Week 5.5

I missed my weekly check in, sorry about that. Last week was kind of rough and I have had a lot on my mind, so consider this myUntitled weekly check in and mid-week update. Quickly, not a lot has changed. I have had the joy of taking Anthony to the gym with me since last week; he has shown interest in weight lifting so we have gone every other day since last Monday. I really enjoy going with him, as he is 13 and new to the gym. It has also re-lit within me, the weightlifting spark. When I lost weight before, I was a cardio machine and did not take time to lift any weights. This week though, it has been the opposite, all weights, no cardio. I need to find that balance.

By the numbers:

Weight – Still, damnit, right around 350

Gym Visits to date – 9.75 (awesome)

Items Crossed of of 40 while 40 list – 2

I mentioned it has been a rough week; work really stunk it up with what has been going down there. Again, I cannot say a lot, but without any control of my own my reputation, as well as others, has been tarnished and that blows like a five dollar whore at Fleet Week, I lost focus for about the last ten days on my 40 while 40.

I have been spending more time on Instagram and have realized how motivating some people are. They aren’t trying, they just are. They put in work, they don’t do anything other than put in the work, show up and let people know. I am going to really take that to heart as I become a better blogger (lesson 1: Yes, you want to hear about what I am going to do, but more importantly, you want to read and see what I have DONE).

gpaOK, now that I have sucked you in, I want to talk to you about someone very important to me, my grandpa Jim (James L. Hildebrand) born 9/20/1929. Grandpa is in the hospital, and he probably is not coming out and this is breaking my heart. Until George came along, Grandpa was THE male role model in my life. He was a scrappy bricklayer with arms of steel, lots of love but a hard attitude at times (shit, I have met his kids, I do not fault the man). I haven’t seen Grandpa much lately, and the last time I did, I didn’t spend as much time with him as I should. He will probably never meet Ayden, and all this has me all emotional and shit right now. Suffice it to say, that you know on my 40 while 40, I am building my family tree. I just want to warn each of you, coming up sooner than I hoped, there will be a full post dedicated to this great man. I love you Grandpa.

I didn’t mean to end this so soon, but me heart has fallen out of it and I am getting all emotion. alI think that is all I have in me right now. Talk soon.


Random Thoughts of the Dork King

Weak as week 4

Weak as week 4

So, here it is, Week 4. Holla at yo boy for keeping up on a weekly blog; other than that, I am not tracking well. But I have a little secret I am going to share a little later in this blog. Let’s say it was an awakening moment, ok? OK. So, first, lets get to the numbers.

Weight:  Hovering around 348 still
Letters / Thank you’s written to date:  4
Gym Visits (PTD – Project To Date): 5.75 (stalled)
Items Crossed off of 40 while 40 list: 2
Days without Smartphone: 28 (more on that)

Alright, I am going to break out the numbers.  I have not been to the gym in a couple of weeks faithfully.  Excuses, excuses, excuses (my asthma, too tired, busy at work, my vagina hurts).  OK, the asthma thing may be the only truly viable option.  I mean, busy at work?   I go to 24 HOUR FITNESS, they are always open.   This is where the weight and gym to date visits fall off the radar.  I am on week four, which is 8% done with the entire project, but still ahead of the Zulu hour of week 10.  Week 1o is where the rubber hits the road so to say.

Leaving the physical behind, I had an amazing mental win.  Suffice it to say, Amanda and I have been in a rut for a few weeks months (I got her permission to talk about it); and it all centers on learned behavior.  My behavior has been out of character for me for some time.  I am going to get help for this.  Admittedly, there has been A LOT on my mind (how am I going to continue to make finances work?  Is Amanda going back to work?  Do I want to stay at Credit One?) and instead of bringing my partner in on some of this, I was just sucking it up, and letting it continue to get to me, and it wore me down to the point where I had become defensive, and snappy at home.  This is not the happy, healthy relationship either of us wanted – we spoke, and shared, and it is going to get better we both know.

