Our Geocache…

So, Luke and I have gotten pretty serious about Geocaching. After finding quite a few caches on our own, we’ve decided to hide a cache of our own. After a lot of thought about what we should do with it, we’ve decided on this:

Our cache is going to be hidden in a low traffic, foresty area. We’re going to hide a game camera to take pictures of the people as they’re searching for it. Then we will put those pictures on this blog. Inside the cache, we’ve got a bunch of those cheesy plastic decoder rings you used to get as a kid in a Happy Meal or a box of Cracker Jacks. We are going to put a coded message in the cache, along with the rings, that gives the URL for this blog. Once they decode it, they will be able to go to the blog and see pictures of themselves searching for the cache.

Pretty fun idea if you ask me.

We’ve got our cache container, we’ve got the game camera and we’ve got the decoder rings. Now we need to figure out how to secure the camera to the tree so it doesn’t get stolen. We’ve also got to get permission of the property owner where we are planning to place the cache. After that, we have to register it with Geocaching.com and let the fun begin.

Do you have a great idea for a geocache hide? If so, place it in the comments and maybe we will steal your idea and use it for our second hide!

Our cache

Our cache

Inside our cache

Cache and the game camera

I’ve been waiting…

I have been waiting a while for the opportunity to take Luke Geocaching. I always knew it would be something he would love. His mom and I actually took him a couple of times when he was a baby. Now that he is turning 4, he is old enough to understand what’s going on and actually help in the search. It’s been a lot of fun for both of us.

His very first find was a simple Altoids can in a pine tree at a park not far from our house. He was pretty excited when we found it but not as excited as I was for him. In the picture below, you can see it hidden in the tree above his left shoulder.

Since we’ve started, we’ve found 10 caches now. We’ve found one that had a lot of sweet loot in it – Luke chose a can of Playdoh over Glowstix. In another cache we found a Travel ug that wants to go to Germany. I have a good friend at work that is going to France next month and she is going to take it and hide it in a cache there for us.

The Travel Bug find led us to buy some Travel Bugs of our own. We are going to send them to the cities where each of us were born – San Antonio, TX – Webster, TX and Des Moines, IA.

This has also led us to discussions about placing a cache of our own. More to come on that…

Luke finds a Geocache

Luke finds another...

and another...

What kind of father would I be…

What kind of father would I be if I didn’t post the obligatory picture of my son in Blue Bonnets? For those not familiar with Texas, the Blue Bonnet is the state flower and it is an annual tradition to punish your children by taking their picture in a field of them. Typically this is done on the side of the highway since Blue Bonnets are wild flowers and grow in abundance in the fields that adorn the Texas highway landscape. I chose to take my son someplace a bit more scenic.

For your viewing pleasure…

I was fat???

Thanks a lot for not telling me…

It seems like for better part of a decade (or two) I have been a little on the rotund side. I remember when I was a kid, I was actually rail thin. We used to go to Sears to get school clothes because I was a tad rough on them. Sears used to sell these jeans called ToughSkins. They had extra patches built into the knees and they were supposed to be indestructible. It seems like it took me two months to get holes in the knees of ToughSkins where regular jeans would only take me a week or two. Had Sears ever seen the patches my mom had to iron on my jeans to cover the holes I put in my ToughSkins, they would have been almost as embarrassed as I was by my mom’s choice of patches. Good  ole ToughSkins. Anyway, the reason I bring up the ToughSkins is they used to have this funny way of calling fat kids fat. Their sizes were – Slim, Regular and Husky. I always got a kick out of that – Fat Kids = Husky. For the record, I was slim.

That was until I became ‘Husky’ myself. I hate you Sears!

So, under the guise of full disclosure, I am going to break down my weight struggles and what I have done to get on the road away from husky. First, a little history. About the time I got out of the Navy in 1992, I was probably as thin as I am ever going to be in my life. I was 6′ and about 155 lbs. I ate and drank whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted and never gained an ounce. Between 1992 and the move to San Antonio in 1997, I discovered computers. Let’s just say my lifestyle became a bit more sedentary. Suddenly the 10-15 cans of soda per day and the 3+ drive thru meals a day began catching up with me.

This was me in the Navy.

