Sunday, April 29, 2007

My Idea of a Great Day!

For those of you who forgot, Friday, April 27th, was my birthday. My wife had something planned for us to do in the evening but I had the whole day to do whatever I wanted so I decided to make the best of it.

I started by sleeping in until about 1030 which felt great! The previous day I had done a red-eye flight so I was still trying to catch up on my sleep. I decided that I was due for a massage so I made an appointment at Aravada Massage. A friend and former co-worker along with his wife own this business so I thought it'd be nice to throw a little business their way. After I made the appointment for the massage and had breakfast, I went for a bike ride on what was shaping up to be a beautiful, sunny, 70 degree day! After a great ride I came home and took a shower.

I still had a few hours before my massage and I was trying to figure out what to do when a friend called wanting to go shoot handguns. I thought that would be a great way to spend the afternoon! We met up at the gun range and put a lot of holes in a little target that, had it been a bad guy, would have wished he hadn't run into me. After we satisfied our quench for the smell of gun powder and muzzle flash, I headed over to get my massage.

I got signed in and talked with my friends wife who happened to be working that day. I filled out all the medical questions they ask and was anxiously waiting for the relaxation to begin. For some reason I was expecting a chick to come out and say, "Hi Paul, I'm Suzie, I'll be your massage therapist." Instead....I got Bruce (name changed to protect the innocent), an obviously gay man. "What! I don't want a guy rubbing his hands on me!"

I have to say that at first I was very uncomfortable with a man giving me a massage, especially when he was rubbing my hands. But after a while, I have to say that it was very relaxing and I eventually fell asleep. Bruce was nothing but professional and I didn't once feel like he was trying to sneak a peak at my "hoo-hoo-dilly".

After I finished my massage, I ran a few errands and then headed home to meet up with Erin. She hadn't told me what we were doing that night so I was pleasantly surprised when we ended up at the Dakota Jazz Club & Restaurant, in downtown Minneapolis. We got there around 7 PM to have dinner and watch a show that was going to start at 8 PM.

We went out of our stomachs comfort zone and ordered “Beef & Basil” Carpaccio, prime beef tartare for an appetizer. Don't ask me what that means, it's some kind of meat that is cooked in it's own juices and then wrapped around something. Either way, it was way too fancy for me but it was actually pretty good. It was a little spicy, of course, "mild" salsa is too spicy for me. When we ordered dinner I went with something I'm a little more comfortable with, a New York Strip Steak served with baby red potatoes and onion strings.

The chef's name is Jack Riebel and is apparently very well known. He has cooked for the Mikhail Gorbachev Dinner at the Governor’s Mansion, the National Taste of the N.F.L. Super Bowl event for Share Our Strength, and has made multiple visits to the James Beard House in New York. He also won the 2005 Masters in the Marketplace Celebrity Chef Cook Off and the national 2006 American Cheese Society's "Iron Man Cook Off."

At 8 PM the band came out to start playing. I was expecting a nice relaxing jazz band to play some light jazz during dinner. What we got was an awesome concert by a great pianist from Cuba named Nachito Herrera. I can't explain how fantastic his music was, he had the whole place rocking with the help of a great drummer, percussionist, and bass guitar player. There's a link on his website to his music and you'll have to listen to it to get the full effect.

After dinner and the show we headed home and I opened some cards and gifts from Erin and some other family members. It was a great day and a great way to celebrate getting older and smarter.....well, older anyway.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

A Good Start to Summer

Yesterday I finished my 7 day detox/body cleansing program! Part of the program was to take a bunch of pills with breakfast along with a tasty fiber mix and then take a bunch of pills with dinner. That wasn't so hard to do, the fiber mix was pretty disgusting but I usually mixed it with some sort of juice to hide the taste. The hard part was not drinking milk, not having any cheese or eggs, not having ice cream, not having any candy or sugar, in other words, eating healthy.

Overall I think I did pretty well. I turned down a lot of candy bars that came with our crew meals, I never went to Starbucks throughout the week, and I ordered things like a chicken wrap with no cheese and no dressing. The hardest thing of all was turning down an ice cream sundae that a flight attendant offered to make on one of our flights home.

I did stumble a little bit when I had a daiquiri on a layover in Cancun, somehow a brownie made its way out of the wrapper and into my mouth on one of my flights, and on my commute home I was in first class and couldn't turn down a egg and cheese omelet. Overall though, I think I did pretty well. As you may remember me writing the positive effects of the body cleansing program were supposed to be better skin, weight loss, and more energy.

I can't say that I have better skin or lost any weight but I think I do have a little bit more energy. Yesterday I celebrated this new energy with a FORTY MILE bike ride from Cannon Falls, MN to Red Wing, MN and back to Cannon Falls. The Cannon Valley Trail is an old railroad bed that rides along with Cannon River, it's 20 miles one way and I had never seen the whole trail so I thought I would celebrate the beginning of summer with a great bike ride. The first 20 miles went fine but I have to say that the ride back was tough. Not only was I going into the wind but my legs have never seen a 40 mile bike ride before and I think they were getting a little upset about my decision to go so far.

