Thursday, December 26, 2013

Fire in the sky... damn my eyes...

I freely admit I don't get up very early in the winter, my internal clock never adjusts and simply sticks with the amount of light that is outside. I went to sleep at 7:30 last night and made sure I got up early in case there were issues at work. All is well and the sun is starting to peek over the horizon, and there are a lot of little jet trails in the sky.

Christmas for us is about gathering the family and having some time together. This year the schedules made it impossible so it was just the in-laws and us. Dinner was scheduled for15:00 but the power went out for a few hours and we ate at 18:00 instead. Yes, I went to bed right after I finished eating, but the power outage certainly got me thinking.
It wouldn't have been easy to make the entire dinner on alternate cooking devices, but we could have done it. Having no power also reminded me of a few things we have been lacking on finishing up, or restocking so it's back to the grind of making sure all things get done and not just get placed on a list for the near future.
I did have a good time running around the house in my full kit yelling that the world had ended and it was condition red. That's what someone gets for being a smart ass... then again there is now a picture of me in my kit and running shorts, I suppose we are even.

Before the power went out I started the day off with a nice workout, up at the north end of town with a friend. It felt nice to earn the large amount of calories that were going to be consumed. The temperature was 28 degrees with a breeze but the only thing cold were my fingertips, the metal bars weren't forgiving.
125 pounds in each hand wandering around a parking lot
We had 385 pounds on the sled at one point, brutality.
 The dogs got a nice walk yesterday, family time was spent, friends were visited.... Then we ate.
Prime rib, shrimp tempura, etc. Not a traditional dinner but it's what we decided to do with just the 4 of us.

I hope everyone had a great Christmas. The weather will be in the usual 50's, but here is a picture of the ice from a few days ago. Colorado Springs weather is amazing at times.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Here is a post, enjoy!

My blogging has slowed down, like cold honey it just takes a lot of 'work' to get anything done. I haven't lost the passion, it's just there isn't a lot going on in the winter. I could write down all kinds of things like:
When it's cold, Rock likes to pee on the front porch

 In the winter our not-seeing-eye-dog gets more sleep than a black bear
I've been eating so much protein I have to plan it out on Sunday for a few days

The most we have going on is a lot of work and gym time. It's not a bad thing, it's the Holidays and everything slows down so we are taking advantage of it. I've read a few books, watched some horrible TV (although life below zero is a new favorite), and killed a few demons in a video game. Oh, we got a new crock pot, ours didn't have a timer on it for away-from-home cooking. I'll try it out this weekend (so I can observe it working correctly) with some chicken thighs and veggies.

Tonight I'm working out via. some strongman competition training. Pushing a pickup truck around, shouldering sandbags, pulling and pushing a prowler... all just another day in the life. 65 degrees today and I really want pancakes right now.

Friday, December 13, 2013

A school shooting in Colorado? Impossible!

We have all the new legislation, how could this happen...

Once mid term elections are done, it's going to be open season on the 2nd Amendment.

A tragedy on all sides for so many reasons.

I hope everyone has a peaceful weekend, stay vigilant, prepare, it's about the only thing we can do.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

What happens at the holiday party

Always comes out on Monday morning.
Who slept together, who offered to pay for sex, who lifter her skirt up to show everyone a tattoo and thong, etc.
We were home sleeping, thankfully, and only have to deal with minor drunked-ness during the party. A good time was had, I learned a few employees names and it was nice to see how grown up some of the kids have gotten, it's been almost 17 years of holiday parties.

It warmed up again, 30 today but it should be in the 50's this weekend. I avoided dozens of accidents and didn't strangle anyone who almost killed me (yes, strangling while dead is an act of sheer willpower).

So yes, winter is here and leaving. -20 one night, and that got the house down to 59 degrees so we fired up the stove and the house has been holding steady at 64 since then. It just couldn't keep up with the sudden cold snap but now it's happy!