 

The last time I can even remember being close to the ‘Mendoza Line’ (less than 200 lbs.) was in the late 90s. I had been trying to get back down to 200 lbs. and was about 215 at the time. I got down to about 210 by working out, then I got dog sick with the flu and got down to 205. Of course, as soon as I started feeling better, I ballooned right back up. For the better part of the last 15 years I would say I have been in the 230-235 range. Sure, I’ve had short stints where I would make an effort to lose weight and I would lose 5-10 lbs before putting it right back on. Here is one of MANY pictures of me looking less than svelte. I don’t know why my son is gnawing at that wine cork, I can only assume he takes after his wino mom in that regard.

 

 

You’re probably asking yourself why you’ve bothered reading this far and questioned whether or not there is even a point to this post. There probably isn’t a point. Having said that, I decided to get in shape this year. I made up my mind that I DID NOT want to be the ‘fat dad’ and that if I was going to do something to embarrass my son, it wasn’t going to be because I was fat. I plan to embarrass him a lot, just not so much with my appearance. With that goal in mind, I began a diet and exercise program back around Valentine’s Day this year. I’ve had respectable results and because I didn’t make many really drastic changes, it has really been fairly easy to stick to.

The Benchmark – Feb 14, 2012 – I estimate that, between the 10-15 sodas a day, the 2-4 fast food meals per day and random snacking, that I was putting away about 4,000-5,000 calories a day. I was 235 pounds at 6 ft. tall. I couldn’t run more than a minute or so without stopping at a distance of roughly a 1/4 mile. That was the absolute max.

Today – April 24, 2012 – I have completely quit drinking soda. I have not had a single drop since Feb 14th after more than 20 years of 10+ cans a day. I am consuming somewhere between 2,500 – 3,000 calories a day now. Here is the caveat with the ‘diet’, I am under no obligation to avoid anything other than soda. If everyone wants to go out for italian food, no problem, I just get right back to the diet for the next meal. Not a big deal. The diet honestly isn’t as much of a diet as it is trying to avoid fast food and cutting down on the portions of what I do eat. I still eat pretty much whatever I want,  just less of it. I also still break down, once or twice a week instead of 2 or 4 times a day, and eat fast food. I am not gestapo about the diet, it is just kind of a rough blueprint I can live with.

I am also training to run in the Beach to Bay relay marathon again in May. I ran a leg in the B2B last year, which means I mostly walked it. My leg was 4.8 miles and I finished in 1 hour 8 minutes with a pace of 15 minutes per mile. This year my leg is 4.3 miles and I have a goal of 45 minutes. I have been running 3 times a week since late Feb. I used a program called Ease Into 5K. It started me out on an interval of running for 60 seconds and walking for 90 seconds. It slowly raised the running increments to the point that I am running 15-20 minutes now and walking 3 minutes. When I first started the program, I was completing 1.5 – 2 miles in the 30 minute workout. I am now running 3-5 miles in just under an hour. My average pace at the moment is right around 12 minutes a mile. I have about a month to trim at least a minute per mile from that pace.

Some stats to date… When I started this routine I was 235 lbs. I’ve been weighing myself as soon as I wake up every morning. The lowest I’ve been is 207 and I was 209 this morning. I’ve been pretty consistently losing about 3 lbs a week. I had been wearing size 38 jeans but let’s be honest, I should have been wearing size 40 if not size 42. I am now on the last hole on all my belts and in need of replacing them. I’m comfortably wearing size 36 jeans now with a little extra room in them. I am probably a couple of weeks away from size 34 but I have no doubt I will be there before the race in late May.

My goal was to be at 210 lbs. by Beach 2 Bay, I’ve already beaten that. I had a 2012 goal of 190 lbs. before the end of the year. I have no doubt I will be at that weight by B2B. Once I hit 190, I don’t really have a desire to lose much more. I am sure it will happen just as I am sure there will be times when I gain some weight. My ultimate goal is to get, and stay, below 200 lbs and stay fit. I plan to keep running after B2B but I also plan to mix in some weight training after the race too.

I feel really good.

So, there is my really embarrassing story. I plan to mix in some updates here from time to time just to keep me honest and to keep you in the loop about my progress. If you’ve thought about getting in shape yourself and you have any questions about what I’ve done or if you just want to talk about your own goals and accomplishments, by all means shoot me an email. I would love to hear some inspiring stories.

