Friday, January 28, 2011

Plans and more plans

So today is another day. I am great today. The vacation is coming up quickly; I have some really fun plans for the weekend. Work is going good and classes are still over a month away. My birthday is also coming up rather quickly as well. I have touched in a previous blog post that I am not looking forward to turning 40. Ugh, it just seems so old. Even though I know it is not, I just remember being a kid and thinking holy crap your 40! Man, your old, not that is going to be me. I am just not ready for that. Melissa and I will be in Bozeman Montana for my birthday. I am so excited. I love Bozeman. We are going to walk on main street, visit our favorite shops, and the highlight will be my much coveted birthday dinner at The Pita Pit. Sweet! The vacation plans have taken shape and I am now more excited than ever.

Here is the itinerary as of today:

Feb 10th Leave, plan to make it to Billings MT

Feb 11th Head to Bozeman MT for the my birthday.

Feb 12th Spend the day in Bozeman and surrounding area.

Feb 13th Head to Big Sky area and ski Moonlight Basin

Feb 14th Ski Big Sky, special Valentines dinner at Moonlight Basin

Feb 15th Ski Big Sky

Feb 16th Depending on the weather and snow conditions, back to Bozeman area for the day to ski Bridger Bowl

Feb 17th Ski Big Sky and Moonlight Basin with the combo lift ticket

Feb 18th Leave and head to Red Lodge MT and depending on weather and snow conditions ski at Red Lodge

Feb 19th Again depending on weather and snow, another day at Red Lodge or we start home.

We are hoping for good fresh snow daily. I just want to ski powder and hoping we get dumped on. But without a doubt this is going to be a great trip. I love Montana, the south west corner of Montana makes me smile even just thinking about it. I wish we could live out there, but I just don’t think we can pick up and move. Melissa and I both have really good jobs and it would be hard to leave that. But it is just so fun for me to dream about that somehow that makes up for it, even if just a little bit. I am bringing my little Flip camera and plan on making some little movies while I am there. Hopefully I will be able to share some of them with you. I have a few plans on movie locations; I am hoping it works out.

The weekend is looking like it is going to be a lot of fun, tomorrow Melissa and I are meeting a friend of hers at Louis Vuitton in the Galleria in Edina, Melissa’s friend is going to buy her first piece of Louis Vuitton and she wants to share her happiness with us. It is a long story, but it is going to be a fun day.
Sunday Melissa and I are heading to the Metrodome to rollerblade in the afternoon. It sounds like me might have a friend or two joining us which will be awesome. I love rollerblading there so I am looking forward to it.

In other news, I think I have decided where I am going to build my little Buddha shrine, besides the likeness of the Buddha and I am going to add a Ganesha as well. Even though Ganesha is found mainly in the Hindu philosophy, I enjoy the association with Ganesha as The Lord of Obstacles.Ganesha is popularly worshipped as a remover of obstacles, though traditionally he also places obstacles in the path of those who need to be checked. I wear a Ganesha pendant around my neck whenever I am facing a difficult task. Now I just have to find the perfect Ganesha for my little shrine. More news on that later.

Classes are coming up fairly quick, I start my next 2 classes on March 14th, I am taking a Math classes and a history of the Vietnam War class, I am looking forward to both. But right now it is so nice to not have to do any school stuff.
I hope you have a great weekend.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011


A work story:

Here is why working at the state can be so fucking stupid. Bear with me as I set this up.

On every floor in my building there are 2 kitchen areas with tables and chairs to eat lunch or have a quick meeting. In these areas besides the tables there are a couple of microwaves, vending machines and supplies, forks, spoons, napkins things like that. These areas are called community areas. The other day I went to heat up my lunch in the kitchen area that is closest to my cube. When I arrived I found both microwaves free and 2 people in there talking. One is an IT gal and the other a receptionist gal. I proceeded to throw my meal in the wave and get it cooking. I walked over to the cabinet to grab a plastic fork out of the box of 5000 forks in the cabinet and this conversion ensued:

Receptionist Gal: Eric you can’t have a fork.

Eric: I’m sorry what?

Receptionist Gal: Those forks or for ITS only.