The other side to this mental victory is that speaking with a few folks that have either worked with me or still do, I am inspired to change what I am becoming into becoming what I want.  I WANT to get back on the rock, I WANT to triathlon, I WANT to ride my bike to work.  Well, what is stopping me?  Only my own assitude folks, I am the only one in control of what I can and what I cannot do.  Me.  Mike.  So, what is Mike doing tomorrow evening with son #3?  Riding a bike and lifting weights at the gym peeps.

Let’s Talk Smartphone, I have my EVO back, so I can officially kill the calendar there.

I want to share briefly an amazing place only 40 minutes from my house, called Techatticup Ghost Town in El Dorado Canyon Nevada (between Lake Mead and Lake Mojave).  Pretty amazing place, an old desert mining town just pat Nelson, NV.  lot’s of old buildings, weathered and beaten by the sun.  And when i think old mining town, I think of old busses, bombers plowed into the ground and trucks.  OK, for some reason there are a lot of old mechanical pieces, mining and what have you, on display – so if you are into Ghost Towns being visited by pickers, this is the place for you.  Take a look at my gallery below, and when Amanda approves her “A” roll of film, I will link you over to it.

Finally, what is on tap this week:
1. Start the stop drinking soda of my 40 while 40
2. Write 3 thank you notes / letters
3.  4 visits (at least) to the gym
4. Finish my book
5. Give 110% at work to finish up a few projects before handing some stuff off.
6. Take the 5 week picture (no change, right?)

That is it for today amigo’s, I will talk to you mid-week.  Love and peace.

I knew a guy who dated Shauna Lake

I have been struggling with my mid-week blog, well, blogging in general and I should not be.  I mean, I am a funny son of a bitch, I’ve lived in Texas and I think the gays should marry.  Right there, bam, that is a blog that should write itself, right?

You would think so, but it takes a lot of energy.  Energy fueled by Chinese food, hummus and sushi – and the occasional trifecta of stomach indulgence called the gut bomb (it was easier when I lived by El Taco Feliz, but now I have to go to two restaurants to get this gourmet treat of chicken fingers, enchilada as chip dip and deep fried bar food).

With an intro like that you can probably guess the tone that this blog will take, but you would be wrong faithful reader.  Lets start off with the numbers (something I am lifting from Kai Rizdall on NPR)

Weight:  Hovering around 342-343
Letters / Thank you’s written:  3
Gym Visits (PTD – Project To Date): 4.75
Items Crossed off of 40 while 40 list: 2 (more on that next blog)
Days without Smartphone: 16
Biological fathers written: 1 (more on that next blog)

So what I wanted to talk about was why I want to lose the weight; I have mentioned my first journey out of FatAsserville was because of anger, this time I have 6 better reasons:

Sexy people!

Sexy people!

Yes, that is Matthew McConaughey and you are asking why?  Well, shit, its Matthew “the shirtless God” McConaughey.  Friends with Lance Armstrong and pot aficianado.  If I can’t earn his respect, well then, shit.  Also, he says things like “Cool, its Cool” and “Alright, alright!”  Also, also, Amanda does a pretty good impression.

OK that was a joke, here is the real photo and why:



Starting from the lower left:

1 – Amanda:  The love of my life, the partner, my BFF and better half.  I want need to be there for her when we get old.  And also, it will help if her friends think I am sexy.  She will get the esteem of having a hot husband in his forties.

2 – Alex:  That is a picture from a few years ago when his hair was longer, I liked him more back then, he was around. Though I still love him, I never hear from him.  I use to not think this would bother me, but maybe I feel my own mortality. And I want to be there, when he is ready to come back to me.  And he will, I promise.

3 – Anthony:  That is the ciggy pop pose I got him to do.  The kid does everything shirtless.  Anthony is rough; he hasn’t had a real good father figure and I don’t want him to think it is OK to be lazy and fat. I want him, like my other boys, to go hiking and fishing and camping and run and play and love me as much as I love him.

