Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Transformation Tuesday

So I've been doing some reading, and by reading I mean some paragraphs with pictures and charts n stuff.
OK, so I'm about to get real here. So if you'd rather not read serious ramblings from my phyche then swipe right!
Here it goes. It's no big secret that I may or may not have issues, socially to be more specific (I saw where you were going there). I hate to admit it, I hate to talk about it, I fight it constantly and will continue to fight it, but a little over 20 years ago it was discovered that I have a chemical imbalance of the brain. My body doesn't produce enough of certain chemicials (mainly melatonin and serotonin). This disorder they call "depression". I hate that word, it's too connected to the word "depressed". Which is associated with "having the blues". Chemical imbalance sounds more medical and technical and less offensive to me. But I still hate the fact that I have it.
Some side affects of this imbalance are the same as symptoms of another issue I've been reading about which I touched on earlier, you know reading?
These symptoms may in fact may not be side affects of depression but just who I am, whether or not going through an episode of depression. Sure if you think about it, it still doesn't sound appealing. Yeah for the most part it's not, but here is the spin.
Society for the most part gets things wrong. In this case I think they've done ok. I'm not sure how long this info has been out there, I myself have only heard about it in the last year or so and more in the last few months. So some people have done some studying, did some math, used some scientific beakers, got some dean of a college to sign a paper and wholah, we have a positive spin on negative words and behavior.
What I've been called many a time, and it's ok, its true, but I've been labeled as "grumpy, stick in the mud, anti-social, shy, even stuck up, too good and depressed". There are probably more but whatever. All these words are adjectives that sound negative. You get society to call someone an "Introvert" and it all goes away and seems ok. "He's not shy or grumpy. He's an introvert."
In reading it's ok to be an introvert. Here is a little snippet of one article -
Definition: Contrary to what most people think, an introvert is not simply a person who is shy. In fact, being shy has little to do with being an introvert! Shyness has an element of apprehension, nervousness and anxiety, and while an introvert may also be shy, introversion itself is not shyness. Basically, an introvert is a person who is energized by being alone and whose energy is drained by being around other people.
Introverts are more concerned with the inner world of the mind. They enjoy thinking, exploring their thoughts and feelings. They often avoid social situations because being around people drains their energy. This is true even if they have good social skills. After being with people for any length of time, such as at a party, they need time alone to "recharge."
When introverts want to be alone, it is not, by itself, a sign of depression. It means that they either need to regain their energy from being around people or that they simply want the time to be with their own thoughts. Being with people, even people they like and are comfortable with, can prevent them from their desire to be quietly introspective.
Being introspective, though, does not mean that an introvert never has conversations. However, those conversations are generally about ideas and concepts, not about what they consider the trivial matters of social small talk

It makes alot of sense to me. It's hard for me to be around alot of people, its not because I'm shy or anti-social or that I don't like you, its just who I am. For some reason I have a hard time in crowds, especially ones where I can't move or get away from. I'm not good with conversation, I'm not good with attention and it makes me nervous and anxious. Too much of it and I need to get away and recharge. You can't see it but a battle is constantly going on in my head, even when I'm just vegging, sitting there like a monkey on a rock. I think I veg because my brain has to shut down so I don't have an episode.
And its crazy to think I'm in the communications industry, since I have a hard time communicating. But if customers call me and need something from me then its ok, they reach out. If I have to lead the action, be an extrovert if you will, then things get difficult.
And its possible being an introvert can cause depression episodes. And vice versa. But because one is going on doesn't me the other is happening, make sense?
It does to me! And it removes a big chunk off my shoulders knowing that just because I'm quiet or anti-social doesn't mean I'm depressed or having an episode of depression. Which is good because I hate having depression. The more I can think I'm just being an introvert the less I can think there is something wrong with me by having depression. See?
Now of course there are drugs for depression and there might even be drugs for introversion, and they might be the same drugs. But who has money and time for all that noise?
I'm sorry to my family and the friends that I don't have and never hang out with. I don't hate you. In fact I like you alot. If you see me then your actually alright, just not for too long ;)
In thinking about it I realize I'm not alone either. I just discovered a poster child for the introverts in my own family, well married into the family. He's known our family for close to 40 years I bet, quiet, doesn't say much, prefers to do his own thing, has great hobbies and enjoys them mostly alone. Sure he does stuff with people and his family all the time too. This guy does NOT have depression! So you don't have to have depression to be an introvert, or vice versa. Perfectly normal guy, just keeps to himself mostly. And no one bats an eye or gives him any grief. How about that?
Yes I like to do things alone, I like to be alone, I like to hear my own thoughts most of the time. This is why! I know me, I'm comfortable with me. Doesn't mean I can't be with other people or around other people, doesn't mean I don't like other people. I do like other people. I like my family, I like being with my family, I like going places with my family. But yeah, sometimes I don't like going places. Sometimes it makes me a nervous wreck. I've struggled with this, I don't know if that makes me a bad person or not, or just part of my introvert personality? By all means I know its still not good, and yes I'm working on my personality. But knowing is half the battle.
Sure, I'd rather not be these things. Life would be easier all around. But it is what it is.

"People see something strange, something they don't understand and they get afraid. Show them the beauty of that strange thing and they're no longer afraid because it becomes a part of them" - Bruce Lee

