Friday, December 29, 2006

Last work day of 2006...

And I am swamped today. We are supposed to leave at noon, but I have a lot to do and little time to do it. I know, I know. Had I been more focused all week, today would be a cake walk. But I wasn't, and now I am paying for it.

So, off the blog, off the web, and back to the grind. I still want to get out of here at a decent time today!

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

And a time to wake...

After nearly two months of avoiding the gym, eating whatever I wanted, and slacking off on in every area of physical fitness, I can happily report that I am back.

I got a great night's sleep last night, woke up at 5:00am, and made it to the gym for an hour of cardio. I managed 17+ miles on the bike, which is about 17 miles more than I have accomplished in any other recent morning.

So I'm back and ready to get after it again. My dormancy period of recharging is over, and now I need to begin my focus on my new training goals. In the next six months I will be riding 550 miles on a bike, and in the next twelve months I will be running a marathon in Las Vegas. Both of these will be significant physical challenges, and I need to get started now if I am going to bike and run successfully!

A Season Of Slumber

(I share this because it is a more touchy-feely version of what Ric suggested the other day, when I told him that I was struggling to find the motivation to get to the gym. He said I may just be recharging, almost like being dormant for a bit. And the I read this a day later. As the say, sometimes it's all in the timing...)

From the Daily OM...

In times past, the bare-limbed trees, long nights, and biting chill of winter signified to all that the time had come to slow down. Humanity emulated the animals, retreating into cozy dwellings where they sustained themselves on foods harvested late in autumn and passed the time in peaceful reflection. Today, most people proceed ruddy-cheeked through winter’s frosts, ignoring the profound effects cold weather has on their bodies and their minds. Yet the beauty and significance of wintertime cannot be so easily overlooked. As the temperature plummets, leaving the air crisp and the landscape bare, we tend to crave warmth and relish rich foods. The presence of loved ones seems more comforting when blustery winds rattle window panes and we feel compelled to conserve our energy by engaging in only the most soothing of activities.

Though your daily schedule may remain more or less the same no matter what time of year it is, you will find in winter many opportunities to honor the way in which you are impacted by this most magical of seasons. At first glance, the world may seem desolate during the coldest months. Yet there are many unique and stimulating sensory experiences to be had—in the intricate beauty of individual snowflakes, the patterns of frost that form on your windows, the tang of smoke from wood-fueled fireplaces, the crunch of freshly fallen snow under your feet, and the briskness of the air. Do not be afraid to venture joyfully out into the cold and the snow as you may have when you were a child. A tingling and reddened nose is a small price to pay for a clear mind and invigorated soul. If your body articulates a desire to rest, give yourself permission to spend your free time reading, writing in your journal, daydreaming, engaging in artistic pursuits, playing board games, working a puzzle or meditating.

Many plants, like the tulip and the apple tree, would not blossom in the springtime were it not for the period of dormancy that is the gift of winter’s chill. Their example can inspire us to use this season of slumber to cleanse ourselves of spiritual and emotional detritus like flora shedding lifeless foliage so that we, too, may emerge from under the frost refreshed and renewed when spring arrives.

Monday, December 25, 2006

Christmas with Friends

Today was an unusual Christmas. We had lots of company over - Little Jon, Brooks, Donna, Mike, Verna, JW and Luis - and we had hot dogs and hamburgers hot off the grill! Not typical holiday fare, but it was just what we all were in the mood to eat.

After dinner, we settled in for a movie. It was set at Christmas time, but that is the only thing "holiday" about The Long Kiss Goodnight. Again, not what you think of as a typical holiday selection, but it was definitely what we were wanting to watch. It had lots of violence, lots of action, and no one died of natural causes.

Merry Christmas to everyone. I hope your day was as enjoyable as ours.

San Diego Christmas Weather

As much of the rest of the country struggles with snow and other chilly weather, San Diego is enjoying 71 degrees and sunshine.

This is what our Christmas day looks like.

Christmas in San Diego

It's Christmas morning, and we are already having a fantastic day. Ric is in the kitchen preparing for our company, and I am browsing through photos from Christmases past. I can hardly believe this is our 10th holiday season together.

This is Ric earlier this morning, opening up our present from Grandpa. It's a box of different barbecue sauces from Budweiser. You know that will be appreciated... we LOVE to grill.

And just for fun, this is one of our favorite ornaments. It is a Merman, and we have him on a spinner so you really notice him!

Phoenix Trip

I spent a few days in Phoenix and had a great time. I left San Diego Thursday afternoon, so I was able to capture this beautiful shot of the sunrise on my way.

It was a quick trip, but there was time to visit with my uncle Warren, my friend Sharon, and of course, Nate, Bridgette, Patrick and even Greg, who showed up Saturday afternoon.

The trip ending with all of us sitting around a fire in Nate's backyard. He has a little fire ring, and we had a BIG fire, so I am a bit surprised that there wasn't a 9-1-1 call required.

I came home early Sunday morning, so I also enjoyed an incredible desert sunrise. All and all, it was a great trip. Thanks for the hospitality, folks. I'll be back soon!

Thursday, December 21, 2006

And I'm off again...

