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Breakfast with Beefcake is MOVING!!

moving-truckHey y’all, I just wanted to let you know that I am moving my blog to a new site. I have been absolutely thrilled that you are willing to follow me and read my ramblings. I hope that you will move with me and enjoy the new site. I would love to have you subscribe to the mailing list or register a profile on the new site. Talk to y’all tomorrow. Enjoy your day!

http://www.liftheavyrunlong.com/

Peace, Love, and all things Beef related,

Beefcake

You Have Bewitched Me Body & Soul, and I Love You

My favorite them kissing

    When I was 8 years old I wanted a gerbil. I am not sure exactly why I had my sights set on a gerbil. We had a hamster in my class, and everyone knows that gerbils are more prone to bite, but the fact remained, I wanted a gerbil. I ran it past my mom and dad, and when I say I “ran it past”, I mean I ran it over them, by them, around them, under them, on top of them. I would not drop it with this gerbil. Finally they caved. They told me that I could have a gerbil if I bought it and the cage with my own money. As an 8 year old, it was quite difficult to find I decent paying wage with good benefits that would fit into my school and nap schedule, so I hit the streets. I set up a lemonade stand.  $.25 a cup was the price, and business was pretty good overall, but there was a particular construction worker who stopped by on a couple of different occasions and bought a sleeve of cups and the entire pitcher of lemonade for $5 each time. With the obvious help from God and the universe, I had my gerbil and accomplished the goal.

    When I was a few years older, the target became Mike Tyson. I simply had to knock out Tyson in the Nintendo game “Mike Tyson’s Punchout”. There was no internet, and the cheat codes were unknown, so you had to do it the old fashioned way, but it was gonna get done. No doubt it. I played, and played, and played, and played, unwavering in my quest. The Glass Joe’s, Don Flamenco’s, Flashing Jewel guy, Von Kaiser, King Hippo, Bald Bull (both of em), Sandman, Popinski, all those guys one by one, each fight presented the opportunity for advancement or setback. I embraced each opportunity, and eventually I was able to make it through that most difficult round of Tyson uppercuts, where I could methodically dismantle him with my catlike speed and reflexes. All of  this while being fueled by my mother’s love and about 1,300 bagel bites which were always present in the room where I chased my Tyson dream. With a little luck, some help from God, and the perfection of the universe, the goal had been met.

    Going into my senior season of high school football, we had spent the previous two seasons getting the sh*t kicked out of us on almost a weekly basis.  As a sophomore, we produced a below average 5-5 season. My junior year we were even worse, with 4 wins and 6 losses. Hell, we were lucky to own that record. That was not going to be the case our senior year. I was certain of it. We had a group of young men who had been playing together since about 12 years old, and we made up our collective minds that the season belonged to us. There was no room for doubt. It had to be done. At one of our practices leading up to the start start of the season, Coach Netherland warned us, “there are reporters on the practice field. They are gonna wanna ask some of y’all some questions about the season. Stay humble, and don’t say anything stupid. Let them know that you have worked hard, and hope to win a few games this season. Understand?” Understood. I heard exactly what he said and I understood it perfectly. The only problem was that I was a seventeen year old kid who, with the help of God and the universe, had already made up his mind about the kind of season we were going to have. The reporter asked me how I thought we were going to perform that year after the abysmal 5-5 and 4-6 seasons. I responded, “we will be in Nashville.” The reporter  asked if I was referring to playing in the State Championship in Nashville. My response, “absolutely. That’s what I said.” To make matters worse, that sonofab*tch printed it. Coach Netherland was PISSED. I can hear him know, “gosh dammit Buddha, you turkeyass…..”. I loved that man, and he loved me in spite of all the dumbass things I said and did while playing for him. Actually, I think he loved me BECAUSE of all those dumbass things. Anyways, we made it to State where we would ultimately be defeated to end a 14-1 season. But the fact remained, the goal was set, and it would be accomplished with no room for doubt or second guesses.

    This leads me to the heart of this particular post. In about June of 2014, I stumbled into a 6am CrossFit class, and was watching the 5am class finishing up. As I watched one particular girl muscle through her workout with the strength of Sampson, but the grace of a figure skater, I knew that I had to have her. Just like all the aforementioned goals, it was clear that God and the Universe were willing to back me on this, and it was time to get to work. I would begin waking at 4am, only to drag my fatass to the 5am CF class just to get a peak at her. Her name was Amanda, and I was smitten. Never in my life had I seen a girl quite as attractive as she is. I did what any self respecting man does….i stalked her thoroughly on Facebook, and had a friend act as my spy, and gather intelligence. Bill Shea was my guy, and he was able to provide me with recon as to how to get started. True to form, my initial introductions were less than ideal. She originally heard my name while I was dropping F-Bombs and threatening to physically assault Laura Pinckley in a private FB thread. Amanda said that she thought I was a “potty mouth”…and she would be right. To make matters worse, during one of our intial workouts, I referred to our mutual friend Bill as “sweetheart” and Amanda thought I was talking to her. Anyone who is familiar with  Amanda knows that while she is in a competitive environment with a room full of weights, she ain’t nobody’s “sweetheart”. That was bad, but I would redeem myself the next class. Just after explaining that I was referring to Bill as “sweetheart”, I would refer to her as ANGELA on the way out the door. “Have a good day Angela” (goshdangitshcikferkduhcrappit). I can’t believe I just did that. Anyways, I was able to bounce back and eventually get the date. Since, the first evening that we spent together, we have been virtually inseparable, and my life will never be the same. We have since been married, and she is my life’s greatest goal. I am the luckiest guy on the planet, and few would argue this fact.

