Fool For A Pretty Face…

When They’re Hot They’re Hot

My head turns too easily when I see them these days.  At this stage of middle age, I’m beyond the point of being able to control it.  I fall, if only for a moment, with every single one I look at.  The blonde ones, the ones with red on top, even the black ones.  I love the auburn ones.  If they’re bejeweled a bit with the shimmer of shining metal against their faces or along their necks, they steel my eyes more quickly.  The contrast of silver up against the faces of the black ones is striking.  I love the look of gold on the neck of a blonde.

I like when they have curves too, and I don’t mind admitting that.  The curves are what I notice first, even before I see their faces.  Not that I have anything against the thin ones with nice angles and clean lines.  I want to caress them.  I don’t want to hurt them, just hold them – to let my hands enjoy their bodies while my eyes appreciate their faces.  Natural selection made me this way.

When I hold one in my arms, I soon have an impulse to impose my will on her.  Sometimes gently, other times I imagine hardcore play.  I even desire to throw them around a bit.  It can be rough and still not be hurtful you know – still filled with love, appreciation, and pleasure.  There are times I fantasize of striking them just so I can hear them scream or weep.

I like the idea of owning them; mine to enjoy whenever I want, or to lock up when the mood no longer suits me.  My decreasing morality suggests I could never be with just one.  The thought of having a different one for every day of the week makes my heart race.  Still, I resist the idea of having too many because I know they deserve better than me.

No Dedication For Old Man

Sure, I can navigate through a few chords, but I can’t do much with them.  That’s okay, just seeing a guitar and holding it in my hands sooths me.  Despite that I have owned and sold many guitars in my life, I can scarcely play a lick.  I’m just an unworthy man who appreciates that kind of company.  I enjoy looking at and holding guitars almost as much as I enjoy listening to them – even if I can’t play.

Though I have never had the discipline to learn to play one, I have always had a supreme appreciation for the art of guitars; how they sound and how they look.  I know I’ll never really play the guitar and I’m okay with that.  My priorities are elsewhere, writing, cycling, and my weightroom to name a few.  There is only so much time in the week.  However, just knowing guitars exist offers much richness to my life.

Curves that make my heart race...

Curves that make my heart race…

Bowing Down To The Art And The Beauty

One thing I can do, that I always do, is to honor those who play so well.  I listen to guitar music every day of my life.  A variety of styles and genres to be sure, but listening to a guitar is as central to my life as exercise and writing.  I currently own two guitars, and I hold them just about every day.  I squeeze out a chord here and there, but Stroodle shrugs, hides, and I desist in favor of the real artists.  If I never release a decent note from a guitar I hold it’s not a waste.  It’s just nice to hold them and appreciate their aesthetic and their touch.  Music, I often say, is like sex and pizza, there’s no such thing as bad, only different levels of good, even the butchered music I attempt.

Ghosts And Inspirations

What I really appreciate about the guitar though, are the marks they have left on my soul by the thousands of players I have heard since I bought my first record, Harry Chapin’s, Taxi when I was in the 3rd grade.  I owe a lot of people a lot of gratitude for the ways in which they have enriched my life; my daughter, parents, brother, and friends.  In my day to day though, I often feel like I owe the most to the artists and the ghosts who have soothed my soul through the years by creating the soundtrack of my life.

I can’t imagine a life without guitars, and am grateful for the women and men who have played them so sweetly.  Without those musical brush strokes through the years, the canvas of my soul would display a more bleak picture.  When life gets rough, I turn to exercise or writing to feel better.  Just as often, I turn to the precious art of guitars. The power of music has wings.  The sound of a guitar is where fingertip athleticism intermingles with inner poetry to form a beautiful conclusion.  That they look as beautiful as they sound is the cherry on top.  Be well.

Though I have heard thousands of guitar solos in my life, many intricate and complex beyond comprehension, not one has touched me more than this brief and mild work of Sonny Landreth.  Please take time to view the video below, listen, feel, and enjoy…

January Punch…

I Skipped A Month

I train with weights 3-4 days per week.  I commute by bicycle, 30 minutes each way, to and from work 6-7 days per week.  Despite this, once per week I do a 3-5 mile run in town or on my treadmill – to keep my running legs in shape.  On top of that, I join some of my like-minded beast friends every Sunday for a 4 mile trail hike/run up and down a very steep hill near town.