4 – Ayden:  Like I mentioned before, I get her for only about 35-50 years somewhere in there.  I want to see her graduate, marry and hopefully have a baby before I fucking die.  I want the rest of my life dedicated to making sure that the vision she has of men is one that we can be proud of and keeps her off the fucking pole.

5 – Adam:  (see #2) Like Alex, I kind of have lost Adam.  He would rather play his WiiStationbox 4 with his friend than come down to see me or spend a lot of time talking to me. But I still love the bugger.  I was his age once, but again, don’t want the short times we spend together wasted cause I am fat.  I want to paintball and shoot him in the face.

6 – Autumn:  I may have already lost Autumn to the pole at 10 years.  She is ten going on thirty.  I love autumn tremendously, she is so intelligent and creative and at the same time makes me want to bash my own damn head in.  She is going to be a heart-breaker at 16 and I need t o be ready to beat some young man’s ass.  Also, I need to show her it is cool to run and play and be fit, and like yourself.

That kind of explains it.  I included my wedding picture because even on January 7th, 2012, I knew I had backslid and was going the wrong way and had already gained back thirty pounds by then.  That was sixty-five pounds ago; but that is the past.  I am working hard, and working smart and I will get down to 175 in a little over a year; one fucking pound at a time.

Some other folks I’d like to thank for their motivation and part in my weight loss for reasons personal and public:

24 Hour Fitness – Wigwam and the good people working there, Mike B (for believing in me almost as much as my wife and just patiently waiting until I kick his ass at climbing), David G (for both motivating me with kindness as well as annoyance), my parents who have both had their own success with weight this year – way to go mom and dad, and of course all my blog friends who I read and for some reason don’t get read back 9but your stories always inspire me to be the athlete you are and that I can be).

Thanks for stopping by

Dark Secrets of a Wanna-Be Executive (aka creepy corporate culture)

An honest life is a hard life to live; that is a piece of what my 40 while 40 is about – really discovering the man I am and the man I am still to be.  But it is also about having fun, a lot of fun growing with my family and my friends and myself.  It is very hard to be honest with yourself.  I think it is actually easier to be honest with others, unless of course they are asking about you.

You like?

You like?

“Doing great, thanks!”
“We are all good!”
“Out of sight!”I probably said each of those once over the last week, the last one is a little weird, I agree.  Stuff it, I said it and I probably thought I meant it.  But the truth is, no, I am probably NOT at 100%.  I do not see myself the way other see me. I cannot for some reason, but I am trying.  And that is my week one item I like about myself.  I like that I can always try to be a best version of myself, and try to see myself the way others do.  I may not always show it, but I do; and often I like what they see. Sometimes, I see the truth of what they see and it inspires me.

Back to honesty, I had gone into this week with the utter intention of working out 7 days this week, working on the walking, moving toward running, etc. But the truth of the matter is that I have had one mediocre workout as it got interrupted by two of the beautiful girls in my life.  I REALLY need to get into the gym; for my health, love and family as well as my own enjoyment of riding the bike and lifting the weights.

Left, their idea of yoga; right, what it looks like for me (hell, I wish I was that flexible)

Left, their idea of yoga; right, what it looks like for me (hell, I wish I was that flexible)

There is a darker side too, to the weight loss.  I work in a corporate culture that rewards folks that are more fit.  I look at the executives at my company and for right or wrong, those that are “going somewhere” within company are runners, cyclists, athletes all.  I am regaled with stories of seeing the CEO at hot yoga (hey, for me, any yoga is hot and sweaty), or the AVP in Human Resources that is running the half marathon and so on. It is painfully obvious what I need to do to get ahead at work.  Fuck the fact that I have basically taught myself Business Intelligence Applications development, SQL Server and SRSS while employed and underpaid there, now I got to lose 140 pounds too.