 

 

My son is a delinquent!

It seems like every day I came home from work my wife told me that our son, Luke, had bitten someone at daycare. He was in the 1 year old room (he is 14 months) and he is one of the youngest of the 10-12 kids in the room. Apparently they’ve been having to keep one teacher assigned to him to keep him from eating the other kids in the room. I am not sure why he has been biting but while it was kind of funny at first, now that he is drawing blood and about to be kicked out, it’s not so funny any more.

I’ve taken him to his doctor who informed me that it is not out of the ordinary for this to be happening. I’ve talked to his teachers and the daycare director to see what can be done. It seems, not so much can be done other than to wait this phase of development out. Because, you know, when your son is knawing on the limbs and digits (and sometimes the face) of other children, you should just ignore it till it goes away apparently.

Fast forward to last Friday, I get a call from the daycare saying that Luke had bitten someone again and that my wife and I were going to need to find other accommodations for our little cannibal. At first I thought, you don’t want my son here, no problem – there are plenty of places that will enjoy a parent that pays tuition on time every month and never complains about anything. Then I got to thinking, if he really is a mini Hanibal Lecter, he is probably going to get kicked out his next daycare too. Do we really want to leave a trail of burned daycare bridges all over town? Probably not.

My wife and I spent the weekend trying to find someone that can meet our freakishly demanding list of criteria but doesn’t mind making less than minimum wage while doing it. Sure, I know we live in South Texas and there are literally millions of people in this area that would love to make a nice little undocumented income but I am not to keen on dropping my blond haired, blue eyed son off at someone’s house on my way to work in the morning only to have him carted off to Mexico to work in some slave trade by lunch time. See what I mean about freakishly demanding criteria? Number one on the list, no selling our son on the black market.

So, we’re researching our options – hoping that this decision won’t scar him for life. I just don’t know how anyone could look at that face and want to kick him out of their stupid little daycare. It’s not like he failed a drug test or anything… yet…

 

I love this dog…

So, there was this half marathon in Maryland earlier this year. No one told one of the participants that this was a ‘humans only’ event. Apparently a dog, Dozer, had the urge to do a little running himself. Rumor has it that Dozer jumped into the fray somewhere around the 5 mile mark and completed at least 7 miles of the 13 mile course.

Maryland Half Marathon co-founder Jon Sevel said many runners spotted Dozer in various places on the course, at times lapping up water from cups at rest areas, but nobody realized the dog was running solo. After running the final seven miles or so of the event, Dozer found his own way home Monday morning. He’s in good health after a precautionary trip to the vet and he received a medal from race organizers on Thursday.

“This is a very sweet dog,” said University of Maryland Medical Center spokeswoman Karen Warmkessel. “When I saw him today, he looked great. He was really active, and now he’s raising money for cancer research.”

To that point, Dozer now has his own runner’s page on the Maryland Half Marathon website, where fans can make a donation to the UM Greenebaum Cancer Center.

“At the very least, Dozer will have his own bib number — K9,” said Sevel. “We will definitely have him involved.”

A recent retrospective…

Corpus Christi

A few weeks ago I went back to a town I did a lot of growing up in. I left that town in 1997 and I’ve only been back a couple of times since, the most recent being about 4 years ago. I am the type of person that likes to frequently visit locations from my past. Even in the town I live in now, from time to time, I will still drive by old apartments, old jobs, old stomping grounds etc. My wife hates this. So, when we went back to Corpus 4 years ago, we didn’t do much reminiscing.

When I left home at 18, I joined the Navy. After brief stints for boot camp and photography school in Orlando and Pensacola, I was stationed in Corpus Christi as a photographer. Having that job, I got around the city a lot. I really liked a lot of things about Corpus and I intended to stay in town when I got out of the Navy. When I did get out, I went to work for one of the more prominent photographers in Corpus at the time. Working with him, I got to see even more of the city. I met a lot of city leaders and local celebrities. By then, Corpus had become my home. I had talked both my brother and my mom into moving down.

Eventually, an opportunity came up in San Antonio that was too good to pass up and I left Corpus for the big city. I’ve always had fond memories of Corpus and wished I could go back to visit more than I have.