I do some form of intense exercise at least twice per day every day, and many days I get 3 or 4 rigorous workouts in.  I move a lot, and I love it.  I often say that exercise is the methadone of my existence.  I need this.  It keeps me from killing people.  I missed a few recently – workouts that is.  January punched me right in the mouth and I scarcely moved at all.

January 2 – January 8: In bed with the mother of all head colds.

January 16 – January 22:  Emergency trip to Las Vegas to visit ill father.

January 23 – January 29: In bed with the mother of all flus.

January 30 – February 3:  No workouts other than bike commute so I could make up for lost time with my business.

In all of January, I missed more scheduled exercise sessions than I have in the past three years combined.  A few years ago this would have sent me into a bottomless depression spelled by moments of profound rage.  But it’s all good.

Once Upon A Time In My Head

For most of my life I believed that those who loved me loved me for my biceps, my calves, my endurance, or for reasons related to my physical state of being.  I also knew that if I missed even a single workout I would lose all of those physical attributes – instantly.  Since I need to be loved, I worked non-stop at maintaining a high level of my physical being.  Missing workouts was never an option.   Sadly, I genuinely thought that way.  I have come to learn, decades too late, that isn’t really true.  Those who love me love me, those who hate me hate me, and that my look or my level of conditioning has had nothing to do with it.

Sick Call From A Friend

A friend on the other coast recently sent me an email asking my thoughts on working out sick.  This was my response:

“Hi Julie

An interesting day to have asked me this.  I’m home in bed with a bad flu.  I have been here all week.  Earlier this month I was in bed with a severe cold. Between these and an emergency trip to Vegas to see my Dad, I haven’t worked out much in January.  For me, that’s saying something.

There was a time when the workout (and progress from the workout) meant so much to me that unless I was dying, I would workout.  Even if I was too sick to work, I would make time to workout.  Though working out sick is always hard to initiate, when I have worked out sick I always felt better when I was done – like the sickness went away at least for a while.  I remember once in a severe flu, getting up at 6am, getting on my stair-stepper and crashing through a hard hour.  Felt great for the next few hours and then the flu had me down again until the next day.

Physiological perspective:  I don’t recommend whether people should or should not workout sick.  I only point out that exercise recovery divides the immune system and working out sick, though it may feel good, will likely cause the illness to linger longer and can have negative consequences.  This becomes an individual choice; a game of trade-offs.

These days if I’m lightly sick, I lightly workout.  If I’m heavily sick, I don’t workout at all.  Age and wisdom I suppose….

Hope this helps


Really, Think About It

In this obsessive arena we call “fitness” the consequences of a missed workout, or even a missed month of workouts, are not as substantial as we might believe.  Nobody ever died from a missed workout.  No relationship that ever mattered was affected by crunches not had.  Checks don’t bounce because a run, a ride, or a swim didn’t happen for a day or even for a month.  Continents won’t drift further apart for a lack of lunges, and world leaders aren’t overthrown due to a week of ice cream rather than a week of brown rice and broccoli.

Yes, I missed nearly a month of exercise and I ate like crap during that time.  Two weeks back in, I am right where I left off when January punched me in the mouth.  My daughter taunts me, my dog is still needy, my bills need to be paid, and my running and biking times and the amount of weight I lift are right back where they were 6 weeks ago.

Consistency in exercise is important whether one is seeking progress or maintenance.  Consistency should be among the highest priorities.  Life happens and sometimes consistency gets cut off.  But like the tail of some kinds of lizards, consistency can grow right back.  It’s not the end of the world.  It’s not the end of your life.  Get back up.  Shake it off.  Go for it again and grow some new consistency.  I did, and still am.  Be well.  rc

Please check back in two weeks to see what comes out when I push the “stop” button on the blender in my head.  Oh, and there is this from the Alabama Shakes.  Enjoy…

Flight Paths…

I am flying through life, cruising in a flight path between two other aircraft, each flying in opposite directions.  Each one being piloted by two amazing flight instructors…

The Landing

I just had the last face to face conversation I will ever have with my father.  He’ll be on hospice soon and though I’m not sure when he’ll go, I am certain we just met eye to eye for the final time.  I’m back at my hotel now preparing to head back from Las Vegas to my home in San Diego in the morning.  Our final conversation was not the best one my father and I ever had but it certainly was not the worst.  There were smiles and humor.

