Making a Wish

27 01 2008

Eliana had collected several coins and was eager for a chance to toss them into the fountain at the mall for a wish. I hope she gets what she wished for…

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How to Make yourself Ride your Bike to Work

23 01 2008

Today was the second day this week where I’ve ridden my bike to work. This has not happened in quite a while as I’ve sort of made a resolution to get back on my bike (and, consequently, get back to a reasonable fitness level). As I was riding to work today, I was thinking not only about how cold it was, but really, how cold it wasn’t. I mean, the cold has sort of been my internal excuse to not ride every so often. In the summer time, the extreme heat then becomes my excuse. I vowed a long time ago to give up excuses and replace them with actions. But, getting back to the cold, I think it was just as cold, or cold than Monday when I rode my bike to work. However, today didn’t really feel that bad. It was me getting used to the cold again. Riding along, thinking about the cold, I also thought “this has been what’s been keeping me from enjoying my bike all this time?”

So, with that, I list my suggestions to ride your bike to work on a more regular basis:

Keep all your stuff in one place

On Monday, I must have spent at least 30 minutes noodling around the house looking for all the things I needed in order to get on my bike safely and comfortably. It takes about 60 minutes to get to work on my bike, but it takes 15 minutes to drive to work. It doesn’t make efficient use of your time. 

Today, I had dumped nearly everything I need to ride in a single spot (save for my riding clothes). That way, there was no guess work on if I missed something. Arm warmers? Check. Leg Warmers? Check. Bike Shoes? Check. Gloves? Check. Helmet? Check. When your stuff isn’t in a single place, that check list takes much longer to mentally go through, and then you forget, leading to rechecking, leading to more wasted time, which THEN leads to you not even wanted to go on your bike.

Mentally prepare the night before

I usually tell myself the night before that I need to get up and do things by a certain time in order to make it to work in a reasonable hour. I have my travel and setup times all worked out through much experience. Referring to rule 1, ride prep time should be kept to a minimal amount. This helps when you wake up first thing: your brain will tell you “You told me you were going to ride last night! Don’t wimp out now!”

Set a goal

It’s usually easier for me to rationalize the days I miss by setting a goal of days to ride to work per week. As much as I would love to ride everyday, it simple isn’t possible for various reasons (see no excuses, above). Tell yourself how many days you will aim for.  My current goal is 4 days of total riding. That is counting weekends (I like riding on the weekends).  But, make sure to start with a target you can hit. Once you make it consistent, you can change it up by adding one more day. Over time, your prep time and clean up time (at work) will become streamlined, so it will be easier to achieve the next level up.

Just Do It

This is more than just a marketing slogan. Sometimes, you just have to kick yourself in the pants and get out there no matter how unprepared you are. This is what happened to me way back when I first started. I had do idea about the preparation involved. I just wanted to ride my bike, lock it up at work, and get back to it after work. If someone isn’t going to kick your ass, then you just have to do it yourself.

Feel free to share any other general tips for riding your bike to work! I find that this is the most enjoyable time of the day. I find the riding not only improves my physical health, but my mental health as well since I’m dealing with minimal traffic, and there is more time to decompress after a stressful day at the office.  Also, the fact that you are an active participant in your journey home helps take your mind off work, whereas when you drive, you use much less brain power toward the act of driving. But, most importantly, you should look forward to it…riding a bike is something everyone should enjoy on a regular basis.





Challenge Yourself

8 01 2008

It’s been quite some time since I have really challenged myself.  Now that I think about it, the last time I really did was back in school.  My High School was full of overachievers, so I was forced to challenge myself just to keep up with everyone. However, nowadays, as a man with a stable career and a family, it’s almost as if I don’t have time to challenge myself.  But I know that isn’t the case; there is always time, you just have to find it: and you might not like the truth about where you find the time).

The reason I bring this topic to light is that I recently decided that I would try to improve my racquetball skills by entering myself into a league at my gym.  My initial thought was that I will enroll into the lowest league and see how well I do. I guess the plan was to move on to the next league after I start to slaughter everyone else on a regular basis. But, last week, I was notified of a snag in my plan: they weren’t going to play on the days that fit my schedule. At this point, my options were:

1) Withdraw my registration

2)  Sign up in the next league up

So, after some hesitation, I realized that I should just bite the bullet and sign up for the next league higher. I’m not exactly a beginner at racqetball, but I’m certainly not an expert either, so maybe it does fit. However, I started to think: what’s the worst that will happen if I do sign up for the next league up? Well, probably I will lose every game. Big deal. What will I gain by every loss? Everything. I will learn by playing other players and other styles on a regular basis. I can ask other people questions about their game if I see something that is questionable.

The bottom line is that even if I lose every game in the higher league, I can only get better by playing people who are better at the sport than I current am.

Just remember, whenever something comes up that seems to be beyond your current capabilities, you so much more to gain by trying and failing than by not trying at all. And to think, I had almost forgotten this lesson.





Snowball

3 01 2008

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This past weekend, we found out about an event at the Phoenix Zoo called Noon-Year’s Eve Party. It was for kids to celebrate the new year since most kids don’t stay up until midnight.  While it was fun to ring in the new year 12 hours earlier than normal, the real fun part was the mounds of snow that was made for the event. I don’t recall if the girls have seen or played with snow before, but all kids know how to play in the snow. Instinctively, Eliana was making snowballs. It sure was odd to have snow in the middle of Phoenix, but I’m glad there are organizations like the Phoenix Zoo that help bring a little bit of the winter wonderland to the middle of the desert.





Our Family Values

1 01 2008

The current state of the typical American family drastically is different than that of the classic 50s era image.  However, our family seems to have returned to that idea a little more. My wife and I are married, with no history of divorce. We have two great children. No pets though; we have enough little critters to clean up after right now. In all, no matter how angry, tired or frustrated my kids make me, I always feel lucky. Lucky to be their father, lucky that they are my children and no one else’s. I always know that I want to give my kids the best of what I have so that they can be better than me at everything they do. But, that got me thinking: what is it I’m really trying to pass on to the kids? The answer I found was: Family Values.

Family Values is more than a generic political term used by the Christian faithful of the country. Family Values are those ideals that you pass on to your children as they grow up. These are the things they will based their actions on for the rest of their lives. So, as I have memorized the six Intel values (from work), and tried to apply them to the way I perform at work, I thought it would be an important exercise for my wife and I to explore our family values, and write them down. By writing them down and sharing them with the world, and more importantly with our children, we are committing to these values, and showing our girls that these ideas are important to us.

Our family values are:

Creativity – Encourage and explore your individual creativeness in all aspect of your live from work to play

Intelligence – Live life and make your decisions with the knowledge and wisdom necessary to make the best choices

Simplicity – Eliminating complexity from your lives will help you to enjoy the things you care about most

Well Being – Maintain and develop your physical, spiritual mental and emotional well being so that you can pursue what is important to you

Relationships – We do not travel this Earth alone. We are gifted with the presence of others. Positive relationships with those around you will help you through your journeys.

Of course, this exercise only works if you believe them, and revisit them often. I plan on posting these in our house somewhere for a daily reminder of what drives us. Our Family Values are important, and I urge you to find yours. Here are some helpful links to get you started on you and your family’s journey on the path to self-discovery.

Personal Mission Statements

List of sample values





How to Make Cookies

1 01 2008

Every child loves cookies, so I thought it would be a good family activity to include our daughters in on the making of some cookies. Of course, the ingredients came out of a box with everything included (just to make our lives easier) but it was still a good time had by all. Of course, the girls’ favorite part was when they got to eat the cookies. Yummie.