Author Archives: treerabold

Thursday Doors – October 19, 2017

See the gray rectangle toward the top of the building?

Yep…that’s a door.

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I think it takes a special employee to clock in on time every day….when faced with this obstacle!!IMG_3888

If you like looking at doors, taking pictures of doors or climbing through doors…visit Norm 2.0 for Thursday Doors.

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An Example of Love…

Yesterday Tina posted the following on Facebook.

“Today, I met the most beautiful and happy baby named Sophie. She is 1 and super friendly. Her mom was talking to Rob and Sonya and explained to them that her baby has Down Syndrome too. The mom was smiling and wiping back tears. It was an awesome interaction and you couldn’t help but smile. We are truly blessed to spend our lives with all 3 of our girls. I know Sophie will bless many lives too!”

People often times will tell Tina and I how lucky they think the girls are to have us. I’m not sure if people realize how blessed we are to have the girls in our lives.

I like to think when young moms, like the one Tina met yesterday, meet Sonya and Robyn or simply observe them in the world, they feel hopeful for the young child with down syndrome that they are raising.

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Robyn & Sonya

All 3 of the ladies that live with us bring joy into this world that is unique to them. I can’t imagine what our lives or the planet would be like without them and without their uniqueness.

Every person has something to offer. Every person gives and receives love. Every person leaves their own special imprint on this world. As for Billie, Robyn and Sonya, they have left unique imprints on mine and Tina’s hearts. We will both be forever grateful for the opportunity to be part of their lives.

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L – R Billie, Tina, me, Sonya, Robyn

Is it Hate or Fear?

I thought about qualifying this post – with one of those…”I don’t mean to hurt anyone’s feelings” statements. But the reality is, if you feel like I am talking about you, maybe you could try to explain to the other readers of this blog why your thoughts and actions are rational.

Here’s the topic for tonight…white supremacist, white nationalist, nazis, skin heads….oh lets just call it what it is…HATE.

Hate is something I do not understand. Sure there have been people in my life that caused great hurt and maybe my feelings teetered on hate. But, if that is so, those are people I’ve been in some form of relationship with. Those are people I know by name, by their walk and I might even know their birthday. But honestly…I can’t think of anyone at this point in my life that I could associate with hate.
Yet there are people who hate other humans simply because of the color of their skin, what religion they practice or who they sleep with. How do you intellectually look at a group of people and say, “all blacks ______” or “all Jews _____” or “all gays _______” pick the stereotype and fill in the blank.

If you take the time to observe any sub-culture of people and watch the actions of the individuals associated with that group, without interjecting preconceived ideas, you will find those individuals cannot be stereotyped as being the same. Even if you notice part of the group displaying the same behaviors. I guarantee there will be an outlier. There will be an individual within that group that does not fit your stereotype.

I hear the groups that are fighting for their heritage and their right to be white claim they aren’t protesting out of hate. They claim to be protesting because they want to “preserve” some american ideal where the white people are revered and pure. They want to protect their race. They want to make sure everyone that is not white, protestant, heterosexual and (I believe) Male understands the white man is still in charge. They can still rule this country. Even if the rule of law is through fear.

Yesterday I was having a conversation with several co-workers about the violence over the weekend in Charlottesville VA. One of my co-workers said…”How does this end?”
Obviously referring to the hate, the violence, the clashing protests.

That question has stuck in my head since our conversation. By the way, the heart break and tears of another co-worker also stuck with me.
Then, today I heard an interview with Taj Mahal and Keb’ Mo’ on NPR. I believe it was Keb’ Mo’ who said, in reference to the hate groups, (paraphrase) “Most people do not feel this way. Those whites that do feel this way are grasping for what they feel they once had. They are losing control and it scares them.”

