Cruising Off the Grid

Social MediaSo next week I am getting forced of the grid.

No, more like violently pushed.

I’m kicking.

May resort to childish screaming.

I’m squeamishly uncomfortable.

Like a true addict I already have the shakes and it’s still days away. Just the mere thought of not checking email, no texting or posting photos, no social media, videos or not pinning inspiration whenever I want gives me the shakes.

Soon I leave the country. As in, NEED PASSPORTS. My phone will be forever roaming, if working at all, and Wi-Fi scarce. But that’s what going on vacation is supposed to do right? Force us to simplify? Relax? Slow us down? Bring down the blood pressure? I know I’m too dependent on my digital means but like a true addict I find ways to justify the habit. Ultimately I know this is a blessing in disguise. I need to scale back. I only hope I will survive the frustrations, breakout rashes and migraine headaches that will soon ensue. There is no 12-step program for me to try. No magic gum to chew.

Just the reality that I’m walking the plank off the grid whether I like it or not.

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The Boilermaker 2.0

Boilermaker2And so it goes…

” I will run the Boilermaker 15K next year and want to run, run, run in more races in the meantime.”

This is what I wrote in my post this time last year about my very first organized race of any kind. Happy to say the Boilermaker 15K was a great experience and one I won’t soon forget. I ran the 9.3 mile race in 1:41:10. I was slow, but steady. And I finished.

I’ll take it.

It was the finale of a very emotional week that started with tragedy. I learned my cousin Jimmy died suddenly in Michigan over the fourth of July weekend. He was only 38 years old. Funeral plans were made for Thursday and Friday and we drove 12 total hours to be there. 6 hours to Michigan on Thursday to go to the funeral home. Then the funeral on Friday with a return 6-hour trip that evening. We didn’t mind though. The pain on my Aunt and Uncle’s faces was all I needed to get snapped back to reality. Nobody should have to bury their children. Honestly, I’m not sure how I could go on with any normal existence if that happened to me. My heart breaks for them and Jimmy’s three sisters for his loss that will never be replaced. Jimmy was a good kid. Funny, creative, and a good but troubled soul. He was my age, and one of the few cousins on my mom’s side that I grew up with and knew (Remember, I have over 51 cousins on the Reiss side…yes 51). At the funeral I offered to sing with the choir and they allowed me to canter. It’s an honor I don’t take lightly. I’m glad I was able to offer even the slightest bit of comfort to my family, and it was the least I could do for my Aunt Darlene and Uncle Jim and their three daughters. I wish I could have done more.

On Saturday Julie and I drove to Utica, NY to meet our friends Tom, Mike and Rachel for the race. In the evening we all spent some time in the Turning Stone casino. It’s a depressing place where few people smile. I think casino’s are where dreams wither in smoke filled rooms of bright lights and carnival game sounds. I do enjoy watching certain games like roulette, blackjack, or craps, but in all I would never willingly go to spend an evening gambling my own money away. I don’t understand the draw (yes, pun intended).

In the morning race prep started at 6 a.m. and if you know me, you know that 6 a.m. is a time I rarely see. (Apparently exceptions are made for plane flights and road races.) The Boilermaker was hot. The humidity was pegged. Many times I thought how crazy it was to be running with so many people, all for the promise of beer at the end. The miles were hard fought, and I was slow, but I finished. Mike, Tom, and Laura and I (pictured above) stayed pretty close for the duration of the race and we kept a good pace. I did think of stopping to walk toward the end several times and I thought back to my cousin Jimmy. His memory kept me going and I pushed through. There are no guarantees that I will be able to run the race next year so figured I better make it count. No guarantees that I will even see the next sunrise, holiday, or friends and family another time, so I figured I better suck it up. Today I lived for the moment. Today, I ran the Boilermaker 15k and enjoyed every step. No matter how hard the course or hot the temperature.

Centaurs, and Archers and Truth Hurts, Oh My.

SagitarriusWhen I was much younger, before I got into advertising, I worked for a company called Frank’s Nursery & Crafts. I was fortunate to be given the responsibility of managing the top Christmas store location in the chain and it was my first taste of entrepreneurial freedom. One day, two girls that worked for me stopped me mid-converasation and asked if I was a Sagittarius. After I told them yes they glanced at each other with a “told ya so” look on their faces. Not being an astrology guy I thought nothing of it.

As of late, I’ve had several—scratch that—many people ask me if I was a Sagittarius. So many that it really got me thinking, and I decided to look up the astrological personality traits of someone who was born between November 22 and December 21.

According to some online sources: Sagittarius is a fire sign. These individuals are frank, fearless and generous. Many of them tend to remain in their own worlds, immersed deeply in culture, intellectual and creative pursuits, travel and self-appreciation. Lovers of freedom, they tend to be independent and supremely confident. Some of these strong traits, however, may border on to eccentricity or tactlessness. They pride themselves for being able to call a spade a spade. Candid as they are, in their attempt to know and see, may end up asking or saying embarrassing things. This attitude may unintentionally hurt people, or at the very least, turn into awkward situations.

They’re born with a unique spirit of inquiry, logic and curiosity aimed to unearth the mysteries of their own and others’ behavior They are often referred to as the curious and amiable ones. They are never a shortage of entertainment as they are honest to a fault. Truth and honor are the most important things to sagittarians and it never ceases to get them in trouble.

They want to meet people, interact with them and expand their social network. These cheerful individuals value both quality of work and personal relationships. In fact, you would often see them wearing a bright smile and greeting colleagues. And there is hardly any pretence as they genuinely want to spread happiness all around. They are usually very good at seeing the whole picture and at figuring out what the plan of action should be in order to achieve the targets.

Oh boy. I think you just read the Cliff Notes version of my future autobiography.

Positive Qualities of Sagittarius:
•Generosity (Check)
•Altruism (Check)
•Candour (At times, Check)
•Fearlessness (At times, Check)
•Self reliance (Check)
•Love for nature (Check)
•Love for travelling (Check)

Negative Qualities of Sagittarius:
•Overconfidence (At times, check)
•Bluntness (Check)
•Brashness (At times, check)
•Inconsistency (At times, check)
•Lack of concentration (Check)

Compatible love match of a Sagittarius:
Aries, Libra, Aquarius, and Leo. (Hmm, not Check, Julie is a Gemini. Maybe that’s why she doesn’t find me funny!)

So what does this all mean? I don’t know for sure, but I understand I put my foot in my mouth a lot more than I care to admit. And while most friends and family like what I write on this blog, some people insist I’m an over-sharer and I’ve been accused that this very blog is used as a platform for my apparent condescending tone directed solely at them. #whatever

What I do know is that these Zodiac traits are not an excuse or a free ticket to entitlement, the choices we make are our own and we need to face the results… good or bad. Maybe it centers around knowing your strengths and weaknesses, so that one can better handle situations when they arise. No matter if it’s in your career, hobbies, life or love. I’ll go with that, or maybe I’ll just carry a bow and arrow with me at all times. Oh, and subscribe to my blog and follow me on twitter. I need to “expand my social network”.

It says so in the stars.