**DISCLAIMER – I work for a great company, with great people under me, peers and leadership; I am fortunate to have great mentors and friends there, I just hate the fact that is sometimes is surface over substance in some views.  The company itself is a caring, community minded leader on the cutting edge of what or mission, vision and values are, and am proud of the work I do and for who, truly I am.  I also  know who reads my blog **Truly, I need to lose the weight anyway, but I digress.  Pardon my venting.

Basically then week one of 40 while 40 saw some highs and lows, I went and got the photo of myself at valley of Fire like I wanted and posted last time, so I can cross that off my list.  I wrote a couple of thank you notes to some colleagues. That made me feel good, to foster a thankful attitude.  I also wrote the rough draft of the letter to bio dad.  So yes, I did not work out, but I can cross three things off and am on track with two others.

What to do now?  I am headed to the gym with my wife who was just Freshly Pressed (awesome, baby!) where I will put in some work on the bike and some abs.  Then a steam.  This week, I plan on really focusing on getting back into the gym and getting ready for a couple of events that fall on the same day 35 days from today.  My mid-week blog will be about the events, hold your breath.

Thanks for stopping by.

FACTS Week One:
Weight: 345
Letters / Thank Yous written:  3
Gym Visits: .75
Items crossed of 40 while 4 list to date:  1
Days without SmartPhone:  11

40 and I remember why I am doing this

Its been a damn near perfect weekend (4 days off actually).  Starting with my 40th birthday and ending with some Guinness, Corned Beef and Cabbage today.

Yesterday the family spent the afternoon at Valley of Fire State Park, NV.  It is about 50 miles north of Las Vegas and for those that live here and have never been, I encourage you to go.  We spend the time driving and walking around looking at the amazing rock pieces.  Amanda got a chance to practice her growing skill at photography.  And since she is the family shutterbug, she will not let me post pics yet.  Once she has approved them all, I will post them here.

There were two reasons I really wanted to go out there.  About 4 years ago my ex wife and I went out there when I was at my unhealthiest, she took a photo of me in the drainage pipe near the Clark Memorial on the east end of the park.  I was fat, unhealthy and suicidal.  It was my darkest point, but it still took me one year, a divorce and a good look at how far I had fallen before I lost weight – and yes, I was successful.  However, I was successful for the wrong reasons.  Alcoholics in the program call it a Dry Drunk; when you put in the work, but you are one step away from your next bender – well that is where I was, anger can only carry you so far.

Since then my life has turned 180 degrees as you already know.  I am happier than I have been in a long time but yes, gained A LOT of the weight back so part of my 40 while 40 project is to  get out, lose the weight and learn a little about myself along the way.  So it was important also for me to have Amanda take my photo in the same place.

The photo is shockingly embarrassing, because we do not see the damage we are doing to ourselves without really scrutinizing.  For example, I had NO clue my calves had gotten so fat again.  No wonder I breath heavy when I walk.  It is sad, but it is also part of the goal to be a triathlete in 2014.  Hopefully this year I will run one Sprint or so as a Clydesdale, but next year I want to be competitive.

So, here are the photo’s,  I have linked them to my Flickr account because I did not want to insult you by throwing my lump of clay in your face; but like clay I am going to sculpt.  In 1 year I will post the sister pictures proudly.  Until then, you have to click to see.

Thanks for stopping in.

1,000 pages against 5 words

One time, when I was 16 years old and still a newb to climbing, my friends Steve and I started a climb at Storm Island Picnic Area in Big Cottonwood Canyon; it was a short, steep clean wall – set back on the island of rock and was not a huge draw.  At the time, we had no idea about climbing safety or any of that, as I said we were new.  I was lucky that I had a harness and rope at the time, little did we know of ‘beeners or draws at the time or how to use them, we utilized a body belay for hell sake.