I'm hitting the gym super hard so I'm making sure I'm eating a lot. Mac and Cheese isn't the best food but it's energy and when combined with steak it's just awesome-on-a-plate. My protein shakes have oatmeal, orange juice, kale, spinach, etc. and I haven't eaten too many brownies (I gave most of them away).
Our group had a meeting where we showed our 72 hour bags get home bags, etc. The variety was interesting but only a few people participated so I don't think many are a prepared as they would like everyone to think. Someone made a snide comment on how much my bag cost, but I explained it's only necessary to buy something once if you save up and do your research.

It's the time of year for house gifts. Going for a new water heater and vacuum, ended up with these:
Not the $300 each stands, that's just silly since each unit cost $699. They were on sale and we paid $750 less than retail. The old washer (top load) used almost 50 gallons of water per load, and with an electric water heater the utility bill is silly expensive so we are making adjustments and spending more than planned. It will balance out in the near future.

Now we need to go back for a vacuum and water heater.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Skip the gym, shovel snow!

The snow falls in clumps, I keep thinking it's just building up on my head but it's really falling in clumps. Many people hate the cold or the snow but we like it, not enough to move to a more northern state, but it's still fun.
I shoveled for a few hours last night, the city plow came by and I SWEAR he plowed closer than ever, since I was standing there. At the last moment I saw baby kittens running for the hills, so I turned around and got a blast of snow to my ass.
The neighbors enjoy walking to the neighborhood coffee shop, and they really enjoy that I shovel ALL of the snow, and I mean all of it, back into the road so the area in front of our fence is snow free. I do it mainly to keep it from icing over as it starts to melt (sometime next week), otherwise I would make big piles for them to navigate around and over.
It stopped snowing a few hours later, total snowfall was about 8 inches. It got cold, real cold for here, and for the first time in years I wore pajamas to bed and didn't wake up in a pool of sweat. 61 degrees in the house is fine, but the bedroom heater is on the other side of the room from the bed and the dogs steal blankets.
This morning it was -9 with no wind, I took my time and warmed the car up, shoveled all the snow the plow tossed back and then got a little mocha once I finally arrived at work.

Have some cuteness, stay warm:

Monday, December 2, 2013

Time away, or how not to make pie crust.

With the end of the year fast approaching, work demands more and more of my time (while I'm at work anyhow). It's always a huge push and we should end up with a 27% increase year over year, but being #1 in the world means everyone else is always biting at your heels.
I decided to not read the news, blogs, etc. for a few weeks. It was a nice break for my brain, but perhaps I wouldn't have run out of flour on Thanksgiving... yes, I ran out of flour while trying to make pie crusts. To be fair I have 200+ pounds but I didn't want to break open anything long term. We hit the store, I picked up pre-made pie crusts (hey, it's the in-laws) and rushed back home for the finish. There was a store bought peach pie, so I didn't feel too bad, but it's not how I would have liked it to turn out.

Have some pictures:
First real snow, had to shovel twice so the walkway wouldn't ice over.

Rolls, not as brown as I would like but 3 pans at once in the top oven.

The poor mincemeat pie wasn't a hit but it brought me back to childhood.
Thanksgiving was nice, 16 people, I had a long very boring weekend away from work. I suppose it's good to relax and not do anything (literally) but after two days I was going nuts. I hit the gym, did a trail run and then hit the gym, did some work and watched some football. The Alabama game finish pissed me off but at least Georgia won and Texas A&M lost so it evened out.

It's going to be in the 60's today and tomorrow with a foot of snow on Wednesday, this is how we live on the front range. We picked up a portable indoor propane heater as a house gift for the holidays, a new vacuum will get picked up at Christmas and I need a new electric razor. Otherwise it's business as usual, I've got about 10 books to read, some food storage to organize and my quest to get healthier and fitter is never ending.

We are going to some parties this week, our company holiday party included (400 or so people, someone save me). These are the things that remind me why my Dad was somewhat of a hermit, but it's a good lesson in patience and staying out of prison.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

When halfway is called hell...