My father is an airplane, descending and preparing for his final approach.  It might be a bumpy landing, but it shouldn’t be a crash.  As I left him this evening, I honored him with a warm kiss on the head, I told him that I love him, and I quickly swallowed some tears as I turned my back and walked away from him for the last time.  My final memory of seeing my father alive will be one of seeing him in a wheelchair, eating a green Otter Pop, and arguing with his care giver about some little thing.

The Take Off

This morning, before I left to spend my final day with my father, I received and email from my daughter, now living in Athens, Greece.  It was an upbeat correspondence.  She shared a few stories with me full of local flavor, and she attached some pictures of the city.  Not the touristy kind of pictures one might expect, but pictures of places which need to be sniffed out.  My daughter has a good nose for, off the beaten path. 

With clear skies and adventures ahead, the airplane of my daughter’s life is just taking off.  Her course is upward and wide open.  Brave, intelligent, and curious, my daughter’s flight through life will no doubt be scenic, perhaps a bit bumpy at times, and will be in great contrast to the flight of my father.  She’s already a good pilot and getting better every year.

Cruising Altitude: Me, Part I

For my part, I am now in a flight pattern sandwiched somewhere between the flight paths of my father and my daughter.  I am at the cruising altitude of life. Having flown small planes in real life, I can say that the cruising part is boring.  Taking off and landing, that’s where the excitement is, and where the best lessons are learned.  There is much though, that I can learn from observing the current flight paths of both my father and my daughter.  Lessons which can help me steer a better course for the remainder of my trip; that I enjoy the views and have a quality landing with little regret.

I will try and learn from the examples my daughter sets before me, as well as to remember the examples my father had set.  There is much wisdom from each.  My father worked hard to provide me with a good life.  He taught me much, and most of what I have today, I owe to my father’s hard work, love and dedication.  But what I can learn from my daughter is invaluable because it’s fresh, sincere, and rooted in the infallible self-belief of her own free will and directionality.

Mulan On Steroids

She had planned to move from Chicago to Athens to study abroad for seven months.  Things didn’t go so well on moving day.  The day she was to depart for Athens, the company she had contracted to pick up and store her belongings did not come through.  Rather than admit defeat and contact her friends or another moving company for help, my daughter took matters into her own hands; U-Haul.

She had rarely driven outside the suburban community where she grew up, Temecula, CA.  She had never driven in the snow, had never driven anything larger than an economy car, and had never driven in the city.  So when she found herself in a moving van, in downtown Chicago, in a snow storm, with just a few hours to spare to put all her furniture and belongings into storage and hop a plane to Greece, I cringed and I doubted severely.  Despite my doubt, or perhaps because of it, she would move her entire 5th story apartment in these conditions, by herself, and in just over a few hours – queen bed included.  For all of her academic accomplishments, I saw this as her finest hour.  She made the plane to Athens on time.

Cruising Altitude: Me, Part II

For nearly a year, I have been writing about making positive changes in my life – about taking back my potential – cutting out the drinking, eating completely clean, and avoiding the inherent turbulence on the flight path of life in modernity.  Well, I haven’t done too well with that plan.  I have simply cruised on autopilot, letting my momentum carry me forward from week to week.  I have let momentum chart my course.  With that lack of planning and discipline, I can’t believe I’m still airborne.

I don’t know what tomorrow will bring, but I am hopeful in the context this day – of seeing my daughter’s flight taking off, and my father’s flight landing, I will apply lessons from both journeys, that I make better choices for my own.  At the very least, maybe I can avoid that dreaded “water landing”.  Be well.  rc

Please check back in two weeks to see what transpires when I push the “stop” button on the blender in my head.  Oh, and there is this from Finger Eleven.  Enjoy….