    A friend of mine once had me to read a book called “The Five Love Languages”. It was an interesting read with a lot of truth. It is clear that my language is “words” and is why I am writing this blog. Today is Amanda’s birthday.  Being that I know NOTHING of providing gifts, I want to provide my gift in terms of words and let her and you know exactly how I feel. When I first began seeing Amanda, I was unsure of what would come out of it, but I can tell you that it has been quite much more than I expected. I have never met anyone so attentive to the feelings of others. Amanda is quite introverted and does not speak as freely to just anyone, but her lack of words is quite powerful. She does not speak negatively about anyone. She gets her feelings hurt at just the thought of someone being left out, or feeling lonely. There have been so many things that I have learned just by watching Amanda that I would not even know where to begin. I will never forget the night that she approached me and asked if it would be possible to keep the kids over here on a more frequent and regular basis. She has loved Grayson and Andie Kate as her own, while maintaining a relationship with my ex-wife and their biological mother. She is a mature and educated woman, and does not waste any time looking for drama where there is none. I have watched her and Mindy expertly maneuver through co-parenting as if they were teaching a seminar on it. They keep an open communication and have a mutual respect for one another that is unprecedented.  If she sees a problem, she addresses it and moves on. She has an unmatched level of maturity, and a zeal for life that is unparalleled. If there is an opportunity to “experience” something, she will go to any lengths just to soak it in. She is a ball of energy and laughs more easily than ANYONE I have ever met. Sometimes I lay in bed and just listen to her laugh at her phone while watching videos of dogs on FB. She prefers animated Disney movies to anything else, because she is a child at heart. She gets giddy with excitement when it is time for Andie to decorate Valentine’s boxes for school, and she doesn’t miss an opportunity to enjoy getting dressed up. She makes it a point to participate and be present at all the childrens activities and NEVER misses out on an opportunity to act like a child (yes, she pouted when she did not get to sled in the snow). It makes no difference to Amanda if the activity is the Opera or a wrestling match, she is willing to give it a try, and is 100% at finding the pleasure. She has entered into the lives of the children and provided a calmness and stability that cannot be faked or bought. I have watched the playfulness and overall security of the kids rise dramatically ever since Amanda has come around. The anxiety and over cautiousness  in the children’s lives that was the result of my past behavior  is slowly beginning to fade as Amanda continues to symbolize security and demonstrate stability. It is such a gift to have someone who encourages you to chase, aggressively, whatever it is that makes you happy. I cannot wait for each morning to arrive after a good night’s rest. Just to look at her and know that I get another 24 hours of not knowing what the day will bring, but having full confidence that it will be fun and exciting is enough. I respect and admire her so much, that I welcome the problems in life as much as the gifts. There is a saying that “smooth seas don’t make good sailors”, and I welcome the opportunities that I get to earn Amanda’s respect by navigating the difficulties in life, while enjoying the calmness alike. Amanda, you have truly won my heart as well as the hearts of everyone you come into contact. You are a gift to me, the children and their mother, my mom, my dad, and my brother. You have entered our lives in such a non-evasive and undemanding way, that just your presence alone is enough to make us all appreciate you. You have not once asked me to change my ways to meet yours. You have not asked me to be more like this, or act more like that. You have accepted me for me, and even celebrated those things that make me who I am (which not everyone can understand). I am writing this simply because I want you to know how much you are admired and adored, simply by the way that you carry yourself. You impact the people who come into your life by your smile and demeanor. I thank you for encouraging spontaneity and applauding individuality. I look up to your non-judgmental ways and your knowledge that everyone is fighting a battle that we know nothing about. You allow others to live their life, and encourage them to try, fail, and try again. You love a good comeback and you champion the underdog. I wish you to enjoy just one day  on your birthday as you have made me to enjoy every one of mine. I look forward to a year full of doing dumb sh*t that makes little sense, but keeps us both smiling and happy. You have bewitched me body and soul, and i love you.

Peace, Love, and all things Beef related,

Beefcake

Eazy E, Were You Ever Caught Slippin?…Hell Naw

This has NOTHING to do with this blog....but it is a badass picture.
This has NOTHING to do with this blog….but it is a badass picture.

“Imma Straight Up G From The Hood… A Nice Hood With a Neighborhood Association and Low Crime Rates and Sh*t”

 

This weekend I watched Straight Outta Compton. Boy was it good . Start to finish, I had my eyes glued to the TV, while being washed away with memories from my early pre-teen and teenage years. I asked Amanda if she wanted me to wait for her, so we could watch it together, but she had no interest. Being that she grew up in Chattanooga, it was clear that to me that she had not spent that particular period of her youth wishing that she was an underprivileged African American rapper growing up on the streets of Compton California the way that I had. Isn’t that what every pudgy, buzzed headed, privileged white kid with married, loving parents who went to church every Sunday before enjoying Sunday a chicken dinner with extended family wanted in their life? Was I missing something? What is wrong with my Boo Boo? She didn’t want to be gangsta at some point in her life? I loved some NWA. Probably cause my parents hated them so much. My mom, just this week, recollected when my friend Chris Morgan and I were caught listening to Straight Outta Compton on our church’s youth confirmation trip. This was also right about the time of the Beastie Boys, “License To Ill” released, (I was King Adrock in case you were wondering). I was not allowed to listen to the tape, so I cleverly carried around a bright neon, dubbed copy with a disguised label. I literally carried it with me everywhere I went, like it was a handgun.

Prior to wanting to be Eazy E, I wanted to be The Lone Ranger. I would make Ted be Tonto, and I would run around with Kool Aid stained lips, and the fervor of a chrystal meth addict who just woke up from a 12 hour nap and getting primed for a 4 day weekend, acting as if I was chasing the bad guys. Eventually, as imagination and attention would run short, I would also run out of bad guys and decide that Tonto should be apprehended. I would bonk Ted in the head with my toy gun in an effort to deem him unconscious, so as to properly tie him up and turn him in for ransom. This period usually concluded with timeout and a spanking. During this time period, I also possessed a deep seeded desire to be Space Ghost, Knight Rider, The Greatest American Hero, and most definitely THUNDERFOOT, Tony Carbognani. Thunderfoot played for the Memphis Americans and he was my greatest American hero. I once asked my mom and dad to buy me glitter puff paint to adorn my white tee shirt with a beautiful piece of art comprised of a soccer ball, some grass, a foot kicking said ball, and “Thunderfoot” written across the front. For a day, I was him. Well actually, it was about a half day before the glitterpaint started cracking off and I had written “T urd fot” across my chest, with a huge mustard stain, and dirt from where I fell down trying to kick a soccerball.