Eric: I’m in ITS

Receptionist Gal: No you are in SSIS ITS and those supplies come out of a different budget then yours.

Eric: Are you serious I can't have one? And we have a budget for forks?!?

(at this point the other IT gal, looked down in utter embarrassment )

Receptionist Gal: Yes, those kitchen supplies come out of our budget. But you can have one this time, but just remember for next time.

(at this point I was in such shock that I wasn’t even sure what to say and kept waiting for a Sheldon “Bazinga!”, but sadly no such luck)

Eric: No that’s ok; I will just eat my stir fry with my hands.

Receptionist Gal: (silence)

I put the fork back in the box and wandered back to the microwave and finished heated my meal which had a few more minutes left on it. The 2 ladies continued to talk for another minute and then walked out of the kitchen area. 20 seconds later the IT gal came back, went in the cabinet, grabbed something and walked over to me. She held up a fork and gave it to me. And said, “Here this is my gift to you since I work in ITS.” Rolled her eyes, laughed and walked back to her desk. I said thanks, smiled and went back to my desk to eat.

This just shows how stupid and ridiculous some of the “rules” here at the state are. The budget thing here is so stupid that they make sure apparently that only certain people are allowed to use kitchen supplies in certain areas of the floor. I walked over to the other kitchen and discovered that apparently I am supposed to use supplies from that side. *sigh*


Monday, January 24, 2011

Lutsen, she loves me, she loves me not...

I have a love hate relationship with Lutsen, and I am beginning to think Lutsen is figuring it all out. First, I have been going to Lutsen since I was about 6 years old. My parents and I would go up there during the summer and we would stay at Lutsen Resort. It was a great time with lots of awesome memories. As a kid I would spend my day down on the beach throwing as many rocks as I could into Lake Superior. I would do this all day long. In fact when it was time to go home, my dad would say, “You threw so many rocks in the lake I think you caused it to raise a few inches.” Looking back it was pretty funny, because I believed I did raise the lake level… So the next time we were up in Lutsen for a family trip I would just throw more rocks. But more recently Lutsen was the place that I learned to ski. I took my first ski lesson there and I truly fell in love with the sport there. I spent many days perfecting my turns on Big Bunny and Ullr. I learned how to ski steeper lines on Split Rock, Chris’s Couloir, Cliff Run, and Raven. I learned how to ski the trees on Red Fox, Cedar Ridge, Red Rider and Moose Maze. Heck, me and a buddy even made our own run there once and named it, sadly Lutsen would not let me pay for a sign and have it become an official run, true story I asked. To me Lutsen is like my jealous mistress, it knows that it will never be first, it will never be my favorite, and it knows that some of its short comings frustrate me beyond belief… It know this because every single time I go there the weather is terrible, the conditions are bad, or a combination of the 2. Don’t get me wrong, I have had some excellent days up there, but I have had more disappointments then I care to count. While this weekend was not a disappointment it was cold, I don’t mind the cold, I have lots and lots of warm clothes but I hate the wind. That just ruins the day for me.