I was on lead and about thirty feet up the sixty foot wall and I froze.  I was trapped.  I stood on what felt like the edges of a dime, and was barely holding onto the same with my fingertips, for what seemed like fifteen minutes.  Steve called out to me a few times, but I was trapped on a cliff, thirty feet up, thirty feet to go and I was going to die.  I knew it.  I couldn’t breathe, my muscles were getting ready to let go.  Steven decided the best course of action was to get above me and lower the rope to me so I could use it to go up or down.  Naïve as we were, I untied (not that the rope would have done me any good, we were not placing gear) and came off our silly-assed belay.  And waited. 

I waited with my thoughts, thinking if we could get a fire truck in here, or what Steve would tell my parents when I fell and died or even worse, what if I was hurt beyond fix?  Resigned to the wheelchair or something?  I realize now in that moment, I became aware of mortality, I had shed the youthful reckless abandon that we all face.  It was at that moment that I gave up on faith and religion and self-esteem.  I had gotten my own dumb ass into a situation I could not get out of and I was going to die.

I waited for Steve for another thirty minutes, I was trapped and wanted to scream.

Today, I feel the same way.  I am trapped.  Not by family or responsibility, but by the situations I have created for myself that I seem to not be able to get myself out of.  Primarily I am talking about three things, and they are intertwined.  My weight, my laziness and my self-esteem.  All three are perpetuating and feeding off of each other.  I am lazy, so I do not take my working out as serious as I once did, and that impacts my self-esteem; or, frighteningly enough, my self-esteem is low, so I am lazy and do not work out enough.  See, you can spin it either way, but it is a situation that has spiraled out of control and I am trapped and want to scream, because surely, this pattern is killing me, it is certainly impacting the moods of those around me, as they can no longer be happy either.

I write it here in a sort of honesty that I have reserved for the mirror late at night when I tell myself, I will do something about this, or I will start tomorrow.  I do, I usually hang on for about a week these days before sabotaging myself.  I find myself wondering what will Amanda do when she wakes up to me being dead?  What will she tell the kids?  My parents?

I have trapped myself so securely in fat and low esteem, that it is hard to be around me.  Hell, two of my kids did what they could to not be around me and that actually just kind of feeds the spiral.  I treasure the alone at the same time damn the silence of who I am.  I am fat so people automatically expect less of me.  I am not expected to perform at levels fit people do and for as long.

But that is not who I am inside the trapped body.  At heart, I am a one-hundred and seventy pound athlete about to turn the corner on his life at forty and make the next decade the best I have ever had.  I watch triathlon and think that I can do that.  But I can’t; I have built walls around myself to keep out the expectation and scared, these walls are made of sugar, gluten, fat and soda.  Sugar has been the cause of and solution to most of my life’s problems (so has alcohol, but I digress).  It has been a long fight with fat and for some time I was winning.

I had beaten one hundred and twenty pounds of fat back and was gaining confidence, but I have told that story and have rested on the laurels of what I have done enough in my life.  That is part of the trap I am in; I am only as good to someone as the last thing I have done.  And that is completely self-imposed.

I have an associate, in business that is humbly confident.  It is who he is.  It would be unfair to say that he hasn’t a care in the world, but he speaks and lives like he does not.  In response to someone winning over one-hundred thousand dollars compared to his one thousand, he replied, and this is totally him:

“Yeah, But I am 6’2” and you are only 5’9””

That is confidence; utter and unashamed.  I have tasted it before but all too briefly.  I am tired of being trapped, because I can feel the walls closing in.  Am I happy?  With certain aspects of my life absolutely.  I am in a committed marriage, with wonderful kids, but I have been reacting to them even as if they are pushing me away when it is I who is building up the walls against those who love me most and it is so unfair I have seriously considered disappearing.   For their benefit, not mine.

At least I tell myself that, but really, isn’t that just cowardice again?  Cowardice is part of a greater issue of being scared to release myself from the trap, and just puts up bigger barriers.  Besides, I may be going insane but I am not there yet, I would miss them too much to actually run off to Guatemala.