I wanted to be a break-dancer. I even had a cardboard box in the backyard for which to practice the elusive “helicopter”. I would crank up my jambox and let it rip; dressed from head to tow in parachute pants, with Michael Jackson glitter socks and a glitter glove. My ensemble was purchased from Goldsmith’s and my glitter glove/sock collection was made from wool and cheap ass Christmas tinsel. Then came Brian Bosworth, and I was all Boz, equipped with flat top, and paint in the hair to boot. Next up? That’s easy. SKATE OR DIE. My skater phase consisted of everything a poser needs, including the expensive skateboard, bad bangs with head tilted to the side (for attitude purposes…and to convey my notgiveafu*kness), Chuck Taylors, army jacket with skulls and sh*t drawn on it, and the mindset that “skaters live forever”. I was Tony Hawk, and I couldn’t be stopped. Only problem was, I couldn’t skate and would quickly be stopped. My dad HATED my skateboard, probably because I was incessantly interrupting his meetings with broken bones and skinned up body parts. He once asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, and I exclaimed, “Tony Hawk”. To quote my father from the head of the dinner table, he exclaimed “Who the hell is Tony Hawk? The skateboarder? The guy is a bum. He will never make $10,000 in a year”. We laugh to this day every time we pass one his endorsements. I blame my dad entirely for my lack of Hawk-itude today.

I don’t know that I am really going anywhere with this, other than enjoying the memories of my youth, except for I do see a lifelong pattern. You see, all of my life I have wanted to be something other than who I was. When you are young it is one thing to pretend, but I carried these feelings into my adulthood. I wanted to be this guy or this guy, to be thought of like this, or look like that. Somewhere along the way there was a shift from imagination to envy. I actually wished that I was other people. With the envy, of course, comes jealousy. Through jealousy, it made it difficult for me to be happy for anyone else’s accomplishment. This can make for a difficult life. When you are constantly jealous of other people’s accomplishments, the only time you are happy is when you are the one being praised. This makes things all the more difficult when you seldom do anything praiseworthy.  Who wants to be around that guy? I will tell you…no one. As my life has evolved, there have been some pretty drastic changes in my daily activities, and with these changes have come different relationships as well as different habits. These relationships have helped me see what being mentally healthy and generally positive can do to someone’s life. I have become comfortable in my own skin, and have discovered the difference in envy and admiration. I have a varying level of admiration for just about every person whom I come into contact with on a daily basis. What has helped my envy morph into admiration the most is that I become increasingly comfortable sharing what it is that I admire about a person with that actual person. Actually, I view it as an obligation. I don’t want to miss an opportunity to let someone know of the impact that they have on my life. I have seen how the actions of one can affect the lives of so many, and I want to do my best to encourage these actions, as so many people have encouraged me.  There is no person whom I would rather be today than me. I have fu*ktons of work to do in order to become a better me, but today I am comfortable. I am aware of the things that I am, and the things that I am not. I am also aware of the reasons why I am not some of the things I admire about others (aside from the fact that we are all just naturally different in different areas…thank God). I do not spend time beating myself up because I am not a 4 hour marathon runner. The reason I am not is because I am not willing to put in the time and sacrifice to accomplish this, bottom line. I will not make it to the CrossFit Games. Sure, there is a degree of God given talent which I am lacking, but even still, the level of sacrifice and commitment required is much more willing than I am willing to invest. I am not a 190lb ripped up piece of machinery. The reason for this is because those guys work hard everyday, and pay close attention to everything that goes into their body (I pay attention to what goes AROUND my body, which should be couch cushions, and what goes IN my body, which should be made from cake) My point is that I use to get so  frustrated when I did not perform at certain levels in various areas of my life, and instead of frustration, I have exchanged that for admiration for the people who put in the time and effort to accomplish these things. So my challenge is this, if someone possesses a quality that you find admirable, share it with that person. See how it makes you feel. Chances are that you will learn something positive about yourself. Worst case scenario, you improve someone’s life at least a little bit for this particular day. If they let it go to their head, as many will, let em have it. Give them the grace that so many people gave me, and know that life has a way of straightening out the di*kheads. Take it from a bona fide di*khead.

Peace, Love, and all things Beef related,

Beefcake

Wherever You Go…There You Are

“In Three Words I Can Sum Up Everything I Know About Life. It Goes On.”–Robert Frost

Yesterday morning, I stopped into  Darby’s Automotive to drop off the Love Boat. The Boat has been getting some upgrades as of late, to keep her fashionable and moving forward. We have to get her in line to make the road trip to the Sylamore 25k/50k, where I have every intention of winning the 40k/240lb division. Love Boat got a new window, a new door unlocker button thing,  some bushings, and we are gonna outfit her with the option of blowing hot air or cold air (the option before was hot…or really hot). I always enjoy stopping by there because I like shooting the breeze with Darby, and I like the people who work with him. We give each other sh*t, but share a mutual respect. I have a great deal of admiration for him. Darby is one of those guys who truly answers the call to action within the community, and with the people in his life. I bet there isn’t a girl scout in Olive Branch he hadn’t bought cookies from, or a local event that he hasn’t sponsored at one time or another. Darby however is in a unique position because, for the most part, nobody is happy to see him, at least not under the circumstances. If you are going to get your car fixed, you are generally not real excited about it. It’s kind of like working in the hospital, most clients would rather be doing something else. So Darby was telling me that I needed this and that, and it was gonna cost this and blah-blah-blah. As usual, I said “go for it”. I explained to him that I was having one of those weeks that it costs me a thousand dollars just to get outta bed in the morning. I got the Love Boat in need of attention, our heater at home is broke, the sweeper needs brakes, the strainer froze and cracked, my pump stopped working for my pesticide (which didn’t matter cause the filter housing had cracked…which was of no consequence because the fitting for the gun had broke plumb in two ). All of this and we stood there and laughed. We laughed cause it happens. Sh*t breaks. There are numerous different ways of handling days like these, and I have tried just about all of them. I can cry about, bitch about it, be angry, resentful, fearful of the future, kick, scream, holler, be depressed, ask “why me”, take it out on everyone else…..or I can accept, maybe even with a little humor, and move on.