I think he is right. I think these groups of white, protestant, heterosexual men are afraid they will no longer be in charge. When Barak Obama became the president of the United States, they saw his presidency as a step toward their demise. They experienced a real and palpable slap to the face. Suddenly it wasn’t just an American fantasy that anyone could be president, it had actually happened. Someone they felt to be inferior had proven not only that he was capable of being in charge…he was in charge. He held the highest office in the land.

So, how does this end? The only answer I have come up with is that we, the people unwilling to let hate win, stand up for our fellow Americans. We, the people unwilling to accept hate as a way of life, defend our friends, co-workers and strangers whose only crime is their difference. We, the people unwilling to watch ignorance become the norm, we fight for the equality and justice every American deserves. No matter their race, religion, gender or sexuality.

 

 

A Healthier Life – part 3

Last night I mentioned becoming an unhealthy vegetarian…Its really amazing how easy that was to do.

Two and a half years ago Tina and I decided we would eat vegan, avoid processed foods and not eat sugar. We agreed to do it for 6 weeks. We ended up following this diet for 4 months. We both felt great, healthy, energetic and of course lost weight. At no point did we plan to remain vegan. we thought it would be a good kick start to healthy living.

During that 4 month period I was able to give up my multiple pots a day coffee habit and Tina quit drinking sodas. We convinced ourselves we had the bad habits of unhealthy eating conquered.

I did know I wanted to remain vegetarian and Tina (with the exception of Thanksgiving turkey) agreed she would remain vegetarian too. We slowly started adding foods back into our diet. We intended to keep it under control…we really did. We started justifying foods we had done so well without for 4 months.

Needless to say we did not keep it under control. Fried foods snuck back into our diet, sugars took control of our taste buds and the convenience of processed foods made it hard to say no.

We realized we had made a mistake and both agreed we wanted to return to the diet we were on for those 4 months.
It had been so easy to give all the unhealthy stuff up…doing it again should be a piece of cake (I really couldn’t resist throwing the cake reference in!)
But it wasn’t…no matter how much we talked about it. No matter how determined we were…we couldn’t seem to find our way back.

Finally…the stars aligned, and on May 25, 2017 (2 years and 4 months after we started adding foods back into our diet) we returned to a vega diet. Once again we stopped eating sugar and processed foods. We both realize the mistakes we made 2 years ago and we are policing ourselves to make sure we avoid the same mistakes this time.

A Healthier Life – part 2

No matter how good something is for us…we seem to migrate back to the unhealthy.

OK…I’m speaking for myself here. I know there are people in this world that manage to eat “right” and live healthy lifestyles without falling off the health train. I am not one of those people. Over the years I have allowed my own rationalization, other people and (to be honest) convenience to lead me astray.
However, there are some unhealthy habits I have never returned to in the last 10 years. For example, I’ve never picked up another cigarette. I haven’t drank a soda in 9 years and for the most part I’ve stayed away from red-meat.
The first couple years of changing my diet I remained faithful to not eating hamburgers, especially fast food. But, if I found myself at a luncheon and the only dish available had beef in it…well I would eat it. I created a theory, If I have good intentions yet the waiter makes a mistake and serves me the “negative” food item…well the calories don’t count! Right?

It is amazing how I can rationalize eating things that I know are not “good for me.” I can decide that one donut couldn’t possibly have that many calories. I mean look at it…it’s so little and innocent. If I eat veggie pizza it will certainly be better for me than meat pizza…I didn’t even get extra cheese.
There are times that knowing I’ve eaten better today than I did in the past will simply have to do. Sometimes that is the best I can do.
When I walk into work and someone dropped donuts off in the kitchen for all to enjoy…I consider it a huge win if I walk on by and don’t give it another thought. So many times I’ve given myself permission to just eat one. Do you know what happens when I “just eat one?” Its a lie…I go back and eat 2, 3, maybe even 4!