Monday, November 04, 2013

Our Town

So let me back track a few years, 2 to be exact. Now I wasn't big on the high school band, band kids were geeks. I was sports, the band was lucky enough to play during one half at a home game when I was growing up.
Now I married into a "Marching Band" family. My wife wasn't in marching band but her siblings were. She has always like marching band though. And not only were they in marching band but they were in the American Fork Marching Band. Apparently unknown to me, AF is nationally famous, really good and all that jazz. AF band is the "be all to end all" as far as Marching Bands go?
In 2011 my oldest son joined marching band for Westlake High School out of Saratoga Springs Utah. Brand new school, only open for a couple years before he started. My wife helped out with everything as a "band mom". So naturally I was initiated as a "band dad". So I decided to help. I got put on "pit". It's all the percussion instruments that have to be pushed onto the field along with props and what not. All the heavy lifting kind of stuff, load and unload trailers that kind of thing.
It was cool, did a few performance run through's, then the "Weber Review". Not really a competition, just a show to see what we have and get critiqued on what needs to be fixed for competition. Didn't see many bands perform since I was busy with all the heavy lifting junk. The big band (5A) played last. I saw AF perform and was like, "This is it?" They weren't that great. Saw Davis high school after that and was blown away! Davis has a long standing awarding winning tradition also I come to find out. And rightfully so, they were amazing. From that performance I could see why people get into this stuff.
That season we had a great entertaining show (tribal thing), we didn't win alot of performances because of Timpview (get to that later). Can't remember what place we took that year in state but didn't make it to BOA finals.
Bring on 2012, now I didn't help with that season because I was still nursing a bad foot. But the show was great (colorful art theme), kids had matured, directors made changes to the show. Although first year was entertaining it was lacking certain criteria that won awards. So we started winning some captions, can't remember if we came in first place, I know we came in 2nd alot because of Timpview. Timpview has a long standing tradition of winning. They play it safe and hit all the points needed for awards, not entertaining but good and what is being looked at by judges. That year Timp went to another competition instead of the Red Rocks state finals, so without them there we won State in 4A division. We also made it into the BOA finals for the 1st time, place 10th out of 10 but it was still something with all the great shows that year. I think AF won the whole thing, Davis in 2nd. Davis got alot of 2nd place too. AF's show was better that year, Davis' was still cooler personally.
This year 2013 show titled "Our Town" (western theme) was the talk of the town after Weber review. AF had an amazing show that I actually liked and thought they deserved all the acclamation they received. Davis fell flat. Not sure what they were thinking this year? It did get better as shows went on but just not entertaining as the first 2 years seeing them.
1st competition rolls around "Mount Nebo". We killed it, won all 4 captions ( music, visual, color guard and percussion). Turns out Timpview has not been beat in 4A competition in 20 years! Not only did we win, we took all awards. It was amazing, everyone was busting, on cloud nine all that good stuff. An amazing feat.
Next week's competition Timpview came back with a vengence, they didn't like it one bit. They won the next one, but we still took some captions. Well after that they didn't beat us again the rest of the year! They took some captions so we didn't sweep, but still we won.
Another thing that burned a hole in there side was the fact that whenever we were announced they said, "4A state champs". Even though they won all the competitions last last year, we won the state finals they decided not to show up for.
Let me tell you about Timpview, they have always cut the band back to exact numbers not to exceed into the 5A category so they wouldn't have to compete against AF or Davis. At the last competition before state we won it all and swept everything again in 4A. Not only that but in total overall points we came in 2nd behind AF, beating out Davis and the other 5A bands. Skyview had an awesome show this year too, next to ours it was my favorite.
I learned that during a couple competitions we had scored one point higher than AF in a couple categories. Now that is crazy!!! We went to Idaho for a competition and swept all awards, we had put up 5A band scores a couple times.
The kids practiced so much this year, worked so hard and it paid off, big time!
State championships roll around and we are favored. Timpview changes their schedule to come to it and try to steal our accolades away. They fell 50 points short! They did steal percussion which sucked cuz my boy is on the drumline. But we got all other captions and 1st place.
BOA (Bands of America) is a national competition, our region was next day. We performed along with 26 other bands from all over Utah, California, New Mexico, Idaho, Nevada and Colorado. Only 10 were invited to participate in finals. We made it! We beat out several 5A bands to make it. From Utah there were AF, Davis, Skyview and us (Westlake).
Before the show at the trailers getting ready, kids were all crying. Because we made it, because some were seniors and it was the last show ever for them, last show of the year. Band director (who student taught under AF's director, thats why we are good) gave them a little speech to "stop crying, don't let it our here, let it all our on the field. Cherish that you have one more performance together and give everything you can to those seniors and to eachother. You deserve to be here." He also made a little comment about Timpview, can't remember the exact words but it was something to the effect of, "glad they came, so we could leave no doubt as to who was the champ this year".
We had one slip from what I saw, other than that the performance was spot on! Of course AF and Skyview were too. The huge bands from Cali and Nevada did great too. At awards they started naming 10th place, 9th, 8th... We all just screamed and cheered, not because of the bands that placed, but because our name wasn't called. They named off Davis, they named off that giant band from Nevada, some from Cali, not us yet. We were all thinking, "no way we made it to the top 5". They name off 6th place, not us! We were almost horse by that time, some band moms started the tears already. They named Skyview 5th place. Which was crazy because their show was so amazing. Then we were all hoping "top 3?". Well at 4th they called Westlake. Then yada yada, 1st place American fork. AF also swept all but one caption.
But 4th place among all that talent and huge bands was crazy. And at only the schools 5th year in existence. At the end when it was over the band moms rushed the field. The drum line moms had become real good friends over the years, its cool to see.
Because of our success we were invited to submit an application and video to the Rose parade committee. AF and Davis have played in the rose parade, Macy's thanksgiving parade, played for presidential inaugurations, ect... So this was a big deal. We didn't get accepted just yet, but were offered the opportunity to play in Hawaii at the Pearl Harbor parade and represent the USS Utah battleship/carrier in December 2014. The PR and fundraising tour has already begun.
My boy was on TV locally for a brief second as they talked about this seasons accolades and future opportunities.
Their school has been on the local stations several times actually, the band a quite a few times.
I'm looking forward to seeing what they have in store for next year's show. We will most likely become a 5A band by just a few kids. So we will have to compete against AF,Davis, Skyview and a couple other big good 5A bands. But they are not looking at it like, "oh great we have to compete against AF and Davis." They are looking at it like, "We ARE going to compete against AF and Davis!"
I will probably have another child in band too. Thats gonna be crazy expensive, they better do some fund raising! But what a great opportunity for them both. I feel blessed as a parent for these kids and the good programs they have a chance to partake in.
In school I was never part of anything great or special, so it does a heart good to know that my kids will be!

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Struggles become your identity....One year later!

One year ago today I ran a 5k in the morning, afternoon family get together, that evening playing an intense game of 21 with 2 brothers after going up for a shot I drifted/fade away and landed where drive cement and grass met. Grass was slightly lower and with foot positioning and inertia my ankle rolled, snapping a tendon and the lower fibula.
Had a nice 4 hour hospital visit, think they kept me there doing nothing so they could charge me by the hour.
My brothers were there and we had a good time at my expense though. Her is them taking a picture so they could compare it to the "pain face chart."