I finally made it back to Cannon Falls and was never so glad to see my car! As tired as I was, it was a good way to start the summer and I felt great that I had done it. I'm hoping to do a lot more biking this summer but I don't think my 13 year old bike is going to cut it. My birthday is next week so maybe a new bike will be in my future (hint..hint..nudge..nudge).

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Cleansing My Body

I subscribe to a magazine called Men's Health. In it, it talks about different workout routines, ways to eat better, and in general, how to stay healthy. In one of the recent issues it mentioned a body cleanse. A "body cleanse", also known as a "body detox" is supposed to help rid you of all the bad toxins that accumulate in your body from eating processed foods, candy, sugar, caffeine, etc. When I thought about how much processed food I've taken in by being on the road, how many times I've stopped at Starbucks, and how much Easter candy I've had, I figured a body detox might be just the thing I need. After I talked to some friends about it and did some research online, I found that the results after doing a body cleanse include; more energy, better skin, weight loss, and more regular....um, trips to the bathroom. So I made a trip to the local general nutrition store and found a 7-day body cleansing program.

When I brought it home I opened it up like a kid on Christmas day. I read the instructions was a little disappointed to see that I am not supposed to drink milk, have any eggs, sugar, caffeine, etc. during the cleansing period. How am I supposed to make it a week without milk! Maybe I can get soy lattes at Starbucks this week instead of the ones made with milk. Wait a minute, isn't it called a latte because it's made with milk? Wouldn't one made with soy be called a "satte"?

So this morning I started my body detox which so far, as gone pretty smoothly, of course, I've only been doing it for about six hours now. I was a little worried that the powder mix that I put in my juice this morning was going to taste like crap but I actually didn't even notice it. I drank my juice and had my four horse pills and sat down for breakfast. I had oatmeal with raisins for breakfast, a steak and carrots for lunch, and am planning a grilled chicken wrap with a side of vegetables for dinner.

So far I'm on a good track. I'll be sure to let you know how things turn out in seven days when I can celebrate and have.....some skim milk? I can hardly wait!

Thursday, April 05, 2007

21 Way to Make the Most of Life

Here's a list of 21 things that I think everyone should take into consideration in order to make the best out of life.

1. Give people more than they expect and do it cheerfully.

2. Marry a man/woman you love to talk to. As you get older, their conversational skills will be as important as any other.

3. Don't believe all you hear, spend all you have, or sleep all you want.

4. When you say, "I love you," mean it.

5. When you say, "I'm sorry," look the person in the eye.

6. Be engaged at least six months before you get married.

7. Believe in love at first sight.

8. Never laugh at anyone's dream. People who don't have dreams don't have much.

9. Love deeply and passionately. You might get hurt but it's the only way to live life completely.

10. In disagreements, fight fairly. No name calling.

11. Don't judge people by their relatives.

12. Talk slowly but think quickly.

13. When someone asks you a question you don't want to answer, smile and ask, "Why do you want to know?"

14. Remember that great love and great achievements involve great risk.

15. Say "bless you" when you hear someone sneeze.

16. When you lose, don't lose the lesson.

17. Remember the three R's: Respect for self; Respect for others; and responsibility for all your actions.

18. Don't let a little dispute injure a great friendship.

19. When you realize you've made a mistake, take immediate steps to correct it.

20. Smile when picking up the phone. The caller will hear it in your voice.

21. Spend some time alone.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

I ORDER you to bring me a cheeseburger!

Often times I've thought that our use of the English language is somewhat strange. One of the words that immediately comes to mind is the word "order". It is often used in the military. A higher ranking officer orders a lower ranking officer to do something such as, "I order you to fire that missile into the enemy camp!", or "I am ordering you to run 8 miles with 70 pounds of gear on!" Orders always seem to be accompanied by exclamation points because usually orders are given to someone that doesn't necessarily want to do something.

What makes me laugh is when we use the word order at restaurants. You pull up to McDonald's and the drive through guy says, "Can I take your order please?" Most of us aren't used to giving orders and so we say something like "Yes, I'd like a cheeseburger please." I think next time I pull up to a drive through I'm going to say, "Yes, I ORDER you to get me a cheeseburger meal!" (Note the exclamation point.) When he asks if I would like to super size it, I'm going to say, "I am ORDERING you to super size it!"

What do you think the waitress at Applebees would say if you said, "I ORDER you to bring me the grilled chicken wrap!" What is she, your slave? Slaves were given orders weren't they? Are the hardworking college kids and single moms working at restaurants......slaves?? After all, we give them orders. If they do well, and the food that they had nothing to do with making comes out well, we give them money. This money is used to provide them with food and shelter, right? Didn't slaves get food and shelter when they obeyed orders?

Shouldn't we tip the cooks? After all, the server doesn't have anything to do with how the food tastes. She relays a message to the cook who prepares your food how you asked for it. I guess the servers are kind of middlemen, aren't they? Maybe if we just told the cook directly how we would like our food, our orders wouldn't get lost in translation. I'm not trying to pick on servers, after all, I think they are some of the hardest workers out there. For people that have office jobs and are used to sitting all day long, try running around a restaurant for 8 hours sometime.

I'm going to end this story like most comics end their shows at comedy clubs. Don't forget to tip your servers and tip them well. After all, you may be taking their ORDER someday!