Monday Bacon: The Other Side

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Why isn’t this guy in more commercials? #nailedit

Years ago, pre-teen Zac and I went rollerblading along a paved path that was bordered by a sludge river and a campground in the shithole town we lived in called Hutchinson. (Yes, it’s a shithole town. I adored the “outrage” President Trump received for calling some countries “shithole countries.” I wondered how many of the outraged vacationed in Haiti and Instagrammed that shit but that’s not the point of today.)

The path was nice and long with very little hills and as long as you could avoid the goose poop, it was perfect for this mom who really never got the hang of stopping or going down hills on roller blades. This particular day, Zac skated ahead (normal) and I slowly made my way (I mean, honestly, it felt like I was going faster than the wind but then, nope.) Suddenly he went down on his knees, tried to grab something and crawled a few steps and moved on. Well, I thought, that was interesting. As I came closer, I noticed a group of campers off to the right laughing. No clue, had to catch Zac.

I got a little closer and then noticed a dollar bill on the path up ahead. Zac had already turned around and was skating towards me when I got up to the dollar and called, “don’t do it!” Uhhhh, whatnow? I then noticed the dollar moving slightly to the right towards the campers and stopped it with my rollerblade. Ohhhhh, I see. It was connected to a weight and a fish line and they were playing the game where they make people look stupid who bend down to get the dollar.

Now, I begrudge no one their camping fun. I love to camp. I miss it, a lot. My bigg hubs isn’t a camper and I’m not up to a weekend of me doing all the work listening while he bitches about everything. That would make me not love camping and I just really want to keep loving camping. I’m trying to commit to two camping outings on my own this summer. I’d be happy with one but happier with two. We’ll see how it goes.

So while I support morning to midnight drinking; eating like crap (actually, we eat like Kings while camping. Tons of meat ; sides, and an occasional bag of Doritos is just fine with me) I will not support you making my son look like an idiot. Sorry not sorry. Like I mentioned, I now had the dollar trapped beneath my rollerblade wheel on the fishing weight they used to on the line to toss the money out. I leaned down; tore the dollar off the string; handed it to Zac, waved and went on my way.

Two very interesting things happened very quickly in that moment. One, there was a lot of laughter from the group (it appeared to have two families worth of party campers.) Some good natured ribbing and all in all, a satisfying finish (especially seeing Zac’s smile with his new dollar.) However, one woman didn’t like it. Didn’t like it at all and she instantly got up off her lawn chair and started screaming to give her child back his dollar. One man with the group told her to stop and sit down but she was pissed. Like, super pissed. She started walking towards the path (a slight jaunt but that’s cool, I can wait) screaming at me and I told Zac to skate on ahead. I got this. I mean, this was all a little less fun but I got this. Two men in the group ran after her, grabbed her and brought her back to their campsite. The only thing I yelled back during her ranting was that my getting the dollar was, “part of the game.” See, cuz it was. You either get the dollar or you chase after it. That’s the game.

But she didn’t like that. She wanted the game only on her terms, making others look stupid and she and her friends laughing at the stupidity. Like I said, I don’t begrudge people their fun. Had I been camping next to them I would have happily ignored the entire thing. But you involved my son, which meant that I am now involved. And here we go! It was pretty interesting and a situation I’ve thought a lot about these last 18 months.

Because right now, the rights of one half of the population seem to be all that matters. The screaming and stomping and temper tantrums of the extreme progressives are something that I can deal with by sitting on my campsite sipping my wine and ignore. EZ PZ. I’ve mentioned before, if you want to go through life so angry and vile, you go girl. Do you. Don’t care. I’ll just be over here loving my life and watching my husband kick ass at work because people are finally able to spend money and his 3 years of grind is finally paying off. Don’t mind a bit.

However, when your temper tantrums and screaming and stomping DO include me or my family, well, here we go! Enter high school football…

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By the way, it is rarely courageous to participate in a crowd. It is courageous to stand on your own principles IN SPITE of the crowd’s actions.

My Oscar has always loved to be on sports teams. He loves them. He likes the continuity of expectations. He likes the camaraderie. He likes the grill outs and laughter. After all that, he likes the sport. My Oz does not eat and breath football. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever seen him watch a game. He WILL be one of the coach’s hardest workers and he WILL contribute in whatever ways are asked of him both on and off the field. But at the end of the season, he’s done. Moved on. See ya next year. Oz has always marched (literally) to the beat of his own drums and fitting in with the clique just because you play ball a few months together really isn’t his vibe. No problemo.

