It’s a luxury

sunset from the athletic club

I had a free week.

I won a visitor’s pass to a luxury athletic club not far from where I work. It was like getting to test drive a Ferrari — something mere mortals like me rarely experience.

If I were to rate the establishment on Google, I’d probably give it 5 stars. But would I ever join? No.

One simple barrier keeps me from making that part of my lifestyle… I can’t afford it.

Yes, it was great to put my clothes in a mahogany-faced locker. I loved the gourmet shampoo and body wash (in two flavors). I liked the fact that I could get a few free initial consultations with a professional trainer, so I could learn how to exercise better.

But for approximately five times what 24-Hour Fitness charges, I can’t justify the hit to our monthly expenses.

Heck, I can’t even justify 24-Hour Fitness at the moment.

Gotta stick with free bicycle commutes.


(I took the photo from the balcony, overlooking the tennis courts.)

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Under the surface

partially hidden gears

We just don’t know what’s going on beneath the surface.

People around us are going through a lot. They might be having a good day or a bad day. Their marriage might be in a difficult place.

And many of the people in our lives won’t tell us.

So let’s give everyone around us a little extra love today. One small act of kindness can make a big difference. Maybe we can nudge their dial a little in the direction of having a better day. Or just coping with their next 24 hours.

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White teeth

I don’t do teeth whitening.

Before you read further, please understand that I am not judging anyone who likes to do teeth whitening. This is merely a description of my personal journey.


The photo above is my teeth — altered by Photoshop. Reality is dark, stained teeth that have seen years of coffee drinking, tetracycline ingestion as a kid, and general abuse. (However, many of you know that I am a fan of toothpaste.)

Why don’t I invest in making my teeth whiter?

  1. Time. It would either require a laborious application of teeth-whitening strips or several visits to a dentist. And then, a year from now, more of the same.
  2. Money. Strips are expensive, and visits to the dentist for whitening are more so.
  3. Lack of caring about cultural trends. I don’t care enough about what our culture values to participate in this particular exercise.
  4. Saving the whales. Studies have shown that excessive use of white strips causes stunted growth in fetal whales, from the chemicals being washed out to sea and entering plankton.

Well, that last one is made up.

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My word for the new year

floof cat, relaxing on a couch

Relax.

As the stresses of life pile on me, as the weeks accumulate, I want to remember our kitty, Floof. He knows when to relax (most of the time) and where (anywhere).

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Not porpoises but cows

Bentley Continental convertible

Gray accent leather on the doors and the top of the instrument panel is called Porpoise, but, like other hides, it comes from land animals and not sea creatures” — from a Car and Driver article about the Bentley Continental GT V-8 S.

Why is it that the thought of someone killing porpoises for our use is more repellant than the thought of someone killing cows for our use?

Flipper.

When I was a kid, Flipper was a TV show about a friendly sea creature that came to the rescue of different people every week. Think Lassie in the sea.

I don’t know of any TV shows about friendly cows.

The quote about Bentley’s choice of an upholstery name made me think of the whole veganism culture and philosophies — one end of the animal rights spectrum. Porpoise killers might be the other end of the spectrum.

And then I thought of my friend who is a cattle rancher in Oklahoma. She loves her cows more than just about anybody I know. And yet she sells them to be slaughtered.

I don’t know how to reconcile all these things.


  • The photo is courtesy of the Bentley website and is used without permission.
  • If there are any modern TV shows starring animals, I wouldn’t know them, since I watch very little mainstream TV.
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Not everyone

rhythm-discovery-centerWe all love to make assumptions.

When we are at a busy intersection and see someone holding a sign asking for money, we assume they lack employment and a solid place to live.

When we see an older person in a car going 20 m.p.h. below the speed limit, we assume they are challenged in all that by takes to manage a 4,000-pound vehicle.

When we hear someone singing next to us and they can’t carry a tune, we assume — well, what do we assume?

I can definitely carry a tune — I’m close to having perfect pitch. However, I cannot carry a beat, for the life of me.

One of the most challenging aspects of living in Africa for five years was dancing in church. (Dancing is part of worship in Kenya, at least in many of the churches we attended.)

Since I can’t carry a beat, I can’t dance. I can’t clap and sing at the same time.

So the Rhythm Discovery Center is not the place for me. And I disagree — not everyone has rhythm.

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Inbox 38,000

screen-shot-2016-10-07-at-5-38-12-pmWhy do I have so many emails in my personal inbox?

  • It’s easier to search for something in the pile than trying to process every email when it comes in.
  • Finding an email using search forces me to be creative in what search terms I use — I must use a unique search term to find the email I’m looking for.
  • I’m lazy. It would take too much time and mental energy to ruthlessly file away semi-important incoming emails into the correct folder or take the time to figure out if I should take action now or later on them.

Like most of us, I am a man of contrasts. I don’t believe in eating up too much space on server farms. So I do several things to keep my email account from hitting Google’s free-cloud limit. (Currently, I’m at 33%.) Here are those actions:

  • I go back to old emails and delete the ones with attachments. (Those are the space hogs.)
  • Occasionally, I go back to the beginning of time and delete a few pages of emails, without taking too much time to figure out if they have value.
  • I am ruthless about deleting incoming emails that I see no immediate need to keep. (This is a more recent habit — otherwise, the inbox number would be lower.)

What’s your personal inbox number?

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I am thankful

303-TJS license plate - huge, hanging from the store celiing

Trader Joe’s is in Colorado. I’m thankful. They’ve been with us for a while now (two or three years), and they are a mighty fine store.

Decent value pricing, often healthy ingredients, a wide variety of flavors not available at the big chain supermarkets — and tasty food.

Even though I’m an anti-junk mail person, I love their flyers. Creative writing abounds. And they are effective — I often buy stuff as a result. One time I even cut out the little built-in shopping list and checked the stuff I wanted and bought most of the items the next time I was in the store.

The only thing about Trader Joe’s I’m happy/sad about is that there is one on my way home from work… it’s all too easy to make a detour and buy little snacks I really don’t need.


Take time to be thankful today for something in your life. It worked for me. (I was going to write a complainy blog post — but I listened to my own blog post from last week, Positive.)

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Positive

We’re surrounded by so much negativity, particularly in this election season.

I’m making a conscious effort to get rid of negativity in my own life by turning around my attitudes. It’s all too easy to immediately jump to the thing that’s wrong with something or someone — rather than focusing on the larger portion that is positive, clean, helpful and good-intentioned.

Focusing on the negative side only makes me someone that is no fun to be around. And it greatly cuts into my enjoyment of life.

Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise” (from here).

 

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