A Clean Biopsy, Nachos & a FaceTime Call

I got a call from my doctor today and the biopsy of my mole was clean, keeping the streak of clean biopsies alive. I’ve lost count but it’s well over thirty.

I made nachos for dinner this evening, which were a hit with my son. He asked to go to one of our favorite restaurants for nachos over the weekend but I told him we couldn’t due to the pandemic. It was wonderful to be able to make him smile tonight.

Yesterday, I had a FaceTime call with my best friend from high school. It’s so wonderful to take a break during the day and catch up with an old friend. Even better that we can see each other. I’m still amazed that we can do this and that I don’t have to pay exorbitant charges by the minute to Ma Bell.

Day-Dates, Reclamation, & Courage and Strength

On Saturday, my wife and I took a drive over to Easton, MD and had lunch at one of our favorite Italian restaurants, Scossa. We ate lunch outside, despite it being 48 degrees. Admittedly, it is a bit odd to eat lunch outside in January wearing our winter coats, but it’s as close as we are coming to normal right now.

Yesterday, we met my brother and his wife and son for a walk at Cromwell Valley Park, north of Baltimore. We did a two mile walk and found an old rusted out car chassis. The engine block was an in-line six. The markings on the block suggest that it was a Chevrolet built in 1948 or 1948. Nature is at work reclaiming the natural materials that were used to build that car. It may take hundreds of years but nature always wins.

Today, I’m thinking about Martin Luther King, Jr. Our own African American pastor spoke about Dr. King eloquently yesterday and shard a recording of Dr. King speaking about his kitchen table experience in 1956, in which he talks about receiving a call around midnight with an ugly death threat, and finding the strength and courage to continue with his mission by calling on his God. My heart aches at the fact that we are still wrestling with white supremacy in this country, but I know that “the arc of the moral universe is long and bends toward justice.”

I am grateful for the day-date with my wife on Saturday, it was time together that was much needed. I’m grateful for the time with my brother on our walk yesterday, and nature’s gentle reminder that she always wins. And I’m grateful for the courage and strength of leaders which inspires me to be brave and strong.

A Great Run & the State of Flow

There’s nothing like setting a personal record or two on a beautiful Saturday morning. Today I set four on my run:

  • 1K: 5.32
  • 1 mile:9.07
  • 2 miles: 18.43
  • 5K: 30.41

I think I owe this to the Spotify Born to Run playlist, but all the training over the past three years probably helped a bit as well. To think that I honestly believed that my body wasn’t built for running — that I was too old to start running at 45 — that I would completely fall apart physically if I tried — that my knees couldn’t take it, let alone my ankles — all those stories I told myself were just that, stories. We become the stories we tell ourselves. Sometimes we need to change our stories. My new story is that am physically fit. That I’m active and healthy. And that I’m gonna live a long life and enjoy as many moments as I can on this rock hurtling through space at 67,000 miles per hour.

Today’s run felt effortless. I found myself unaware of the work. My breath was even and never felt labored. Before I knew it I was at the end of the run. I was in a Flow state. I found myself in that state a few times thus week while working. I love that state. I love when it just feels like I’m jamming and the work is doing itself. It’s been a while.

I’m grateful for that flow state.

Organic Informal Conversion

One of the things that has been missing from my sales calls since we transitioned to 100% zoom has been the friendly conversation that normally happens before or after the meeting. Generally in face to face appointments there is time for informal conversation where we catch up with the customer about their lives outside work. This just doesn’t happen organically in video conferencing most of the time. But some times, out of the blue, it does. Today at the end of a demo, we ended up talking for ten to fifteen minutes with one of my customers about how we are all weathering the Pandemic. It was nice. Normal even. And I’m grateful for that in this time when so much is not normal.

Birdsong, Vitamin D, Engaging Work

I am not laboring under the delusion that it’s spring — because it’s only January — but I have noticed that there are a few birds that have been chirping on my walks and runs.

After a week of fairly cold days (though still no snow which bums me out), it’s crystal clear and 50° today. I’m catching a few minutes in the sun, getting some vitamin D, between calls with a cup of coffee.

I tuned out the cacophony of news today by deleting several apps from my devices; made a list bud todo items, and got down to business. Before I knew it, more than half the work day was over and I haven’t thought about current events much today. It’s been invigorating to feel engaged in my work after feeling distracted for the last week.

These are the things I’m grateful for today.

Strength, Speed, Frost, & Hot Coffee

I went for a run today and came very close to a personal record for 5K/3.1m, but I stopped at 3.01 miles rather than finishing the last 9/10 of a mile. I concentrated in my training and ran negative splits for each mile finishing at 30.34 which is just a bit slower than my all time PR for a 5K. It was still relatively quiet and there was a heavy frost on the ground. The morning sunlight reflecting off the frost was beautiful.

I’m grateful to be strong. I’m grateful to be faster than I was before. I’m grateful that I can recognize the beauty of a frosty morning. And I was very grateful for a hot cup of coffee after my run.

It’s Hard Not To Doomscroll

It’s been difficult to keep up the gratitude posts over the last week. My heart is heavy and my monkey mind is in full gear. What happened on Jan 06, 2021 in Washington, DC is not supposed to happen in the United States. The President of the United States is not supposed to incite an angry mob to storm the Capitol building seeking to murder the Vice President and members of Congress while also over turning an election that has been certified by every state, the Presidents Lackey Lap Dog of an Attorney General who quit in an effort to save his own ass shortly before Christmas, and the US Supreme Court which has been filled with three justices by the President who lost the election. There are no doubts that the election was legitimate except in the minds of people who have lost their ability to reason.

I am trying. Trying to find things to be grateful about. And they are there. I’m grateful for the bike ride I got on Saturday. I’m grateful for the short outside visit with the family on Sunday. I am grateful for the time spent with my book club on Sunday afternoon. I’m grateful that we still have a marginally functioning democracy.

But I’m having trouble writing about these things. I’m having trouble concentrating on my work. I’m having difficulty not looking at every article that gets published about what happened last week. It is consuming. In the same way that 9/11 was consuming, except worse because we weren’t attacked by foreign terrorists — we were attacked by our own.

My son is fearful that other students will enact revenge on him because he supported Biden. It is not an unfounded fear. There are students who speak openly of their support for Trump and what happened at the Capitol. While I do not think this is a serious possibility and it would be easy to dismiss this as kids being kids we have a 25 year history of school shootings which stoke the fires of fear in my heart.

I reassure him that everything will be okay. That we will be okay. But secretly, I harbor my own fears. Fears that our country is falling apart. Fears there will be more violence. Living as close as I do to the US and Maryland Capitols, the most recent news of the FBI’s anticipated civil unrest at all 50 state capitols is disturbing.

It’s hard not to doomscroll right now.

A Bike Ride, Sunshine, & Enough

I got out for a 20 mile bike ride today. It was 32° and windy but sunny. I passed a church group handing out food to a long line of people. I’m grateful that I have enough and can support charities. I am grateful for the sunshine since it’s been overcast recently. And I’m grateful for a bike ride to clear the head and stop doom scrolling for a bit.