Preparing my 2012

As 2011 comes to a close I’ve been looking back on it and trying to find those memorable moments that stand out to me the most. There have been a few moments, some good and some bad, that I can immediately associate with the term ‘2011’, and while I could easily get into all of that mess, my preference is to not look back and instead focus on what lies ahead of me. With that, I figured that to bring some reality and tangibility to my goals for 2012, I would write them down, make them public and leave them here for me to come back to when I am feeling like I need a refresher.

I’ve been thinking for a few months now about what I want my 2012 to be like. In past years I would think in terms of what I don’t want, but something I’ve learned in 2011 is to look at what I do want and pursue that rather than attempt to evade what I don’t want. My thought is, if I know clearly what I am pursuing I will have something clear to aim for as opposed to just trying to outrun what I don’t want to be a part of. That began to make a lot of sense to me in the last half of 2011 and it is something I plan to continue in 2012.

In keeping with that principle, I am also of the mind that if I speak something enough I have to power to see it come to fruition. As I put my thoughts to work and turn them into words I have a chance to put my words to work and turn them into actions. And, the more action I take, the better the chances of my original thoughts becoming reality. So with that in mind, here are some of the things I will do, achieve, accomplish or complete in 2012 and, where feasible, when.

  • January
    • Drink no alcohol
    • Eat no refined sugars
    • Exercise six days a week
    • Don’t eat what I can’t accurately measure the nutrition on
    • Sign up for Krav Maga with my daughter Rebekah
    • Get started with CrossFit
    • Lose 10 pounds
  • February
    • Drink no alcohol
    • Exercise six days a week
    • Don’t eat what I can’t accurately measure the nutrition on
    • Lose 10 pounds
    • Finish Chalene Johnson’s book PUSH
  • March
    • Start P90X2
    • Start distance running
    • Exercise six days a week
    • Don’t eat what I can’t accurately measure the nutrition on
    • Lose 10 pounds
  • April
    • Hike Mission Peak at least once
    • Throw Sarah an awesome 16th birthday party
    • Exercise six days a week
    • Don’t eat what I can’t accurately measure the nutrition on
    • Lose 10 pounds
  • May
    • Help the kids give their mom a memorable Mother’s Day
    • Hike Mount Diablo at least once
    • Complete P90X2
    • Start Insanity Asylum
    • Exercise six days a week
    • Don’t eat what I can’t accurately measure the nutrition on
    • Lose 10 pounds
  • June
    • Enjoy a family filled Father’s Day
    • Complete Insanity Asylum
    • Exercise six days a week
    • Don’t eat what I can’t accurately measure the nutrition on
    • Get under 200 pounds for the first time since high school
  • July
    • Earn my 32″ waist
    • Give Alaynah her own birthday party
    • Give Rebekah her own awesome birthday party
  • August
    • Take the family to Yosemite
    • Run a Yosemite trail
    • Have all school shopping done
  • September
    • Give Adriannah a great birthday party
    • Run Tough Mudder NorCal
  • October
    • Run Warrior Dash NorCal
  • November
    • Host Thanksgiving
    • Have all my Christmas shopping done
  • December
    • Attend a New Years Party outside of my own city
    • Finish the year under 210 pounds
  • Some time in 2012
    • Pray daily with my family
    • Find a church and become a member
    • Read at least two self improvement books
    • Own a motorcycle
    • Replace my car
    • Complete a 5K
    • Complete a 10K
    • Run a sub-six minute mile
    • Attend a software developer conference
    • Give a talk at a meetup or conference
    • Go to a concert
    • Go to an NFL game
    • Travel out of state
    • Learn a new programming language

I know it seems like a lot of this is wrapped around health. I’m of the opinion that I need to continually work on my health – physically, emotionally and spiritually – so I can continually improve myself. If there is one thing that I gleaned from 2011 it’s that I need to become a better human being. I need to learn to be more patient, more kind, more understanding. I need to improve me. 2012 will be my year for that.

I expect some amazing things this year. And I am determined to see these through completion. My prayer is that I can look back on these things a year from now and be able to say that I’ve done them all. I’m certain that’s possible.

Is a free haircut worth the price?

I took my kids to my sister’s house to today to celebrate my nephew’s birthday. As is usually the case, the kids have a tendency to run about the house playing and the adults mingle around the living room, the kitchen or the garage talking, drinking and otherwise being adults.

During the adult talks the subject of my cheapness and my waiting a few extra weeks between haircuts came up. Sure enough I discovered that I have a barber in my family. My cousin Nick, while not formally trained, has been cutting the cousins’ hair for a while now and offered to cut my hair for me for free. I thought seriously about his offer since $11 for my haircut and $9 for my son’s haircut is such a huge price to pay but was a tad hesitant after smelling the alcohol that was floating in his very large cup. I told him I would think about it and paid no more attention to it.

A little bit before I was ready to leave my brother-in-law and my cousin set up the barber shop for me without telling anyone. Soon afterward the taunting and teasing and peer pressure kicked in and it wasn’t long before both my son and I went under the blade of my cousin’s crafty hand. The end result for me? Have a look:

I haven't been this short since I was 12
I haven't been this short since I was 12

Maximizing a Saturday

Yesterday was a busy day for my family. Most weekend days are busy days nowadays, but yesterday was one of those days where at 6:00 in the evening you could swear it was 11:00 in the evening and you are wondering why everyone is still awake.