The problem comes when Oz is told he has to follow the crowd and support an action he categorically opposes; such as, kneeling during the National Anthem as a football player. That happened last year during homecoming. It seems one of the members of the football team  who is black was called a nigger at some point not having anything to do with football and the young man told his coach he’s going to start kneeling during the National Anthem. And since they’re a team, they have to support him. (Now, the week AFTER Homecoming, it was learned that the boy was called a nigger by another black youth who is actually a friend. But we won’t get wrapped up in facts. EMOTIONS! That’s what we’re concerned with.)

So there was Oscar, forced to support and encourage an action he finds offensive and unacceptable. But he needs to be part of the team, right? Support the one person who said he was offended but then come to find out, well, not so much. Well, Oz (of course) refused to kneel along with other players. So they were forced to surround the kneeler’s off to the side of the field so the sports fans couldn’t see what was happening. Now, that can seem like a little win/win by some but when you take a kid like Oz, you’ve actually just forced him to CONTRIBUTE to actions that coaches actually know is so wrong that they’re going to hide them from the crowd and use kids to achieve the action. Fuck that.

At least that’s Oz’s current attitude. He had a letter written out to the head coach why he won’t be back for his senior year in football. His Linesman coach has talked him out of sending the letter, for now, but he in no way wants to commit to be part of an organization that forces him to act against his principles. See, that’s the other side of all this progressive game playing. There is an “Other Side” and forcing them to play the game of politics all the way down to high school football or you stomp and scream and temper tantrum to the press about how unfair your life is, is off putting to the other side. So much so that we decide we don’t want to play anymore.

Enter the Minneapolis StarTribune. There was an interesting article this weekend about how Conservative/Republican organizations are disappearing from college campuses, especially some of the most liberal college campuses in the nation and the student leaders of these liberal groups are concerned that there is no one on campus to debate issues in a positive manner. The reason, says the media, is because conservative members don’t support President Trump and are afraid of speaking out. It was laughable. Ummm, could it be because conservative speakers have had lectures canceled across campuses because the liberal left has shut down free speech from coast to coast? That anyone who publicly speaks out in support of not only President Trump but conservative values are instantly labeled a homophobic racist? See, these days there is no tolerance for the “other side.” We go through this game of life your way or no way. What a pathetic little legacy liberals are leaving on the history books of America.

But that’s okay. I’m just over here on the intolerant/racist/homophobic other side. I’ve learned that playing the game has a certain set of rules from one side dictating how things will go for the others. There is no respected dissent, only name calling and temper tantrums. There is no allowance to speak up for your principles, you must follow the crowd. However; again, there is no courage needed in following a crowd. It’s actually very easy, you just step into it and follow. EZ PZ.

Living on the other side, these days, that takes courage.

Reputation is what men and women think of us; character is what God and angels know of us.

Thomas Paine

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Use Your Words…Part Deux

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On Tuesday, we were able to participate in a primary election for the Wisconsin Supreme Court. I went in the afternoon during a pouring rainstorm to our new voting venue at the Library to a room full of Senior Citizen volunteers. I’m guessing it was a slow day due to the lackluster voting issue (which actually is quite huge but folks tend to get more upset as to what’s happening in Washington rather than local/state issues) and the pouring rain. Nontheless, I risked melting and ran over during an afternoon break.

One table of volunteers were giving me instruction on putting the ballot into the little grabber machine and then the woman said, “Once it accepts the ballot, it will salute you.” Cool, I’ll wait on that shit. That sounds fun. About 15 seconds later, words came up on the screen that said that ballot has been accepted. So I waited. Eventually, the woman said, “Well, it doesn’t actually salute you, it just tells you the ballot is accepted.”

You can empathize with my disappointment. I mean, I’ve never received a salute before and I was pretty stoked. Some machine I’ve never even met was going to salute me just cuz I voted. Fucking sweet! And then BAM! A cold dose of reality was thrown in my face. No salute. I turned around and said I was waiting for a salute which seemed to annoy HER! Like, okay, I’m totally the crazy one here waiting for a salute when you said I had one coming.

