We have reached the end of April and with it, I need to start making some decisions.

Am I really serious about the Spartan Race, another triathlon, a distance run?

The next Spartan Race in West Virginia takes place the last weekend in August. The Charleston Distance Race, a 15-mile run, is the first week in September. The Stonewall Jackson Triathlon is August 18.

I could do all three, one or none, I guess.

In the last couple of weeks, since my visit to the doctor, I have shaved off a few pounds –about 10. I’ve made it to the gym three times in the past week. This is coming off a pretty ugly cold, which probably helped with the weight loss as much as anything.

I also have a new fitness/self-help book to drive myself crazy with and maybe I just want to do something.

Last year, one of my hardest moments was coming to grips with not getting to be in the Spartan Race. I’d screwed around on my training, been on again off again for months and had been letting my feelings decide my meal for the evening.

I was a mess and then I busted a gut, literally.

I felt humiliated, but also a little revealed. As little as I’d accomplished with my training, I probably would have crashed on the course. I’d have drowned in a puddle or been trampled by much worthier participants.

Getting injured was a convenient excuse, except I only barely earned that injury.

The good side of getting hurt was that it led to my blood pressure problem being diagnosed. I sleep better because of the meds I’m certain and I’m not filled with rage, which was kind of how things felt a year ago.

Of the three, the Charleston Distance Run would be the easiest to work toward. It’s just down the road, doesn’t require any equipment and could be managed with consistent, but uncomplicated training.

Running a triathlon requires cycling and swim training. I’d need to break out my old bike and also find a better one. The bike I have is a clunky beast designed for someone to use for a very occasional trip around a flat park. The Stonewall Jackson triathlon would include swimming in a lake. That’s a different kind of swim training than laps in a pool.

A Spartan Race is an obstacle course race, which requires a different kind of plan than either long distance running or a triathlon. You use different muscles. It’s an endurance race, but you’re not really training for distance. Even if the race is a 15 mile beast run, you’ll never run more than a mile or so before you have to climb something or haul weights somewhere.

I have a lot to think about –or maybe I’ve been thinking long enough and just need to do something.

Tone 3.

This is the last of the list of things I’d like to do in 2018.

48 -Try all 31 flavors (it seemed whimsical and totally within my ability to accomplish. So far, I have like eight flavors).

49 -Plant more fruit trees (Like every other homeowner, I have an ongoing battle with my property. Fruit trees seem like a nice addition. I like fruit).

50 -20 lunches outside (Just a general idea of getting outside of my office during the day a bit more).

xx51 -Try honey mead (It was just some weird alcohol I hadn’t tried. I had some. It wasn’t much to be impressed with. I expected sweet, it tasted sort of vinegary with some herbal notes).

52 -Moisturize (Just a pledge to take better care of myself)

53 -Take Dad to Frost Top (I thought this would be cool, a little trip to do while my Dad was in town from Michigan. He didn’t seem all that impressed. So, we didn’t go).

54 -Paint my bedroom (It’s sort of dull in here and I suppose I’ve been here long enough that I should consider making the house more to my liking).

55 -Learn to skate (I totally did this. I know how to ice skate now).

56 -Find two cool, new Captain America t-shirts (I have 11 currently, but a couple of them are getting pretty threadbare).

57 -Enjoy coffee more (Sometimes the best part of my day is a cup of coffee in the middle of the afternoon).

58 -Got to a zoo (I haven’t been to one in years).

59 -Write a will and obituary (I did this. Maybe I should post it sometime).

60 -Go stargazing (I became a fan of looking at the night sky a while back. It soothes me and fills me with a sense of wonder, but I’ve never looked at the sky through a good telescope. I’ve always wanted to).

61 -Make salsa from scratch (I have tomatoes and peppers growing in the widow. I have seeds for cilantro. I should get some onions).

62 -Learn to ride a motorcycle (Kind of overdue).

63 -Build a comic book collection (That is coming along, but it’s an easy one).

64 -Acquire a tractor tire (This is really good for exercise, but I have no idea how to transport one in my Chevy Cruze).

65 -Be a lot more forgiving (I’m trying really hard to let go of old grudges and be less judgemental).

66 -Make better plans for the holidays (This was added after the disaster that was New Year’s Eve, but so far, nothing has really meshed well. Valentine’s Day was rough. The plan came apart. Easter happened, but it wasn’t really any fantastic. I’m still working on it).

67 -Go to different flea markets, pawn shops and thrift stores (I like thrift stores, but I recognize where I go is sort of played out).

68-Write lewd haiku and distribute (I haven’t done much with this).

69 -Compliment someone different every day (I get this one most days).

