Friday, February 27, 2009

If it walks like a Lawyer....

I can't keep up with what's been going on

I think my heart must just be slowing down

Among the human beings in their designer jeans

Am I the only one who hears the screams

And the strangled cries of lawyers in love

Jackson Browne

I know it has been forever and I swear I am not ignoring you guys or gals... if you do indeed exist outside of Canada and Arizona :) I have been a little busy, a little bored, and a little anxious. But enough about me lets wrap up my wife's week in Utah.

Jacky had a fabulous time in Utah, was extraordinarily successful, went to most every class, went on a number of different hikes, kicked ass up to the stop sign twice, and was a tired puppy when she got home. But she was already begging for a return trip. She's not here right now so I'm not sure I should give your her exact numbers let's just say she lost somewhere between 6.49 and 6.51 lbs for the week, and a slew of inches.

As you can see be the picture of my lovely wife the temperature was slightly cooler in Utah in February than it was on my last trip in September. The swim class has become sort of optional with it being offered in the morning and afternoon but with a yoga or stretch class happening at the same time. My wife is the opposite of me in many ways and she did not step foot in the pool or hot tub once all week because she wanted no part of getting out of the water into 40 degree air.

She said classes were virtually the same when she was there visiting in the fall with hip-hop replacing zoomba. She missed out on a Michelle led treading class as Michelle was not around. She was really excited to do the different hikes and was so complimentary of the staff and their desire to make sure everyone was comfortable on the hikes. She said there was a return of the hiking 101 which was aimed at beginners. It had disappeared during my last stay and I believe it is a great addition to the program. They have also added Anastazi Ridge to the normal hiking program where you can see some of the most amazing old Indian carvings on the rocks there. Although, I think I see a drawing of a shopping cart pictured to the right.

Jacky got to spend some time with a number of campers who I interacted with during my stays at the Ridge including Al (pictured with her), and Pam from Mesquite. She also made a bunch of new friends, as everyone who goes to the ridge does. She also got to share the experience with her sister in law and was really proud of her effort all week. As far as the food at the Ridge she gave huge thumbs up to the parfaits, apple crisp and choc strawberries served at dinner, not so much the puddings covering grape nuts as she described it on the other nights. The salmon with cous-cous she called simply amazing. She adored the turkey burgers and I have already seen ground turkey in the fridge. She is still raving about corn bread that was served with chili. Loved the purple mashed potatoes and chicken. She was a little overwhelmed by the spice on the pizza, but said Cameron is making his own pizza crust and the long timers were raving about it.

I asked her to give me the one thing that most impressed her about Fitness Ridge and she quickly said the staff was unbelievable. They went out of their way to insure everyone was having a good time and working hard. The staff tried really hard to learn everyone's name, to help in any way necessary, and just to be friendly. I tried to pick a picture of one of the friendly staff members to accompany this paragraph but instead opted for a delusional BYU fan that Jacky hiked with to Camelback. Jacky says she is ready to go back as soon as possible. I, of course, reminded her that she could spend her next vacation on an island for the same expense so we will see how she chooses. But she did wonderful and her husband is really proud of her.

As for me.. let's start with the good news. Maryland beat North Carolina in basketball which I would never have thought possible. My volleyball team is really getting better and we are going to kick some serious butt this summer and I have already signed up for 4 0r 5 nights of volleyball this summer. I spent my first day at a criminal defense table in a courtroom in 15 years. No I wasn't the defendant. I have been doing paralegal work for a friend and wonderful criminal defense attorney. I sat second chair for a juvenile battery and robbery trial this week and spent a lot of hours doing prep work for the trial. Closing arguments are next week. We should win and the system is just as screwed up as I remember it, but more about that at some other time. I have been back doing some mall walking and haven't had any problems with my knee while playing or exercising although it stiffens up when I finish or rest. I am around ten days away from Vegas where I will see more college basketball than is imaginable. I also have a number of old friends coming into Vegas to share that. I am a little over three weeks away from spending two weeks at Fitness Ridge where I love to be.

