God was riding with me on this morning commute to Carson. He usually does. We have great conversation, though a bit one sided at times.
While driving up the hill to the new section of freeway (I-580) I hit a patch of ice. Now I was not going fast, and trying to be modest am a pretty fair driver in this weather growing up here as I have. When I hit the patch of ice I did all the right things, no brakes, no gas, turn into the skid, and everything we all learn and gets ingrained, if you grew up around here. I didn’t matter a bit. It felt like I did four 360′s though I think it was only two. Like I said God was with me, I gained control just enough to avoid the other traffic and when all was said and done I did not hit a thing! I was stopped at the side of the road, the other side than I was on when it all started mind you, and I was facing the right direction. I flicked on my hazards, said a prayer of thanks to God, loosened the grip my butt cheeks had on the car seat, cleaned my shorts, put it in 4×4 like I should have before I left the house, and then drove the rest of the way into Carson.
God is great and I thank him for helping me pull my butt out of the spin cycle in one piece.
It’s been over a year, though not much over. Far too long anyway, especially for a guy who likes to right and see his own words in print. It’s a good thing I like to see my own words in print because I am the only one who usually looks at or follows my own blog. I may change that and be more aggressive about having followers, but for now I won’t because I never know how long it will be between posts, and who want’s to read another blog that is updated once in forever, written by a guy that sometimes (okay most times) rambles on about things others could care less about. It’s just that occasionally I even amaze myself and will post a gem of and article that is pretty witty or interesting.
I will be doing my annual tweaking of this blog, trying to update it’s image and be more in the lines of what I want now. If you are following, thank you, but also maybe you need to find some help, or maybe a life.
Tomorrow is Thanksgiving in the United States and I wanted to share some thoughts and ramble a little bit. This is one of those holidays that is steeped in tradition, yet there are only a few traditions in the holiday that may be common. Most traditions for this holiday are individual to the families that have them.
I did some research on the origins of Thanksgiving in the US and it confused me more than helped. Of course the research I conducted was on the internet and we all know how factual and accurate the internet is. The consensus is the first Thanksgiving was in the Autumn of 1621. Some believe it was a day of fasting and prayer, while others believed dinner was served. There are sites that state the feast lasted three days. I found one site that stated what I wrote above how some said there was no feast while others said there was, then a few paragraphs later write about the three day feast. From what I can gather is if there was a feast most likely there was no pumpkin pie and Turkey may or may not have been there.
I will be celebrating Thanksgiving with family and friends. We started this tradition a few years ago. I believe this will be out fourth one, though it may only be the third. The number of years is really not that important. We celebrate Thanksgiving with our church family and include anyone that would like to join us regardless of there church orientation. It is a potluck affair with all the trimmings including traditional family trimmings that are new to other families. We enjoy our time sharing what we are thankful for and being thankful together. I like it because several families share bringing us all together not unlike I would like to think the pilgrims did with the indians.
Regardless of how the first Thanksgiving was or how all of us celebrate it, there is one thing I think that most all of us that celebrate this holiday can agree on. Thanksgiving is a day to be thankful, regardless if you are thankful to God, to a higher power of some sort, to your family, or to something or someone else that I cannot think of or name. It is a time of reflection and thought. I know I think about it. What am I truly thankful for? If the answer is an easy snap to conclusion then I challenge that it may not be what you or I are truly or at least deeply thankful for.
This year it is harder to find or think of something to be deeply thankful for. I say this is not because we as a people have nothing to be thankful for, but more that there are a lot of negative things going on in our country that make it harder to focus on what is really important. Not important to our country, but important to ourselves as individuals. It is easy to focus on the negatives and miss out on the positives. I say we must focus on the positive so that we do not completely lose sight of it and allow it to slip from our lives. Thanksgiving is the day or a least a very good day to do that.
I am thankful for my family. This may seem a simple or easy answer, but it isn’t. To put it more deeply, I am thankful that my son and I still spend time together quietly and rambunctiously even though he is, or in spite of the fact that he is becoming a teenager. I thankful that he still looks up to me and still shares with me. I am thankful that my wife and I still love each other after sixteen years of marriage, which is not too common nowadays. I am thankful that we have a family dog that is so intelligent and loving, also a best buddy and confidant of my son. I am thankful that no matter how bad my day is I know I am loved by my family. So when I say I am thankful for my family it isn’t just lip service or an easy answer it is a deep thoughtful answer that can be thought of and used to keep positive regardless of how negative life can be.
What are you thankful for?
This last weekend was a dad weekend for me, though some may call it just a Boy Scout camp out. I am an Assistant Scout Master for my son’s troop and have been a leader with him since Tiger Cubs in First Grade. What is great about camp outs in Boy Scouts is that it gives us some great father-son bonding time away from mom nearly one weekend every month. The troop is boy lead, which means the adults that are there mainly observe, offer recommendations, and keep activities safe. This works out pretty well because it takes away a lot of the teen angst and rebellion that boys often project towards their parents. When we camp Jeremy is lead by his Patrol, so his and my relationship is more camaraderie and less him seeing me as controlling him. Mostly he hangs with his Patrol, but I am always around and he is always showing me what he can do and sharing. It is a great thing to be so involved in watching your son grow.