I had some fun with my Mormon neighbor and a couple of work buddies. It was almost 70 degrees (again), couldn't ask for a better day to be in the middle of the street.
This was the 50 foot turn around for the prowler
50lb. medicine ball on the left, prowler on the right, metal skids on asphalt

Truck organizing skills...

Highland games regulation length hammers. Farmer carry bars in the background.
Then I went to the gym. I was worried if I didn't show up, my usual workout partner might decide to take an extra night off. Being accountable to someone is important in any fitness plan, especially for those who aren't self motivating. I went with lighter weights than normal but still got in an overall intense workout day.
The 5 day plan means I only have 4 more workouts left out of 30 (hence the circled 26). I wanted to get 30 days of really intense workouts with a lot of Olympic and strongman type workouts. I honestly think that anyone can eventually lift heavy weights or be strong or have endurance... but I want it all.
I'm a greedy little fool like that.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Allergies, workout knowledge, and some religion.

Yesterday morning saw an allergy attack that was the worst one, ever. I've been battling them the whole year and still haven't been able to ID the culprit for certain.
The sneezing was so bad, on top of the runny nose, that I ended up going home for a couple of hours until the medication kicked in. Unfortunately I think it's a reaction to one of the dogs, the longer haired one. I'm getting some more pharm grade medication, time to stockpile enough for one pill a day for 6 months.
Maybe I can shave down poor Luke.

Time for some workout stuff, sorry to bore everyone. I get asked a lot of stuff about working out and running, especially from coworkers.

What should I do: Something, anything, just start.
What if my knees hurt: Slow down or walk. If it's discomfort, push past it. If it's painful find out the root cause and address it. Walking is as close to a magic pill as you can get.
What should I eat: The same things you are eating now, until you discover that what you are eating is holding you back or not enough for the required energy levels.
What supplements should I take: None, it's all crap, going for a 3 mile run and then chugging 32 ounces of sports drink just set you back an extra mile. Protein shakes (with water only) and some amino acid type drink (with water only).
How do I get 6 pack abs: Diarrhea, it will help get rid of the water weight, have fun with that. Stop trying to impress everyone and work out for yourself.
Why does my lower back hurt after leg night: Too much weight or bad technique. Using muscles that don't get much work will make them angry. Stretch your hip flexor muscles, you should stretch for about 20 minutes a day total.
What is the best workout plan: The one you stick to for a year. There is no magic plan. Everything has an advantage and there is so much to pick from. Pick one, start, stick to it.
What web sites should I read: None. Paralysis by analysis doesn't help anyone. Start and then work on refining things like technique, isolation, form, etc. The guy doing 400 pound squats might only be going down 6 inches, but at least he is doing something.

I've been thinking a lot about religion lately. My cousin is very religious and I always remember her saying that she lets God lead her by the hand.
I don't want to be led around, I prefer to have God kick me in the ass from time to time. I'm part of the Cyrus Dallin family so that explains why I'm surrounded by Mormons I suppose. I spent years going to church, singing in the chorus, reading and learning. I really enjoy religious debates, I enjoy talking about the different beliefs between the faiths. No matter what anyone thinks or believes, when I'm outside at 2AM and looking up at the stars... well how much better does it get, I don't always care about the details.
I've learned to just try and live a good life, be a good person, and do what I know is the right thing. That's all any of us can strive for.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Odds-n-ends, that guy in the gym, summer in November.

It's November and there was a time in the past I would call it winter. No longer, it's an extended fall.
Watering the grass in November with weather in the high 50's (it was in the high 60's during the week). The grass is green, unlike the weeds everyone else is growing, Colorado is a shade of brown this time of year.
Wheat bread and chocolate chip brownies, batch #2. I used coconut oil instead of butter in the brownies, I didn't like them as much but it's healthier and I'll take any help I can give myself.

Those 3 photo's are from Saturday and Sunday night as we were out and about the city. I wanted another bread knife and was tired of being at home. Perfect excuse to go out and watch the sunset.

