Runners, you know who you are! Road running, trail running, running around lakes, around neighborhoods, and basically around circles. It is time for all the walkers, hikers, and other runners to stop giving us the Evil COVID Eye! You know the look…people ticked off when you are running towards them or passing from behind without covering your face.
On my trail run this morning I put a buff on around my neck. I have used buffs in the past and they are handy for really long runs. You can wear them around your neck, as a headband or head covering. If its a bit brisk when running they are great ear coverings too. I have this thing about cold ears or fingers…..if those are warm I am usually good to go in the cold. But today was warm and I wore my buff around my neck.
Now, you’re thinking why is he talking about buffs? Well when worn around your neck and coming around a blind curve on a single track, I look up and see a hiker coming at me. So I pull the buff up over my nose and mouth and run past, pulling it back down about 10 yards later. I did this about 8 times today passing people and you won’t believe what happened? No dirty looks, no pissed off stares, just good ole plain thank you’s!
You see wearing a mask around other people is a basic respect for others in these trying times. It’s not the fact that I am scared of catching COVID, its that I am scared of giving COVID to someone else. You can be a carrier without even knowing it and wearing a mask and/or a buff is a simple act of concern and kindness towards others.
So dig into your runner’s pile of clothing, gloves, socks, etc. and see if you can find your buff to wear on your next run. If you don’t have one, Amazon or any running store will sell them for $20 or less. By running and protecting yourself from others, you will be surprised by the positive looks and thank you’s you get from hikers, walkers, and other even runners.
As a runner what would you do? You are running/hiking down a trail and pass a hiker and their dog coming the other way. They state “there is a bear up ahead next to the trail.” You think okay…I will just go a little farther. Five minutes later you come across another hiker with a dog who states “hey there is a bear up ahead on the left side just sitting next to the trail. I turned around.” So what do you do? Do you keep running towards the bear or turn and run away?
Well, this happened to me the other day as I was running in the Sierra Mountains. I love trail running and enjoy every quiet step along with the beauty, and sometimes wildlife. The week before I actually ran up on two coyote’s that dashed out from a bush right in front of me! It was startling at first, but knowing coyote’s, they probably thought they could hide but then I got to close and scared them to run away. You feel a sense of scared adrenaline of course, but once I was over it I just kept on running. So when I passed two different people around mile 4 telling me about a bear near the trail, what did I do when warned twice?
I ran towards the bear. Yep, like an idiot, running with a steep downward tree slope on my left and a flowing creek on my right, I decided to run towards the bear. This time of year they are coming out of hibernation and are looking for food and water. I realized “I bet he is going towards the creek…..crap!” And yet I kept running in the same direction. I have to be honest I was kind of excited to see a bear and was hoping to add a cool moment to my running resume. But afterward as I was running the final 2 miles of my 7, I started to think “what does this say about my personality?”
I am a cautiously optimistic risk-taker. I know that if I did not take some risks in life I would not be in a secure and comfortable situation I am living today. And running toward a bear validated my personality somewhat. I know that if that bear was right up on the trail or had cubs, I probably would have turned around. But for some reason I wanted visual confirmation putting myself in a position that could backfire. I kept asking myself over and over those last 2 miles….why would you do that?? When I asked my girlfriend what she would do she stated “turn the other way…I did it last year when someone warned me about a bear.” So I guess I might be an idiot or just curious about seeing a bear, either way, it’s my runner’s personality that made the decision.
Your asking did I see the bear? Sadly I did not see it as either the bear moved on, hid from me or I missed looking for him in the brush and trees. I am actually kind of sad but also fortunate I had no issues.
Seriously, this is going to be a short ranting blog with one basic message. I understand wearing a mask does not look cool. I understand that wearing one might make one think they somehow make you look weak. And I understand that if you have bad breath….good luck because you get to breathe it all back.
BUT…just wear the stupid mask. It is being proven that it cuts the spread of Coronavirus by 75%. Think about that, a 75% reduction in the spread of a virus that has killed 90,000+ Americans and 300,000+ worldwide. You see the very basic fact is that you wear a mask, is not just for yourself BUT to protect others from people all around you. It is a simple act of human kindness to save other humans. No, you don’t see people falling over in the middle of the street dying, and they’re not many viral videos of people suffering, which seems like the only way to get people’s attention sometimes. This is a different type of War. Its a Pandemic and it does not care about your political affiliation, your religion, or your nationality.