Look people, the word salute means a very specific thing. It means, well, salute. Either A) a gesture of respect, homage, or polite recognition or acknowledgment, especially one made to or by a person when arriving or departing or 2. make a formal salute to. Neither of these things happened. What a rip.

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Benny Hill, the original sexual harasser. Don’t even care, his shit was funny.

I wrote the other day about using our words vs. sharing useless, cruel meme’s that mean nothing except to make yourself feel superior and make others feel like a dumbass. Learn to express yourself with words. I equate a political meme to a grunt from a punky 13 year old who can’t be bothered with actually giving an answer when told to do his chores (Oz tried this once. Once.)

However; when using your words, you need to ensure that they are being used correctly. Lawds (as my girl Liv would say), the amount of stupidity as Crossfit was up and coming because they were relabeling exercises that had existed for hundreds of years. No fucknutt, there isn’t a Crossfit Kettlebell swing. You just took the name that already existed, Kettlebell swing, and added a fucked up way to do it. The other day, Matt was looking for a gym to train at in unknown territory (for those that don’t know, my hot hunky hubs is often a road warrior but since his travels take him largely to the same region he has history on where to find a good gym.) We found a small, black iron’ish gym and he figured he could go there. Upon further reading; however; he would have to demonstrate proficiency in their squat method. Well fuck, it doesn’t matter that any day of the week the man can jump off a plane and squat over 600 pounds, he may be doing it “wrong and not uniform to their methods” so can’t train at this gym. Who’s fucked up in that scenario?

If I walked into a gym and said I needed to squat and the front desk guy started drilling me on which method I used, I’d be hard pressed to stay. See, I used my words. Squat. This would insinuate a back squat where one could assume a rack may be necessary and if I need spotters, I’ll let you know. Because the word squat means just that. (Now, if I need to AIR squat, I’ll just stay at the hotel. If I needed to FRONT squat, I’d probably need much of the above minus spotters. If I needed to GOBLET squat, I’d fill that shit with wine and be feeling super good by the end of the session.) But we don’t have to pretend we’re not communicating. Because I used my words. Squat.

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According to the internet, this is a Grandfather/Granddaughter salute. Pretty awesome, eh?

I have been very confused the last year and a half with so many people of all walks of life getting press time from the MSM because they have claimed that President Trump is mentally ill. Actors; other politicians, even friends have spread this across social media and it confuses me. See, mentally ill has meaning. Many actually. Dementia (if you love someone who had or has Alzheimer’s you wouldn’t joke about Alzheimer’s); Bipolar Disorder; Clinical Depression, among others. Mentally Ill has meaning and is actually a complicated issue to diagnose. To my knowledge, Rob Reiner doesn’t have a license to practice medicine. So why does he keep saying words that have an established meaning and no one in the Mental Health industry is screaming from the rooftops to Shut The Fuck Up? Does it even occur to people that when they label another human being Mentally Ill because they don’t agree with their views or just don’t like them, that that’s actually a pretty big deal? Because there really ARE people who are mentally ill who we can’t make fun of. Cuz that’s not nice, or even accurate. Jeezus, if I can’t call someone who does something stupid but funny a retard, you can’t call someone you disagree with Mentally Ill. IT’S THE EXACT SAME FUCKING THING!

Here’s one that is so despicable (without the awesome Minions); Hitler. People like to say President Trump  is “worse than Hitler.”  Look, Adolf Hitler was a pretty bad guy. I believe we can all agree to that. His policies and reign included millions of murders. When you use the word, “Hitler”, there can be only one. To accuse someone who has not even remotely behaved in such a way (his daughter is Jewish, idiots) is so incredibly dismissive and disrespectful to the victims AND survivors of Hitler I can’t for the life of me understand how easily it rolls of people’s tongues. Just because you disagree with someone doesn’t mean you can immediately begin calling them names that have a very specific meaning. See, we teach this in pre-school and have million dollar anti-bullying campaigns that say so. What kind of message are you sending your snowflakes when you tell them they don’t have to take bullying but then behave as a bully?

I am a woman. This has a very specific meaning. I am married. This has a very specific meaning. I am short. This is rather subjective (I just really love meeting people shorter than me. Sorry not sorry.) I am a mother. Again, specific. I have a dog. Specific. See, there are people who want to live in a world where I can say, “I identify today as a woman of Pacific Island descent but may identify in another way tomorrow who is married but is open to having other relationships because we have an open marriage (we don’t, settle down) and sometimes identify as 6’4 with other day’s 5’5 and some days I’m a mother but other days I identify as a gender neutral role model with a lion who, on other days, is a dog.

