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!

Sunday, May 01, 2016

Paper on Johannes Brahms Done and Preparing for Final

It has been a while since I posted. It has been a busy two weeks since my last post. Truthfully, I did not feel like posting while I was writing my paper for class. That is finished, so now I am back to posting again.

My Beginning Piano class is coming to an end. We are done with all the tests in the class. I finished my paper on Johannes Brahms. I finished the paper well in advance of when it was due. We also had to give a short speech on the composer too. Both went fine. I had to remember how to write in MLA style, but I think I got it and wrote a descent paper. The full paper on Johannes Brahms can be read by visiting http://www.haverty.net/documents/Johannes-Brahms.pdf.

The last part of the class is playing the final piece. As you may recall, I selected Minuet in G by Bach. I have not spent much time on practicing the piece at this point, but will be practicing today and hopefully everyday between now and Monday, May 9. We have to perform our piece for the class on May 9. I still plan to record it to post here on my site. However, I need to practice a bit more before posting anything.

Read through my paper on Johannes Brahms and let me know what you think. Carrie read through it and thought it sounded OK with a few minor changes. Hoping we get it back tomorrow or Wednesday in class so we can see what we got on it. It is a test grade, so see how I do.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

First Week of Back into Exercise Done and Thinking of Future Runs

I ran three times this week. I was supposed to run today, but decided to move it to Tuesday instead. Celebrating Carries' birthday today with good brunch and then a movie. So, I decided to not get up early to run.

Last week when I started this process, I said I would run a different route. Well, for the most part I ran the same exact route I have been running the past three years. It is a habit and I like the route. So, instead of trying to change it up and run a new route each time I got out, I will likely stick with this same route.

My first run of this process. It went well. I felt good after wards. My legs were killing me the day after. It went very well though and I felt motivated to get out and run again to keep the process moving.
The second run also went well. I decided to take my dog Oliver with me. Thus, a slightly adjusted route. I ended up only taking Oliver about halfway as he went number two once which I was carrying with me like a respectable pet owner. So, I was doing the Couch to 5K with the leash in one hand and a bag of poop in the other. Oliver was starting to drag behind as I would run and I was headed back toward the house. I decided to go ahead and take Oliver home and I would continue on. Overall, he did very well. He was exhausted following the run. It was his first run of the season (or ever) too, so I know he will need to ease into the running too. Granted, I cannot take him on many runs as it continues to get hot. See how he does though.

Final run of the week was Thursday morning. We had plans that evening, so I got up early to go running. I did not take Oliver on this run. I really enjoyed getting up early and running. I need to do it more often as it really feels like it started the day right.

Other than not running today, it was a good start to the process. I will be out running again on Tuesday and look forward to progressing back to being able to run a solid 5K without stopping.

Sunday, April 03, 2016

Piece Selected for Final in Piano Class and Now Practice Practice

The piece I will be playing for my final has been selected. I plan on playing a piece called "Minuet in G" by Johann Sebastian Bach. There were a lot of options provided by our instructor and we were free to select anything. I had some piano books that came with the piano and then some that my Mom had sent home with me one evening. I actually played this same piece when I was young, but it was a long time ago.

Johann Sebastian Bach was a German composer and musician of the Baroque period.
The piece was selected because I enjoy the piece and I think it will be challenging for me to site read and play for the final. The plan now is to begin learning the piece focusing on left and right hand reading the music. As I mentioned last week, we do not have to have the piece memorized, but it is fine if we do have it memorized. If I can get to the point, I would prefer to do so instead of having to rely on reading the music.

Picture of Piano with Lights
Piano at Home with Lights ... Need Music Light Instead
Below is a recording of my warm up and then first few bars of the piece. Not a very good recording, but you get the idea. You can hear a vibration sound which is actually coming from the two lamps on the piano. I already told Carrie we are going to have to replace this with something else as I need something where it provides light on the music and then also does not vibrate. The ones she picked out look great, but need more light and no vibration sound.



I am excited to begin practicing this piece and be able to provide a recording in a few weeks with the final product. I have really enjoyed my piano class. We get a third test back in class tomorrow and will begin chapter four. I came out of the last test feeling happy, so we will see how that turns out with the return of the test tomorrow night.

A lot of practice for me and I also need to start working on the paper that is due in a few weeks. I need to get over to the library to do research and write up that paper. I keep telling myself not to procrastinate and yet the days keep going by and I have not started the paper yet. The plan is to start the paper next week and it should not take more than a night or two to write it up and proof.

For now, I will continue working on "Minuet in G" and plan to post a update in a week or two with my progress.

Championship Game is Set with North Carolina and Villanova Facing off Monday Night

The NCAA Championship game is set. The games Saturday were not exciting at all. Oklahoma forgot to show up and Syracuse got close, but could not catch up with North Carolina. Monday night will be Villanova vs North Carolina. The only one seed, North Carolina, will face off against the two seek Villanova.

The Big East facing off against North Carolina. I expect it to be an exciting game to watch. Both teams have no problems scoring. Sometimes for the NCAA championship game, I will not watch. I will likely watch this game as I am pulling for North Carolina.

Yes, all brackets are busted at this point. I did not have one bracket with either Villanova or North Carolina winning it all. I do have UNC in a few brackets playing Kansas or Oklahoma. Not this match up though. How are your brackets?

Are teams are no longer in the tournament, but it was still a lot of fun watching basketball the past few weeks. A fun season and look forward to watching the game Monday night. It will all start again before we know it in the fall.

Enjoy the game Monday night!