Sunday, August 07, 2016

Our Summer Vacation in Texas from July 2016

Crystal Beach in Galveston, Texas

Carrie and I have been so busy the past month and half. We went on vacation the first part of July and leading up to those vacation days and after, it seems like we have been non-stop on the go. Things are good, but just really busy. At work and at home. Seems like there is always something happening. It is good, but also nice to just have a relaxing weekend every now and again. Finally, today, I have such a day where can just relax and not do anything.

Oliver Riding in the Car to Texas
Our trip to Texas for vacation was a lot of fun. We decided to drive this time instead of flying. This would allow us to take our dog, Oliver, on the trip with us. He is a great travel pet. He sleeps the whole time and enjoys riding in the car. He wakes up every now and again to look at the window, see if we are still in the car, or just to enjoy the ride. Our trip started out from Topeka as went drove to Dallas to visit Javier.

Birthday Celebration with JavierWe were able to celebrate Javiers' birthday with him. Took him out to a nice place to eat. We also enjoyed a few beers with him too. Got to see his new house and Oliver got hairs all over his new place. After spending a few days in Dallas,  we left for Houston to visit Cory and her kids. We were there in Houston for the July 4 celebration. We had a great time at her parents pool and even did some fireworks while we were there too.

Pool Time on July 4 in HoustonWe spent a few more days in Houston before we got in the car again with Cory to head to the beach. We went to Crystal Beach in Galveston, Texas. It was very hot, but we had a great time! Yes, we took Oliver to the beach and it was so fun to see his first experience seeing water, seeing waves, and running on the beach.

We normally keep Oliver on a leash, but this day, we decided it was a good idea to release him. He would stick around. There might have been a little protest to releasing him from the leash as it is known back in Topeka, he will take off if no gate and no leash. Yet, we went ahead and removed him from the leash. He stuck around for a few seconds, realized he was not hooked to the leach, and took off running as fast as he could. He ran down one way of the beach, stopped and looked at us following and yelling for him to come back, then ran the other direction right past us again. He stopped in front of our spot on the beach and seemed to catch his breath. Then went running off the other directions and did the same routine again running as fast as he could. Two spots down on the beach and the lady there told me "he is fast!", yeah, he is very fast and seems to run his fastest when off leash and no fences. He was running so far sand was flying up behind him in almost a cloud behind him as he ran. Wow!

Here are some pictures of Oliver at the beach that day and you will note he is on the leash. Such a good boy!


Oliver on the Beach Oliver Playing on the Beach First time seeing a beach or water

He was so happy and really did not mind the water. He did freak out as the waves would come into shore. He would be down close to the water and as the wave would come in he would run back up away from the water. He looked so happy and seemed to have a smile on his face the whole time we were down at the beach.

Following our time at Crystal Beach, we headed back to Houston for a few days. We left to head to Dallas and spend the night with Javier one last time before we headed out back to Topeka.

Wonderful trip and great to be a able to take our dog with us on the trip too. I hope that as Carrie and I look for future trips, we can find places to go and places to stay where we can take Oliver.

See all the pictures from our summer vacation below....

Trip to Texas 2016 Pictures

As the summer is starting to wind down and hopefully the heat starts to cool, I realized that I had not posted in over a month. As we were on our vacation, I had not posted about July 4 or what we did that day. So, I decided to post a summary of our vacation and what has happened this summer.

Vacation and being busy has taken a toll on both Carrie and I for being in the exercise routine. We have somewhat dropped out of the routine, but plan to get back into it aggressively as we head into the start of the semester.

Carrie is taking a class for the first time at Washburn that she is very excited to be doing. I am taking my second class in two semesters. I am starting a master program at Washburn in Communication and Leadership. I am very excited. It will take me a while to complete the masters program as I am doing one class per semester.