Well fuck, that’s super confusing. So I’ll just stick to using my words in the way they were written and HAVE BEEN UNDERSTOOD FOR HUNDREDS OF YEARS. And when I describe other people or things or places, I use my words there too. SCOTLAND is beautiful; amazing, and I drink too much there. My HUSBAND is someone I am legally and emotionally bound to (and super hunky.) My DOG is a dog. I don’t make something it’s not because it makes me feel better to do so and then find friends who also make up new meanings for words because it makes THEM feel better to do so and then go have fun by calling people names because it makes us feel better to do so. That’s not adulting luv, that’s being a childish cunt.

Don’t be a childish cunt.

As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.

President Kennedy 

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A son salute’s his father.

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Monday Bacon: Use Your Words

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Last Saturday, I road tripped to the Chicago area and trained with a group of weightlifters in Tom Sroka’s gym. It was beyond awesome. Great people with great energy coached by a great coach. I could beat myself up about not heading down to train earlier, I won’t. I’m here now and as life allows, I’ll be back.

Lifters of all levels occupy the platforms and the organized chaos of a meet warm-up area that I love is exactly what to expect here as nearly 20 lifters share space in strong harmony. While there was no shortages of smiles and laughs, each lifter worked hard and implemented the changes Tom would cue. Lifts were made, lifts were missed and overall it was one of my most favorite training sessions to date. Personally, I can say without a shadow of a doubt that, as long as I stay healthy,  training with Tom around these people will bring my lifting to another level. It already has. I’m stoked and so thankful.

Frankly, I needed it. I needed to be around people with focused goals and positive energy. With enough discipline and drive to show hard work can be fun without being distracting. I needed that. America has had a tough week. Another school shooting has brought out the social media warriors in force. And I’m over it. Children and their teachers died. That’s sad. Can’t we be sad without being angry? The parents and families of the victims, they (I imagine) will have plenty of anger to process over the years. My heart aches for them.

Frustrated? Yes, I’m frustrated but not angry. I’m frustrated that gun free zones still exist. I’m not going to share a meme about it, I can use my words since I’ve passed the 5th grade when we were taught to do so. I understand that there are a whole group of people who disagree and believe all guns should be banned. In all honesty, I like that Utopian notion that all people are good and any type of weapons are silly because we’ll just all get along. No more assaults; rape; murders; drunk driving/text driving deaths; bullying; accidental deaths; child abuse, or disease. But for today, no more school shootings. We get to send out kids to school with the main stress being is there enough money in the lunch account and did my kid hand in his homework (Oz went through a phase where he actually DID his homework but then didn’t hand it in. Somehow it made sense to him. I’m glad that phase is over)?

I don’t want to have to worry about him sitting in school utterly defenseless because the sign at the front door says that guns are not allowed on campus but then someone brings in guns to kill utterly defenseless children and staff. I don’t want to worry about that. But I do. It’s terrifying. Others who’s fears are realized are living with that today. That breaks my heart and at the same time, I’m so thankful that as of 9:30 this morning, my Oz is safe (mostly because he has school off for Presidents Day.) Those are the two feelings that are dominating all else, fear and thanks. Kinda confusing.

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photo credit: Ansel Adams

Unfortunately, along with those (I believe) very honest and probably common feelings, is complete disgust.

On my way home from Chicago (no, Tom’s gym isn’t in Chicago per say but anything south of Kenosha gets lumped into Chicago. Not even sorry) on Saturday after amazing lifting and an awesome breakfast with my friend Heather (another lifter and absolutely stellar human being) I listened to the afternoon replay of the Dr. Laura show. One mom, barely holding it together (Dr. Laura is usually pretty stern with crying callers, since she let this one go I was immediately curious what was going on) whose young daughter was in another building on the Florida campus where the shootings occurred and was on lockdown for over two hours while they could hear screams from the high school building.

Let that sink in. There were students in other buildings on campus who listened to the screams of the older students while their doors remained locked and they huddled under their desks in complete fear. Defenseless. Are they next? What do we do. I want my mom/dad/anyone to take me away from this fear.

