Pax Man: Death Of A Blog

One of the first blogs I began reading recently bit the dust.  Pax Romano’s Ramblings has provided insight, humor, pathos and great pics for years and has held a noticeable place in my life.

While Pax’s wisdom and humor  can be found on Facebook, we mourn the death of  a great blog.

Nothing Is Over Until We Decide It Is

This is what Mother Nature and her naturettes said on Saturday March 20, 2010.

The. headlines and the people of Chi-town were celebrating the official arrival of Spring — a bit too early. Mother Nature wanted to remind us of two things. First, that the vernal equinox, the start of Spring, does not officially occur when until 12:32 pm CDT. And, more importantly that Winter ends when she says it ends.

Friday, sunny with a high of 68 degrees. Saturday morning, foggy, 31 degrees and an inch, or two, of snow has fallen.

Apparently Mother Nature saw Animal House.

Enjoy either a short or long version. I recommend the long.

Work, Work, Work. Sneaking In Some Fun

About 1 minute into the great “Harumph” scene from Blazing Saddles Mel Brook’s character says “Work, work, work” (he then goes on to stare at the magnificent chest of the woman next to him and says, “Hello boys. Have get a good night’s rest? I missed you.” That latter part has nothing to do with this post but are wonderfully funny in a sophomoric male kind of way.)

Work, work, work. That has been my life. Lots of planes, meetings, calls reports, etc.  Harumph.

Fortunately I have found a few moments outside of the madness to enjoy.

The Saturday before I started my marathon travel week I had an evening of racquetball with my wife and then attended a Mardi Gras party at the home of my friend Ed. The racquetball was intense and generally well-played. We are evenly matched. The party was fun and Ed makes some of the best Gumbo north of NOLA.

The following Saturday began with work from 9am to 6 pm. Fortunately I had made plans with Harold. He picked a play at a small theatre put on by the Annoyance Theatre company. The play was billed as a sex comedy musical. It was. The scenes were raunchy and  mostly funny. While it seemed as if it was date night for many in the audience, I am not sure I would have wanted to sit through this with my wife.

On Sunday I flew to NY, NY in time to spend most of the afternoon there. I walked the 30 streets and three avenues from my hotel to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. I had not been there in at least two decades. It was good though the fatigue of the week caught up to me. I had a little time to rest. In fact I crashed for an hour. Then it was on to dinner with a long time friend who I had not seen in at least 7 years. It was great catching up but it was way too short.

This weekend I spent the afternoon with my nephew Dan. Dan is 27 and a very likeable guy. He is also a personal trainer among several other things and had offered often to work with me. When he was young I would have him stay at my apartment and had on a couple of occasions taken him to the health club. I was the cool uncle. Now it was his time to take me.

We only worked through about a half-dozen exercises. Dan’s goal is to get people to understand how important form is to working out. I learned to keep my back straight, how to curl, twist and push and how to remember to breath. He is really good at this personal trainer stuff.

We were looking for a place for a late lunch when I remembered we were near Manny’s. Manny’s is an old time deli on the near south side of Chicago. It has basic but great food and the decor could not have cost more than $10 but it was beautiful. The pastrami sandwich was $13.95 but overstuffed to overflowing and ended up being good for three meals. I had never been to Manny’s. About time.

Today I made my way back to the gym for the first time since racquetball with my wife two weeks earlier. It had been three weeks since any kind of aerobics workout. I had intended to use an elliptical machine as always. But today I decided to be different. My gym has a huge pool which had many empty lanes. I hate swimming when it is full and you share a lane with someone. I am a terrible swimmer and it has been years since I swam laps. But swim I did.

Ten laps. Took about 30 minutes. I then used a machine I had never used before. Your feet swing back and forth. It did not look like much of a workout but it was.

I was supposed to see a play this afternoon to complete the fun but if you read my last post you know that it never happened.

One more piece of fun. I snuck in two posts tonight. Since they have been coming at a pace of less than one every two weeks. This is good. I miss writing and will try to get back to it with much greater regularity.

Work, work, work…hello boys.

Even Limo Drivers Have Facets

Often I forget why I started a blog titled 48 Facets. Then I run into interesting, multi-faceted people in the least expected places.

Let me share a prejudice.  When I encounter a limo driver speaking heavily Spanish accented English I make assumptions. Mexican. Uneducated. Driving because this is the best he can do to work toward the American dream.

I was with the same driver three times in two days. First trip nary a word was spoken. This morning we had some modest polite conversation. He mentioned that he had lived in NYC and been in Orlando for a while. The last trip was to the airport that would lead to my journey home.

I spoke of the snowstorm in Chicago and how it might be nice to stay in the moderate temps of central Florida for another day or two. He wisely suggested that this was the time to be with family.  He was right and for some reason that got me talking.

I learned that he was from Chile. Moved to Log Island in his mid-20s, was a civil engineer by training, worked for many years in his father-in-law’s construction business, left because his relationship with his father-in-law was deteriorating (though he liked the man on a personal level), moved to Orlando 14 years ago with six other families, does not think he would have made it there without the group sharing and support of the other families, and has a son grown son and daughter.  (Quite a sentence, huh.)

Both his son and daughter graduated from a strong, local college even though they could have attended nationally known schools (one  had been accepted by Columbia and the other by NYU). They both have advanced degrees — and jobs. The daughter is working locally and the son is in LA but will be home just after Christmas.

I considered asking him why a civil engineer was driving a limo . I did not. Whatever the answer is was not important. We were just two guys talking about our lives and our families. I thought the question would be  demeaning and neither in the spirit of our moment together or the holiday season.

