to watch them so on Saturday with an empty house, I treated myself to multiple episodes of each.

(Full body shake ensues). I feel like I need to make a donation to a charity after several hours of watching anti-heroes, corruption, perverts and ambiguous methods. My mind seems dark and that the whole world around me is going to end. Isn't that funny?

I suppose I need to balance out my viewing with some uplifting stuff. To that end I watching DVD episodes of Long Way Down. I love this documentary. Ewan McGregor (Obi Be Won Kenobi in Star Wars 4,5,6) and his buddy ride their motorcycles from Scottland to South Africa and brought their camera along. This is their second documentary, the first, perhaps better adventure because it was so new, is Long Way Round which they rode from London to New York through Europe, Asia, Alaska then north America. Well I get a kick from it.

Every day it sems we must protect our minds with positivity. Whether its in the shows we watch or the people we interact with or the choices we make in our personal life, even if we are attracted to the seedy, dark, underbelly stuff, we need to be open to recognizing the beauty and love and opportunity we all have.

Maybe thats why I like Long Way Round/Down. Its hyper reality. Its an adventure that I would love to take with my best friend or my son. Its that the part of life, that demands to be videotaped and shared.

Have Fun.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Why I chose McCain

When I look at what this country needs in leadership I see John McCain in so many capacities superior to his opposition. Over this protracted election cycle, it is hard to read up on every nuanced statement and position and as we have seen with both candidates snap decision or held policy beliefs have changed with more available information or when global circumstance arise. Unlike most of my Red republican brethren I have a strong conservation position and consider myself a Green conservative.

When it comes to this election I think it is important to get away from Republican and Democrat fringes. The vast majority of Americans regardless of personal preferences are clear thinking people who just want to live a life that matters. A life that does not intrude on others and hopefully not be intruded on in return. I believe that the majority of Americans, even with strong political, religious, economic and social views lives somewhere in the middle on the vast majority of issues. These are my opinions, these are my thoughts on why a McCain administration is the right choice for the next four years. You will notice that my positions against an Obama administration are not personal attacks but the difference in my political beliefs from the Democrat party.

What frustrates me about all this talk about wealth is the hypocrisy of how its earned and how its spent. It’s okay for an actor to make $20 million a movie or an athlete to make $8 million a year or a lawyer to earn tens of millions suing business. Its okay to inherit money like the Rockefellers and Kennedys. But if you’re the CEO of a company making a cancer fighting drug, and you make $5 million you’re the bad guy. The distinction is that the actor, the athlete and the lawyer are employees, while the CEO is the business owner. The business owner ostensibly creates more economic freedom for his employees and the economy and that is the anathema of liberalism which does not celebrate success outside of government intervention. Congress has shown many times over in its laws that if your rich, you can stay rich, if you’re trying to get rich its going to be very hard. The less income someone has, the more dependant fiscally or the more empathetic you become emotionally to getting a hand out of some kind.

The Republican mindset is the abundance mentality and not scarcity mentality. There is money to be made out there by anyone who is determined or responsible. The money you personally make today did not come from some else’s pocket, it came from your hard work or the value your company puts on the work you do compared to the industry standard. Capitalists, small business owners, men and women of industrious spirit understand that they can attract money which provides freedom of movement in every dimension of your life and it doesn’t abridge anyone else’s ability to make as money much as they want. In just a general sense, the conservative mindset is to save 10% of your income, give 10% of your income to charity and live within your means. I do not hear that from the other side. The objection to that statement is that conservative increased spending under Bush. No argument there and in my opinion the one reason polls show Obama in the lead. Conservatives are apathetic that the party has left the base on spending issues. Conversely I have given more this year to charity than Joe Biden has in the last decade, yet he thinks I need to pay more taxes to be patriotic.