What does that picture want to make you do? Me? I just want to gather my kids and squeeze. I don’t want to attack others for a different point of view that I disagree with. I don’t want to share some useless, cruel meme on social media that is just useless and cruel. I just want to hold my kids. I want them to know I love them and there is nothing I’d do to TRY to keep them safe. Not unusual most likely.

Among other pieces of advice for this mom, Dr. Laura told her to make sure she and her daughter and the rest of the family attend public memorials for the students. As many as possible without overwhelming her daughter. Because in times of senseless tragedy, we need each other. We need people around us who also hurt and can’t make sense of why this is happening. Not to place blame or further a political narrative, but to further human contact. Hugs. Making posters. Laying down flowers. Catching a glimpse of a grieving parent across the crowd and sending them your love and sadness.

That’s how we make things better. Because we are stronger together (sound familiar?)

Geez, I needed to hear that. The two days prior to this my social media was inundated with social media warriors. Equally from the NO GUNS EVER! crowd and the WE NEED GUNS, IDIOTS! crowd. Rhetoric. Useless. The opposite of pulling together to grieve and lifting each other up (you’re going to have to find a gym like Sroka’s for that.)

Mass texts were sent by progressive liberal Auntie’s declaring why guns need to be banned. A meme was shared by a lifter acquaintance (that is no more) that perhaps if “school” was replaced with “uterus” then republicans would actually care about the deaths. By the way? As a voting republican most of the time who is also pro-choice, that was very sick. Sick. It is dehumanizing and sick. I never need to know someone who takes energy to share such things. Ever.

I read an account of a father and his wife whose daughter was shot and killed. There was a picture on social media of him holding his daughter’s picture asking for any information since he was unable to contact her. Because he was wearing a ‘Trump 2020’ shirt in the photo, multiple people commented on the picture that they hoped she was dead since he was a Trump supporter. That happened. That actually fucking happened. Well, congratulations people, she was dead. Feel better?

Children died. Teachers died. Others huddled in fear for hours. We don’t need to spread more hate. We need to prioritize actions and use our words. If you believe guns are necessary on campus’ to avoid further mass shootings/assaults/rape (something I believe in) then what can be done to further that reality on the political side. Real things, not sharing stupid meme’s. If you believe all guns should be banned except those by the police, then what are you doing to fight the “gun lobby” other than sharing useless meme’s?

Can we try both? Arm security guards and those teachers who legally conceal and carry and see what happens when a shooter tries to enter their building with mass death being the objective? For one year, just try it. On the flip side, stop protesting when an officer shoots an unarmed criminal posing a threat to the office or others and killing them is the quickest option to ensure the safety of others. Headlines of “Police shoot unarmed black man” will quickly go away because at the end of the day that’s what the goal was. Taking guns away from citizens and keeping them only in the hands of police/government. Can we try that and see how it works? Action is far better than hateful meme’s, at least I believe that to be so and it’s my blog.

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photo credit: Ansel Adams

I’ve talked before how careful I guard the energy around me. I am diligent in surrounding myself with good people who are driven and thoughtful and smart and interesting and good. Notice, I didn’t say “people who agree with everything I say.” I don’t do that. I do surround myself with people who value friends more than points of view. At the end of the day, if our points of view are so vastly different the friendship may fade. That happens. I’ve been close to people who’s food views are so opposite of what mine are that I walked away. I can’t watch as people with food sickness push that same food sickness onto their children and know that those children (especially the daughters) are going to spend the next 40 or so years battling the same food sickness. I’m not going to remain an unwilling participant simply because we’re friends. I walk.

Late last week, I realized that the same must be done with social media. I don’t need to agree with everything I see on social media but I do need to make sure that the energy it brings falls in line with what I demand of real life. Not always positive, but never cruel. Not always silly and fun, but never demeaning. I can do that. Also, I have a blog so I can use my words. No meme’s, just words. And Ansel Adams.

A good photograph is knowing where to stand.

Ansel Adams

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Leafy

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A park bench bolted to the ground so it can never move while leaves are blowing about. Hmmmmm…

A few summers back, the hubs and I went to his Uncle and Auntie’s house for a summer garden dinner. What that meant was that most of the evening was outside on the patio surrounded by various gardens. One being a Disney garden so amongst the plants and flowers were Disney figurines bobbing in and out of eye sight. It was adorable. In fact, I left my Hawaii Donald Duck there to live among his peeps.