The point is that once more I was surprised by how the reality of a person far surpassed any suppositions I make about them by the surface impressions. Another reminder that when I push pass my shy nature  I am almost always greatly rewarded.

A Great Palin Post

You must read this though it is before the book tour began so there is so much more to be said.

Glam Life

Woke up yesterday in a Hampton Inn. Second of three days on the road.

Ate instant oatmeal and an egg-like yellow oval thing for breakfast.

Worked all day. Lunch was a out of a vending machine eaten in 15 minutes at 2:30.

Drove the 2.5 hours in a Ford Escape from Richmond to Dulles Airport to drop off a car. Took a cab back to another hotel. Now 7:30 pm.

Worked for a couple more hours.

Consulting. A Glamorous life.

Wait Until Next Year

Typically that phrase is used to describe my beloved Cubs. And once again it will apply.

However this year it also refers to the North Shore Century. I have entered this 100 mile ride the past three years, completing it the past two. It has become a part of my legend, to the extent you can apply that word to my life. Riding 100 miles and SCUBA diving are the two things I do that not everyone can or will do.

It is next Sunday and will go on in 2009 without me. If you have followed this blog for the past couple of years you may have noticed that except for my fall at the beginning of July, I have not said much about riding. Over the past three years it has been a source of pride and joy. Not this year.

This year the words agony and frustration provide a more accurate description. True, I did little last winter to stay in any kind of physical condition and I am sure that was a contributing factor. And yet once the riding season began in April I followed the same pattern that has been successful in prior years. This year has been a struggle.

Instead of 50 miles becoming my base ride with the occasional 60 or 70 mile jaunt, I can barely complete 40-45 miles. My legs which have always been my strength feel dead. Each week I kept hoping that this next ride will be the breakthrough ride. But it never came.

As I have began to share my thought about not riding this year I inevitably got the same two comments. First, “why do you think it is harder this year?”. Second, “Why not try to do the 100 mile, you can always stop and have someone pick you up?”.

To the first my unsaid thought is always, I am not a doctor or physical therapist. I have no friggin’ clue why this is happening. If I had to guess, maybe the fall took a greater toll than I realized. I know that I have not been stretching enough. Maybe being tight has kept my legs from growing stronger. But really I do not know.

The second question just makes me feel worse about giving up than I already do — which is really badly. Do people not think that I have considered trying? Last year I did not think I had it in me but with some encouragement I tried and succeeded. Last year I was cruising through 50. Different story. Believe me if I thought I had a 50/50 shot I would go for it.

I am dedicating myself to next year with the idea that I will go for the Apple Cider Century. That ride has some rolling hills and is a tougher 100 that the NSC. I am starting now, will stay in shape over the winter and attack the road in 2010 like never before– or at least like 2 years ago when I was in the best riding shape of my life.

Stay tuned. I am not giving up, just taking a hiatus. A one year only hiatus.

Changing Of The Seasons

Today is the unofficial last day of summer.

Tomorrow we take our only child to college.

The day after tomorrow will be the first day my wife and I spend as husband and wife without our son living with us.

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven.

What Would You Do With $150

If you received $150 unexpectedly, how would you spend the money. For most of the people I know this is not a life changing amount of money but I could purchase something fun.

A night on the town? That gadget that you have wanted but was too expensive except now you have a $150 “discount”? Clothes? Shoes? Charity?

Whatever the answer, this is what I gave up yesterday. Instead of getting something unexpected,  I had to spend $200 on something that I could have bought for $50 just 32 hours earlier. Why? Because I did not take the 30 seconds to check the deadline on my car’s extended warranty. At $150 for 30 seconds of effort that comes to $18,000 an hour!

BTW, the $150 was the loss at the end of the story. The repair would have cost an extra $800 if not for the willingness of the car dealership to work out a deal with a long time customer.  (I have been trying to do the math on the hourly rate at $800 per 30 seconds but my computer exploded right after it started crying virtual tears.)

As I have been preparing for my son to leave for his freshman year of college I have been trying to cram in as many life lessons as possible. You know, getting him to understand how to conduct a good life and how to live in the real world– living with your parents is not the real world. Included in the lessons have been that some small things are big and keep track of important dates. I guess that even at 50+ I have my own life lessons to learn.

Nice

Quick story about a moment someone was particularly nice.

UA Flight 357 from Chicago to Dallas. plan was packed, every seat taken. You could tell that the flight attendants were a bit flustered even before the plane took off.

After we took off they came down the aisle with drinks and were pushing the pay-for-meals. The woman squeezed into the middle seat next to me asked for one and pulled out cash. Remember that the airlines need every shekel they can get. In a rude tone, the flight attendant tone told this young woman that they do not take cash.

The young lady politely apologized and pulled out a credit card. It didn’t work on the high tech device that has replaced the hand to hand exchange of cash. Still in good spirits she pulled out another. And yet another. All the while she was smiling and cheerful. And Nice. Finally the hi-tech gadget the flight attendant was using to take payment worked. She handed the young lady her receipt and then headed down the aisle.

As the flight attendant walked away, the nice, young lady made a sarcastic comment about how she got a receipt but no  meal. She followed that with a snide remark about how bitchy the flight attendant had been. Wait. Wait. No that wasn’t HER . That is what I was thinking. This woman was NICE.

She politely asked for the meal she had just paid for and giggled.

It was a small moment but a memorable one. It could have gotten nasty. Instead it was a smile.