Jeremy and his Patrol (Lightning Patrol)
Webelos Woods is an annual camp out that is used to introduce and recruit Webelos 2′s (oldest group of the Cub Scouts) to Boy Scouts. This year we had eight boys join us at Ft. Churchill. The troop arrives the night before to set up camp and the next morning various stations are set up by patrol to show and teach campfire building, knot tying, first aid, back pack packing, and cooking. The Webelos arrive after lunch and are introduced to a Boy Scout camp opening ceremony and assigned to the stations to learn and have fun.
One thing different about a Webelos Woods and any other boy scout camp out is that the adults at this one cook the dinner Saturday night and Sunday morning Breakfast. Since it is November we cooked a Thanks Giving feast! Dad’s are just big kids, boys love FIRE and so do dads! Me and another dad got to cook the Turkeys not just anyway, but in deep fryers. I had two going with the oil being heated by propane burners. Other dads cooked the potatoes, stuffing, ham, and pies, all done on outdoor stoves and with Dutch Ovens. We also had rolls, salad, and cranberry. The boys were fed well that night.
That’s me in the middle at my post frying turkeys
Here’s one done
Serving the feast
After Dinner we had campfire. The Boy Scouts ran it. They built the fire and started it with style. Using a zip line from a tree they suspended a fire nest that was started aflame with flint and steel then let go to zip to the main fire pit, where it started the campfire. Then they proceeded to entertain the boys and dads with skits and stories around the campfire. They included the Webelos where they could to make them feel as part of the troop even if only for the night.
In closing of the Campfire the Boy Scouts Retired some American flags. Traditionally only Boy Scouts and the military can retire an American flag. There are two ways to do it. One way is to Render the flag. This is done by ripping the stripes off and making it so that it is no longer recognizable as an American flag. The other way is to burn it in a retirement ceremony. This is the way the Boy Scouts usually do it.
First a Color Guard escorts and presents the flag to be retired.
Unfolding the Flag
The boys are in Uniform, but it is cold and they have their jackets on over.
The boys present the unfolded flag. The audience is standing at attention.
The boys move the flag over the fire.
The colors are lowered into the flame and the edges folded into the flame as it starts to catch.
During the retiring (burning) of the flag the audience holds a scout salute, hand salute, or their hands over their hearts depending on who they are and how they are dressed. This is an honorable and solemn ceremony. It is also one of the favorite things for the boys to do and it definitely inspired the new boys there that night.
After this it’s Smore’s and then lights out for the boys. The Webelos camp out the night with us. The next morning the dads cook up a breakfast of pancakes, sausage, and eggs. After breakfast is cleanup, a service project, and then closing ceremonies. Before we left we toured the fort museum and watched them light off one of the cannon for us.
I wonder how many of you had as much fun as I did this last weekend?
I have found that walking is one of the best ways for me to get exercise to lose weight. I’ve used it before to great success. I just fell out of the habit and that plus other factors is why I am in the condition I am in now. Walking should not be laughed at as a means to exercise. Any movement above and beyond what you normally do will burn more calories and that is part of the formula to drop weight.
This article explains a lot about the benefits of walking and has a pretty easy to follow plan. Counting Your Steps – Pedometers Motivate Walkers
A Harvard Alumni Study showed the most benefit came at about 6,000 steps, or about an hour per day of walking. With most people getting about 3,000 steps in per day and still gaining or not losing 10,000 steps are recommended to burn off extra calories.
Pedometers are not the most accurate instruments; however, they can be a great motivational tool. You can see how many steps you take per day, or if you are like me see how few you take. This tool is a constant reminder to WALK and makes it easy to chalenge yourself. I can get home from a long day at work, take a look and see, wow only 1,000 more steps to reach my goal. That’s not too much, I can do that walking around a couple of blocks and have it done in no time. It can be a bit addictive pushing yourself to do more and more. What are the side effects of this addiction? Walking more, burning more calories, increasing your stamina, feeling better are the some of positive effects I can see. Off the top of my head there is only one real negative to this and that is wearing out your shoes! Shoes can be expensive, but you know I think I can deal with that expense. It beats the hell out of diabetes, high blood pressure, sore joints, and worst of all not being able to keep up with your kid.
I recently purchased another pedometer. The band was broken on my old one. I prefer the watch type with the accelerometer in it. The clip on the belt type never really worked for me as I would either forget it or it would catch on things and pop off. With the watch type I have it with me as a watch all the time and can set it and forget it for the most part. Mine also has a few bells and whistles I like. It has a pulse monitor, and a calories burned calculator. It also has the normal watch functions I like; stopwatch, count-down timer, alarm, and duel time. I didn’t spend a whole bunch on it either. It cost $38 at the big W. It is a SportLine S12 with the Any-Touch heart rate monitor. If I touch anywhere on the stainless steel part of the watch it will give me my heart rate. I had an older S12 that had a button that didn’t work all that great. So far this one has been working fine for me, though I have only had it for three days.
Now that I have my pedometer I can start working my way up to the 10,000 steps per day. I have mapped out a short walk I can do on breaks at work that give me a over 1,500 steps. I plan on making that once a day at least work and weather permitting. Some of the other tricks are parking further from your destination, taking the stairs rather than the elevator, getting out with friends and/or family for social walks, unloading the groceries one bag at a time into the house. All of these add steps. The more steps the better.