The bad news.... Maryland lost to Duke on Wednesday when a win would have gone a very long way towards getting them into the NCAA tournament. There is still hope and they are playing much, much better. I was not offered the state job I spoke of in some recent posts. The weather has been cold and crappy these last couple weeks and we had an ice storm last night that scared me to death. I have spent way too many nights in bars recently...but mostly playing team trivia with some wonderful new friends who I simply adore. And my volleyball team while improving keeps losing.

What else is ahead? Two great concerts this weekend Bret Dennen with a dozen friends Saturday night, and Sara Bareilles with my wife monday night. Volleyball and the Terps beating Nc State on Sunday. Packing to leave for Vegas and Utah which will officially mark the end of my winter. A few more hours in a courtroom for which I get paid and actually contribute to the proceedings. A couple more nights of team trivia where I learn important things like garbology is a word and Michael J Fox won two emmys for two different characters on two different shows. We have actually won 3 out of the 7 times we have competed beating on average 15-18 teams a night. Also lots of fun, lots of time with my wife and Madison friends, and warmer weather. I hope everyone is well and Peace, Jim

Monday, February 16, 2009

Happy President's Day

Breathe, breathe in the air
Don't be afraid to care
Leave but don't leave me
Look around choose your own ground
For long you live and high you fly
And smiles you'll give and tears you'll cry
And all you touch and all you see
Is all your life will ever be
Pink Floyd

So I usually update the blog on my laptop sitting on the couch, sometimes with music on in the background, sometimes something off the dvr playing. Today I started a Pink Floyd concert the was on Wisconsin Public TV. Let me preface by saying growing up I was never a Floyd fan, I am still not a fan per se, but I don't know that any group has ever written more amazing works of music. Dark Side of the Moon is such an unbelievable, compelling rock classic that it may never be equaled. And just for fun they matched the music to coincide with The Wizard of Oz. So today a tip of the hat to the members of Pink Floyd.

Today is my wife's first day at Fitness Ridge where she will be for the next week. I got my first update just a while ago and she went up the mountain in 1 hour and 16 minutes again destroying my time. I'm not sure how fast she would go if she actually trained for it. :) She is on her way to an afternoon of kickboxing, circuit training, stretch and also finished a yogalates class. She said the lunch of chili and cornbread was fantastic. One thing I have heard from friends that have been attending recently is that the upgrade in food had been spectacular. Chef Cameron at the Ridge is a great cook, will listen if you have questions or comments, and kicked my ass in two on two basketball. I'm really proud of my wife and my sister-in-law who are out there this week and I hope the weather cooperates for them.

I got in the gym last week everyday with my workout partner, Karen and I again owe her a debt of gratitude for letting me use the gym at her aquatic center and for being a really good workout partner. She is heading to Miami this week for a conference so I am on my own. I played volleyball this week as well and the team is really improving. We are scrappy and dig everything you throw at us, problem is we are not great jumpers or hitters but it's still fun and last night was a decent workout because the games went long and the points went long as well.

I've been stressed this past week since Wednesday afternoon when I learned that the state had been contacting my references in regards to the job I applied for. It would be a big change in many ways. And it being a 24/7 job I have no idea when I would work or what days. Any way I am putting the cart before the horse and worrying is so counter-productive. Unfortunately it is also my nature to be that way.

Speaking of stress my dogs are starting to wonder where the wonderful lady that feeds them is. I get to work Jacky's shifts at the store this week which is really good for me, get to take the dogs on all their walks which is really good for me, and get to turn the heat down a few degrees which is also good for my wallet. I hope everyone has a wonderful week. Again I am really happy to answer any questions and quell any concerns that people reading this have about attending Fitness Ridge please feel free to drop me an email at anytime at . Speaking of the Terps two good wins for my boys this week which happened to coincide with two losses by the dukies. Suddenly all is well. Peace, Jim

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

One Year Ago Today

I came apart inside a world made of angry people

I found a boy who had a dream

Making everyone smile

He was sunshine

Colbie Caillat

So, It was one year ago today that I set out from Madison heading west for Fitness Ridge. What's the biggest difference between today and February 10th, 2008? The temperature in Madison that's what. When I left last year in was -10 and today it is 58 degrees. The nicest day we have had here since Halloween. Seriously my life has seen many changes in the last 12 months. If I had to pick one thing that has made me happiest in the last year it would easily be the number of new friends I have made. As you get older it seems that it is so much harder to meet new people but this year has been a treasure trove for me. All the great people I have met at the Ridge and this blog, all the people that I have met through volleyball, and even some relatives that I feel like I have reconnected with.