It should be a fun and interesting rest of the year. I trust everyone has had a wonderful summer. I would love to hear from you about our trip to Texas. Share your travel experiences from the summer, or just say hello.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Happy Father's Day to Dad in Heaven, Dad Shirron, and All Fathers

Picture of Happy Father's Day

I have fond memories of Father's Day. I remember getting ties for my Dad, or a coffee mug, or simply drawing a picture to give him on this day. I remember watching golf all day long and lounging in front of the TV with some snoozing going on but the TV was on and the tournament being played. 

It seems like only yesterday that we were celebrating various holidays with Dad. Now, only memories. So many wonderful memories of not only holidays, but stories he would tell, his laugh, and always wanting to be with family and friends. His always wanting everyone to have a great time and have everything they need when he was the host.

Happy Father's Day Dad in heaven! I know you are enjoying the day!

Happy Father's Day to Dad Shirron and all fathers on this day!

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Workout Six Days Past Week Including Running and Jazzercise... Feeling Great!

For the first time I worked out everyday this past week except for Friday. I started Jazzercise a few weeks ago and love it! It is a good mix between runs to do something different. I wear a Garmin Forerunner 210 that uses a heart band to monitor the heart. This works great for running and I have used it for a few years now and love it! Using it for Jazzercise was not working too well as it only monitored my heart rate but not overall exercise.  So, this past week I purchased a foot pod for the Garmin. I have really enjoyed using it not only with my runs as it shows cadence and stride, but it is also working well for Jazzercise workouts too.

The above report is from a run I did today. It was very warm out for the run. I am closing in on the end of the Couch to 5K training. I am now doing a five minute walking warm up, running for about 20 minutes (varying each day), and then a five minute cool down. I have one more day for week 7 and then just three days left in the training finishing up with day three of week 3 hopefully next weekend.

Below is a Garmin Connect record from Jazzercise using the foot pod. It looks a little odd because it says distance is .75 miles and then average pace is 0.8. Not sure how accurate it is in terms of calories burned during training, but I like it better than having nothing at all.
I know that using the foot pod will work very well the next time I have to train indoors. Unless I was on equipment that could sync with the Garmin (such as the cycling bikes at the gym), there would be no record of distance, pace, etc. Now, I will be able to get that data even when training indoors without satellite. I am excited to give that a try too.

Overall, the running is still very enjoyable. I usually run with headphones listening to either new music, Royals games, or from my music library. I look forward to running and feel great following the run. During these longer runs, I do not always look forward to it in the middle of the run. I can hardly wait for it to end or sometimes question whether I will be able to finish the run. Those are the times that usually when I begin to question, I find that I am almost done and the timer goes off to stop.

The best part about running on a weekly basis is the joy that it brings our dog, Oliver, who gets excited when I begin to put on my running gear. Carrie tells me that while I am running he is running from the windows in the back to the door crying because he cannot wait for me to get back so we can go on a run. Truthfully, this is part of the drive for me to run multiple times each week. I love how excited Oliver gets for me to go running and then when we finally go walking following the run. I did try taking Oliver one or twice previously on the run and while he did well, it is now way too hot for him to go along with me. Today, I only took him on a short walk around the block as it was already warm by mid-morning.

The best part about running on a weekly basis is the joy it brings our dog Oliver.

I have not been doing great with eating although. I still eat basically what I want and continue to enjoy beers from time-to-time. That said, I have managed to lose about five pounds since I started this process. If I can keep up working out six days a week, I think I will continue to lose weight. I do eat alright through the week as Carrie is watching what she eats and that follows through to what I eat too. It simply has not been a focus or goal of my workout each week.

A few years ago, I was heavily into using MyFitnessPal which worked great! I used it religiously for three or four years. It worked well and I enjoyed it. Now, I only let it track my calories when synced with running. I am not using it to track calories consumed. Carrie is using this to track her calories and I know I have a number of friends currently using it too. It does a great job and I highly recommend the web site and/or app.

Until next time, happy training....