The good news is that getting this out is cathartic and I already feel better. For now.  No, a run around the block or a ride on the bike right now won’t help, but neither will brooding over it like I am want to do from time to time.  I am one of the lucky ones.  I have had the keys to happiness in my hands and know what I need to do to find my happy:

  • Actively play with the kids
  • Spend the small amounts of time I have with Amanda as quality, and less “Walking Dead” and “Dexter”
  • Engage my own active athletic burning desire in SMALL portions (join a co-ed softball team or something similar for starters)
  • Do something active, EVERY day – for at least 30 minutes
  • Go outside (this has always been a favorite) and share it with those I love, friends and family
  • Steer my career in the path I want it to go whether at C1B or outside of their culture.  Find my heart in my work, not theirs.
  • Blog more – but creatively and with joy, not depressing (this blog has sounded a little down, but  reading it and re-reading it, there is actually a lot of hope)
  • Be the Mr. Amazing that so many people believe I am or could be, and
  • For the love of all that is holy, stop living yesterday – live today and go get tomorrow.

I appreciate you joining me on the blog today, it had to get out I guess.  What was that?  How did my climb end?  Well, I am here today so I did not die…

Steve eventually risked his own neck, trail ran almost 2 miles and climbed up the backside of the cliff in thirty minutes and lowered the rope to me.  I was able to get down.  Shaky, scared and I cried.  I was alone, because Steve was still up on the cliff, but I was so sure I was going to die, that I cried.

We learned how to climb and as we gained experience that year, Steve wanted to go back and conquer that cliff, so we did.  We went back, he flashed it.  Took ten minutes to climb and then lower.  It was my turn on lead.  I got up thirty feet, but this time we had placed protection and I was a lot more secure in my ability and safety. 

But I got stuck.  The wall mentally beat me, and I was again trapped.  I could not go up, but I could go down, Steve lowered me and again, the wall beat me.  I vowed never to go back and that actually dictated a lot of my life and many of the ways I have been since.  Steve became the better climber because we kept climbing the same things over and over, he got better and I just stayed flat.  I was not challenging myself, but I was not failing either.  Over the next decade of my life, my relationship with most things would be defined by this odd quirk in Steve and my relationship.  I was always the guy that would talk to the girls, Steve would bed them.  I mean the same girls I had just warmed up for him.  Steve was always better than me in my mind.  He and I climbed on and off for a few years, but not as much.  We still hung out and partied weekly, but no climbing.

Two years later, I met another climber, David Pope and we climbed the stuff I had climbed and he got bored.  When we met he had not climbed much and I crushed him, but within weeks he was my speed and maybe a little better.  We started climbing things that were way beyond us and numerous times I was eating dirt.  But his confidence and easy going grace kept it fun, and I never felt like it was something I was working at. 

Eventually Steve wanted to go climbing with me again.  I took him on a few new routes and he floundered.  He was a third the climber he had use to be, and half the climber I had become.  I wanted him to keep climbing with me, so I thought long and hard; our old cliff.  I didn’t want to, in my heart.  I knew it was an easy climb for Steve, but it was hard work for me.

We went to Storm Island and Steve went first, he struggled a little but not much, his old form was coming back.  Before I wanted it to be, it was my lead.  I tied in and was on belay.  I shut down my mind and my fears and saw only the rock, as I had taught myself over the last six months of hard climbing.  I saw the small imperfections in the rock and new right away, this cliff was my bitch this time.  Before I knew it I was standing on top and hardly realized I had sailed this bitch.  I did something then I have done few times since, I raised my fist in the air, jumped up and yelled out at the top of my lungs, “ALLEZ! Mother fucker!”  It was stupid, but a moment when all my walls and assumptions of the world had fallen for a few moments of ecstasy.

I need to find that.  That place, that moment, that feeling so I can once again scream

ALLEZ!  Mother fucker!