The fact that the President of the United States and the Free World does not feel the need to wear a mask only reinforces the incredibly unbiased scientific fact of not listening to people extremely smarter them himself. I hear people voice their distrust and conspiracy of not only wanting to wear a mask or the fact that an actual virus is killing people by the hundreds of thousands. There are some really smart and experienced people that do not care about politics BUT do care about saving lives. Let’s just put down our guard of insults and ignorant thinking and just follow those that are experienced in these matters.
So do everyone a favor and just wear a mask. It is so easy and so simple to save lives. Again this is not to protect you as much as protecting others around you. People can be carriers of Coronavirus without showing symptoms yet spread it to someone that could possibly get extremely sick or die. Do you want to be responsible for someone else’s death? I doubt it.
Below is a quick update on numbers by country. Let’s not be the dumbest of them all and instead lead by example because honestly, we talk about how great the United States is, but guess what, there are other countries that can and do things better than Americans. Let’s work together to solve this World Crisis.
United States 1.56m confirmed w/virus (92.258 dead American Citizens)
So you see those advertisements on Social Media etc., concerning making easy money in real estate, retiring early, cashing in while on vacation. They often are selling the idea of working from your yacht while money flows in from rental properties! We have all seen these advertisements and they make it look so easy!
Well here comes the reality kick that you may and or may not want to hear from someone that has spent over 20 years buying, managing, rehabbing, and selling rental and commercial properties. It is not easy. It is not quick. It is a lot of work and can be stressful. Should I just end it there? Of course not, let me point out a couple of things that can make real estate investing difficult so that you understand the truths of this industry.
1.) You need money and if you have cash that will make things even easier! Most people don’t have the cash to buy an investment so then you need a downpayment and a loan. Depending on your finances along with the state of the economy will decide if you can get a loan or not. And if you are higher risk, say your credit score is 600 and below, that loan percentage is going to be more then the average rate. Cash will push people to sell, cash means no real debt and cash means a fast close, which buyers always prefer. But how do you get cash? I saved and invested my money in other ways before going the cash method. That took years….and in the meantime, I worked on having excellent credit so that loans were easy to attain when needed.
2.) Now you purchased your investment property, here is what they don’t show you on the flipping television shows. You need to turn on the power and water so you can do work on your investment. You need insurance on the investment. You will have taxes on the investment. And don’t forget the closing costs too. These add up fast and when you are ready to upgrade your investment, which you want to do to attract the highest paying renters, the longer it takes to rehab the more the costs add up monthly.
3.) Permits cost time and money. Depending on where you are buying the property, you may need permits for construction. Not only do you have to pay for permits, but you also have to wait for inspectors throughout the building process, and waiting for them costs money. You see inspectors work on their schedule, not yours and I have had experiences waiting weeks for a permit sign off before we could continue work. I know what you are thinking…I can get around the permits. Well yes at times…but if caught it really will cost you even more time and money. Also, you better do everything to spec. If your investment catches fire because of faulty wiring or something you are really going to pay!!
4.) Finding a good contractor can be a crapshoot. I have had really good contractors (KEEP those relationships) and I have had some bad ones. I lost $40k once to one contractor who basically disappeared. Finding the right people, that you can trust and will say what they do is extremely important. The thing is with contractors/builders, they are usually really good at building things but terrible at running a business. That means they over-schedule, over-promise, and give ETA’s that usually never its target date. Again, this can cause time and money.
5.) Everything will cost more then you think it will. When walking around an investment property you point out knocking that wall down, moving the bathroom over there, etc, etc. That fact is whatever work you are going to do will almost always run over schedule and over budget. The saying goes “Once you open up a wall you never know what’s behind it.” Dry rot, old electrical, leaks….heck one time we found a hidden hornet’s nest. You name it I have seen it and you have to fix it.
I am not trying to talk you out of investing in real estate but I am telling you it is not as easy as the TV shows and advertisements make it sound. Most people that open a small business fail within the first three years. If you are going to be a real estate owner/investor, which is a small business, you have to start slow and build up to what you can and will handle. It takes time, patience, and a little luck when working on properties, especially if you want to flip it or find good-paying renters. It can be done but I wanted to share with you some of this information so that you can make a sound decision.