Monday, May 30, 2016

Remembering Memorial Day and the True Meaning of this Holiday

Image of American Flag Waving in the WindI hope everyone has had a safe Memorial Day. I recall when I was younger spending this day enjoying the local lakes or getting to the swimming pool as it was the first day the pool was open for the summer. Now it is more to reflect on why and how we have this freedom we have to do what we want and go where we want. It is a result of many people before and currently giving their lives to make America what it is today.

It seems some people are confused about what this day is all about. It is about remembering those that have fallen or given themselves for our country in active duty. Reading through various posts on social media web sites, this does not seem clear to everyone. There is almost a blanket effect to some as they refer to Memorial Day as Veterans Day. I can see how it could be a little confusing, but memorial tends to refer to someone who has passed. In this case, someone that passed in active duty. So, really, I am not sure it can be confused.

This morning in my second Jazzercise class, the instructor that started the morning session made announcements and reminded everyone what this day is all about. It is for our military service men and women who died in the line of action. She went on to say that at 3 pm today everyone should take time to pause and reflect on the meaning of the day. It seems a little sad that we as a society have to be reminded by our local news, workout facility, or friend to remember what this day is all about.

I hope you have had a safe holiday. I hope that you have remembered why you have this holiday and remember those that gave the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Week Four of C25K is Done and Ready for Week Five

Running continues. A few of the scheduled running days the past week or so I missed as busy with other things. Trying to get back on a regular routine this week. A great run this morning with beautiful weather and I felt overall pretty good throughout the run. I just finished week four of the Couch to 5K. I believe it said as I finished week 4.3 that I was half done.
I have noticed that during the walking piece of the program, my shins are hurting a lot. I plan on doing increased stretching before and after each workout. I usually spend about five minutes stretching legs, arms, and body. However, I think I need to spend more time as my shins really hurt toward the end of the route. They do not hurt much during the running segments though which seems odd.

My average pace is still not that fast, but I do have to take into account that the start and end of each run is a five minute warm-up or cool down. Plus the walking between each segments. I can see that my average page is gradually going down as I get farther in the program. Just a few short weeks ago I was averaging 15 minute a mile pace. Now, the last few have been in mid-fourteen min mile. So, I continue to improve as I get farther into the program.

The days I have scheduled to run continue to be Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursday. The difficult part are those times when in the evening on Tuesday or Thursday we have something else planned. A few times I have been able to get up early to run on those days, but usually bed feels too good and there is no desire to get out of the warm bed to go into the cool morning run. That I think will get better though as it continues to get warmer and if I have a need to run in the morning it will be a little easier to get up and do so.

The good news is that I am still enjoying running. Except for a few a aches and pains during or after a run, I feel good. I enjoy the whole process. I enjoy how good it makes me feel to know that I finished the run. I can also see that it is helping in my everyday mobility where I do not get "as winded" going up stairs or walking across the campus.

The best part is how excited my dog, Oliver, gets when he sees me putting on my running gear. He knows and he begins running around whimpering because he knows when I get home I will take him on a walk. As much as I feel motivated now to go out and run, I think a large part in doing so is knowing how excited he gets and how much he loves going on walks that helps to motivate me to continue this process.

My plans for when I finish this program? Well, I plan to run a 5K in September/October. Other than that, I just plan to keep running. I have a gym membership which I have not used in a few months by physically being in the building, but possibly after I finish this training program I will start frequenting the gym. I want to keep running throughout the years, so at some point I will need to be in the gym when I cannot run outside.

Until next time, have a great run!

Sunday, May 08, 2016

Final Piece of Minuet in G by JS Bach for Beginning Piano Class Final

The last day of my class is tomorrow afternoon at four. I have done well on all the tests, got an A on the paper, and also did some of the extra credit. Now it comes down to our being able to play a piece in class for the final. I made my selection a few weeks ago (see Piece Selected for Final in Piano Class and Now Practice Practice) and although I had planned on practicing it a lot, the practicing really did not start until about Wednesday of this week. I started focusing on playing left and right hand separately and then putting them together. Working on sections of the piece with this process.