We had cocktails and Port (in fact, they opened and shared their very last bottle of Port bought when they got married. It was very sweet) and amazing food and lots of laughs. Matt’s Auntie is Greek and the Uncle is Lithuanian/Scot/European and together they make a very good mix. Both fun loving and two of the kindest people I know. It pains me that we haven’t made it back there since but the nearly 3 hour drive each way is enough to drag our feet a bit on getting another date on the calendar.

One of the more interesting caveats is that Auntie is a far left Progressive liberal and well, we’re not. Which means that we are subject to listening to her views but since we’re guests, we don’t get to share our rebuttal. Ah well, a small price to pay for grilled shrimp and steaks. The outrage of the day during our dinner was the topic of the Confederate flag. Auntie was outraged. And I mean OUTRAGED! How DARE they fly such a racist symbol of racism and oppression and fok them those backwards racists. Racism.

Uhhhhh, okay. I mean, were you outraged last week about the Confederate flag? Last month? Last year? Or were you just outraged cuz the media is telling you now to be outraged? Here’s my take on the Confederate flag…I give no shits. I’m not from the South. My great, great uncle and 14 cousins weren’t killed fighting for something they believed in under that flag. I have no dogs in this fight. I chose not to be outraged by things were I have no dogs in the fight. I whill say that while spending time up north in Connecticut (I actually spelled that correctly the first time out, I’m pretty proud) at a cemetery, there were headstones for sons and fathers who died on some Southern battlefield during the Civil War. I imagine there are many of those stones in the South also. It is extremely moving. I believe any time we can dig deeper and make issues personal, we find that we’re actually not far off agreement. Those headstones spoke for loved ones gone but not forgotten, no matter which flag they fought for. So if y’all in the South want to wave the flag that your ancestors fought and died for, well, you just do that and know that others won’t understand. Especially Greek Auntie’s in Chicago.

While I get very tired of the “Flavor of the Day” outrage, I’m pretty good at insulating myself from it. I guess there was some uproar about a snowboarder yesterday who won a gold medal and then dragged the American flag on the snow? Dunno. Like I wrote yesterday, I’m not getting dragged into the cesspool of the MSM and their Olympic coverage (see what I did there? Heehee.) I DID happen to watch the greatest Women’s hockey game of all time between the US and Canada. I wish Coach Stauber would have challenged the second goal but whatev. If these teams meet again in the medal round, it will be amazing!

But none of this, well very little anyway, has to do with my point today.

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New Hampshire leaves

Leaves serve amazing functions in our world. There is a reason folks flock to thick forests that have clear lakes smack dab in the middle of them. We breath in the fresh air; we can be still in it’s thickness and enjoy the sounds of the water lapping about the lakeshore. Time can be lost sitting on the rocks of streams, should be lost actually. Very few things are emotionally satisfying as just sitting on rocks and listening to water while looking up into the forests. This is why the Steven’s Pass road in Washington is one of my most favorite drives. Sharing it with Oz a couple of years ago was incredibly special and I know I’ve told it before but I’m telling this story again…

While we were driving, I told  Oz to keep a lookout on where we could pull over and go climb the rocks in the stream. He says, “We can do that?” I says, “Oh ya.” Tell you what, seeing my 16 year old son who so often has maturity beyond his years  and tends to put the world on his shoulders play on those rocks like an 8 year old was one of the best moments of the entire trip.

Anyways. Back to leaves.

As most of us know (I assume nothing), leaves will eventually fall and die to prepare for the next batch in the spring (assuming you’re not an Evergreen.) This is why so many of us love the Fall season. Leaves are turning color which give tree lined streets a beautiful orangey/red-y glow. Leaves are raked into huge piles for the kids and dog to jump into or, if you’re lucky, blow into your fucknutt neighbors yard who spends his days trying to make his space leaf free.

Leaves blowing about can be fun to watch, even mesmerizing. But it always made me a little sad. The reality of another summer gone; no more cabin trips; no more softball games. Just cold and ice and snow for the next six months. It was always a little confusing for me because I love winter. Absolutely LOVE IT! I love the snow and the cold and, well not the ice so much, everything winter brings. Soups and shoveling (Mother Nature gives no shits that you have a meet on Saturday. You will shovel that foot of snow she dumped or be stuck inside.)