More to come…….. If you have questions, please feel free to post or email direct at email@example.com.
So you want to be a Coward, especially in times of not only a national emergency but an actual World Pandemic, then great! After weeks of watching and learning, I can now provide you 5 simple steps to being a true Patriot. So let’s review some of these everyday things you need to do to reach your Cowardness Goals.
Step One – Wearing a mask is stupid. Actually it’s so dumb you see no reason why to bother protecting yourself from others or yourself. I personally wear a mask to actually protect me from you but don’t tell the guy that made a snarky comment to me the other day. You see I don’t know if I am carrying Covid-19 especially since symptoms can take days to detect. But that does not bother you, because wearing a mask means you are weak and Cowards are strong “you can’t tell me what to do” type personalities. I mean if a news reporter wants to hear your story, (happened in PA) you just intimidate them by walking at them unprotected. That will show the fake news media! You don’t need to care about mankind as much as how many rolls of toilet paper you can hoard. So do not wear that mask because then our President might not show you any love, and boy does it seem like you need that love badly.
Step Two – You think you are the smartest person in the world when it comes to oh…I don’t know, ANY TOPIC! I mean Bill Gates only created the desktop computer among a million other things and then poured his time and money into eradicating Polio from 125 countries. So you know…let’s call him names and undermine him as Un-american…right! Dr. Fauci….puh….what does he know? He only has been the director of the NIAID since 1984 under numerous other Presidents. But don’t tell our current President he is wrong or else!! You see Cowards know everything and nothing at the same time. Actually taking the time to read, listen, and contemplate is not the way to go at all! You need to voice your opinion no matter how wrong you are on extremely complex subjects loudly. Either yelling or typing all CAPS will get your message across to everyone.
Step Three – Change is bad. You do not want to change the way things operate, you want gas and oil, big trucks with terrible gas mileage along with not worrying about climate change, etc. Things should be built by American workers by hand and should demand pay that can be sometimes crazy for the actual job you are doing. BUT….do not take my smartphone, flat-screen, social media, or cable tv/internet options because you want it both ways. You see you need to yell and scream about America becoming a Socialist Country, which is bad, even though the Union you work for guarantees your pay and protection from being fired no matter how bad a job you do. Also, you don’t need any stinking health care because really you can just go to the ER and they will deal with the costs using tax dollars you already hate paying. OH…and don’t forget to cash your COVID handout, I mean check!
Step Four – Guns, guns, and guns. You deserve your guns without any questions, checks, or licenses. I mean coming from the Midwest I totally understand the sport of hunting and eating your kill. But NO…you want guns on your backs when going into Target or to a protest rally at a State Capital. Intimidation is your name and making people extremely uncomfortable let alone anxious is your game. I mean let’s not point out that about every mass shooting in America has been a white guy with a gun. Oh…and also we can’t tell you what gun you can and cannot have even though you follow other rules like taking a driver’s license test, wearing a seatbelt and not driving a race car at 100mph to work every day because you will get a ticket or better yet jail. Other laws, like wearing clothes outside, stealing, or whatever are also acceptable. But carrying an assault rifle where ever you want to go is by god your right!
Step Five – Just because you have a ton of time on my hands with the current Shelter in Place (stupid State Governors) that you would not ever consider learning something new. I mean the internet has free Harvard Classes (among a million other things) online for gosh sakes, but you are not going to take the time to educate further. You have one news channel that tells you everything you need to know and will refuse to read or watch other channels to get an even and equal sense of what the hell is going on in our country. You see Obama is bad (because he is black and smart and successful and genuine and was President of the United States for 8 years) and Trump tells it like it is….which makes no sense? But if he doesn’t need to learn or listen to smarter people then himself then why the hell do you need too either?
Ok, I know this is an extremely sarcastic view but actually, it’s kinda not. We are seeing this kind of human behavior on a daily basis right now in the United States of America. And what’s worse is whoever screams loudest or does the most stupid act or makes nonsensical statements will get the most publicity. Our current President has opened up aninvisible fault line allowing these personalities and behaviors to rise up out of the ground like some type of monster from Stranger Things!
