Sunday, June 24, 2012

50:50 Odds I can live with!

My official time!

Generally when the odds are 50:50, it's not exactly encouraging.  In fact, in politics, you'll probably lose the election because enough people will change their minds on election day.  However, when it's your time on your first 5K run (really I walked most of the way) it is a personal accomplishment, especially considering where I started 90 days ago.  I've lost 45 pounds, just got a new suit that is two sizes smaller and have actually started doing mental nutritional assessments on foods that I eat (I'm sure I need therapy for that one!).  I never pictured myself making that level of change, in just a short period of time.  Granted, I knew I needed to do something, and I was feeling pretty discouraged, but I doubted myself as to whether I was capable of doing it. 

Not all has been perfect and a family party or something like it, can set me back a few days, but I've been able to work my way back.  I don't really want to be where I've been and I actually want to do more.  Having family help has been great and I really appreciate Cathy, Jessica and Sarah for all participating with me. In fact, dragging Cathy and Sarah out of bed yesterday morning to participate was true love at its finest.  While Jessica had to work and couldn't join us, having the other two with me was very helpful.  I think the true level of commitment came when Sarah had to bow out after the walker's distance because she wasn't feeling well.  Cathy allowed me to push forward to try and keep up my time.  I didn't expect to see her for the remainder of the race, but about 1/3 of the way through the last lap, she came running up to me and had worked herself around after seeing Sarah safely through, to finish the race with me.  Frankly it's pretty reflective of our whole marriage and she is an amazing woman.

While my times were nearly 3 times longer than the fastest time and most of you out there who have done it could easily beat it, nevertheless was an accomplishment to which I'm proud and grateful. Thanks to the folks at Intermountain Medical Center and TOSH, in particular Meagan Kline and Kary Woodruff who worked with me and gave me encouragement to make some changes.  So seldom are things in this life one without the other and that's certainly true with our physical and mental fitness.

For the record however, don't count on me for any marathons.....
My assigned number - a first for me to have pinned on my shirt!
I thought about keeping it on, but didn't think the shirt would wash well...

Saturday, June 16, 2012

The West View - Thanks to the resident who voiced his support of me

I would first say, that I appreciate the efforts of those who produce and write any community news, especially those working on the West View.  Having an outlet like it, provides information for many about the events happening in our community.  I certainly respect them for their effort and any news in general is good for our community and I definitely think it's important to our democracy in general.  I've also had numerous articles written, in which the take or slant did reflect well on me, and frankly some it is deserved and some of it isn't.  I usually just let it go because seldom is there much recourse and not usually worth the effort.

However in the recent publication of the West View, there is a quote from a Little League Baseball President, that would infer that I don't care or haven't made any efforts to help their League or their facilities.  I wasn't given a chance to comment, nor was my feedback sought in the article, to which I'm disappointed. That's part of the deal.  I suppose the troubling part of the quote was the misrepresentation of what efforts have been made. 

A few years ago, when the Board of Health threatened to close down many of the concession stands in the city for code violations, it was I that raised the question and sought funding in hundreds of thousands of dollars to go back and upgrade facilities, including the one in Rose Park.  A few years ago, when they hosted a significant regional tournament, I secured a donation that allowed them to show the movie Sandlot to visiting players and the community as part of the effort.  And recently, in response to an email looking for donations to support an upcoming tournament, I actually have been working to help them obtain donations.  Additionally, in this current budget in which we're working, I'm trying to get approved $185,000 for renovation of the football concession stand, which is facing similar Board of Health issues. 

I've never played in little league sports and while my girls have played county rec softball and Jr. Jazz, haven't really had children in them, but I do know they play a critical role in our community and in helping our children.  Frankly it's not a majority of the children, but nevertheless it's an important part and these facilities allow the leagues to provide play opportunities for children who can't always afford the fees.  Those who donate their time, have done so with a commitment to help the kids and I really applaud and thank them.  Do I wish I could do more?  Absolutely.  In coming out of the worst economic times of recent history and maintaining important and critical services has not been easy.  In times where cities have laid-off police and firefighters, or left positions unfilled, we have been able to maintain ours.  Some things have had to suffer and we are trying to restore some of them.

My thanks to the person who knew me well enough to express their view to the paper.  It meant a lot.

Monday, June 11, 2012

The swing is up again - eight years later!

The day Cathy and I were engaged, March 24, 1990, we sat on a swing in her backyard after informing her family that I had ruined her life, by her having accepted my proposal of marriage.  We both sat a little stunned by the fact, I had asked, she had answered yes, and we had only dated for six weeks.  Nearly 22 years, later, Cathy has tolerated my presence and frankly I am a very lucky guy.  That swing had a place in my heart, as I sat there on occasion and managed to sneak a kiss out of the deal.  My father-in-law, Frank Nielsen had made it out of scrap wood that he had accumulated, but the materials were not really made for the Utah weather and time took it's toll on it.  Finally it fell apart and it was clear it needed to come down and the future outcome was very much in question.  I asked if I could take it home in the pieces that remained with the hopes of rebuilding it, but my father-in-law passed away later that summer.  However the next year rolled around, and I took it upon myself to rebuild it.