What I’ve learned is that I don’t dislike fall, I just don’t like the uncertainty of it. Will it be 70 degrees or 30? Will it rain or snow? If I rake today will I be done for the year (the answer to that is always NO.) Watching the leaves blow about in the winds chaos is unsettling. There’s no direction, no purpose. And if you’ve known me for more than 4 minutes, you know I have direction. Not even sorry.

Here’s the crux of the day, how many people do you know who allow themselves to live like leaves? Without direction or purpose? And this, my friends, is my biggest issue with those who choose to be outraged by the flavor of the day. You’re like leaves, just blowing about waiting to hit the next light pole to briefly stop and complain and move on. Distractions are easy and moving quickly to fill social media with outrage that, if you just give the wind a moment, the issue will blow over.

And it’s not just politics. It’s work; it’s training; it’s relationships. How many people do you see on Social Media who are trying the next best thing that avoids the most important steps of laying down a solid foundation? Diet fads; lifting timing schemes; training programs. Blowing in the wind just waiting to latch on, however briefly, to a cool thing until it becomes work and then moving on. I’ve fired people from my gym for this attitude. Get your uncommitted energy out of my gym. You’re full of shit. You live your life saying one thing and doing another. I’ve fired people from my life for this.

I cannot be around people who lack direction for a significant amount of time. To be honest, many Master’s Highland Games women are like this. (That’s going to sting a few folks. Sorry not sorry.) The Games are oh so fun and let me be so energetic and entertaining…until the 4th event. The fourth event (watch for it at your next Games) is usually when the leaves start falling. You realize that you probably have three more hours of this stuff and it’s only getting harder. You start wandering over to your tent and need to be called over for every attempt not even caring that your group of fellow throwers are waiting on your ass. You’ve taken your FB pictures and drank your scotch and really, that’s all we need to do for the day cuz this stuff is only supposed to be fun. If only we could rake you into a pile off the field and move on.

Non throwing related, our close friends have purpose. They have drive. We can disagree on politics but show an understanding of the other side’s reasoning and at the end of the day, politics are never more important than friendship. February has been filled with almost all of our closest friends and that, my friends, makes for a very good month. Quite honestly, never in my life had I ever believed we would be surrounded by such good people who accomplish so many amazing things and so freely share their gifts and love. Not one of our closest friends are leaves blowing in the wind. They are solid. They strive to live their best lives possible. I am so proud of each and every one of them.

It’s so easy to be leafy in our world because, mostly, our survival doesn’t depend on being driven. If mommy hasn’t kicked you out of her basement by your 30’s, well, you just know you’re going to stay attached to that teat until she’s six feet under. If you were the son of my Grandpa’s, you got a suitcase for your 18th birthday. Not even kidding. You’ve done well, now get out. No leafs in his bloodline. The Olympics? See, stupid NBC commentators, we don’t need to ask how it “feels to be there” cuz there are no leaves at the Olympics. It’s not like they woke up in November and said, oh hey, maybe I’ll just blow over to that speed skating rink and skate and then go to the Olympics. No. They’ve been driven for a very long time. OH! One of my FAVORITE moments in figure skating stupid interviewing came when Andrea Joyce asked the German woman pairs skater (skating in her 5th Olympics) what “current you would tell 18 year you on your first Olympics to make it better?” The Fraulein just looked at her blankly and after about 10 seconds admitted she didn’t understand the question. AJ went on to say, “I imagine experience helps” where the German visibly tried not to roll her eyes and said something to the effect of, “obviously.” Don’t like it when other countries athletes don’t fall at your feet in worship, do you NBC?

One of the hardest things in life is to stop. Just. Fucking. Stop. Stop blowing around in chaos and be still. There is no scramble, there is a plan  (then shut up about it and just do. My gawds, the amount of declarations made on social media boggles the mind.. I’d rather see video of someone curling their hair.) While leaves can be beautiful, structuring your life in alignment to theirs is a bad idea. You wonder how your life got raked into the gutter when you’ve been so busy at so many things. Stop believing that blowing about in life is going to get your goals accomplished. Stop looking at others wondering how they’re doing it and you’re not. Just stop. Breath. Plan. And then put on those blinders and become undistractable (totally a word.)

First I shake the whole apple tree, that the ripest might fall. Then I climb the tree and shake each limb, and then each branch and then each twig, and then I look under each leaf.

Martin Luther

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