I don't recommend breaking a weight barring joint.Took a hook/plate and 5 screws to put back together. Will stay there forever possibly. The road to recovery stinks and is taking longer than I expected.
I thought I would be back to normal and close to 100% by 6 months. At one year I'm maybe still only 70-80%. I still get sore almost everyday, couple hours after running my foot pretty much locks up. It still swells, still don't have full strength for sprints and push offs.
The black beauty!

Getting the cast off after 8 weeks was nice, being able to wash my foot was nice, but then the fun began. The boot just got hot, my skin shed like 20 times and it was heavy and bulky. I was only supposed to take it off for showers. But after a couple nights of torture I took slept without it. Sure I could've damaged it in my sleep but I took my chances. I did OK on the crutches, took some spills and had some set backs because of it.

Bring on PT!!!

At first my OS said not to do physical therapy, he believed they tried to get the foot to move too soon. So I delayed about a week or two of trying to bear weight on my own, then went to therapy.
They were great, never forced me into anything or to do anything I wasn't ready. The first couple weeks were rough, after that I was wanting more, made them give me more, do more. Unfortunately my insurance money ran out before I graduated form PT, then the cold weather, icy surfaces set in. I didn't get the therapy I needed, but I also didn't do as much as I should have on my own. I let just normal work load be my therapy, wasn't enough.
After enough swelling went down I could fit into different shoes. First came crocs, then wide open tennis shoes, then normal shoes. Still needed support though. It wasn't until around 9 months that I could walk bare foot around the house, and still with a limp. Came home, took off work shoes and put on tennis shoes. If I had to go downstairs or outside or even stand in the kitchen I had to put on tennis shoes. It was suffocating!

Then the big family reunion hiking in southern Utah loomed in the future. I had to step it up, work out my foot and get used to walking long distances. It was tough, and honestly I didn't think I'd make it. But I had too. First day was fine. 2nd day hiking up and down the switch backs in sno,ice and mud was very tough. Very sore after that. 3rd day was hard too, alot of pivoting and push offs. I cheated and wore my brace that day, but glad I was able to do everything. Sure I wasn't as crazy as the year before, I was very "dialed back" but still has a blast doing what I love. I've been dubbed "Rock formation Fan Boy". I'll take it.

In the last couple years I've grown very fond of hiking. Especially in Utah. I absolutely love the Moab area. I love rock formations and geology. I love climbing on them and exploring. Angels Landing in Zion was amazing. Very sweet semi technical climb. Very conscious about where I was stepping.
Here is my triumphant foot at the top.

Just starting to run in these last couple weeks its been slow and frustrating. But I am going to get there. I can make it the 3 miles needed for a 5k race, just slow and I hurt for a couple days afterwards. Maybe soon I'll try running in the morning and see how I do the rest of the day at work. Finding time at night to run it tough, but maybe now that school is over for the kids it will be easier?

I got discouraged alot this last year, but I also learned some lessons too. I need my life more than my life needs me. Motivation is a daily thing. I always need something to look forward too, something to inspire me and keep me going. Just the need to be normal isn't enough. The need to explore, the need to run.
I have to remind myself "everyone is different, everyone heals and can do things at a different pace. Look at Derek Jeter, similar injury and around the same time frame, best doctors and facilities money can buy and hasn't played hardly at all and won't either this year. So ha ha!
It's crazy how something so small becomes such a big part of you. I think because its taken so long to get to this point thats all people know. Everytime I see someone they ask, "hows the ankle". It's become who I am I guess. Thats ok its not their fault. Wonder how long that will be me, how long it will take until people I haven't seen in awhile start asking, "hiked anything cool lately".
Here is to this next year full of more healing and getting back to 100% (if there ever will be such a thing).
To hiking and seeing cool places. I have to take the kids back to Goblin Valley this year, that place is awesome!
To more slot canyons and arches needing to be found. But in the fall, this heat isn't for me!

Arch inside Spooky Slot Canyon outside Escalante, UT. One of the coolest hikes ever!

"Pain is temporary. It may last for a minute, an hour, a day, a week or even a year. But eventually it will subside, and something else will take its place. If I quit however, it will last forever."

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Better Sore than Sorry

3 weeks before the 'Big Hiking Trip' and am I ready? Nope :( Do I have my gear? Yep :) I got a new hat, new shoes, new hydro pack, new gloves and was able to save enough in order to pay for it. so thats a pretty big accomplishment, I'm proud of that.
Physically, I have "reasons" not sure if I have an "excuse" why I'm not ready. Sure my foot is still hindrance, but could I have worked harder on it? Yes I could have. I haven't been able to do "impact training" which is running and jumping. And I'm not a very aerobic guy so running is all I've pretty much done. Before Last years hike I lost maybe 5 pounds trying to get in shape, but my legs got strong enough so I wasn't worried about that.
This year I've kinda let myself go. Yeah I got chunky, I have no endurance, my legs are not strong enough. I use my foot as an excuse, but really its just a reason. But I could get down on myself and wallow like I have, blamming my foot for everything, "oh it hurts, I'm tired, I'm sore". Ppppfffftttt, its the onion rings and donuts that slow you down pansy.
But in all seriousness, I made an "itinerary" of things I wanted to do on this trip. And its pretty ambitious. Sometimes when working and I've had to be on a ladder or walk alot of stairs I've been pretty sore that night and the next day. So these hikes are alot like that. Like climbing stairs and ladders, then going back down kinda thing. So thats got me a little worried. What if I'm sidelined after the first hike/day?
Its not like I haven't done anything, I have once in awhile worked out on the elliptical machine and have done my band/resistance stretches, so I won't be a total waste .
I was talking with someone the other day about it, and how I've been the one saying, "lets do this, go here, do that" and am wondering if I've stuck my foot in my mouth? Am I going to be the one holding people back? In talking about it and how excited I am to do this and see all these things I've never seen before; I cam to the conclusion that I will make. I may be sore, I may be hurting and tired, but I'd rather be Sore than Sorry! I'm not going to go all this way, purchase this stuff, miss time with family and dismiss the sacrifice others have made in order to do this trip and especially for me to do this trip.
I am going to take advantage of this opportunity as much as I can. If I have to take my boot that I haven't had to wear in months, if it helps then I'm going to look pathetic, but at least I'll be able to make it. If I have to sit a hike out because "I'm sore, I'm too tired, it hurts" then I'm gonna be sorry. I may miss something great, or miss experiencing something unique. I'll be sorry if I have to hear, "Ah you should have been there."
Who knows, maybe thats what my foot needs? Go until you can't go anymore, then go just a little bit further.
I've been listening to alot of motivation speeches and stuff. Instead of using the time to listen I could have been doing. So that part kinda sucks ;)
I'd rather be sore than sorry!
Lately I always hear that doubt in my head, "What if I can't do it, what if I can't make it, how is that going to look?" But then again, thats just the foot talking. My eyes see the mountain and my spirit says, "But what if you can, what if you do, how is that going to look?"
I guess thats the struggle? Maybe there is a conflict because if I do or I don't, will that determine my overall outcome? If I make it and this trip is awesome and my foot does great will it keep doing great, will I be able to start running, get in shape and be back to normal?
If I fail, if I push and push but risk permanently injuring myself or have a big set back, then what will that do? Will I be discouraged and keep going at my mediocre pace of recovery?
Que Eric Thomas - "I dare you to fail, I dare you. Don’t cry to give up, cry to keep going. Your already in pain, your already hurt, get a reward from it. It may last for a minute, an hour, a day or even a year. Eventually it will subside. And something else will take its place."
I'd rather be Sore than Sorry!