My employee, and one of my best friends, is named Pedro. We have worked together for over 13 years. Throughout these years, we have made just about every wrong move a person can make and still be in business. We have done everything from putting gas in diesels, diesel in hydraulic reservoirs, ran equipment out of oil, knocked down walls, cut damn near everything that runs underground, broke everything from auger bits to metal hammers, and actually submerged a  skid steer that was less than a month old. Pedro and I have remained friends and partners throughout marriage, divorce, births of children, periods of wealth and big fat busts, fits of anger and accusations, rehabs and depression with rises and falls throughout. We have played the blame game and have fought till we were red in the face. We have toasted success and cried in our palms. Throughout all of the ups and downs that we have been through, not only as friends but business associates alike, there has been one thing constant. Life has continued to go on. It never stopped, not even for a day it didn’t. It’s been going on for years, centuries, hell its been going on since eternity…and that’s longer than Dan Koloski has been alive. Some days I’m the hammer and some days the nail, but I’m gonna be one or the other, or somewhere in between, whether I like it or not.

My mom recently retired from a career as a civilian employee for the Navy. She was the Chief Clinical Director of the Fleet and Family Services division. She is a highly intelligent and professional woman named Elaine, who has no problem maintaining eye contact while explaining exactly how the cow ate the cabbage. At her recent retirement, her fellow co-workers had constructed a plaque with a list of their favorite “Elaine-ism’s”. My favorite of the many quotes is this, “The fact that you disagree with the facts….does not change the facts.” I try to remember this when I feel that my day is not going as smoothly as it should. My decision to enjoy it, lies squarely on my shoulders. Being aware of this, does not mean that I will make the right decision, it just makes me aware. All things being equal, all my frustration this week has been with moving parts, and those are just gonna break. I’ve been told that if you have a problem that money can solve, it ain’t a real problem. I don’t know who said that, but I’m gonna take their word for it.

On another note, I’m excited that I SHOULD have time today to make it to the gym to play with my 4pm friends, and shake my crazies away. I have missed the past couple of days because of kids and basketball practice, but those are pretty damn good reasons to miss anything. Poor Amanda is DYING to get to the gym, and I mean literally dying, as in like the middle of the night she coughs so hard that she sounds like she is going to die…and then her alarm goes off at 4am. But who am I to tell her what she should or should not do? Neither one of us do what we are told, and hate being told to do it, so I try to keep my mouth shut, kinda. I hope she gets better soon. Exercise probably has more impact on my propensity to take my life and myself too seriously. So, I am fortunate to have a place to go where I actually enjoy it, with people who I very much enjoy. Try to remember, as a Buddhist calendar once told me, “It is what it is, and it ain’t gonna get no is-er”

Peace, Love, and all things Beef related,

Beefcake

God, Help My Kids Fail

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January 27, 2016

4 days in a row! 4 days of using this blog as a virtual puke bucket for my thoughts. It feels as if I am traveling throughout each day on a luxury cruise with some pretty rough seas. I enjoy the cruise, but its stressful being in unfamiliar territory, and I get motion sick easily. When I get off the boat, I barf off of the side of the pier and then I can regroup and have some stillness. That is what my writing has given me.  Huh? (I realize it doesn’t make much sense, but I hate to delete all that typing).

Ok. It’s 4am and I am bright eyed and bushy tailed from a good night’s rest. I am watching my 6 year old daughter sleep, and there just ain’t much else that I’d rather be doing. I have been blessed with two really good kids. I realize that most parents believe their kids to be good, but these two are especially good natured . In the stillness of the morning hours, I ponder exactly what it is that I want my children to experience in their lives, and the answer is simple. I want my kids to be safe, happy, and successful in every area of their lives. I want them to have all the good, and none of the bad. I want them to win every game and ace every test. I do not want for an ounce of pain to ever be experienced, and be a total stranger to suffering. Every relationship shall flourish, and they would be liked by all who come into their lives. They will go to college, have stable jobs with 401k’s and bonuses, enjoy faithful spouses who adore them, and they shall have healthy children who give them the same peace and happiness that my kids will have given to me.  Does that sound about right? Wrong. Bullsh*t.

That is not at all what I want for them. It doesn’t work that way. At least it hasn’t for me. All that stuff I was talking about before would not have provided me with an ounce of satisfaction. Growing up as a white kid in Germantown, with two parents and an entire family that loved and cared for me, it would be tough to sell you on the idea that my life was overly challenging. My parents loved me very much and wanted good things for me, but they didn’t hover over me with a blanket over my shoulders to shield me from danger, and earmuffs so as to not hear the harshness of the world. If they would have, I would probably hate them for it. I am a control freak of sorts, and I am doing my best to enjoy watching the world work, instead of trying to work the world. It is so arrogant to believe that I can make my children be this way, or that way. I can demonstrate these things, but I cannot “make” them “be” anything, any more than an apple can make an orange be an apple. I simply cannot change another one’s nature.

So, if I had my five minutes with Da Big Man in the golden recliner, I would ask for these things for my children. Make them good hearted and caring, but provide that fire when they have been pushed too hard. Give them safety, but not too much. Allow them a broken bone, so they  can get their cast signed. Have them picked last, so they can strive to be first. Have them work their ass off for something, and fall short of their goal. Teach them that life isn’t fair, but it’s life…which is more than fair. Have them love till it hurts, and still not be noticed. Give them a season of losses, so to enjoy the big win.  Give them the acne, so they will know insecurity. Bend the fender, it happens, move on. Fail that big test that they studied so hard for, take it again, and strive to do better. Have their best friend betray them, so they can better know a friend, and have an enemy befriend them, so they learn to forgive. Allow them some mischief and  laughs through misconduct, but teach them the difference between horseplay and harm. Open their eyes to the ways of their family, but let them decide what they will leave and will take. Let them choose what to do with their future, and have them take my two cents worth, but value it as such. Give them the fortune they desire with no work on their part, then take it away so they can see what its worth. Have them not value “things” cause I said,  but let them choose things for themselves, for I have not the answers. Have them know what its like when the world’s out to get them, to be beaten, battered, tail-tucked and afraid, then have them bounce back stronger, confident, and brave. Surround them with half-wits, some low lives, and slackers, then give them up-lifters,  motivators, and well wishers. Let them make that decision for them, not for me. Push them so hard they will blame you and the world, them give them the calmness to see the real cause. Give them the failures,  ridicule, and the scorn, and give them compassion when it’s the other man’s turn.  Allow them to see that I don’t have the answers, but I have all the love that I hope they will need. I want them to know that I don’t want perfection, but that I want them to fail on their way to succeed.