This makes taxes the number issue of this economy. Raising taxes on citizens and businesses in a climate where there is no prosperity is an insane idea. No government in history has ever taxed itself into prosperity. The liberal idea of “spreading the worth around,” as the Democrat candidate told a questioner, is absolutely the wrong idea. The Obama economic plan is that 95% of all Americans will get a tax cut when 40% don’t pay federal taxes. Furthermore the Democrat plan has not addressed what taxes will be cut or what rates will be. Are these cuts coming back as a credit or a check? For businesses, will inventory, principal payments on loans and pass through business expenses be excluded or included. Investors Daily Journal calls Sen. Obama the most anti-capitalist person to possibly be president. As a partner in a small business that generates millions of dollars in revenue, this concerns me.

The McCain plan follows a republican ideal of creating opportunity. He will cut government spending except key budgets like defense, and education along with bolstering areas like veterans benefits. He will at worst leave tax rates where they currently reside and at best create more incentives for business to spend and grow by dropping the corporate tax rate from 35% to 25%. For the normal everyday person, not only will they still enjoy, yes enjoy the tax cuts enacted in 2003 but McCain will also work in other areas to keep consumers from paying hidden federal taxes. For example he will stop upcoming tax proposals on cell phone text messages and internet purchases. McCain has twenty years of history on fighting wasteful spending and has promised to fight ear mark and pork barrel spending proposals that come his desk.

A President McCain will seek to repeal the 18.4 cent federal gas tax and 24.4 cent diesel tax between Memorial Day and Labor Day. This would keep $6.8 billion in the pockets of drivers. He has also vowed to repel the 54 cents per gallon tax on sugar based ethanol’s which makes it more cost effective for businesses to offer ethanol’s as a gasoline alternative for vehicles and create more stations delivering the product.

I appreciate the democrat position of being clear of foreign oil dependency in ten years. This however is a decision process and not an action process, regardless of what steps are made to overcome our country’s 30% investment in foreign oil, the following President will be able to reverse this decision. Of the two candidates, McCain has the Lexington Project and expressed publicly a clearer plan to increase the energy production of this country. He is not saying what he won’t do as President, but expressing in specifics what he will do.

The McCain plan sets into motion a larger infrastructure to support our country’s need for cheap and reliable electricity while at the same time decreasing the countries overall emission of toxics. Each candidate has described the need to use available renewable resources such as solar and wind. It is my belief the republican plan of tax breaks and incentives for business creating new energy technologies is superior to the Democrat platform of penalties for noncompliance to new laws they will create. McCain has stated his administration will build 45 nuclear power plants and create 700,000 new jobs. Nuclear power is the cleanest, cheapest and most reliable form of energy we can produce. He also supports the opportunity to drill along our coasts and in the 1002 Area. This is the disputed land in ANWAR that was set aside by the Carter Administration for oil exploration and has been stymied by democrats ever since. A McCain administration will work with private, state and federal organizations to streamline the production of shale oil within our borders which holds more barrels of oil than all the known oil deposits in the Middle East. Neither candidate has signed on to T. Boone Pickens Plan for switching the country’s dependency from oil to natural gas which is disappointing but not indicative of reluctance to participate.

McCain will stand up the pathetic, uber-partisan congressional leadership of Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid. Under their leadership congress has seen favorable polls drop into the teens. The upcoming election also has twice as many republicans up for reelection than democrats. The opportunity does exist for the democrats in the senate to have a super-majority. I show this because Obama has shown zero bipartisan effort as a senator. He has been called the most liberal senator in congress by National Journal, a congressional report. Certainly no one in either party is going to be 50/50, but the Democratic Party of today is far left of the Democratic Party of a decade ago under President Clinton as evidenced in a single person’s condemnation, Joe Lieberman. Obama speaks of change and has done nothing in his senatorial capacity to show action. The upcoming years will be volatile times. I do have serious doubt that a Obama, Pelosi, Reid trifecta will seek the middle ground in political matters. McCain is the only candidate with a proven record of reaching across the aisle in a bipartisan way. He at least has shown he can work with democrats on a variety of issues and find a way to create a piece of legislation that can be voted on and passed into record. I seriously doubt Obama will show the same maturity with the minority in congress.