I was never a great wood craftsman.  My own father died when I was young and the uncle who took me under his wings, MC Laird, was more of an electrical/mechanical kind of person.  I subsequently wired a garage and greenhouse when I was 13 and there are school trailers in the valley which I wired together at 15, since his job was installing them.  It's my skill set, if you will, but the whole wood and saw thing was something that I feared.  However I decided to venture forward on this project, since the alternative was no swing at all.  I meticulously measured my father-in-law's swing, cut my pieces nearly exactly with a few modification, but this time out of Redwood.  As I did so, and knowing how much Cathy liked it, decided to cut two of everything with the intent to build one of my own.  I used other weather durable products, cemented the uprights at my in-laws and my brother-in-law Bill helped me tweak the hanging of the new swing in 2002 and returned to its rightful place in my mother's-in-law back yard in Layton (Camelot - yea, that's the name of the street where she lives).

Carlton with daughters Sarah and Jessica

Construction of the swing was not an inexpensive endeavor, but a little while later, I assembled our swing at our first home in Rose Park.  However, I committed a number of structural mistakes, including my setting of the footings and the back supports which keep the frame from rolling or rocking when you swing.  Gradually, (there is probably a church talk in this) the footings came loose and while my nephew was swinging on it, the frame flipped forward and thankfully over his head came crashing down to the ground.  This was about the same time as my mother's death in the summer of 2004.  We decided to dismantle it, and move it to our soon to be home, next door, which is my family home that we purchased from my mother's estate.  Since we were remodeling the home and trying to make it ours, I had plans to reinstall the swing soon after Mother's Day so Cathy could feel like our new home was more ours than that of my mother's.  One thing led to another and the bench to the swing sat on its end in my garage for nearly eight years, along with some of the beams associated with the swing.  This year I was determined to not let the summer start without having the swing go back up.

Not wanting to make the same mistakes as my first one, and realizing a few wrong calculations that my father-in-law didn't make, I special ordered a new longer top beam (the bench is 6'6" and my original top beam was only 8' long), I talked with my cousin, who is a contractor to make sure I did the footings right this time and engaged my brother-in-law Bill Nielsen again to help me through some of the logistical challenges of making some of the cuts and making sure this swing stood a LONG TIME.  I spent a few late nights until 11 p.m. pouring footings, having the help of my brother Spence who was visiting and the help of my neighbor Brad Borden who came over to help me lift the top beam, but ended spending the whole night improving the design and helping me attach it.  Yesterday, Saturday evening, I put the last bolt in and hung the last chain!  And to boot, I even got a kiss out of the project and was able to sit with my sweetheart again!

I always wanted a controversial picture on my blog!

Friday, June 8, 2012

Saying hello to a friend is worth more than a workout

Thursday night, Cathy and I attended a reception for Mayors from Western U.S. Cities who are visiting with Mayor Becker here in Salt Lake City.  We decided when we arrived home, that a workout was needed to help offset some of the yummy goods at the Oyster Bar in downtown Salt Lake.  We set off on our ride (see route) and were clipping along and intended to finish strong, when I passed the home of a friend and he was sitting on his porch.  This gentleman, quite a bit older than me, has been a great supporter of mine over the years, but more than that, has been one of the most generous people in Rose Park with their means in helping a lot of people.  Plagued with years of a failing heart, and recently told that there was not much more they could do for him, it was a reminder that we cherish our moments here on earth with those we love and do what's right, less we are not given another chance.  While our visit was short, and I certainly hope not our last, I was much more grateful to be able to talk with him, than any incremental benefit I would have received from my ride.

I'm pleased to report our dog Daisy has lost another four pounds!  She has regained her vigor and is doing so much better that it is scary that her weight made such a difference in her ability to move around and function.  It's not too unlike us as humans, but a good reminder that we owe it to our pets to be more judicious about what and how much we feed them!

Today, we also formally opened the Jordan River Parkway Trail from 1800 North to the Davis County connection or the "Cheveron Mile".  It's a link that we have had funded for a couple of years, but ran into some environmental issues that we wanted to make sure we did it correctly, when built.  I spoke at the event and did a live shot for the noon news on Fox 13 (see video).  We have one segment between 200 South and North Temple that we want to complete and are working with Union Pacific to figure out how to get around the rail lines there.  With that segment, it will be complete through Salt Lake City.

Boy is she a cute one!

I am pleased to announce that I hit the 40 mark.  No not age, that my friend Van Turner brought over his hearse for (and which I later blessed Cathy with) but in actual weight loss.  I fluctuate a few pounds but trying to not only keep it off, but maybe drop a few more this week if possible.  It is a little more challenging now to loose it and surprise, surprise, I have to eat less to accomplish it.  However I think of it in context of carrying around a bag of rock salt everywhere I went and frankly that's a lot of weight to unnecessarily carry around.  I'm also proud of Cathy and the girls, who have also been successful in their efforts.  It's constant and some days are better than others, but we keep trying!