Friday, January 11, 2013

Cure for Pain

...Pain is temporary. It may last for a minute, an hour, a day or even a year. But eventually it will subside. And something else will take its place. If you quit however, it will last forever. At the end of pain is success. Your not gonna die cuz you feel a little pain...
- Eric Thomas

Every time I use my foot more than normal I end up hurting or immobile for the next day or two. Its frustrating, discouraging, and doesn't make any sense.
It's been close to 8 months now since messing up my ankle. I was told that it might not be a year until I feel normal or able to do everything I did before. I also heard everyone is different, some people were running again at 6 months.
I've tried running a couple times, I thought it was going to get better, it seemed to set me back afterwards. Maybe I'm not pushing hard enough? I let pain hold me back, maybe if I pushed through it I would get stronger faster?
I know with the weather its hard to get outside, but I've missed some Saturday opportunities though. It's go time, its been go time for awhile.
With our highway 12 trip coming up in 2 months I'm a little worried. 1st we've been planning this for awhile now, and some things are looking to unravel. Some siblings might not be able to get the time off, some are battling physical set backs too.
Last year I was the guy who was kinda leading the way, lets climb this, lets go here, go there. This year I'm scared. I'm afraid I won't be able to keep up. I'm afraid that after the first day I'll be hurting and immobile. I have never been to Zion's or Bryce and want to desperately explore it, and do it well.
I'm afraid those siblings won't be able to make it either, or have a hard time keeping up too. I'm sure they are like me and don't want to hold anyone back. I know I would feel bad if people did hold back and not explore what they want to hang out with me. I would also feel bad that I couldn't keep up, that I couldn't explore what everyone else could.
Along with my ankle I've also gained 20lbs. Since I haven't been active I have no strength or endurance either. I'll get winded easily, I'll sweat like a pig.
I just need this to get easier fast. I need to get fit, to get strong, and I need to do this quickly.
I know I'm the only one to blame for this predicament I'm in. I could've eaten better, I could've taken better advantage of my time to work out my foot.
I'm going to now!
I've been pumped for this trip ever since the end of last year's trip. In the last few weeks I got a new hat to keep the sun off my head (watch its gonna rain). I got a new hydration/back pack. In the next few weeks I'm going to get new shoes.
Hopefully I don't have to get new/bigger shorts and pants.

I put together a little slide show of things we may see on our trip to get me motivated.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Music Therapy