I believe in a Supreme Court and federal judge appointment system that does not legislate from the bench and does not look to international courts for direction. A President McCain will appoint strict constitutionalists to the bench. I have seen far too often that the courts are an accelerator to changing the moral landscape of this country. The Supreme Court in just the last five years has upheld habeas corpus for terrorists and the created from whole cloth the Kelo decision that said a city can use ‘eminent domain’ to take a private homeowner property and give it to a private developer for their business use. This meant that hard working homeowners can have their houses taken by the city so a private developer could build shopping centers, retail space, office space and in the case of homeowners in Washington D.C., a new baseball stadium. There will be at least one and possibly two justices who will retire in the next four to eight years. I want judges appointed to the highest court along with the hundreds needed in the lower courts to use jurisprudence in their decision process and not personal opinion. I want the courts to refer to the will of the state in law and not create more federal laws that counter the will of the people.

Before spending 25 years in congress, McCain spent 23 years in the military. This is not a perquisite for president, but certainly not a neutral or negative addendum to a presidential resume. As a veteran, I have not seen from the Democrat candidate the respect or admiration for the armed services that I demand from any President. On the campaign trail he voiced the opinion of unconditional meetings with state that are openly hostile to democracy and America. He made ridiculous troop withdrawal timelines that emboldened our enemy and then backed away from those timelines after he sat down and spoke with the generals he would command.

I served under President’s Bush (41) and Clinton; I can speak to the level of esprit de corp that a president wields over his soldiers. Based on my personal experiences, a President McCain will instill a pride in our armed services that would be absent under Obama as it was under Clinton and Carter. Our military under McCain will continue to grow and have the most technologically advanced offensive and defensive weapons systems that can be developed. John McCain has tremendous respect among the military and international leaders for his reputation as a hardened, well educated, global strategist. When Russia invaded Georgia earlier this year, while neither candidate was involved in the overall concern, Barrack Obama could only call for restraint while John McCain, who had recently spent time in the country of Georgia as part of a delegation to understand the future of the country in Nato, was quick to address the issue with well thought ideas.

It has been said by Joe Biden and Madeline Albright that an Obama Administration will be tested on an international level the first six months of holding office. This mostly likely will not occur under a McCain administration but no one can predict the future. Yet when leaders of terrorist organizations, despots and tyrants all voice their hopes of a Obama presidency, that tells me they think a McCain led country will be tougher on them than the other option.

If the democrats hold all three offices of executive and legislative branches and quite possibly run a super majority of congress, they will enact the Fairness Doctrine. The frustration of democrats is that they cannot grab a foothold in talk radio. It does not matter that the liberal mindset controls the television and print media. Liberals will easily slay the Air America money pit to destroy the likes of Rush Limbaugh. The Fairness Doctrine will take opinion based radio off the air. Talk stations will become sports themed, or be shows on landscaping, cooking and the latest supplement fad to lose weight. As a smart, intelligent conservative I don’t need conservative radio hosts giving me marching orders, but what they do better than anyone is take my scattered thoughts on a subject and put them into a cogent theme. It also takes the biased, cut up, 3o second, emotionally charged subject on television news and spread it out over one to three hours using intellectual thought. With talk radio gone, a liberal congress will have almost no media oversight on their tactics.

A John McCain administration will uphold my second amendment rights. His statement sums my belief best, “We need to focus on halting the spread of violent crime and punishing violent criminals who abuse their Second Amendment rights, while preserving those same rights for law-abiding Americans…Bearing arms is a constitutionally protected right. With rights come responsibilities. I will continue to support effective, common sense measures that help keep firearms out of the hands of criminals, children and the mentally incompetent; that assure Second Amendment rights are exercised responsibly; and that do not impinge upon law abiding citizens in the free exercise of their rights, including the right to protect themselves and their family.”