Good luck everyone on your finals! Have a great summer!
The time is here for you to be able to hear what I have put together. It is still a little rough. Bare with me as I struggle through the piece. I know I am going to be told that I play too fast. I try to slow it down, but then I really lose track of the notes. So, here we are with my current ability to play.

Minuet in G by Bach.


I am hoping to be able to get through the whole piece with repeats without any problem in class tomorrow. I will practice a few more times tonight before I head to bed, possibly practice again over the noon hour tomorrow, and then be ready to perform for the class. A little nervous as I do not want to not play well in front of the class.

I have a plan to continue playing and practicing after this class ends. That was the point of this class, right? Yes, to be a able to read and play music for the piano. I want to continue learning new songs and add to my knowledge. Carrie has grand ideas of me playing the piano around Christmas while everyone is around signing the songs. I will try, but no promises.

Post your comments or questions about my playing in the comments section. Let me know what you think. Any pointers before I play tomorrow would be appreciated.

Happy Mother's Day to My Moms and All Mother's!

Picture of Flowers for Mother's DayHappy Mother's Day! What a beautiful time of year! The grass is green, the trees are green, and the flowers are in full bloom. Makes me wonder if having Mother's Day this time of year was planned. What better way to celebrate Mother's Day than with new life everywhere we look this time of year.

Happy Mother's Day to both of my moms! I am so fortunate to be able to see my mom frequently and I try to talk to her everyday. I am able to see my mother-in-law frequently and we do a lot of things together. I love how she checks in with the kids frequently and works out time to get us together each week.

Over the course of the past year, I have had friends that have become mothers. It is so great to see them enjoying their families and being wonderful mom's to their children. Often times I reflect back on when I grew up and how much my mom did for me and my siblings. Cooking meals, doing laundry, cleaning up after I made a mess, or simply making sure I was doing my homework. Seeing my friends with their kids always makes me think back to myself and my mom.

Back in 2002, I was fortunate enough to marry into the Shirron family and gained another mom. So wonderful to have two moms who are both wanting to take care of us in old old age (of middle 40s). Both are always available to answer questions or help with a decision. Wonderful having two mothers!

The holiday also makes me think of those children that do not have mothers in their lives. Or, even worse, those that have mothers but the mother does not care or tend to the child's needs. As with any holiday, I am left wondering how those children deal with this day when they do not have someone to honor.

I am happy to honor my mom, Nancy, and my mother-in-law, Joan, on this day. I try to not only honor them on this day, but throughout the year. I know how much they do for us and their impact on our family. I am also happy to honor my friends that are mothers and I see the work that they do for their children.

Happy Mother's Day!

Wednesday, May 04, 2016

Losing Track of Outs, Missing Pop Ups, and No Focus for Kansas City Royals

Should have known prior to the Kansas City Royals not playing well the past 10 games. We are 3-7 and just got blown out today by the Washington Nationals 13-2. Should have known when early in the season in a few separate games, our Royals had no clue how many outs were left. Lorenzo Cain and Eric Hosmer both were caught on camera heading back to the dugout not knowing how many outs.

Below is the clip of Hosmer when he lost track of how many outs. Really?

Thinking back to last year, when the Royals won the World Series, or even the year prior to last year, when the Royals made it to the World Series and went seven games, I do not recall any Royals player forgetting the outs. Seems like a thing as a ball player I would track and know how many outs. Remembering back to prior to 2014, I remember watching games and seeing players forget how many outs. Back then, and possibly now, our teams were not focused.

I get it! They play a lot of games and might lose track from time-to-time on the field. But to me it seems like when they are losing track of outs, those are the times we are bad and playing bad. Those are the stretches of time when as a spectator it appears they do not care.

It is time to focus on baseball and get our mojo back to playing Royals baseball. They are off tomorrow and back at it on Friday. Come on Royals!