It started out the day before. Yeah, I know that sounds silly, but Sandi had sent me an email late Friday evening asking me if I would be willing to wake up early to go garage saleing with her. How could I say no? So we woke up early on a Saturday, had a quick and light breakfast and headed out the door. We were able to hit a couple of sales before we had to head home to get ready for…

We left the house almost as soon as we got home to head over to Calaveras Skate for my neices birthday party. Well, it was actually just a roller skating time before the party unlike what I was led to believe, or perhaps misunderstood. Regardless, the skating rink portion of the day was just the beginning of what was going to be a much longer part of the day. But I digress. I left the rink a little early with three of my five kids because it was time to …

I hit the barber shop at around 12:30. I desperately needed a haircut. My hair is usually pretty short, so when it starts to grow it looks like it is starting to sprout. I began to look like those little trolls you see on the tops of pencils. You know, the pink headed Don King lookalike troll? Yeah, that was me. Just without the pink. And it needed handling in a serious way. So I hit the barber shop up before …

The real birthday party started at about 2:00. We headed over to my brothers place for the festivities and it wasn’t long until I was at the barbecue handling carne asado with chips and guacamole in one hand and a Heineken in the other. Few things make a sunny and warm day better than having a pair of tongs in one hand and a cold beer in the other while being surrounded by family.

After the cooking and the eating and the drinking and the eating, wait, did I already say eating? Nevermind that, we headed out for a little street football. I shouldn’t have done this because I was still sore from the pillow fight the other night and I had just eaten and I had just drank. But how is a guy supposed to say no to street ball? Seriously?

It didn’t last long.

Yes, I am fat and out of shape. And I was still sore. And after that fiasco, I was exhausted. So I hit the table again and made sure I would not be hungry until next year. Then my family helped clean up some of the mess before heading home.

It was a crazy busy day. It was exhausting. But it was also a blast. And I would not have traded that for the world.

Family, food, fun and fantastic weather

My wife’s cousin that lives in San Francisco is going to be moving to Seattle at the end of the year. To celebrate this move (yes, it is a good thing) they held a barbecue at my wife’s parents house today. They could not have picked a better day to old this gathering either.

The weather was absolutely beautiful today. It was sunny with a slight breeze. It was warm but not hot. It was just awesome. Actualy, it was perfect for a gathering of family for food and fellowship.

The burgers were awesome, the appetizers were awesome, the beer was awesome, the wine was awesome.

I mean really, there was not a thing wrong with this day. The kids had a great time, the adults had a great time. It was just an all around wonderful day. I wish it could have lasted longer.

And I really wish I would have found my sister’s truck keys. It has been almost a week now. And the only reason I am thinking about them now is that last Sunday when I left my in-law’s house I had them.

Oh well, at least the day was good.

Like 4th of July from years past

Yesterday was one of the best fourth of July celebrations I have ever experienced. That is a bold statement since I have experienced a good many Independence Day celebrations. But few have come close the massive family gathering we had yesterday.

I was invited early in the day to my brother’s house for festivities for the evening. There was to be a barbecue, fireworks, children… all sorts of stuff that makes a fourth of July party really cool for everyone involved. There were kids, food, drinks, family, fireworks, laughter… I mean, it has been a while since I have experienced that.

The best part of all of it was that I got to hang with my family for a good while. My kids did, too. Plus we were all able to eat good, drink a little (I stress a little – half a Heineken and a small glass of wine) and play with fireworks. And while I cannot legally say that there were fireworks generally prohibited by the city of Newark, I can say that those fireworks that we did have were freaking exceptional.

The coup de gras came at the end of the night when the old younger boys lit off three magnificent fireworks that gave the entire block a show they would not forget. It was so cool that the Newark Police stopped by the neighborhood to get a peak. Unfortunately for them the show had just ended. Maybe next year guys.

All in all it was a wonderful night. A few hours out of the house spent with family and having fun… I couldn’t ask for anything else.

Except my wife to be with me. But maybe she will be healthy enough to come next year.

50 years of marriage

Today I had the pleasure of attending an anniversary party. I was a great party for a great anniversary. My aunt Connie celebrated her 50th wedding anniversary to my Uncle Manuel. Yep, you heard me. 50 years.

50 years is 17 years longer than I have been alive. It is half a century. It is five decades. It is enough time for three generations to pass. It is, in a few words, a long freaking time.

As I was at my aunt’s house I couldn’t help but wonder how many people nowadays enter into matrimony with their beloved with an expectation that their marriage will last until death. I think more people are of the mindset that they will stay married as long as the other person doesn’t screw up and makes them feel good about the marriage.

I know that views of marriage today are not what they used to be. In the 50’s, when you said “I do” that meant “you did”. There were not a whole lot of “re”marriages. Now it seems like you almost have to go through at least one to get to one that will work for you. It is a little sad really.

I would be remiss if I did not mention that I have had my share of questionable moments in my marriage. A lot can happen in (almost) 13 years. A lot of bad decisions can be made. A lot of nasty thoughts can be hatched. A lot of feelings can be hurt.

I can say, too, that I have never really wanted my marriage to end. I have considered what life would be like as a divorcee. I have considered what it would be like to be on the business end of one of those “it’s not working out” discussions. And I have totally contemplated being on the giving end of that very conversation.

There are no situations though in which I have actually thought about being single again. Am I weird for that? Are there people out there that really give marriages the level of priority it deserves?

Well, I know my aunt and uncle do. To you two, happy anniversary. No, wait, happy 50th anniversary.

50 years of marriage