I'm very careful at the gym, removing a weight from the bar on each side so I don't cause an accident. Last night the guy next to me wasn't thinking and took all the weights off from one end of the bar (yes, leaving all of them on the other end, about 250 pounds worth). As anyone could predict, the bar flipped off the top of his squat rack and came at me with high speed. I use a squat rack for a lot of different things, it has bars that you can adjust to catch the weight if you have to drop it... or in this case if 'that guy' has a brain fart. I took it in stride, he was sorry, and I used another of my apparently numerous lives.
Some great WW2 photo's from theBRIGADE.

It's Veterans Day. Father in laws birthday is today so we got him a new coffee maker. I was looking at my Grandfathers photo's from WW2 and Korea and then my Dad's photo's from Vietnam. My Dad had about 100 or so pictures of beautiful women, my Grandfather has photo's of liberating France and his ship after it got hit with a Torpedo. My Father must have been adopted. My photo's from Iraq aren't very exciting, I wasn't really into photography and figured the sand in my ass was enough of a memory to last a lifetime.

Thanks to those who have served or are serving.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Last ride of the year?

We thought last weekend was going to be the last ride in the mountain. Yesterday was overcast and had us doing yard work until the sun popped over the clouds. We dropped the tools and bailed out of town.
view from the trailer, hayman fire burn area
view in the other direction, pikes peak in the distance
pikes peak from a trail head
The weather was 10 degrees cooler but in the tree's we didn't feel the wind, we added 35 miles to the ATV's. We took some harder trails and some less than traveled trails.
Standard trail in the Woodland Park and hayman burn area

The trail less traveled. My favorite trail so far, very hard in and out.
We got back in town and unloaded and I rushed into the kitchen. Our MAG meeting was yesterday and we don't want to show up without something from food storage. A lot of people bring stuff from the store for snacks but I we always make something from home. Last night it was pumpkin pie, since nothing beats a good homemade pie.
I realize it seems to be lacking crust, but with all the working out we do, lower carbohydrate is better (and who really eats the thick crust anyhow). We also needed bread for the week for sandwiches, so that got whipped up.
Yes, you are correct, those are chocolate chip brownies. Dual ovens are just so awesome. It's a great feeling to be able to make just about anything you eat, without having to go out and grocery shop. Right now we only buy meats, fruit and milk at the grocery store, in fact Costco hit us for $250 on Saturday... meat fest. The freezer is 90% full, the food storage is so full we are working on making more space and getting more shelving.

I try to get almost 300 grams of protein, 200 grams of carbohydrates and 70 grams of fat each day. The one day a week I don't workout I drop the carbohydrates to 70 and the fat to 35. I can hit the 35 grams of fat with 2 tablespoons of peanut butter, so it takes planning and calculating before I open my mouth.
I'm debating signing up for a strongman competition in March. The only thing holding me back is there are no age or weight classes. I wouldn't win in any class or group, but it would be nice to compete with people my age and not those 20 years younger. I'm sure I could have a great time, and worst case is I train really hard and get in better shape. Win-Win!

In closing, have a random picture I took on Friday morning. This is looking to last years burn zone.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Sweaty palms, or did I just watch American Blackout...

First off, some pictures from our front yard:

This picture was on the way to work, I've been looking at this tree several times a day and decided to snag a photo. If I'm motivated I'll get my good camera and get on it later, for now it's just iPhone quality from the window:

I recorded American Blackout last night, I actually really enjoyed it. It made me think I don't have enough, know enough, do enough, etc. There were a lot of unrealistic scenarios, but for the most part I thought they did a great job. The elevator jump, the penthouse invasion, the home fire, etc. were my favorites as far as being realistic (and in the penthouse case, perhaps deserving?)
The bugged out family in Colorado was good, until they didn't do anything about the useless daughters boyfriend giving away food.... but then I also realized they weren't armed and were doing night patrols and that entire scenario just caved. When the end of the movie came and it was the 'hostage' situation, we both agreed that there would have been a lot of dead people and the neighbor would probably die in his sleep that night.