Most of all, I want for myself to understand that it is not my job to make them into anything, but to be there for them as they become something different. I don’t want to control, but to appreciate and admire all the things that they are, and decide to be. I want to remember that just because I like something a certain way, that it does not make it right. I want to be always accepting of their beliefs, viewpoints, and their system of doing things. I hope that you have a good day, and experience as many ups, downs, and in-betweens as life has to offer you.

Peace, Love, and all things Beef related,

Beefcake

 

 

It Could Be A Helluva Lot Worse

January 26, 2016

“We become happier, much happier, when we realize life is an opportunity rather than an obligation.”
Mary Augustine

It is a good morning. I am sure of it. Any morning that I get out of a sheeted bed, in a heated home, under my own strength is a good one. A have a friend who is 72 years old, and he has lived through some real sh*t. One day I was giving him a long, drawn out story about how life was treating me unfairly and bla-blah-blur-bla-pity me-pity me. My friend just gave me a grin and exclaimed, “Wilson, if you think you are having a bad day now, try missing one of them.”(Yep, thats Billy D. if anyone was keeping up) I chuckled out loud, because this old dude is full of wisdom and perspective that can make anyone belly laugh. So, I feel that any day that I wake up 6′ above ground and have some work to do, then I have been dealt a pretty good hand.

I chose to sleep in and skip CrossFit this morning because I got to bed late, which by late I mean bout 9:45pm. At the end of the evening I could feel myself getting pouty, tired, and anxious. I use finess to give me energy, and sometimes I will keep pushing and pushing myself before I realize that I am not energized….I’m miserable. I did this last year while training for Sylamore 50k. I got so caught up in the result, that I forgot to enjoy the journey. I need to find balance. The reason I was out so “late” is that Amanda and I have enrolled in a 12 week ASL course to learn sign language. I can’t remember exaclty what made us decide to enroll, but we did. I have never met anyone who is so full of life as Amanda. There is absolutely nothing that she won’t do if there is the opportunity to pack a little more “life” into the equation. There is nothing that I won’t SAY i’m gonna do, but she will actually follow through, and I will follow her anywhere. She is whole hearted believer in trying, failing, trying again. If she sets her mind to something, she will knock at it’s door until someone answers or the hinges break off the frame. Anyway, I don’t have a concise reason as to my desire to learn sign language, but I like to think that it would be an opportunity to listen and connect with another individual who suffers from alcoholism or drug addiction. God only knows that my life would not be what it is today if people had not spent countless hours “listening” to what I had to say. I had SO MUCH SH*t in my head and heart, that I can’t imagine not having an outlet for which to get it all out. In typical fashion, here I am conjuring up visions of grandeur in regards to helping someone, and I don’t even know the alphabet. I had learned the alphabet well enough to MAYBE make it through one time, while stopping MAYBE once, or twice. Amanda was about the same….or so I thought. On the way to the class, she starts spelling out words to the music with her hand, and I about had a heart attack. She looked like an international mediator who was in charge of negotating a treaty between the Vice Lords and Gangster Disciplines all through signs. I was ill prepared and instantly afraid of the upcoming class. I was petrified. Keep in mind, Amanda has her doctorate…it took me twelve years to get my undergrad. My idea of accelerated classes involved amphetimines in the parking lot. This was well out of my comfort zone. It did not help when the teacher of the class informed us, with her hands, that there would be no speaking of any sort during class times…all signs. I whispered to Amanda that someone needed to quickly teach me how to sign, “oh fu*k”, cause that is what was going through my head for the next 120 minutes. All seriousness, it was really great and I welcome the challenge. I’m a little slower than many in the class, but I tend to start slow…and gradually taper off. Just kidding. I’ll be fine. All good things.

Sooooo, about my day today, THIS is what I do:

 

Clearly I’m a pretty big deal. Part of my worldly duties is that I sweep parking lots. Well, I actually blow parking lots while my buddy drives the vaccuum truck. It’s kinda like being doctor, except it requires no education, very little knowledge, and any idiot can do it. This being said, I fu*king love it. I love the openess of the huge warehouse parking lots. I love the excercise, as I will travel 12-15 miles a day with a 10lb blower on my back. And, I love the time to myself and my thoughts. I will tell you another reason that I enjoy it, as I have shared before. One my grandfathers was studying to be an attorney before he was attacked by friendly fire in WWII. After having a metal plate placed in his head, and most of his vision lost, he was unable to practice law. He spent the rest of his career with a respectful job on the sales floor at Goldmith’s. I never once heard him bitch or complain about what could have been. He didn’t live like he had been fu*ked over, he lived like he was lucky to be alive, and he did his work with pride and integrity. My other grandfather was a pipe welder. He was the son of an alcoholic and lived his youth travelling from place to place as his dad found work on the railroad. He learned a trade and learned it well. He provided for his family, and he did it with dignity. So, with that being said, those are two distinguished men who would welcome me, or any guy like me, at their dinner table. They are people that did not place importance on WHAT you did, as much as THAT you did, something. You do a job, and you do it the best that you can, and anyone with an opinion can suck it (pretty sure neither of my grandparents said “suck it”…not a direct quote). If I can die having just had the opportunity to provide for my family, to any degree at all, then I consider myself lucky.

Y’all have a good day, don’t take it all too seriously, and by all means if someone tells you it cannot be done…full throttle, onward and upward.

Peace, Love, and all things Beef related,

Beefcake

The Least I Can Do Is Smile, for Godsake.