70-Get stuff done.


Tone: page 2

The list of resolutions and things I’ve sworn (not really) to do in 2018 continues, along with notes about progress, plans, excuses, etc…

26-Attend a seance (this one seems to disturb everyone I mention this to, but I’ve never done this. My belief in ghosts and spirits leans more toward skeptic than believer, but I’ve seen stuff I can’t effectively explain).

27-Meet a Zoroastrian (It’s just one religion I’ve never encountered).

28-Watch the movie “Freaks” (currently unavailable on my streaming services).

29-Sync up “Dark Side of the Moon” with “Wizard of Oz” (This seems like a Pink Floyd fan thing that I should have done ages ago).

30-Start a podcast (just to say I have one).

31-SPARTAN (Train and complete one Spartan race. I tried last year and blew it in training).

32-Triathlon (I did a mini two years ago and it was one of the highlights of my summer).

33-Ballroom dance (If all goes well, I’ll be doing this one in May).

34-Teach my kid to swim (Actually, Emmett sort of knows how, but he needs to improve to do the scout camp he wants to do).

35-Watch the final season of “The Office” (I’ve kind of meant to do this for a while).

36-Visit the Russian Orthodox Monastery (It’s one of the odder places in WV –just unexpected that it would be here, of all places).

37-See Shawnee Park (Reportedly haunted).

38-Go to a Drive-In Movie (I haven’t been to one in years).

39-Visit the Poky Dot (A place known for its ridiculously gigantic ice cream dishes. I love ice cream).

XX40-Perform with a rock n’ roll band (I actually did this February 2. I performed with Rubber Soul during their “With a Little Help For Our Friends” show, which was the realization of a lifelong dream –just to be on a stage with a rock band).

41-Visit the King Tut Drive-in (I hear the peanut butter pie is good).

42-Make booze (I’d like to make whiskey, but would settle for wine).

43-Take an actual, 100 percent vacation (I have trouble with that. I tend to work during my time off).

44-Take a trip by train (I’ve never done that, always wanted to go somewhere by rail).

45-Try snowtubing (It looks like more fun than skiing).

46-Save money to send Emmett to Italy (Students from his school are going. He was asked to come, but money is tight).

47-Hang up Christmas lights (maybe not a lot, but some –the neighbors go nuts with it. I feel left out a little).


It would be easy to just use this space as a place to complain. It’s been a hard year.

So, I think I’m starting over here, now –or at least, I’m starting over this week.

At the beginning of the year, I set up a long list of resolutions and objectives. I do this almost every year and usually fall short. This year, I felt like I really needed to make some progress, that I could make some progress.

I made a list and have been picking at it on and off since January.

Here’s the first 25 on the list:

1-Travel (So far, not much)

2-Grow a good garden (Seeds have sprouted on the window sill)

3-Call my mom (This one is off the books. Mom died March 1)

4-lose 40 pounds (I’m trying to do that one again. I gained weight since the last time I visited by doctor)

5-Run races (Not yet)

6-Get out of debt (small progress)

7-Be a better human (I’m always trying)

8-Sell a book (not so much yet)

9-Try to camp again (Not so much yet, but it’s still snowing here)

10-Do more comedy (I keep saying that I’ll hit that local comedy open mic, haven’t been back)

11-Have an awesome birthday (June 18 is only a couple of months away)

12-Visit friends and family (Not so much, except for a funeral last month)

13-Go to a music festival (Still early)

14-Drink crazy, expensive bourbon (nope, but I have a line on that)

15-Visit the Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library (Maybe this summer)

16-Meet Mike Mignola (Creator of “Hellboy,” my second favorite superhero) and buy a sketch (Mike isn’t coming to anywhere near here soon. I may have to just send him a check)

17-Drive to Colorado (That sounds awesome all the time)

18-Freelance for other publications (I haven’t tried)

19-Get radio show distributed (I haven’t tried)

20-Read 50 books (I have 11 under my belt now and I’m reading two now)

21-Do a three-day fast (Not yet)

22-Move up or move out (basically, get promoted, get a raise or get a new job –so far, no)

23-Kayak (Not yet)

24-Go to a midnight movie (Go? No. Netflix? Not really)

25-Hire a handyman, fix some stuff (Pending)

So, this is a work in progress. There are about 50 more things to add. I’ll post another batch soon.

Why resolutions in the first place? I think I need goals. I think without stated goals, I tend to just keep treading water, doing the same things over and over. The days just run together.

Do I think I can do everything on my vast and ponderous list?

No. I think I’ll do well to get a third of it, but I want to be challenged to break out of the corner I’ve managed to paint myself into. That’s what this is about, really.