Let’s recap, Friday the drive up was excellent, We got into so little fluffy snow at about Hinckley and it continued snowing all the way up to Lutsen, there was maybe a very fluffy inch of snow on the ground when we checked into our hotel, but besides the nice fluffy snow, the temps were dropping it was -8 when we got our stuff unloaded and into our room, the one saving grace at the time was there was no wind, below zero is ok until the wind picks up, then it is just unbearable. We got a good night sleep and got up Saturday morning, ate breakfast and made our way up to the hill to ski. The temp was about-2 when we got to the parking area and got ready to go. We clicked into our skis and started across to the 10th Mountain chair we got right on and headed up to the runs on the north face of Eagle Mountain, these are my favorite runs, they are single and double black diamonds and they are a lot of fun. On the way up I was noticing there was some good snow around, untracked powder from the snow fall last night and from a larger one the area had, had a few nights before. We did our warm up run on KooKoo which is a really fun single black, we took that back to the same chair and went back up, over the next hour or so we skied Chris’s Couloir, Cliff Run, Raven and made pretty dang awesome powder turns on our secret run. I gave Melissa first tracks on our run, she cut some very nice powder turns, I followed and discovered nice soft snow. It was great. After that we headed to the gondola and took it over to Moose Mountain, we sat in the Chalet for a bit to warm up because of course the wind started to pick up and it was getting colder outside as the wind chills were dropping. We sat in the Chalet for about 30 minutes and warmed up and then head back out. We found powder on Grizzly which we skied twice and I found good snow on the tree run Bear’s Den. We had a great time on the long cruisers on Moose Mountain. We skied over there for about 2 hours, we decided then that we were hungry so we headed back on the tram to the main area and decided to have a sit down lunch at Papa Charlie’s. We had a nice lunch, discussed the day so far and warmed up for the rest of the afternoon. We headed back out after lunch and noticed that the winds had indeed picked up more and that it was getting colder. We decided to check out the runs on the beginner mountain Ullr. We could the Ullr lift up and Melissa skied Molly’s Folly and I skied Tony’s Tango. Melissa said Mollys was really fun and I had a great time on Tony’s, but we decided to hit the runs on Eagle again. We skied Expert’s Cutoff which turned out to be excellent and went back to a few that we had skied that morning. The wind was blowing out of the north and it was blowing pretty hard. The snow was blowing off the north facing runs so they were getting icy. We decided to call it a day about 3pm and hit the little shops that we like in the area. It overall a good day, but by the end of the day I was frozen and was ready to be done. We got in the car and headed back to the hotel and I said to Melissa, “Why can’t we just have a normal day here?” She thought the same thing, but we laughed it off and continued on with our weekend away. We had dinner at the Crooked Spoon in Grand Marais, it was pretty good. I think we were both glad we tried it but after I think we both would have wished we would have gone to the Gunflint Tavern which besides Sven and Oles pizza is our favorite place in Grand Marais to eat. We got back to the hotel, watched some TV, read and went to bed.
Sunday met us with -11 below temps and light snow. The forecast was for warming temps and winds to pick up in the late afternoon, which was perfect because we knew we would be on the road about 2-230 to make the drive home. We packed up, had breakfast and made our way up to the hill, we got ready and jumped on Bridge Run. The snow had picked up a bit and it was looking like it was going to be a great day, we headed up to Eagle and did Kookoo, Cliff, Raven and our secret run, all skied well. We then decided to hit Moose and do a few runs over there. When we exited the gondola the snow let up a bit but it was still snowing. We decided to go into the Chalet and warm up for a few minutes. While in there the snow had picked up again, we headed back out and skied the top half of Grizzly and cut into the tress for the bottom half. We did a few more runs and the winds hit. Wait what, it is not late afternoon? It is barely noon. The wind started blow so hard that it instantly got cold and I mean really cold. We decided to head back to the main area and see if we could get out of the wind. Nope no luck, like I said Lutsen knows that I love/hate it and therefore gets me back by making the wind follow me whichever way I was going. On a couple runs the wind was blowing so hard that we were literally slowing down. Yeah, no fun. I looked at Melissa and said, “I’m done…” She agreed and we packed up and head for home. Booooo! I was disappointed. There was a nice light snow and gale force winds. Sucked. Oh well, we enjoyed our drive home and talked about the fun that we had. We stopped for a late lunch/early dinner in Duluth. We arrived home safely had a nice evening together relaxing and watching a movie.

Lutsen taunts me because she is not number 1 and I know this because I watch the weather. Last weekend it snowed a foot up there and the weather was nice. 15-20 degrees and light winds, this week I get there and it is the coldest weekend so far this winter. I left yesterday afternoon, today it is supposed to snow and the temperature is going to warm up to the low 20’s. Lutsen is a beautiful place, it is a great ski resort, the views from the mountains of the Lake Superior and of the north woods are nothing short of incredible. And I certainly cannot blame them for the weather. But I can blame them for the extremely high lift ticket prices and the, while very quaint and old school lifts, it is time to upgrade them. It is sad to me that I will be less money to ski at 3 resorts in Montana next month then I pay at Lutsen.