I personally try and listen to all sides and will respect other views when having an actual discussion. There are some incredibly smart people that can be neutral and Americans at the same time helping our country for the greater good. We are not a Red or Blue country as it is being played out currently. We need to be a Red AND Blue country that works towards common sense values, respect, and love for all humankind. Also, Nationalism does not work. Americans are not the smartest people on Earth…..sorry to break it to you. We are part of a planet that can all assist each other through pandemics, conflicts, and natural disasters. I’ve always hoped other people believed that too, but all I see now is craziness on my TV and/or phone throughout the day. I am worried that maybe we are actually going down the rabbit hole into something that is going to make this country worse in the long run.
As a runner (endurance/ultra/marathon/trail etc…), and as someone that trains adults and kids to run Half Marathons and 5k’s, I have learned a lot about making myself and others better runners. I am not talking about making you a faster runner, but a better runner which is a big difference. You want to be someone that can accomplish goals AND have fun while not burning out. Becoming faster will come naturally later.
But before I can give any tips though, the biggest thing you need to do is Get Out There! For just about everyone, the hardest thing to do is putting on your shoes and taking that first step. You know the old adage, “put one foot in front of the other.” Well if you can get yourself out the door to take that first step then you can achieve about anything.
Follow these 3 Simple Tips:
1.) Take off the Watch: When I was younger I timed and tabulated miles keeping track of almost every step. Sure you want to see distances/times and improvements as you grow as a runner. But it was not until I had finished a marathon and did not beat a time I was striving for by 3 minutes that I got pissed. I was miserable right after the finish line and spent the rest of the day unhappy with myself. It was the next day that I realized “Hey, I just did something less than 1% of the population can do”, that it hit me. Be happy with your accomplishments. Be happy with finishes. And be happy with yourself. I took the watch off after that and have been a much better, happier and mentally healthier runner since!
2.) Embrace the Hill: Most people see a hill and their mind goes negative. I see a hill and think “I am going to reach the top!” Hills are not only a great physical task for making yourself a stronger runner but they are also a great mental barrier to overcome. The more hills you embrace, run, and accomplish, the more positive mentally and physically you will be for the next hill and the next one and the next! At some time when out on a run, you will come to a crossroads and will have to make a decision of either taking the easy route or the tougher hill route. Choose the tougher of the two and when it really counts, you will overcome some obstacle that others will be defeated by later.
3.) Push just a Couple of Extra Yards: You go out on your usual daily route and towards the end when you see where you are finishing will usually pull up and walk in that last couple of yards. I say run those extra feet, in fact, push yourself the last couple hundred yards. You will be surprised, especially when running a race, no matter the distance, those last couple of yards can be the hardest. When you are physically and mentally trained for that ending, you will ease through any finish line feeling stronger than when you started.
As simple as these tips sound, it took me many years to master. If you follow these rules for every run I PROMISE you that running will become more enjoyable making you feel good inside and out. It’s not all about the physical that makes a good runner. You have to have the mental capacity too which will, in turn, make you feel accomplished on a daily basis.
Over the past couple of months as the Covid-19 overtakes our country and we safely shelter in place I have started to become frustrated. I have been seeing a constant message over and over. Driving under a bridge the other day a sign hung on the railing that said: “Jesus is Our Only Hope.” And I say to that REALLY?
First, I am not looking for a religious argument or debate because as an Atheist I don’t care. I don’t mean that in a mean spirited way, I mean that in a stop pushing your insecurity and beliefs onto myself and others. In these extremely trying times as of today, over 80,000 people in the United States have died of the Covid-19 virus and I do not believe Jesus is our only hope. A message like that tells me nothing except to hold my breath and see what happens. And that just does not work.
I believe YOU are the only thing that is going to help us recover and I HOPE that you wash your hands, shelter in place, use a mask and follow basic common sense when interacting with others. I believe you don’t need a GUN at a State House to make a point, or the need to INSULT workers in a store because they are enforcing basic health rules for shopping. You see humankind is what we need to believe in if you want to solve some of the world’s biggest issues. Seriously….. economic equality, climate change, pandemics are all in the hands of us….the human beings that live on this planet we call Earth.
I really do understand and have no issue with those that believe in a higher power. It is your choice and that is great if it helps you lead a meaningful life. But as an atheist, I sometimes see other things…. like some historical and significant conflicts that happened over religion. The thousands of people that were preyed upon in the Catholic church. The mega-churches that stand across this country that raise and spends billions of dollars without paying taxes. And last, again from an atheist view, the perception that religion is about loving mankind except that they cannot love and respect other religions, beliefs, or views.