January 25, 2016

“I’m going to walk to the bridge. If one person smiles at me on the way, I will not jump.”-Unknown

Dr.Jerome Motto recalls a former patient, whom in the 1970’s, had jumped to his death from the Golden Gate Bridge. He left behind a suicide letter which read, “I’m going to walk to the bridge. If one person smiles at me on the way, I will not jump.” While the mental problems of this particular patient are unknown, I think that the statement is pretty impactful. I take great pleasure in the knowledge that just a smile can be so powerful. The reason for this is that often times a sincere smile is all that I have to offer. You see, I am not an overly talented person. It is a miracle that I make it out of my house with pants on in the morning (my FedEx guy knows, but this is a long embarrassing story). I am generally forgetful, and I don’t stay focused on any one thing for very long. I do not possess any one “skill” or “trade” that would set me aside from the competition. I am not athletic, and I am not overly knowledgeable in any sought after field. However….I can smile like a mutherfu*ker, and sometimes a smile and a warm hello can be as valuable as anything else.

Upon awakening at 4am this morning, I fought the usual urge to stay in the bed. With Amanda being sick, it was quite lonely getting ready to go to the gym. I always enjoy bothering her in the mornings, as she adjusts to the light and I am buzzing around with excitement. The best part of my day is early in the morning. I can be incredibly obnoxious, but it beats staying in bed until noon, while feeling sorry for myself. I have lived that life as well. I don’t like doing things alone, but I knew that there would be people at the gym to fu*k with. As I was driving to CrossFit, I started thinking about the times when I have felt like the suicide victim. I know that lonely, helpless, dogged out feeling all too well. The fact that I know this feeling is what makes my everyday so special. I do not see problems in the same light as I had previously. I have what a friend of mine referred to as “Cadillac Problems”, “Problems of Plenty”, “the kind of problems that people with real problems would have no problem having”….and today, I am FULLY aware of this. I was driving in my piece of sh*t 1998 Chevy Suburban, and thinking about how fortunate I am to have a vehicle. Not only do I have a vehicle, but to have nice roads for which to drive that vehicle. I started thinking about some bills that we have to pay for the house, and I remembered how fortunate I am to own a home. We recently had a hot water heater blow out. When the nice lady at Home Depot conveyed that she understands how frustrating that can be, we both agreed that if we didn’t have running water and a roof over our heads, we would not have to worry about hot water heaters. When you don’t have a set of tires, you don’t have problems with flats, and when you have no walls, the air conditioner is seldom broke, and when you have no food, it is never overcooked. My problems today are merely situations, which I perceive to be problems. A problem ceases to be, the moment I decide to remove the label. Often times, I will over dramatize things, but usually I can reel it back in within a reasonable amount of time, and with the help of a friend’s ear.

So today my goal is this, try to keep as many people from jumping off bridges as possible. I will maintain a positive attitude and smile at as many people as possible, while trying to not look like some sort of demented idiot. I’m going to enjoy the energy that I was given upon awakening, the energy I was given from CrossFit,the energy I receive from this blog, and the energy that is given to me simply by making an effort to be appreciative and grateful. I am going to skip the part where I concern myself with being fat, outta shape, balding, stupid, dumb, unwealthy, and unsuitable, cause that has not historically provided me with much energy at all, and it certainly doesn’t help me from keeping others from jumping off bridges. Y’all enjoy your day, cause its gonna be a good one.

Peace, Love, and all things Beef related,

Beefcake

I Need to Write, Errrrday

chill-homie

January 24, 2016

OVERCOMING FEAR AND GAINING ENERGY

Good morning. How you doing? Good to see you. I’m glad you’re here. Yesterday morning, Amanda and I were sitting in the walk-in clinic in hopes of finding some relief for her recent affliction of cough and sinus problems. I took a moment to be grateful for not only my health, but the overall health of my family. While it sucks that Amanda is sick, we recognize that we have educated doctors with sterile facilities, and good insurance to get her well. I am so thankful for my health and the energy that I have today. While I am not a raging ball of boundless energy, I do wake up in the morning with a positive attitude and an intense curiosity of what the universe has in store for me, each and every day. Most of my life I have taken some sort of speed, or relied on some kind of synthetic to provide me with energy. Having been drug free for about four and a half years, my brain and body are FINALLY catching up and providing the energy that I need to enjoy everything that life has to offer, naturally. I have found that any of the energy that I borrow synthetically, must be paid back with interest….and that sh*t sucks. As I sat in the clinic’s waiting room, I started thinking about all the things that provide me with wholesome, healthy energy. I decided that I want to do a better job of focusing on my natural and abundant energy reserves.

My diet is one of the more obvious areas that I find energy (or lethargy). When I eat like crap, I feel like crap. I know this, but it doesn’t stop me from buying a ticket on the Sh*tfood Express. My regular sleep hours, I believe, help me tremendously. I’m generally in bed by 8:30pm, and I wake up between 4am-6am, depending on whether I go to the gym or not. Crossfit provides me with the juices I need to overcome, and actually enjoy many of the obstacles that I face on a daily basis. When I reflect on my past history, I find that most of my energy is simply based around my attitude. My optism (or pessimism) generally sets the tone for the rest of my day. So I make it a point to put a copious amount of focus into how I start my day. Waking up with the awareness that I have good friends and family who care about me, along with the faith that the day ahead is going to be unique, exciting, and provide opportunity to make other peoples lives better is where I find the sweet spot of the energy fruit. The knowledge that I had so many years of feeling so anxious, afraid, and unhappy, compared with the life I have know, which is generally relaxed, positive, and mostly fun, all was built on a foundation of an attitude adjustment. This is enough to keep me curious and excited throughout most days. Throughout all of this, I began thinking about my writing and the energy it provides. When I produce a blog post, I feel refreshed and excited, and at the same time fearful and insecure. I’m perpetually afraid of people laughing at my thoughts, and being riduculed for my stupidity, which is exaclty why I have decided to do more of it.