Will I stop going to Lutsen to ski, no way. I love and hate my relationship to much with her to do that.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Emails make me smile

I got a really nice email from a friend of mine yesterday about my blog, mostly I was glad to have gotten the email. But at the same time it was nice to hear that someone could relate to some of my ramblings. And that is what they are, ramblings. When I write a blog posting I sit down and write it. I don’t check spelling usually or even reread the post to check grammar. I feel that way I will not change anything, the post might read weird, but that is how my brain works. Weird and doesn’t make sense. So for the possible reader out there that thought, “Holy crap Eric is a really bad speller or his grammar sucks.” Now you know why, but at the same time please feel free to think that anyway.

Last night running at the Metrodome started up again, Melissa and I went down it was a great time. I went 8 laps which is 3.18 miles and Melissa went 6 which is 2.25 miles. I really enjoy running there and am so glad that it is back. After running we stopped at Ruby Tuesday’s for dinner. We have one right down the street from our house and like to go there once and a while for their salad bar. We are planning on going running again on Thursday.

I am going to take a break from working out tonight. I over did it the other day with weight lifting and now I can barely lift my arms. I also have decided that I don’t want to start my new leg routine tonight because I will fry my legs and with Lutsen this weekend I don’t want to screw that up but having my legs so sore I can’t even ski and that would suck.

I love travel guides. I have a few of them, I like the Lonely Planet guides the best. I even have a couple for places that I will probably never go, but it is fun to read them. I say that only because I got my New York City guide in the mail yesterday. I think I am finally going to break down and plan a trip for Melissa and I to NYC. I have never had much of a desire to go there, but I have a few friends that love it and have told me that I should check it out. I love Chicago and always thought that was about my limit for city size. Chicago is a big city, but to me it doesn’t feel big. When we were in London, I thought yup this is my limit on city size. So if you can see the progression here, I am guessing I will go to NYC and say, “Yup, this is my limit on city size.” Even though I would kill to live in the mountains I like living in the city, but I don’t like a big busy loud city… yeah, that doesn’t make any sense at all. But I think that is why I have such a hesitation to go to New York, because it just seems, huge, loud and dirty… But it looks like we are going to go. I looked a bit online and New York is like a little country so hence the guide book, I have no idea where to go or where to stay. But we will see what happens. I would like to go this summer and try to see a Yankees game while we are there; I think that would be fun. So plans are slowly being formed in my brain.

Melissa is becoming an expert at making fruit smoothies in the Vitamix. She made one yesterday before we went running that was seriously good. I love that thing. Seriously it is an awesome machine. If you don’t have one, go buy one right now. We made spinach pesto the other night in it and it was so damn good and really healthy. Tonight we are making Daal soup. I am interested to try it. The recipe sounds really good and I like soup so it is a win win… At least I hope it will be.

I love the show Whale Wars. We are watching season 3 right now and it is really amazing. I am very tempted to put in an application to volunteer on one of their ships. Melissa thinks I should. I am chicken but I think it would be great. I believe in their cause and even agree with their tactics. I think it would be the adventure of a life time and also a great way to see Antarctica. We are about half way through season 3 and I can’t wait to see how it ends.

That’s all for now.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Simple Wisdom

It is said that once on a place called Vulture’s Peak, the Buddha surround by his followers sat quietly and all at once held up a golden Lotus flower. All of the monks looked at each other confused as they tried to discern the meaning of this gesture. Then, suddenly, the Buddha smiled. He smiled because someone in the audience smiled at him and at the flower. The meaning is quite simple, when someone holds up a flower and shows it to you; he wants you to see it. If you keep thinking, you miss the flower. The person who was not thinking, who was just himself, was able to encounter the flower in depth, and he smiled. If we are not fully ourselves, truly in the present moment, we miss everything.


I would really like to go winter camping. But I am lacking a couple things in the gear department, first is a four season tent and the other is a beefier sleeping bag. I have a nice sleeping bag but it is only rated to 20 degrees. I would like something that is rated down to at least 0 degrees, I guess I could rent the stuff but I like the idea of using my own gear. So for now that continues to be a pipe dream.