So when I see “Jesus is Our Only Hope” on a sign, I think No. I think we as humans are our only hope, especially when it comes down to recovering from this crisis. People are dying and money has already trumped our decisions into putting more people into harm with misinformation and misguidance. We as humankind have to do better. I Hope that we can overcome it. I Hope that we use science and facts. And I Hope I can trust you to make the right decisions that affect everything and everyone around you…..including my family. To everyone, everywhere no matter what you believe…..I Hope I can believe in you.
Article Headline: “2020 Gerber Baby is First Adopted Baby Chosen for Campaign” This article, which was posted everywhere, was the straw that broke my blogging back! This beautiful girl is “tagged” as adopted. Why do we care? We don’t and Gerber along with everyone else shouldn’t either.
I have two beautiful girls in my life. They are literally everything to me and for those without kids, it is pretty hard to explain but you will do about anything to protect them in life. Both my girls are completely different (Ying / Yang) yet they cannot live without each other which in my heart is all I could really dream for them as sisters.
One of my daughters was born in Northern California and the other was born in Central India. So what is the FIRST question I almost always get from strangers when trying to engage in conversation? “Is she adopted?” To begin with, my first daughter, born in the U.S. is my biological daughter, and believe it or not, does look much like me at all! I have actually been questioned if she was really my daughter once in an airport and another time in a grocery store. Crazy right! My second daughter joined our family from India and actually has more of my personality than my biological daughter! Of course, we have different skin colors and for that very reason, people want to know if she was adopted.
I want to make a pretty simple point. I hate the word Adoption. I really dislike how people always have to ask, and not in a private way or anything, but in front of my children, “Is she adopted?” The reasoning is very, very simple. She is not a dog or a cat. She is not a thing but a person. A person in my family is my family. The process is called “adoption” but think about how it would be if you were constantly reminded that you are different. You are not the same. You are not part of your family AND you are an immigrant, technically. That last one, “immigrant” really can hurt, especially in this stupid and ignorant political times we are currently living. (Yes… a direct shot at our President) How would that make you feel? I am being serious….we work to create a family and strangers can pull apart all that work with that simple question.
If you are wanting or adding to your family, consider the process of adoption. These children are looking for a family that will support, nurture and most of all love them. Don’t get caught up in adopting from the U.S. or any other country as children are children and love is love. I promise you it will be one of the best decisions you make in your life.
As my children have grown up we have always enforced the following mantra” What makes a family? LOVE! It does not matter where you came from or what ethnicity you are, LOVE is all it takes to be a family. We care for each other, we will protect our kids and will do about anything to make sure they thrive, learn and grow to be happy, healthy, and tolerable human beings as they become adults. And they will LOVE someone someday no matter ethnicity, culture or background.
I have been married for 18 years and divorced for over 5 years now, and I can tell you the moment when I think I understood that our marriage was not going to last. I have converted over the years to be an advocate for mental health services. Psychiatrists, psychologists, etc, are all important when needing to talk to someone about your issues.
With that belief, I have been converted to believing mental health drugs can be a big positive to those in need too. Using these services since I was 19 years old, I was so reluctant and so stubborn to think I had any mental issues. All the fighting, experimenting (not taking meds), and stonewalling psychologists all just extended my efforts in getting to a better place. I thought I was right and everyone else was wrong. That statement is huge in the fact that years back I would never accept this view. But here I am sharing with you my mistakes and errors so that maybe you will find a quicker solution to your possible mental health issues.
Now with all that said I want to make something extremely clear. When my marriage was having issues and I was somewhat dragged into couples therapy I learned an important lesson. Again, I believed in therapy at this moment in my life but what I was not comfortable with being in therapy with my significant other. If we were going in there to work on basic things like communication or something, I probably would not have had as big an issue. But going in to discuss why we were failing and how we were feeling is another thing entirely. Basically you have to share your deep inner feelings and that can be a disaster.