Being part of a group has it's benefits as long as everyone is willing to help. Last night we loaned our flatbed car hauling trailer to a group member so he didn't have to rent a U-Haul trailer. He was very thankful, but we told him it's what we do as group-mates. If you are part of a group and aren't willing to help when times are good, I'm not going to be able to rely on you under stressful situations.

We are adding 2 families to our group, and my 'squad' this weekend. I'm responsible to keep everyone informed with group activities, meetings, events, etc. These additions give our squad the following: 14 children from infant to teenagers and 19 adults. Most of the male adults have military training, police undercover training, and a handful are currently active duty special forces. We also have a massage therapist, medic, administrators, construction people, homemakers, etc. It's a well rounded team and getting better each day.
Most of the doctors are on the other team (3 of them) but we feel comfortable as-is.

Here I was thinking my life was often dull and boring.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

The fall colors, without a camera

Sometimes we just enjoy the colors and scenery and don't care to take pictures. Perhaps the magic is lost when you start running around shooting photo's and trying to get that perfect shot.

This year the colors are amazing, reminding me of the fall colors back in NH. The usual one shade of gold Colorado fall leaves are vibrant gold, yellow, red and combinations. The cool nights, warm days and the weeks of monsoon rains really made this fall one to remember. It's almost November and the colors are still powerful. 1/2 the leaves have fallen but the other half remind us to really take the time and enjoy what nature is doing, the small things we tend to take for granted and in this case just rake and put in trash bags.

I did steal these from a new website, enjoy:

This past weekend was lazy time, some college football and some ATV riding. We decided to spend some money on a good leaf blower and even got the backpack version. I'm tired of extension cords, crappy old blowers that leak gas, etc. Leaf blowing is fun and I was envious of the neighbor kid using it in the yard on Saturday. We made a couple of large piles that will be added to as the rest fall down.

A zen moment was watering the grass... yes, at the end of October in Colorado. Once I was done I just admired how great the grass looked, the wet leaves in a few spots and of course the backhoe tracks in a couple of spots from the sewer pipe repair. Way to ruin a moment.

We are having our monthly prepper group meeting this weekend. Basic first aid is the subject and with 3 doctors and 2 medics I'm hoping we will learn a lot. I'd be pleased to stick people for IV practice but it's hard to find a willing candidate. Instead I'll make some bread, pumpkin pies and some cookies.

Fall is for bulking up!

Monday, October 21, 2013


I haven't had a UFC fight night in a while and I felt out of touch with a few people so the invites went out. We had the house in order but since I'm the only one not working on Saturday, it was up to me to get the food together.
Spaghetti is easy, the sauce gets cooked and simmers for hours, the noodles get cooked as people who up. I've tried other food but it tends to be a lot more work. We were down to 1 loaf of bread so I got the over warmed up and it was sort of a whirlwind of cooking.
This was an attempt at apple crumb pie, but a lower carb version (if there can be such a thing with apple pie). I think it took more time to clean up than it did to get it ready. While this was being made the bread was in the oven.
While the new loaf was cooling I made a ham sandwich and got the hot pads out for the pie. This sort of baking madness is nice with double ovens, I wouldn't enjoy going back to a single.

Ham sandwich done and the pie's are done. They turned out good, but I cut the apple slices too thick so they didn't cook down much. I have one slice left, everyone enjoyed it I guess.

Now it was time to make something new. I've always wanted to make some fancy dinner rolls but they take forever. I made a double batch so the process goes like this:
Mix, knead, rise, flatten, cut, shape, rise, butter, cook.
Almost 3 hours later the process was over and I ate 4 of them while they were still hot.
You can see I've already snagged one from that picture. I think they were the best rolls I've ever had and they were worth the effort. Just in case anyone wants to made them, here you go:
1 t yeast (regular)
1/2 C warm water
1/2 C milk
1 egg
2 T vegetable oil
2 Tablespoons sugar
3 C flour (to start, I ended up over 4 cups in order to get the dough to be the right consistency)
butter (for the top to brown)
Mix, let rise for an hour. Flatten out and cut (it's easier then pulling chunks out), form round-ish shapes and put in pan (I used parchment paper so it would be easy to manage). Let rise another hour and then butter the tops, bake for 15 minutes @ 375 or until they are as brown as you would like.