We are headed up to Lutsen this weekend as a last minute deal. Lutsen has been getting a lot of snow this past week so in theory the conditions should be really good for skiing. I am guessing we are only going to make one trip up there this year. I think we are going to try to get over to the upper peninsula of Michigan as well; they have been getting a lot of snow in the UP so it could be good and people say that the skiing is great up there, so I would like to give it a try. I love Lutsen but sometimes I really get disappointed there, they certainly cannot control the weather so it is more operational things that bug me.

I am in the throes of my new workout routine. I have been going to gym at least 4 times a week and I am really enjoying it. I am still working out a routine but I think I now have one that will work for me. I think once I get everything straight, I will be doing 3 – 4 times at the gym doing weight lifting and working out with the heavy bag which I am really enjoying. There is something very satisfying about punching something with all of your might. It is good. But the best news is that running at the Metrodome has started again. The dome collapsed a few weeks ago after a heavy snowfall and they still do not have it fixed, but they are starting up running and rollerblading again so that is great news. I will be going tonight for the first time in a few weeks so I am looking forward to that. I am planning on 3 – 5 miles tonight. Should be good.

I am really looking forward to our trip to Big Sky this year. Every time we have gone to Big Sky I give myself a goal of a couple runs to ski. The first time it was The Bowl, the second year it was Wardance and Liberty Bowl, last year it was to ski off the Challenger Lift, all of which I have completed, and let me tell you they all felt great, it is kind of fun for me to go out there with a goal, I enjoy the challenge that skiing out west presents me every time. I am guessing that to the average west skier those goals are pretty lame, but to me they are major. This year I have decided that if the conditions are good, I am going to ski the runs Marx and or Lenin. These are the big south face bowls coming down off the summit of Lone Peak, there are huge runs, steep and they look awesome. I have attached a photo of the runs from a distance so you can see the whole run from top to bottom. Marx is on the right and Lenin is on the left. Awesome!

You access them both off the tram via the yeti Traverse. I am hoping that everything works out for these two monster runs. I also have a few other smaller goals but this is my biggie. Plans are also starting to come together for other special things that we are going to do while out there; right now at the top of the list is Valentine’s Day dinner. I think we are going to eat at the very nice restaurant at Moonlight Basin so I am looking forward to the thought of that.
Good Times!

Friday, January 14, 2011


Another week down and just a few more till we leave for our ski vacation to Big Sky Montana. I am really excited and can’t wait to get out there. That area of the rockies is really getting some nice snow so I am hoping that will continue so we can ski in that perfect Montana powder. I have already started packing in my mind which I guess happens every year but this year I think I am looking forward to getting out there more. I have some skiing goals this year so I am hoping to cross a few of those off.

Melissa starts her day shifts next week which will be awesome, no more working till 930 or 1130. Sweet! Even though she didn’t work those shifts real often, it will be nice for her not to have to work them at all. It will also be nice for baseball season. She will not have to miss anymore Twins games. Last season she couldn’t go to a few due to her schedule at work, it will be nice not to have to worry about that anymore.

Last weekend we bought a Vitamix Blender. So far the thing is awesome, we made soup in it the other day and it turned out really good. It cooks right in the blender. The blades spin so fast that it heats up the soup; it is really easy, healthy and good. It is pretty fun too. We are looking forward to using our Vitamix a lot in the near future. I have also used it to make vegetable juice drinks and fruit smoothies. We even made ice cream in it. It is a really cool machine. Even though it was a little pricey I can see the health benefits from the things it makes, so I think in the long run it will be worth the price.

I registered this week for what will be my fifth session of Mini-Medical School. Once again I am really looking forward to going. Sadly I am going to miss the first week due to being in Montana, but I will not miss any of the other sessions so it will be good. This session is on regenerative medicine. The schedule looks very interesting and I am looking forward to it starting up.