Well what else? Yea I weigh 3/4 of what I did a year ago that's very cool but more than the weight it the feeling that comes with it. Not a sense of accomplishment but more a sense of fitting in better, not having some of the fears that I had before, not stressing over things that used to stress me a lot. I'm not done by any stretch and I'll be back at the Ridge in a little over a month to kick start my summer, because winter has been shall we see stagnant. I can't wait to get back outside, I can't wait to get my toes in the sand, and I can't wait to be warm and sweaty and not have to walk outside and have my hair freeze by the time I get to the car.

I played volleyball Sunday night and I was ecstatic with the way my knee felt. I babied it for two weeks and totally forgot about it while playing. I wish I could say the same for my serve. Winter volleyball will make us better but my rag-tag team of athletes not volleyball players is getting schooled pretty well by people that have played a lot of competitive volleyball.

I don't have a ton of other new stuff but I felt that I should comment on my one year anniversary. Sunday's live music was fun even though I had to bribe the bartender to keep the TV on so I could watch a Terp win out of one eye while watching the stage with the other. Jacky leaves this weekend for her week at the Ridge with my sister-in-law. And even though it is 58 today winter is by no means close to done here. It is going to be cold this weekend. As always Peace and have a great week. Jim

Friday, February 6, 2009

Groundhog and Beyond

Blank stares at blank pages
No easy way to say this
You mean well, but you make this hard on me
I'm not gonna write you a love song
'Cause you asked for it'
Cause you need one, you see
I'm not gonna write you a love song
Sara Bareilles

Sorry people I know it has been awhile, so let's get caught up. First off good luck to my girl who I have been praising since the onset of this thing. Sara Bareilles is nominated for Song of the Year in this Sunday's Grammy Awards. I hope she wins and I get to see her in concert in less than a month in a ridiculously small venue called Schuba's in Chicago. Speaking of concerts, I get to go see Ben Taylor Sunday night in a little club here in Madison. Not familiar to you? He is the son of Carly Simon and James Taylor. Hard to beat those genes.

Sunday was our annual Super Bowl party. It was a packed house, dogs, children, adults who act like children, and of course the happy hostess dishing out jello shot after jello shot. The food was plentiful as you can see by the photo above. I'm not certain that counting the calories that day would even be possible but they tasted good. The game itself was fabulous with virtually everyone in the house rooting for the Cardinals and while most of the people were unhappy with the outcome a few including me took solace in the fact that they lost by less than 6.5 points :)

I had a job interview this week. I'm not really actively looking for work, but occasionally something will pop up that I feel I am qualified to do and I'll apply for it. I am only applying for state work, as in the benefits would make giving up my current "workload" acceptable. There is still the problem of convincing the fine hiring people of the state of Wisconsin that running a hippie store for ten plus years somehow makes me qualified to monitor criminals on house arrest but I do have that law degree. Anyway I doubt I'll get the job as I believe there were in the neighborhood of 30 people interviewing for it. Not to mention it would really screw up my plans to be in the west for the month of March.

Just a little talk about exercise this week. It hasn't been the greatest week. I am still hobbling around trying to get over this little knee thing. One day it feels 95% the next 75%. I guess we will see come Sunday when I get back out on the volleyball court. I was in the gym 2 out of the last 3 days, I did get back on the treadmill, and I have been pounding out sit ups and upper body work. But I need long sessions of cardio and I have not felt comfortable enough to fully embrace that yet. Speaking of which Jacky is a mere 10 days away from her trek up the mountain in St George. For me it is 43 days.

I am going to leave you with an old picture and a new picture. The boat shot is from our engagement party almost 12 years ago and the recent shot is from Wednesday night team trivia. I hope everyone has a great weekend and stay warm Peace, Jim