So anyways, I just read a blog by a good friend of mine, and in it he reminisced about playing the piano when he was younger for distraction.
Well I was there when he was younger and I thought back to that simple time in our lives too. I loved it, I truly did. JC is a genius on the piano. Musically anything really, he can pick up a guitar too if he wanted. He could listen to songs and play them by ear, make up his own tunes, lyrics, whatever. At one point we were gonna be a band, man what happened to that idea?
While thinking back to those days I did alot of leaving the house and going to his on our way to some sort of social function or to do regular shinanigans.
I lived out of town and had to drive about 30 minutes to get to his house. In those 30 minutes I would be listening to loud obnoxious music and think of the destructive things we were going to do or not going to do. By the time I got there I was all wound up ready to burst, blow off steam, get the party started, ect...
Most of the time I ended up sitting on his couch waiting for some reason, either we were early (I left the house early all the time, just to get out of the house) or had to wait on someone else to be ready or something. In that waiting time JC would play the piano. I loved listening to him play. I loved the original pieces he would invent, the familiar songs he would figure out and everything in between.
It would relax me, put me at ease and mellow me out. I wasn't destructively thinking anymore, I wasn't all wound up, I was at peace almost.
At some point in my future I thought about going to school, seeing if there was need for musical theory kind of thing. But at the time I didn't realize what it was or what I thought it was.
Latter in life my brain got wound up a different way, certain chemicals didn't produce, or didn't react well to others. So like most people I was medicated to fix those issues. Long story short I finally found a doctor that got it right. Shortly after I ended up losing that doctor. Before we parted ways he gave me advice on stuff that I could do to help my brain combat the fighting chemicals or help it produce its own. Among them were a regular schedule, diet, exercise and something to calm the "bees in a bottle" effect going on in my brain.
Coming up with the calming effect took some thinking. Finally it was "what do I like to do that calms me, that is peaceful?" I like to travel. I like to get there by car, I like long drives in the country. I hated it growing up cuz I was so far away from friends and activities, but now older, a nice long drive through the mountains or desert was nice. I got to listen to good tunes. Mostly quiet stuff to help kids sleep, otherwise it wasn't a pleasant drive.
Since I couldn't drive long distances all the time, I could listen to that quiet music and get at least some of the effect.
So there is was, my vast library of loud obnoxious music soon got dwarfed my library of quieter music. I have a job with a pretty regular schedule, when I'm not broken I exercise sometimes, but I again live 30 minutes away from work and activities. In that short travel time I listen to music, and its mostly quiet stuff.
It helps, its not a cure by all means, but it helps. Its always a constant battle in my brain, and honestly its getting harder to fight as I get older, but I can still fight it.
After finding this counter active effect I realized and wonder if when I was younger I wasn't looking for music theory but music therapy?
After reading JC's article here: Self Editing it took me back to that time and I realized I was getting music therapy back then, just didn't know it.
Which could bring up another topic I fought with my parents about "loud music" and how it can control your actions. All that "Devil made me do it" music parents blamed for their kids destructive behavior. Although I still don't agree with it, there is some truth to it. Sorry mom and dad!
Being a father now myself, I'm getting old cuz my kids' music is too loud!
Sure I still kick out the jams every once in awhile, but mostly when I'm driving or sitting in bed at night with the ear phones on, I'm listening to quiet stuff.
 Some moments when we are younger get burned into our brain until they become logic, routine or comforting. I guess thats why we go to school when we are young, its easier to understand and hold that information in so we can use it when we get older.
 I can think of alot of memories that involved music as a kid, a teenager, a young couple and now as an almost middle aged man.
 I remember laying on the floor in the "music room" of an old house, next to the old stereo. Feeling the heat that came off that thing, the light at the bottom and my mom sitting in the rocking chair, quietly listening to FM100 or the Carpenters while she tries to get a younger brother to sleep. I love that memory, hope I never loose it.
 I remember sitting in mine or my brothers room as they play a vinyl record on a new stereo, I think it was Kiss. Good times. Or driving in someones Camaro and cranking Bob Seger.
 When I lived in California me and my friend Dave made almost weekly excursions to the record store and get some new single or cassette album of a hard rock/heavy metal group.
 Moving to Wyoming I didn't really have to, but I expanded my horizons into country music, then pop, then things progressed and I took some music classes in school, that there is so much that I never knew or never really heard or paid attention too.
 I remember trying to find some song that I had that my dad would like as we drove to certain jobs while working for him in the summer. I found one once, he doesn't know it, but it was a good day. On the way to work I played a group of songs, later through out the day I would hear him whistling the tune. That was a good feeling.
 I recall driving in the middle of the night, new years, had some friends in the car, they were asleep. The car at the time only had a radio, and maybe only AM stations, or at least where we were I could only get an AM station. It was quiet, the heater was going, the light from the stars reflected off the snow in the fields, and off the crackling AM station comes Poco Harum's classic "whiter shade of pale". Within the next few days I had to order the CD from the record store. Been a favorite ever since since
 I bought an album off TV once, you know those "time life music collection" things. Floyd Cramer piano hits, it was awesome. Then came CDs, the CD clubs, did all those a couple times over.
 Now with the digital age changing the way people listen to and purchase music, its great. Although kids are going to have even worse hearing then those of use that used "walkmans" or listened to our loud music in the car. Ear buds are dangerous!
 Then now, I'm following blogs about music, piddling on youtube and what not. I make CDs all the time to listen in the car, my cell phone has a built in mp3 player, I have over 550 songs on it so far.
 Its never far away. I could go on and on, but there are a couple quotes, I think about all the time.
1. The band Boston's album "Third Stage" on the inside of the album cover is a quote "Each individual piece of music relates to a human experience".
2. The Movie Shawshank Redemption,Andy just came back from "the hole" after being punished for playing some Opera over the PA system at the prison. Any and Red are going back and forth talking about "Hope" , Andy says, "That's the beauty of music. They can't get that from you... Haven't you ever felt that way about music? Here's where it makes the most sense. You need it so you don't forget. Forget that... there are places in this world that aren't made out of stone. That there's something inside... that they can't get to, that they can't touch. That's yours". 
 There ya go. Thanks Jace for stiring up memories, helping me when I was younger, helping me develop a therapy I would need when I'm older, and keeping me off drugs ;)

Here is a song from my "Quiet" collection, its actually called Quiet -by Rachel Yamagata:

Friday, September 21, 2012

Moments in PT

Thought I'd share a little insight into something that was unknown to me and basically what I thought was crap. Physical Therapy. "I don't need to go to PT, I can do this stuff on my own, there just gonna tell me to exersize. I'm not going to pay to use their equipment, thats all it is anyway." Nope, big misconception on my part. These guys really help. I couldn't do it on my own, my foot wouldn't bend, I was in alot of pain trying to move it. So I go... First couple weeks were ok, I had a little routine, warm up in the foot bath/whirlpool thing. That was nice. Little too nice, wanted to fall asleep instead of moving my foot against the soft jet. They had me do other things, little things that I could barely do. Pick up marbles with my toes, stretch with a rubber band, march on a trampoline, squat lifts on the total gym. Then at the end the Dr. would try and manipulate (joint mods) my ankle, get it to bend and what not. Finish with icing. At first the tramp was not my favorite, it hurt really bad. joint mods were the same, someone cranking on your foot thats been injured and hasn't moved in 10 weeks isn't the greatest. I went twice a week for 6-7 weeks. Each time I was getting better, was able to do things easier and with less pain. At first I didn't see it, but looking back I was strides from the begining. I was still on crutches, eventually moved to one crutch, then cane, then just limped around. The dreaded tramp is nothing now, I can march on that thing all day now. Trying to balance on one foot at the begining wasn't happening. Now I can do it. I don't go in the foot pool anymore, instead I warm up on the stationary bike. now I'm doing band stretches, shuffeling, step ups ( my nemisis now) the eliptical, balancing on a ball, ect... all kinds of good stuff. The new joint mod is where the Dr. straps a belt around my foot and his body, kinda like a lumber jack. Pulls back with his weight, pushes on my joint while I do a squat. Not my favorite! Trying to get more degrees of movement, just not working, maybe my foot doesn't bend? On to some "Moments".... The trampoline was the first "ah ha" moment I think. When it was the hardest thing to do, after a couple weeks I was like, "I can do this now! Yay!" Felt good. Doing balancing on the trampoline with one foot. Couldn't stay on it for more than a second. Dr. had me stand on good foot, piece of cake. Then back to bad foot, nothing. Then back to good foot and "Watch your foot, notice its not you balancing, its your foot constantly moving,contracting different muscles to keep you flat, its not your body or your leg, its your foot." - Ah ha! My good foot did exactly as he described, I never noticed before. Went back to bad foot, still nothing but I could see where my muscles were gone & needed practice. Couple weeks later I can balance on one foot for 10 or more seconds. Felt Good. Going only once a week now... Standing on a half plank/half ball your feet work together. Then Dr. starts tossing me a ball and I have to catch it and toss it back. Trying to your body to catch the ball and keeping your feet still to balance is awesome practice and itsn't too strenuous but a good work out on your foot. Alot of the time I would have to do something on my good foot or at the same time with my bad foot in order to 'trigger' that muscle memory. Very Weird but effective. This week had the best moment yet. Started on stationary bike (loosens up really well), talking with Dr. he mentioned he wanted to get me on the eliptical machine, since it wasn't impact he might try it soon when my ankle bends a little more. I said, "lets give it a shot now". I got on the eliptical machine and started moving. Felt fine. Went for 7 minutes no problem. When I got off the machine I stated walking over to the total gym to do squats. I noticed something strange... ...I was walking normally. No pain, full movement and no limp. I walked around all the equipment in the room, making a couple laps, looking at myself in the mirror, going "AH HA". It was such a great feeling, I got a little gitty. I haven't walked normally in almost 18 weeks. I walked a couple more laps around enjoying my new freedom. Did the total gym exercises, when done I still felt normal. Did balancing routines, still normal, leg strap bands still normal. Did the step ups/toe offs - poop back to be crippled :( Your toes are used for everything, pushing off, going up and down stairs, ect... I don't have the strength in my toes yet. So I was crushed that my newly found freedom and joy was crushed in 5 minutes on the stair master, but I did do better then I had the previous week. Doing the joint mods that same visit, Dr. was cranking on my foot when I hear a very loud "POP". We both looked at eachother with wide eyes, pursed lips, just stairing at eachother for a few seconds before he asked, "You ok?" I said still stairing at him, "I think so, you?" He then moved my foot around a little bit more, nothing big just scary. He said your joint can still move, get bubbles and stuff in there. Bubble are a good sign the impacted swelling and scar tissue is subsiding. One of the helpers heard it from across the room, she said, "Now that he's ok, that was really funny to see. You both had the same terrified look on your faces." PT has really helped me, far more than I could help myself. I am going to milk it as much as I can while insurance is covering it. As I 'kick it up a notch' I'm getting closer to being 'graduated' from PT. That will be a good feeling when Dr. says, "Your good. Theres nothing more I can do for you". Maybe I'll get a T-shirt or something? I'm kind of a goof, so when I'm in there everyones all serious, especially the other patients, but I try to liven it up best I can. Dr. asked me what they could do to make the experience better for the patients? I responded with,"Well sometimes its a little crowded. Could be because of my schedule and thats not your fault, but a little more one on one time with a Dr. and not an aid would be nicer." Of course an aid was right there. But she knew what I was talking about ;) I also said, "Maybe you could have a box of swedish fish around, so when we do good you could toss us a fish like they do at sea world." Thats what it feel like when on the balancing ball tossing a ball back and forth. When I'm done I'm like, "Hey where's my fish?" Anyways, thats my PT so far. Its mid-September now, is it realistic to think I could run a mile by then end of October? I won't be playing basketball anytime soon, or maybe not ever, thats scary to think of right now. But running and hiking I need to do as soon as possible. Mainly running to get in shape for hiking ;)