The Washington Times has called Obama, “The most anti-gun presidential candidate ever.” In 1996, Obama said to John Lott, an economics professor who studied gun ownership statistics, “I don't believe that people should be able to own guns.” Since then, the Democrat nominee for president has voted to ban or limit firearm rights in every vote he has cast on the subject. In my opinion limiting gun ownership in urban areas creates more victims. Obama also voted to outlaw or tax every type of ammunition that is currently used by hunters, thereby not banning hunting weapons but impugning a hunter’s ability to use their legally owned firearm.

Speaking strictly for the state of Arizona, my medical premiums are high because of the tremendous strain our health care system absorbs from illegal aliens. Almost a dozen hospitals and several Level 1 Trauma centers have closed their doors due to illegals that use our superior health care system and then don’t pay their bills. I have sat in emergency rooms with a son who had a high temperature and other serious condition and listened to nurses and responders bemoan illegals that clog their doors for simple cold or non-emergency issues because they can not get appointments with general practitioners, adding hours to the waiting period for insured citizens.

I have never gone without medical insurance and firmly believe that most, not all, of those hard working Americans between 18-35 years of age without insurance do so of their own choice. I have the opportunity every day to talk to young, energetic employees making more money than they have ever made in their life and I always recommend they get medical insurance, even just major medical. If they do not have insurance, almost universally the answer I receive is they would rather spend their money on something else like their awesome car or they have a life style that is beyond their means.

My company does not provide health care for its employees, partially because we pay about 30% over industry standards. Otherwise, it is not cost effective for our business. Our look into the subject showed we would need to hire an administrator at approximately $40,000 a year who’s sold job would be health care management. Then the cost we would invest into each employees plan would add approximately $8,000 per employee on a group plan. In a true capitalist move, we pay them more to do what they want with their money, which we active suggest allows them to get a competitive insurance rate.

As a small business owner, I pay for my own health care for my family. The premium has gone up on average $75 a year with the same or less benefits. I have been brutally honest with people regarding the medical issues of my son and more recently myself. Since our son was born five years ago, I have paid out of pocket, on average $22,000 in medical bills, well over $100,000 total. Under the McCain plan with a $5,000 tax credit that will come right off the top of my taxable income, I will get some relief. Not necessarily a health care issue but McCain will also double the Child Tax Credit from $3,500 to $7,000. With a second child arriving next year that is an additional savings in my pocket of $7,000 plus the $5,000 medical credit and I will in essence get a $12,000 tax benefit under McCain.

I am very much a conservationist. I certainly will not defend the terrible pro-business mentality of the Republican Party. In 2005-2007 I was recognized by Tonto State Park here in Arizona for taking out over 500 pounds of trash each year in my own beautification program. So far in 2008, I have collected and recycled over 5,000 aluminum cans. My son and I walk around parks and parking lots looking for cans several times a week. I have businesses collecting cans for me that I pick up. I plant trees. I support a wildlife rehabilitation clinic.

That being said, McCain and Palin each bring to the ticket a conservation concept that does not pander to special interest groups and junk science. I have seen firsthand and listened to authoritative testimony regarding the efforts environmentalist activists take to hurt businesses, keep people from using our great outdoors or committing crimes in the name of protecting species. McCain will begin to unravel the bureaucracy put on states to remove scrub brush that perpetuates the million acre fires in the west. He will protect the rights of hunters and fisherman. I have always believed that west coast politicians are better proponents of outdoor stewardship that east coast, regardless of political affiliation. For example I respect the Udalls quite a bit. In essence it’s my belief that this Democrat ticket will pander to special interest and not what’s in the best interest of my environment.

I voted for McCain because I believe in small government. I believe in a cleaner environment. I believe in more money in my pocket and freedom to do with my money whatever I choose. I think the McCain platform will help me more than hurt me. I pay plenty of taxes thank you, it may sound cruel, but I put the efforts of rugged, risk taking individuals above government programs. It doesn’t take a village to raise my children; it takes a close knit family and if there were more intact extended families in this country we would all be better off. I don’t like paying higher medical bills every year or for the charter school my son goes to but I don’t want to pay for your kids all day pre-school or your medical bills. A McCain Presidency will protect our country; it will project international strength and will be better for our economy. It will be better for me and my family.