I have also faced my challenges with exercise. I love to exercise. I enjoy the energy and the overall positive self image that comes with exercise. But I’ve experienced times that negative self talk tries to convince me to stay on the couch. I’ve also experienced old age. After running for several years I started to develop arthritis in my knees. After a couple minor surgeries on my knees my Orthopedic doctor highly suggested I give up running and look into cycling. I really struggled with that idea. I didn’t think cycling would be challenging enough (by the way it is plenty challenging). I honestly believed the only way I could get a decent workout was through the cardio I experienced when running.

I tried bootcamps, you still have to run. Even though the instructor told me I could do other exercises while my classmates ran, my competitive nature would not agree. So I would run, then I’d be in pain, then I would get depressed and want to give up on all exercise.

This search for a healthy life has certainly been a roller coaster ride. Over the last two years I’ve learned it is possible to be an unhealthy vegetarian…Its true. There are still plenty of “comfort foods” a person can eat as a vegetarian. Trust me, I found them all. It is so much easier to tell myself that big ol’ bowl of broccoli and cheese soup is fine because I’m not eating meat. Well needless to say, with that line of thinking my roller coaster car flew off the tracks.

A Healthier Life…

There was a time in my life that I ate 2 – 3 meals a day at fast food restaurants and smoked a pack and a half of cigarettes a day. I had high cholesterol, that I was convinced couldn’t be controlled without medication, because I just knew it was genetic. If that wasn’t enough my doctor had started testing me for type II diabetes. I was certainly on a path of destruction and I didn’t even realize I could do anything different.

10 years ago this past March I quit smoking. I had smoked for over 30 years. When I laid the cigarettes down for the last time I began to eat everything in the house. Not only did I eat junk food and fattening foods, I ate till I was so stuffed it hurt to breathe.

I finally decided this simply was not going to work. And the journey began…

I started walking. Just a few months earlier I was afraid to do the one mile fun walk at the Susan G Komen 5k for fear I couldn’t make it. But I started slow….1/4 mile, 1/2 mile, 1 mile. Every morning I got up before the sun, went to the local park and walked my pup Freckles. My plan was, if I get him into the habit of walking he won’t let me sleep in…and it worked.

Eventually I started changing my eating habits. I was feeling so good I decided I wanted to treat myself better. I quit eating red meat. I started reading a book called The Eat-Clean Diet by Tosca Reno. I learned how to eat foods and cook foods that were good for me. I learned to eat spinach!

I soon got bored with walking, it just wasn’t challenging enough. I started participating in boot camps and I started running. When I started running (despite being an athlete in school I always hated running) I couldn’t complete a 1/4 mile without stopping to walk. But eventually I started running more and more. I set a goal to run a 5k the next year at the Susan G Komen. I would run in memory of my Aunt Kathleen who I had recently lost to breast cancer.

That entire year, the thought of my aunt’s struggle to fight cancer, got me through the pain of training. If she could fight so hard and be so tough fighting against such a horrible disease, then something as minor as sore legs should not deter me.

I ran that 5k with a sign, honoring my aunt, on the back of my shirt. As I climbed the final hill, headed toward the finish line, exhausted and emotional, a lady tapped me on the shoulder and said, “Kathleen would be so proud.” I cried the rest of the way to the finish line. Tears of pain, emotion, love, excitement, memories of Kathleen all drained from my eyes. I had met my goal of running 3.1 miles and knew my life was changing for the better.

A lot has changed since I smoked that last cigarette. Over the next couple days I hope to share the rest of my journey to a healthier life. I hope you will stop back by to read the rest of the story.

Thursday Doors – 8/10/17

I’m really not sure why I didn’t post this photo six months ago. I took the picture with Thursday Doors in mind. I was vacationing in Chelem Yucatan, Mexico last December.

This is the front door to my friend’s house. Steve and Su had the door custom made out of “cedro” (cedar) by a local carpenter.

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The gate was also custom made by a local welder.

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Me and Tina relaxing on the front porch with Harley and Davis

If you love doors or just love looking at other people’s photos – visit Norm 2.0