Thursday, September 06, 2012

Beast of Burden

It's one of those things you start writing, then delete, then a couple days later start up again, then delete, then a couple weeks, then a month.... Being as insignificant as it is I thought about blogging my broken ankle injury. At first something fun to pass the time as I literally sat there. Then maybe someone could find common ground from a similar case and be comforted. Then maybe some triumphant recovery that would inspire people or something? ...None of these things happened. So my blog sat. In past I've posted about running, overcoming weight or broken rib non-sense, mostly to make myself feel better, give myself pep talks and whatnot. ...I thought maybe I'd do the same again. I know I need constant pep talks. 2010 was the year of pep talks, the last couple years it just hasn't worked. Not sure what it is yet, I was hoping to find what was broken this year and fix it, then I broke, literally. ...So I dislocated and broke my ankle and snapped a tendon, big deal right? It happens all the time apparently, just never noticed. Now everyone and their dogs has broken an ankle. It happened 2 weeks before the big family get together Keith Young Memorial 5k. ...I ran a timed 5k that morning for practice, did ok, not great, but I knew where I stood and how much work I needed to do in the next 2 weeks in order to compete with everyone. I was registered for another 5k and had plans of at least 3-4 more races for the year, who knows. One of the first things that went through my mind was that I was going to miss these races. Of course a ton of stuff went through my mind after, like "how am I gonna take care of my family, how can I work, great I'm gonna get fat". Stuff like that. ...To my surprise I was pretty calm and upbeat on the way to the hospital and while I was there. Having my brothers there joking around made things bearable. For the first month or so I was pretty much in a state of "whatever, it happened, no sense complaining and feeling sorry for yourself, lets just get through this" kind of attitude. Which was good. I had some set backs with breathing, getting sick, junk like that. ...When the races were going on I thought I was going to get depressed, thinking about people out there having fun and what not. But I didn't. Sure it stunk, but again "no sense beating my self up over it" attitude. ...Things change however. There were occasions and situations that started piling up, started taking their toll on my mental and emotional state. Watching my wife have to do everything. Watching her take care of birthdays, including her own, on her own. Having her bus me around, watching her exhaust herself dealing with the kids and all their stuff going on during the summer. Watching my new backyard sit there, waiting for someone to clear it out,get it ready to finish. All the "here take this to dad, do this for dad, dad needs this" garbage started taking its toll. One of the worst things take to heart is the fact that your kids view you as 'fragile'. My father has broken every bone in his body at least twice and I still think of him as the toughest man I know. Having my boss put his "owner" duties on the back burner so he could do my work started taking its toll. ...When the cast came off and the boot went on a little bit of hope started creeping back in. On the horizon I'll be able to walk again and stuff. Well it didn't happen. Putting pressure on my foot to walk was unbearable, even after 4 weeks of weight bearing I'm only just now able to use one crutch and limp slowly. ...Yeah I've had a couple spills. I've landed on my foot a couple times, maybe hindering the recovery process, but I should be farther along. At my last Dr. appointment he was surprised I was still on my crutches. I have impacted swelling that may take another 3 months to completely go away. I'm doing physical therapy also. I thought I could do it myself, nope. Its been frustrating to say the least. ...I was hoping to be walking unassisted for our anniversary, but I wasn't. We haven't taken the kids anywhere fun or cool in years, we are hoping to take them to Moab this November (when its not hot and cheaper). I keep telling myself, "Oh I'll be able hike all over the rocks and uneven ground 8 miles a day no problem". In the back of my mind I'm a little scared I won't be ready. I'm pretty sure I will be, I mean its 3 months out right? Maybe I won't be teaching the kids how to jump from rock to rock, well at least not by example. ...I've been off crutches now for a couple weeks, still limping, not able to do a whole lot. When working I've had to put the boot back on a couple times just to make it around. Now I just wear the brace, but haven't had to do too much on it yet. ...Anyways I know its a long read already, but getting to the juice of it I think. When accidents or certain things happen, some people ask themselves, "what am I supposed to learn from this experience?" I've thought that too. It may not be correct, it may be more than just one thing, but I have something I need to work on. ...Pride... ...I don't know if everyone gets like this, but I do. Now I'll be the first to tell you my poop stinks. I'm nothing special, I got nothing going on. But I have thought, on more than one occasion that, "this place would fall apart without me". You know that puffed up chest when you do the dishes, the laundry, mow the lawn, pulled weeds, make it to work on time, do a good job, make a customer happy, you know that puffed up chest? Now I've probably had more "you idiot" moments then pride moments, but the idiot moments you learn from. The pride moments you just wanna puff up even more. Lets be honest, having pride feels good. It ok to be proud, especially of something good, but not to the point of boasting. "This place would fall apart if I wasn't around" -thats boastful pride talking, thats not good. ...History has shown whats happens to those prideful people, they fall. Maybe thats why I fell? ...You know what? Life went on without me. House didn't fall apart, probably functioned better without me. Work was just fine without me, probably functioned better. No matter what, I have no reason to boast. I can be proud and greatfull for my family and my employer. You won't find a more generous people. ...It's a humbling thing to know your not needed. Now people will be nice and say they need you, but deep down you know they don't. ...So now what? Well sometimes when your humble,down, feeling sorry for yourself, your easier to teach? Maybe stand up, dust yourself, get outside and get the stink blown off ya, and learn something. Maybe its something as simple as just going about your daily duties like you were before, because even if YOU don't feel like you matter, YOU still do. Every person's choice affects somebody elses. You might not see it, you might not believe in it. I do. ...Maybe you need to start adjusting your life in a way that you do matter. Maybe you need to put yourself in such a position that places will crumble without you. Not that you want them to crumble, but that you don't want to be replaced! ...I'm not sure what it is for me, what I need to do, maybe a bit of both or maybe something else entirely. But I do know that I'm where I am not because of me, but because people are allowing me to be there. A monkey with a rock can take place in a heartbeat. I need to be a better monkey. ...I know my other blog is the 'music' one, but this song came out about the same time as all this other nonsense. It kinda fits.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Harmon Bro Camp 2012 Moab