My intent is to begin posting a blog entry on most days, or 3-4 days per week. I want to tap into the energy source that it creates, while at the same time facing my insecuritites and fear of ridicule. One of my favorite quotes reads as follows:

“It has been my philosophy of life that difficulties vanish when faced boldly.”–Isaac Asimov

So, my experiment is to see if I can reap the rewards of writing, from the standpoint of energy and adrenaline, while at the same time conquering the feelings of inadequacy and stupidity that plague me every time I sit down to do something that provides me with equal parts happiness, fulfillment, and fear. If I continue to do this over the coming months, then I will consider my quest to be successful, otherwise I am a big fat tub of bologna (just kidding, I won’t get carried away.)

My biggest problem is believing that I need to find something deep and profound for which to write. My ego tells me that people actually invest a significant amount of time scanning line-by-line for grammatical errors and misquotes, which will arm them for when they attack me personally, publicly, and intellectually…and that is FU*KED UP (ask Amanda, she will tell you..my noodle comes up with some weird beliefs). I want to simply write what is going on in my head, and in my day. I will use this as a period of reflection and meditation. Hopefully, it will provide me with a zen-like experience, as my friend Doug is currently practicing meditation to become a spiritual giant, and I will be damned if he experiences enlightenment before i do. In the meantime, I hope each of you enjoys your day as much as I plan to enjoy mine.

Peace, Love, and all things Beef related.

Beefcake

Herb Parson’s Marathon/Half Marathon

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Henry Parsons Trail Marathon/Half Marathon

 

“I took a walk in the woods and came out taller than the trees.” -Henry David Thoreau
January 3, 2016

Here we are, not 3 full days into the new year, and I'm freezing my ass off at 6am while driving out to some Godforesaken trail to run another Godforesaken race. I have spent the last 3 weeks preparing for this race by... not doing much of anything. I have ran NONE, and eaten MUCH. On top of an already poor diet, I went on a three day Christmas food bender at my Mother-in-Law's house doing suicide ladders of fudge, chicken ball, and pork; back and forth, back and forth. They say that the human body is like 80% water or some sh*t, but I was at LEAST a 30% combination of fudge and pork...I regret nothing. It was the best Christmas since LazerTag. An extra ten pounds of love was gonna have to work, cause it was sticking on me like cake batter.


The morning was perfect for me. It was freezing cold, and the temps would be slowly rising, but not get up past about 55 degrees. I was delighted to see all of my friends who were either participating or hanging out during the race. It was all of the usual suspects, plus some. The half marathon was going to start thirty minutes after the full marathon, and the full was an "out and back, twice". This meant I would be able to see everyone, at least once. I knew that Brian Williams and Lisa Barker would be volunteering at different aid stations, so it was comforting to know that I was running towards familiar faces. Unfortunately, those familiar faces just tell you the same damn thing overtime you see them. It's generally the same dialogue:

 
Aid Station Helpers (Brian Williams/Lisa Barker/Frank Dembia/ James Holland):"Hey, how you feeling?"


Me: "I feel like sh*t. I think my feet have snapped off at the ankles and are only being held on by my shoelaces. My nipples rubbed off four miles ago, and the left side of my face is sagging. It's like a horror film/war movie out here, you gotta help me."


Aid Station Helpers: "Sure, we would love to help. We have M&M's, potatoes, PB&J, and Vaseline. You're doing great, keep up the good work, bye bye now."


I was originally running with Billy Moore, which I knew was dumb cause he is badass and can run forever, but I was enjoying the company while I had it. We reached the aid station and I stopped at the buffet line. He decided to continue on, (as if it were some kind of race or something). I made it to the quarter point, when Lisa Barker says, "where's Amanda?", and I said, "she is coming. She is back there a little bit with David." Lisa just kinda smiled and said, "yeah, cause she runs smart, and you just kinda take off all crazy." Ain't that the truth! Anyways, I knew my time with Amanda would be soon enough. I kept fair pace to about the halfway point, when I started to feel the pinch. Fortunately, or unfortunately, depending on how you want to look at it, my friends (Amanda Drogmiller,Stefanie Williams, Brian Swanson, and Mark Fortune) were there to remove any option of quitting. Mr. Swanson was kind enough to mix up my Tailwind, because my co-ordination was fading. It was re-energizing to see the gang, to put it mildly.

At the halfway point, I was able to pass Amanda in an opposite direction, and she says, "Im not gonna make the cutoff." I assured her that we were well above cutoff, and we had plenty of time. I waited a minute or so for her to catch up, and for me to catch my breath, and I would get to enjoy the next 6-7 miles with her, before she ultimately left me sucking air, and repeating the "F" word over and over, par usual. She did, however, get to see Beefcake do what Beefcake do best, and that is...bust my ass. I grabbed a root and went down hard. Fortunately, I rolled over by using a technique called the "Floor Food Turnover" or "DoubleF-T". This is a technique which is put into practice, generally during massive hangovers, when you know that you are going to do nothing but eat and sleep all day. You buy $30 worth of Taco Bell at 10am. In between naps, while facing the pillows of the couch, you gracefully fold your arm backward all the way to the floor and without looking, grab an individually wrapped taco. If you practice this move often enough, it will eventually become second nature, and you can implement it during situations just like this.  I "DoubleF-T'd" on my back, and was proud to know that I had actually fell forward. At times, during long runs, I feel like I am going so slow that I am actually going backwards. Soon after, Amanda would frolic lightly into the woods, not to be seen by me again, until the end of the race. 


"Nothing will ever be attempted if all possible objections must first be overcome"-Samuel Johnson

We had completed another trail race, and this was all well and good, but the REAL goodness was in watching a couple of friends of mine dominate what they previously believed that they couldn't. My friend Melisa Burgess is one tough chick. She has been through some stuff in her life, as all of us have, and has come out on the other side. What she has been through is not important, but the fact that she lowered her shoulders and went directly through it is where I find inspiration. Upon bettering herself Melisa also quit smoking about a year ago, and did what people do when they quit smoking; She put on a few pounds. She felt bad about herself. She had a bad self image. She was angry, lashed out at everyone, and laid on her couch and felt sorry for herself. NOPE. She got her sh*t together, reached out to others, and worked her ass off. I would watch her progress on FB and was inspired, not only by her, but the supportive comments that her friends made. As she got further and further in her goals, I sent her a text, begging for her to sign up for Herb Parson's. This was her reply:


I have never, in all my life, been called such a horrible thing.
I have never, in all my life, been called such a horrible thing.