My birthday is right around the corner. I cannot believe I am going to be 40 this year. I think I am having a harder time with it than I thought I would. I was thinking the other day about times past and everything just seems so long ago. I miss so many things that I used to do when I was younger, things that unfortunately I am too old to do now. But I have a whole new set of things that I enjoy now so I guess it is sort of just a wash… Give up some things to gain others. I guess that is the way I need to start thinking. All in all I think it is just hard to admit you are old and can’t do some of the things that you could when you were younger, and I think I am one of those people. It is scary to think that 40 is the middle of one’s life and usually means that you are now on the decline, which to me is really scary. I have a lot more to do… The one thing about my birthday this year is once again I will be able to spend it in Montana. If everything goes as planned at least with the drive, I will be having my birthday dinner in Bozeman at the Pita Pit. I love the Pita Pit so I am looking forward to that…

It is nice to have a few months away from school; I have 2 classes that will start in March, a math class and a history of the Vietnam War class. I am looking forward to both. After they are done, I will have the end in sight.

I am looking forward to the weekend, I am hoping for a nice relaxing weekend. I hope you have a great weekend as well…

Monday, January 10, 2011

The Power of the Peak

This is just a great post from the Big Sky blog. I know the power of this mountain and to read her story is really fun. I have been on the top of Lone Peak multiple times and know the beauty, the awe, the immense feeling of a connection to something bigger than you from the top of this beautiful mountain.

The second time I skied from the summit of Lone Peak down a run called Liberty Bowl, I stopped a 1/4 way down to admire the view. I ended up sitting down in the snow for about 15 minutes and looked around taking everything in, this amazing ski run I was on, this beautiful place I was in and then it hit me. I realized while sitting on the side of this gigantic piece of rock truly how small I truly am in the universe. It was the weirdest and most amazing felling I have ever had. In fact it had such an effect on me that I can remember it like it was yesterday, when actually it was 3 years ago. I think the thing that makes Lone Peak so unique is that it is kind of on it's own. (hence the name) It is an 11,166' mountain in it's own space. Sure there are other mountains around but none are really close, so it is just really neat how this mountain sits by itself away from the others...

click on line below to enjoy the Big Sky blog post:

The Power of the Peak: Love on Lone Mountain

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Silence of the Lambs...

So I bought we bought a cast iron dutch oven the night. Like I said in my last blog post I have a bunch of recipes to try and a couple of them called for a dutch oven. I did a little research online and discovered that Le Creuset was the king of the hill when it comes to cast iron dutch oven’s, but I had a really hard time spending $250 on a pot I wasn’t sure that I would get a lot use out of. We have really nice cookware at home and I know that it pays to spend some money on cooking stuff, but I continued to do some research and found another option. Fontignac cast iron is also made in France and gets really good reviews and is half the price, so we went that route. It seems like a nice pot, I am looking forward to giving it a try. The thing weighs like 50 pounds, it is crazy. Anyway, I think the first thing I am going to try in it is a Moroccan-style Lamb Stew. I am not sure I like lamb, but the recipe really sounds good and the reviews that people have written include a lot of “I never liked lamb till I had this recipe” stuff like that, so I am going to give it a go. I think Sunday.

Here is the recipe:


Cooking spray
1 (1-pound) boneless leg of lamb roast, trimmed and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
1 1/2 cups chopped onion
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground red pepper
6 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1/2 cup dried apricots, quartered
1 (14-ounce) can fat-free, lower-sodium beef broth


Heat a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Sprinkle lamb evenly with 1/2 teaspoon salt. Add lamb to pan; sauté 4 minutes, turning to brown on all sides. Remove from pan.

Add onion; sauté for 4 minutes, stirring frequently. Add remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, cumin, and next 3 ingredients (through garlic); sauté for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Stir in honey and tomato paste; cook 30 seconds, stirring frequently.

Return lamb to pan. Add apricots and broth; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 1 hour or until lamb is tender, stirring occasionally.

I don’t know, it sounds pretty good I think. Nervous about the lamb part...

In other news I went out snowshoeing yesterday. I was OK, the rain basically ruined the snow on the trail which was a total bummer. Now I am hoping for more snow to make the snowshoeing trails soft and nice again instead of hard and crappy. Oh Well…

Tonight Melissa and I are headed to Everest on Grand for dinner. I am really looking forward to going. I love that place. It is Nepali food and they have really good chow. Melissa loves the Yak Momos as do I. That’s right Yak… A Momo is a little steamed dumpling. They are really damn good. I am not sure what else we are going to get but their food is really good so whatever we have will be awesome.