So, with this opportunity to visit that I had a few weeks ago, I was REALLY excited to be able to get out and see some of my old haunts. I can’t even begin to describe how depressed it made me when I actually did start driving around. Very little has changed in that town in the last 14 years. It’s like it is stuck in a time warp except that everything is deteriorating rapidly. The perpetual heat, humidity, high wind and salt air aren’t helping. It was really sad.

I had a great time while I was there. My friends and I ran in the Beach to Bay Marathon and we plan to do it annually now. I also met up with an old friend for dinner. As much as it depressed me to see Corpus in it’s current condition, it still felt good to see where I used to call home.

I really wish Corpus would turn things around and start to rally but I am concerned that it won’t. It almost feels like a family member is slowing dying. It just makes me sad.

Road rage?

I was driving in to work today and I kind of pulled a dick move. I was at a 4 way stop next to a semi truck. There was another 4 way stop about 50 ft. ahead and the semi couldn’t go because traffic had backed up at the next 4 way stop and he would have been blocking cross traffic so he was waiting till he had space. I needed to get in his lane so I cut over once there was room, meaning he had to wait even longer.

So, for the rest of the way into work, I felt like I couldn’t get mad at anyone else on the way in to work, even if they pulled a dick move on me. Of course, all bets are off on the way home – it was just the duration of that commute that I felt the guilt.

That got me thinking about the rules of the road that they don’t teach in driver’s ed or defensive driving. Without further adieu, the Rules of the Road (according to Brian)…

1. The biggest asshole on the road, without question, is the person that sees a long line of cars and drives up to the front and cuts in. There is a special place in hell for that idiot. If you are that idiot stop doing it – just stop!

2. You can’t get mad at other people driving like a retard if you are driving like a retard. For further clarification, don’t complain to the person you are talking to on the phone (while driving) about the jerk talking to someone on their phone while driving in front of you.

3. Sometimes when I see someone pull a dick move on someone else, especially if it was intentional, I will catch up to that person and pull a dick move on them. My favorite tricks for this scenario include tailgating, getting in front of the violator and slowing down only to speed up when they try to pass me, and of course, the ole Mexican road block.

4. People wouldn’t get so mad about you putting on make-up, talking on your phone, eating or disciplining your children in the backseat (while driving) if you would do it in the slow lane instead of the fast lane.

5. If you have to decide whether to pay your insurance premium or go to the club on a particular evening, seriously, you are too poor to drive. There is no shame in riding the bus when you’re poor… unless you are going to the club so if that is the scenario you find yourself in, stay home and save your money…

6. Karma will catch you on the road. If not today, soon my friends… soon…

So, I think I got all the important stuff there. I reserve the right to append to this list if I missed anything. so… did I miss anything?

brian

What happens when you kiss girls…

Mary Kate and I started a team in a bowling league this Fall. It was supposed to be just a fun, relaxing way to drink a little beer, get a little exercise and maybe meet a few people. We invited David and Mari to be on our team along with Jason and Javan.

Things started out great. We weren’t very good bolwers but we were having a good time. Most of the people we were bolwing against were older but that didn’t stop them from putting a beat down on us.

After a while, some of these old people started talking smack while we were bowling. Me, being mildly competitive, I started really working hard to get better so I could run it back at the geriatrics. MK, not being quite as competitive, was content to just have a good time.

After a while, the perpetual losing would take it’s toll and David would wander back to the bar and attempt to drown everyone’s sorrows with a shot of Juarez tequila. Crazy as it sounds, we would typically start to bowl better after our shot, and the old people started to notice. Either we were getting better and they didn’t want to fire us up or they were scared of the Juarez ritual. Either way, we started winning and the smack talk stopped.

So, the point of this whole story is, one night on our way home from the bowling alley, MK asked me to stop at our friendly neighborhood CVS. I asked her what she needed there and she told me it was ‘lady stuff’ and I shouldn’t worry about it – so I didn’t. She went in, got what she needed and got back in the car, where we proceeded to head home.

We get home and I start playing on the computer while MK goes off to do what ever it is women do. A little while later, she sticks these two sticks in front of me. I only vaguely know what they are and I have even less knowledge of how they work but I am guessing the fact that she is showing them to me means what I think it means…

I am going to be a dad…

brian

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