From March 14th-17th 2012 the 7 Harmon men were able to go on a most excellent adventure to Moab Utah. Now being of a certain age, oldest 48 and youngest 31, its amazing that never before in our history have all of us brothers ever done anything like this before, why not, who knows? Must have been busy growing up and creating our own families I guess. But believe you me, this will be at least a yearly thing from now on until our hips can't take it anymore! It would be a really long post and hard to type down everything we did and experienced. But I'll try to sum it up. We had been planning this trip for several months, getting work time off schedules, getting people from long distance to central Utah, stuff like that. Along with it came the anticipation, at least for me. I was gitty, like a little kid going to Disneyland or something. For Me, Moab is MY Disneyland. We picked Moab I guess for its "we can be like kids and climb on rocks" atmosphere. A few of us have been and thought it would be something everyone would enjoy. We took 2 campers and stayed at a KOA. The KOA was actually decent. We weren't there except for at night and mornings, it wasn't too far out of town and the plumming was exceptional, especially for 7 men eating protein and carbs! Thursday morning after eating breakfast we heading to Arches National Park. Wanted to hike up to Delicate Arch, Utah's most famous landmark first thing since the hike is all exposed to the sun and is all uphill, so the heat and climb could be cumbersome. The climb was fun, took us a little longer than most, we had to stop and play on rocks, jump over cracks and try the viral trend of "planking", which is a couple years old, yeah we're like that. I've talked about Delicate Arch before so I won't go into it, but it is a "must see". One day it will fall, and that is sad, just hopefully not in mine or my kids lifetime. We hung out up top, horsed around, had a snack and enjoyed one anothers company. 2nd activity of the day was the Fiery Furnace. I'm the only one who had been in there before. A labyrinth of slots, rock fins and canyons. I knew the "jist" of the path, lets just say at one point it took us awhile to find the correct fin or canyon to go down. But that was the fun thing, exploring. There was one canyon that we played in that was not on the guided tour I took a couple years back. We climbed, jumped, crawled all over this one area. A couple brothers ended up ripping their shorts and walked the rest of the furnace with taped and hooked shorts. It was quite funny and just had to be there. There were a couple more places we could have explored but just didn't do to time and maybe some obstacles a couple people may not have been able to tackle, maybe next time? We ate lunch in the shade, the nice thing about the furnace, is that we were in there during the hottest part of the day, but your in the shade for most of it. The time of year and the high fins block alot of direct sunlight. The fiery Furnace I think was the best part of the trip. Normal guided tour is about 3 hours long. We played around in there for little over 4 hours I believe. 3rd we thought about going to Devil's Garden, another long hike to see several arches, but we were all pretty spent. So we decided to check out the "Windows Section". And not all of it, just the coolest part, Double Arch. We hung out there for a little bit then decided to go back and make dinner. I think we had spagetti, it was good. Friday morning after breakfast we headed to Corona Arch. Now I wanted to see Corona Arch from the begining, and even more so since seeing this video: The trail was easy, exposed to direct sunlight (hence the early hike) but just massive on arrival. We played around ofcourse, took some cool photos, had a snack in the shade of the arch. But the fun thing was climbing to the top! There are some videos on how to do this, pansies using rope and wearing helmets. Thinking about it after coming back down it may not have been such a great idea. There was some risk involved, but thinking about it now, it wasn't so bad. The thing about it, that and climbing around in the furnace, it takes alot out of you. At least it did me. Not sure if its the climate, the heat or what. Climbing uses alot more energy than just hiking/walking. Seemed like I was pooped the rest of the day. After Corona we were supposed to take a bypass road into Canyonlands National park to see some stuff like Dead Horse Point, Mesa Arch and go climb around Holeman Slot canyon. Well we never found our bypass road. We took another road that would lead us to Canyonlands, but it ended up being closed. I was in charge of logistics so it bummed me out a little bit and I felt bad for not leading my brothers to do the things we planned. However we found fun in taking the 2 trucks on some crazy roads. We played on some more rocks, we actually went to the bottom of Dead Horse Point, being at the bottom and looking down below to the river canyon was pretty freaky, still really high up. We saw several different rock formations and geography in a matter of miles. That area is so uniquely landscaped, its incredible. From Arches to Canyonlands you see so many different types of landscape in such a short distance. Northern Utah if you drive 30 minutes in any direction you pretty much see the same thing. In the Moab area if you drive 30 minutes in any direction you'll see dozens of different things and geology. After arriving back in town we started on some epic homemade beef stew, that was some good eatin'. We hung out, had fun taking and taking our turn trying on Greg's one piece pajamas, good times! Saturday we were suppose to head back towards home, but on the way stop at Goblin Valley and Wild Horse canyon for some more rock climbing and slot canyon navigating. But some bad weather and high winds rolled in. With towing trailers we thought it would be safe to head out before the storm and winds hit us and wreaked havoc on the driving. Its one thing getting out of town for a few days, enjoying nature and some serious fun. But its another to have family around. Actually getting along, razing one another, sharing common interests, and having a good time. For some reason its actually a rare thing to have a big family and everyone getting along, no drama, contention or hostile feelings toward one another. I think one of the only things I enjoyed about running was doing runs with family members. Now going to Moab, climbing on rocks with family was EPIC. There's a saying, "The older you get the more you need the people you knew when you were young." Its so true! We did alot of things as family, mostly going camping in the camper or to the cabin when it was built. I thought it would be really sad to see those places go, and it would be. But it doesn't matter where we go to hang out, just as long as we hang out. It would be really cool to go to Moab or someplace like that with all my siblings, see my sisters scampering around the Fiery Furnace, that would be fun! Its been over a month since going, and I could have blogged earlier but I wanted to post a couple videos and youtube wouldn't let me because of the songs I used being copyrighted or something. Now that Google Drive is out and will let me embedd videos, whalah! Preview I posted on Facebook to get myself excited about showing off what we did. While I was looking though videos I came across a couple clips that a I mashed together for fun here: Most of all I wanted to show us old kids. Yeah we are getting up there in age, but are still able in both body and spirit to let loose, have fun, be silly and climb on some sweet rocks! This is just a collection of scenery. Not too many shots with us in it, just focusing on the works of art God made from the dirt. Just a compilation of of us walking, scampering and hiking through the area. I probably will make a couple more, but it may take awhile. Finding time is hard, its taken 2 nights to finish this blog. Anyways, I can't wait for the next adventure. We may do Moab again, Zions, San Rafael Swell, or maybe something else like river rafting, who knows?

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Walking the dog

So how far am I on the P70X? Not far at all, I'm down maybe 1 pound, thats it! But, I have gained strength and endurance in my legs. My schedule doesn't allow me to do much on my own at home. I don't have a treadmill or anything. I have Saturday mornings right now.
Well at work, sometimes in the afternoon we have nothing going on. So Nathan has said lets go running during those times or as we like to call it "take the dog for a walk". Maybe its cuz I'm hairy and ugly? One week we got in 3 runs! Now we started out doing a 2 mile run (thats as far as I could go back in December). Later we did a 3 miler, I was struggling some parts. Then we have this "foothill" run. Its on the bottom of timpanogos unger the "G" in pleasant grove. There are some trails there. So we've run those a couple times. At the halfway mark before turning around there is a little hill called "Molly's hill". Not big mind you, but fairly steep. And for an out of shape dude who has just run 2 miles on the rocky path its daunting. 1st time going up made it halfway, next time a little farther, almost to the top. I'll blame it on the cold, but I couldn't get any air after that last one. I did get some dizziness & blurred vision. But made it the 2 miles back. The next couple runs have been on the streets of pleasant grove near out office. We have one route where we do get some inclines in. One day we stopped at the high school and ran the stairs on the football field stadium. Stairs are tuff, for me at least. The next few days going up stairs were brutal. But I think it helped, will definetly have to do the stairs again to see how I far I'm come. This week we didn't get a chance to go until friday. We did a 3 mile run pretty much on flat pavement. And it wasnt that bad, actually seemed ok. Called that a "donut run". We had donuts earlier that day and needed to run them off. Yesterday (Saturday) I went for a 3 mile run, after getting a text from Nathan rubbing it in that he did the foothill run that morning.
Hopefully we can keep doing afternoon runs for the next couple months until it gets lighter & warmer outside. The baby might be better manageable for the kids too so I can leave her and go running. Why can't I go in the dark? Well there has been several sighting of mountain lions in my area so I'm chicken! Coyotes I think I can handle, as long as there is only one, but cougars will eat my lunch.
Pretty sure I'm going to be doing Las Vegas Ragnar this year too. That will be a good motivation to keep running and get in shape. Its not until November, but I need all that time to prepare anyway. 2010 Wasatch Ragnar kicked my butt. 2010 Halloween half marathon was really tuff to finish. So I think I have to be in at least that good of shape, if not better, I'd like to be better.
I'm looking forward to the Moab trip in March. I'm not as worried as I was before about being in shape. I might not be lighter, but I should have enuff strength & endurance to keep up! This might be my theme for this year:
"I may not be as good as I once was, but I'm as good once as I ever was." From a song by Toby Keith, below is an excerpt from it.