 

I told her to come and see how far she could run, and just stop when she felt overly tired or hurt. She did the toughest part, and registered for the race. When Amanda and I were starting the second half of our marathon we saw Melisa coming in the opposite direction. My day was made, and at that point, I knew that I was going to finish.


Proud of my buddy, Melisa
Proud of my buddy, Melisa
 

A little bit behind Melisa was my new friend Debbie Lindsey. I asked Debbie when I first met her, why she decided to get her sh*t together. She told me that she had spent her life at the ballfields watching kids and grandkids be active, and now it was her turn. This woman, in her mid fifties, has jumped in with both feet! I pleaded with her to do the half marathon with us, and just see how far she could make it. She said, no way, but the people at Olive Branch CrossFit encouraged her just to sign up. Just make the move, sign up, and see what happens. Well, what happened was that Debbie showed up in her ass kicking boots, and tore up and down both directions of that trail, and conquered all doubt. It was a wonderful thing. Debbie Lindsey and Melisa Burgess, I owe you a big "thank you" for an extremely awesome day!


My girl Debbie kicking that ass. Thats what AR. women do...they kick ass.
My girl Debbie kicking that ass. Thats what AR. women do…they kick ass.

 

Peace, Love, and all things Beef related,

Wilson “Beefcake” Horrell

Welcome to the new LiftHeavyRunLong.com

We got bumper stickers. Men have put into space with less effort.
We got bumper stickers. Men have put into space with less effort.

January 4, 2016

When i was about 12-13 years old I used to light my hair on fire. I would practice with a lighter in front of a mirror and let it flame as high as I could before burning my scalp. I thought it was cool as sh*t. My friends thought it was awesome, and my parents would have hated it. There was no logical reason for this, but I liked doing it. When I was a little bit older, I used to pierce my ear on Fridays before going to the Winchester Court movie theater. After enjoying an evening of cool as sh*tness, I would let it grow back so my parents wouldn’t see it. The next Friday night, as me and my loser friends were headed back to the theater in search of that ever elusive girl to possibly be willing to sit next to us, and maybe hold hands, I would pierce it again.   I thought it was cool as sh*t. Once again, no real rhyme or reason, but I felt compelled to do it anyway. When I was in 4th grade, my idol was Brian “The Boz” Bosworth. Like Boz,  I wore a flat-top haircut with paint down the sides. I actually put stripes of red and white paint in my hair before going to school in fourth grade. I thought it was cool as sh*t. My teacher hated it. There was no rationale behind the paint in my hair, but I loved it. I just had to do it.

Isnt he beautiful? I know...I know..Bo Jackson. Let's move past this.
Isnt he beautiful? I know…I know..Bo Jackson. Let’s move past this.

I didn’t need rationale, and I wasn’t asking for approval. Sometimes, I get these godawful ideas, and I just have to follow through with them, I just must. Whatever the idea, it’s all consuming, and I cannot proceed with anything else until either I follow through with the decision, or I am derailed and become fixated on something else (usually the latter). These are three examples of a 39 year career of decision making that have two constants behind every action. The reasoning behind most things I have done, and still do today are these:
1. There is no real reasoning. 
2. I think whatever it is… it’s cool as sh*t.

This leads me to my latest exciting, poorly thought out objective, which is lacking any real direction and the primary reason for doing it is two-fold:

1. I like the name. 
2. It’s cool as sh*t.

With all this being said…
Welcome to LiftHeavyRunLong.com

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A couple of years ago, I became fascinated with the idea of meeting the requirements for the 50/400 Club on the LiftHeavyRunLong.com website. The 50/400 club is essentially a mix of strength and endurance. The qualifications are simple, run a 50mile race and deadlift 400lbs (300lbs for the ladies). I somehow manged to achieve the goal, and VOILA…nothing happened.  Like anything else, I learned that meeting the goal, albeit very satisfying, was nothing compared to the experiences I had on the journey. The community of people surrounding lifting heavy weights and running long distances is as genuine, diverse, and fun loving of a group as you can find. I couldn’t help but to think about all the good and all the fun that could potentially come from creating a large community of people who are interested in lifting a little heavier, running a little farther, and being a little bit better than they were yesterday and the day before. I imagine what good could come from the person who is still on the couch being encouraged by someone who has been at this for a while.

I approached Von Ralls, the guy responsible for the Lift Heavy Run Long concept, and I told him that I wanted to play with the site, and see if we could attract some members and see where this whole thing will lead. In typical Von fashion, he was like, “yeah man, thats cool”.  We discussed the fact that neither of us had any idea where we would go with this, but were sure to make good time getting there. This is what we know:
**We know that we want to encourage people.

**We know that we want to help people feel comfortable at various events and races, and help them know that they are supported.

*We know that we want everyone to feel included, and for everyone to have a voice.

*We know we want to provide information about events and training programs in different areas, and encourage others to give their feedback on them.

*We know we want to feature members and get to know about different athletes and the different obstacles and victories that they have experienced.

*We want to provide as much social support at different events as possible (bc that is where the real fun is).

But at the end of the day, we basically know 2 things:

1. We don’t know what the hell we are doing.
2. It’s gonna be cool as sh*t.

So, come be part of the group at LiftHeavyRunLong.com . We are still figuring out the best way to make the website both interactive and interesting. Feel free to either post ideas, or send us a message. It is YOUR community, so please feel free to post your blogs, race reports, create events, or even sell your sh*t on the classifieds section. We want to hear your PR’s, goals, and accomplishments. We are here to encourage, not critique. If you are proud of what you are doing, then we are proud of you, and we want to stand behind you. Life is too short to not kick a little ass and have some fun along the way. Come join us, CAUSE….
Its gonna be cool as sh*t.

Peace, Love, and all things Beef Related.
Wilson “Beefcake” Horrell

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