After the therapist’s speech about “This is a Safe Space”, I decided to jump instead of wading carefully into the therapy waters. Maybe I already knew that this was going to be an issue or maybe I was just oblivious to the situation. But I went ahead and shared my inner feelings of, in so many words, I was not sure if I was completely in love, to begin with, 18 years earlier when we got married. Now this is nothing personal to my Ex and we communicate daily co-parenting, helping each other at times and we still have a small business together. I want her to be happy and vice versa. But sharing your actual feelings in therapy can pretty much drive a wedge in between you both that may never get removed. You might not have meant it 100%, but once you say it out loud, with your significant other in the room, you pretty much are not taking anything back. You see there is no “Safe Space” when in these sessions. Everything said, by both of you, will be remembered, always. It’s no one’s fault, but we tend to focus on the negative way more than the positive. And the last thing you want to do is hurt someone you care about’s feelings.
My advice, both spouses use the same therapist but separately so those thoughts can be shared and then talked out with a professional and not in front of your significant other.
Look, marriage is hard and can be a lot of work. But it also can be the greatest thing ever, especially when you have kids. Working out your marital issues is important to having happiness and love. But we ready though, because you may end up having happiness and love, but just with another person. And you know what….that is okay, especially if you both figure this out together.
I am in my 40’s and have dealt with Depression since being diagnosed when I was 19 years old in College. Back then college kids with depression were prescribed this new miracle pill called Prozac. Good ole Prozac, take 2 pills and sleep 18 hours a day which in turn worked since you can’t be depressed if you are sleeping!
I write this today because, over the many years of dealing with depression, taking different kinds of meds, psychiatrists, methods, etc., there is way better information today than back in the ’90s. The number of phone Apps alone is almost overwhelming in promises to help with depression, panic attacks, and anxiety. Sorting out which ones may work best for you can take some time but can also be worth researching to better assist in your daily life.
After years of experimenting with different methods of making myself more “stable” there is one thing that consistently works every time and that is exercise. I am a runner and biker and have a weekly routine of running that keeps my mind clear and positive energy flowing. I run 6-7 miles on Tuesday/Thursday and then maybe something longer on Saturday. When the weather is good I will include road or mountain biking in the off days. Now, that’s just my routine, and anybody can create a depression exercise combo that fits your physical ability.
The HARDEST part of exercising for me is getting myself out of the door. Putting on workout clothing pushes me forward. Personally, if I wait until after 10am to run, I know my chances of getting out the door decrease significantly. Whatever that small barrier is that holds you back, once you overcome that hesitant feeling of working out, you then will accomplish and achieve whatever goal you set for that day. It takes an average of two months to change or create a new habit. You have to keep consistent for exercise to become a daily part of your life. Two months is a long time, especially for us who fight depressive thoughts. But if you use all the tools available in today’s world, you can get yourself to a point where exercise is part of your mental management. I say management and not cure because we all know depression is to be handled, not cured. Anyone that can get themselves to actually try and overcome, can be a happy positive person in society.
Walking, running, biking, workout classes whatever are all ways to get your feel-good endorphins up, gain confidence, achieve set goals, and physically look good which in turn helps you mentally feel good. Google “Depression Exercise” and you will see a list of reasons how exercise helps you feel better. Its a proven technique and it just takes your determination to get yourself going. If you are new to exercise, start slow, and build up. A simple walk down the street can start you towards a positive feeling of accomplishment. Then follow it up again and again, maybe building some distance until you have yourself a routine. I promise you once you are up and moving the rest of your day will improve too. And that is what we are striving for, to feel better about ourselves and the world we live in.
So quick review:
1.) Figure out an exercise that works for you.
2.) Use a planner, online calendar, iPhone watch reminder whatever to set up a plan.
3.) Start slow if new to exercising and build up over time.
4.) Find someone else that might want to work out with you. I know having someone waiting for you to show up as promised just helps to get you there because you don’t want to disappoint.
5.) Reward yourself for working out on a weekly or monthly basis.
6.) Keep on it, again it takes 2 months to form a habit in which you will then miss not exercising.
Exercise is one of many things that helps me to succeed on a daily basis. Yes I have the right meds and yes I have a phone psychologist, but exercise is the number thing that is most helpful in my life. So much so that my teen daughter deals with depression and anxiety and she is starting to figure out, it’s taken some time, that exercising is helping her feel more positive in general.
Good luck and feel free to email firstname.lastname@example.org if you need a little motivation!