I am heading out on my snowboard tomorrow after work, I think. I need to get out there and give it another go. I am thinking about buying a 3 pack of lessons from Welch to see if I can learn to ride before we head west. I think it would be really fun to ride in Montana a bit.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Changes in 2011

Happy New Year!

So I have decided to make some fairly major life changes this year. I know everyone say that, but I am not one for the resolutions thing. But this year something told me to make some changes. I think as I am getting older I am really starting to change my ideals, way of thinking, and thoughts. I am hoping that the year of 2011 brings me happiness, adventure, good health and a quiet mind.

Basically I have decided to rebuild myself. Not that I really think there is a lot wrong with me, I am very happy with the person that I am but there are a few things that I would like to change and make better. I think everyone can easily say that if they look at themselves there are things they would like to improve. I am certainly one of those people.

First I would like to improve my fitness level and lose some weight. My favorite jeans are a little tight and that makes me sad. I hate buying clothes because my clothes don’t fit. 2 years ago I started training for a 25k trail race and lost about 40lbs in a very short time. I changed everything, the way I ate, my exercise level and what I did for exercise. My goal for the race was to finish and not be last, (I know lofty goals) but I did finish and I wasn’t last and it felt great. I also skied like a mad person that next winter in Montana. My legs were so strong that I was able to ski what worked out to be in the neighborhood of 100,000 vertical feet in 6 days of skiing. So long story short, I am going to get back in the swing of healthy eating and a lot more exercise. It stinks because I was really enjoying the running at the dome this year until the stupid roof collapsed and they stopped the running there. I was running 5 miles twice a week, I loved it. I can’t run at all on a treadmill so that is out and I can’t run outside when it is so cold out so I am going to do snowshoeing, weight training and other cardio options at the gym I belong too. I think in the long run it will work out great! I have also been trying to change my eating habits, especially at work. Drinking a ton of water and trying not to graze in co-workers candy dished throughout the day. So far that part of the plan is going really good! I have been drinking about 64oz of water a day at work and having a sensible lunch, I have also been trying to eat breakfast every morning which I normally did not do, also working out well. For dinners I am going to try to make healthier better dinners at home. Melissa and I eat well, don’t get me wrong, we are not big fast food people by any means but we do enjoy going out for dinner. I have been working hard to come up with some fun recipes for things to try. A friend of mine gave me 8 old issues of Cooking Light magazine and I found about 20 or so recipes in there that we are going to try. It is going to interesting.

Second, I would like to get more into my Buddhism practice. I have read a lot of the Dhammapada and love the way it is written. It makes sense to me and overall Buddhism works for me. I want to build a shrine in a quiet room in our home and do more meditation, I think it will help quiet my mind and help me in other things. I truly long for a spiritual connection to something and I think my way to that is going to be through the teachings of the Buddha. This is really important to me, but I really don’t know how to get there. I am working on this.

Third, I will finish school this year. I can see the end. It has been a LONG and very slow road but it has been an excellent experience. I will always regret not taking my education more serious in high school and then moving on to college then like I should have. But for now I am incredibly happy with my cheesy 2 year degree that will have taken me almost (gasp) 8 years to get. But boy how my life has changed in those 8 years… I guess looking back on it I wouldn’t have changed anything about my life experiences to this point. But sadly I realized 15 years to late what I think my true calling is, and I am OK with that but it will always bug me a little bit. But overall I am proud of myself for at least trying to finish something I started on a dare 8 years ago all the while, working full time, going through what turned out to be a disaster of a first marriage, selling my dream house that I once owned, meeting and falling in love again and remarrying, and getting that relationship off the ground. So basically I have had to start and stop my education a number of times which is why this has seriously taken me so long to do this. Also take one or two classes a year doesn’t help. But that has changed and I will finish this year! I have it pretty much all planned out and it is going to be good.

Don’t get me wrong, I am very happy with my life and the cards that I have been dealt. Of course I have regrets. And often wonder what would have happened if I would have turned left instead of right a couple times but because of those right hand turns I am the person that I am. Life is good and gets better every day…