The fights were good, everyone had fun and we ended up with 14 people hanging out in our small house. I slept well and on Sunday we finally got the dining room table empty of tomatoes and made our last batch of salsa. I made this batch hotter by using jalapenos and serrano peppers.

I actually had the thought of doing something like salsa as a small side business, but then I realized how much work it would be for very little money. Not hard work, just very time consuming. Next time I'm at costco I'll price everything out but even at $5 a jar it wouldn't be much profit, unless I'm missing something.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Are all Libra's angry?

Someone at work is all about astrological signs and always tells me I'm the perfect Libra. Calm and cool until the boiling point is reached and then it's like a nuclear bomb went off.

Welcome to Monday is what I call it, especially when it's Monday.

The sewer line was replaced, the hole ended up being 7 feet deep, 6 feet wide and 4 feet across. I'm not a stranger to hard work but there are some things you leave to the professionals. When they were done, they casually said, "well we didn't mess up the yard too bad.".
I didn't say anything, I was in the house, I was pissed off (in traditional Libra fashion I guess) and couldn't think straight. We take a lot of pride that we have a beautiful property, and made sure the repair crew would use plywood on the grass. Didn't happen, they just drove across it and turned when they felt like. Lazy, 100% lazy. They could have made one turn 3 feet further and it would have been off the grass.
I drove M1's and BFV's, I know how tracked vehicles work. The worst part, the damage can't be repaired until next year, the grass is already in winter mode. The sewer line repair work was great, but my ass is chapped.

Driving back to work, I turned left at a light and here is a bicycle blowing the light on the other side. I'm positive I had a green arrow, nobody honked at me or crashed into me and there was plenty of other traffic. Jamming on my brakes, I looked at the guy and called him a dick, and he heard it since my window was down. A flow of words came out of his mouth but I just drove away down the street where I hit another light. What do I see a few minutes laster? This same guy on the sidewalk (yup, not on the street where it's legal but of course on the sidewalk) either filming me or taking a picture. Yawn.
I had the right of way, didn't hit him or make him dump his bike. He ran a red light and then rode his bike on the sidewalk. To me this is typical behavior from bicyclists in Colorado Springs.

Maybe it's just me and my Libra-ness.

Monday, October 14, 2013

A little fun at Starbucks

I'm one of those people, those gun nuts who just have to make a point and open carry in Starbucks, but this weekend I found a petition on the counter while waiting in line. I grabbed the pen and made a funny:
We went back on Sunday and it was still there, they didn't get many signatures I guess. They had 2 clipboards, I only altered the one... serve the people.. HA!

The yard is winter ready, the garden is removed and the compost pile is large. Today the ditch is being done for the sewer line repair, old clay lines shift and crack, allowing roots to get in and cause backups. This was a project that we didn't want to take on by hand, 6 feet down in Colorado clay... I'll grab photo's if it's still being worked on later this afternoon. This will also add a clean out access on the exterior as a bonus.

Not being a large fan of stewed type tomatoes, we are making more salsa. I think we can make another batch (usually 8 jars) and then we will be done.
This was a hot batch, I tossed in a little extra kick.
Ready to cover and boil.
Almost ready to get loaded into the storage area.
The news this morning told me I missed nothing this weekend. A rush at Walmart on EBT purchases (did you know some places let you take cash back with an EBT card?), political BS on the debt/budget that we all know will be fixed at the last minute (one can only hope it doesn't and we get a little reset), another homicide in town, 4 stabbings and a few armed robberies.

The mountains got some snow further West, enough to derail our plans to go out and check the foliage. We got so much done at home that we now have this coming weekend open. We are house and dog sitting for 2 weeks, so we can't go very far but will make an effort to at least get out and go shooting.

Here is a view of the mountains from the airport this morning. Colorado Springs seems small when looking at pictures, it's just spread out a lot. Time to visit some blogs.