I leave shortly for a weekend trip to Phoenix. I will spend some time with my Uncle Warren, then visit with my friends Sharon, Nate, and Bridgette.

Lock up the guns and booze and hide the menfolk! I'm coming to town!

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Dreamgirls - The Movie

While in LA this weekend, I saw that Dreamgirls was playing at the ArcLight theater. I just assumed it had already opened, so I made plans to catch a matinée while everyone else was taking a nap. AJ and I went to the theater at 2 for a 3pm show, and we managed to buy the last two tickets. Apparently, it is an exclusive engagement at this theater right now. Tickets were $25 each, but included a slick program and a poster. In the lobby they had costumes and props from the film on display. I mean, we even had reserved seats in the theater. Not just tickets, but assigned seats. Oooohhhhh...

And the movie itself? Fantastic. I have never been to a show where the audience applauded at the end of each song, but they did Saturday. They also gave a standing ovation mid-show when Jennifer Hudson sang "And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going."

The movie is great. It's definitely a musical, so avoid this film if watching 30 different musical numbers is not to your liking. The rest of you, though, should catch it as soon as you can. It's fantastic!

The View from San Onofre

On the way home from LA, we stopped at the view point at Camp Pendleton. It's a great spot to see the ocean, from San Onofre beach to the north towards Oceanside to the south.

Ric's Birthday Weekend

We started the weekend early, heading out to Bacchus House on Thursday night for drinks. It wasn't a wild night... more a relaxing evening, a few drinks and a few laughs.

Friday we headed up to Hollywood. Traffic was minimal, the weather was nice, and my little car was flying at nearly 100mph. Whoo hoo! We wandered around West Hollywood for a while, did a little shopping, then dropped Grant and the car off at the hotel and headed out to the Eagle in Silverlake. The rest of the night was a blur - the Faultline was in there at some point - but it was all fun.

Saturday we slept in, then gave Ric his birthday wish and had breakfast at IHOP. Yum! We met up with our friend AJ (more on our afternoon later!), then were joined by our friend, JW. We checked out another club - blah - then headed back to the Eagle. Lots and lots of fun there.

Sunday we were up and on the road fairly early, getting back to San Diego early afternoon. We napped for a while, then headed to Urban Mo's for Ric's favorite meal - a burger, meaty mushroom, rare, avocado, on a bun.

It was a nice time, lots of laughs and drama-free. In fact, we think it was the perfect way to welcome in a new year for Ric!

Friday, December 15, 2006

And we're off!

Ric, Grant and I are heading to Los Angeles this morning. We are celebrating Ric's 52nd birthday (tomorrow!) with a weekend in West Hollywood and Silverlake.

Keep your cell phones close, in case we need to call someone for bail money!

Happy Birthday, Ric!

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Neutral Underground

As many of you know, I enjoy talking politics. I enjoy arguing, fighting and mud wrestling politics, in fact. But it's not easy to find a political discussion group online that isn't more frustrating than it is worth. Some of them are Right Wing yap fests, and there is nothing but anti-Left hate oozing out of every post. Others are the same, but anger and hate directed at the Right from so called liberals and progressives. And even if the Left board isn't totally anti-Right, it is usually pretty limited in its debate.

But I got lucky a month ago. Someone referred me to a website called Neutral Underground. It has people from all along the political continuum, from the Far Left all the way over to the Far Right. And there is debate galore. More than that, there are forums for everything from good to culture to humor. You can get a lot out of the site and never get involved in a single political discussion, if you choose.

I am registered over there as San Diego John. Come on over and check it out. Left or Right, you will find something there that interests you!

Sunday, December 10, 2006

And the tree gets better and better...

Here is the tree with all of the lights on it.

And here are some of our favorite ornaments.

More to come!

And it's Christmas time...

With all that has been going on, it has taken us a bit to get ourselves into the spirit of the season. But Ric and I talked about it, and we decided yesterday to get out of our funk and get it together! It's Christmas time, and we need to not be grumpy Scrooges.

First stop, the tree farm. We headed down to Mission Valley to the Pinery Tree Farm and found the perfect tree. It's a noble fir and it's gorgeous. From there, we had to pick up nearly two thousand lights. Yep, I said two thousand. Half of them are color, half are white. And Ric arranges them so you can turn all the bright white lights, all the multi-colored lights, or every light on the tree. It's spectacular.

Part of our holiday tradition is watching "The Wizard of Oz" and then "Scrooged" while setting up the tree. "Oz" is an old tradition for Ric' family, and "Scrooged" is just about the perfect Christmas comedy ever. It really kickstarts our holiday mood!

While Ric worked on the lights yesterday, I started foraging through the garage to find the holiday boxes. I found five of them so far, but there are still more hiding somewhere. Wish me luck as I continue the great "holiday hunt!"

More photos to come this evening, after we get the tree and the rest of the house finished. By the end of the day, this house will look completely different. Yes, the Christmas season has come, and we are ready for yet another "Miracle on 34th Street."

(And for those who don't know, we live on 34th St. here in San Diego. When we first bought the house, it seemed so perfect for us that we started calling it our "miracle on 34th street.")

Saturday, December 9, 2006

Jerome Murat

Wow. This is incredible! Every time I thought I had it figured out, something happened to show me I was wrong.