Flag Day – 2017

Happy Flag day to you and yours!  May your day be perfectly beautiful…

Our Own Red, White and Blue (Author Unknown)

There are many flags in many lands,
There are flags of many a hue,
But there is no flag, however grand,
Like our own red, white and blue.
Say hurrah for our flag,
Our country’s flag,
Its stripes and its bright stars too.
But there is no flag, however grand,
Like our own red, white and blue.

 

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This is a photograph I took a couple of years ago. It’s one of my all time favorites!

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Lovely photo

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Me…and my flag…

Baby Girl Looking At American Flag

ADORABLE!

 

D-Day (June 6, 1944)

 

US Navy Landing craft in England during the D-Day Invasion.

US Navy Landing craft being loaded right before the D-Day invasion – 1944

Today is the 73rd anniversary of D-Day.  It’s the day when American, Canadian and British forces made the largest amphibious assault in history on several heavily fortified beaches in Normandy (Utah, Omaha, Juno, Gold, Sword) in order to fight Nazi Germany and gain a foothold in Continental Europe. More than 5,000 ships and 13,000 aircraft were on hand to support the invasion.

General George S. Patton, Jr addressed his troops as they were preparing for battle on June 5th, 1944.  He said

“There is one great thing that you men will all be able to say after this war is over and you are home once again.  You may be thankful that twenty years from now when you are sitting by the fireplace with your grandson on your knee and he asks you what you did in the great World War II, you won’t have to cough, shift him to the other knee and say, ‘Well your Granddaddy shoveled shit in Louisiana.'”

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Beach landing

Nothing comes without a cost.  During the invasion many of the Allied ground forces were either killed, wounded or went missing following the landings and there were many additional deaths among the Allied air forces.

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It’s good for us to remember them always but particularly on this day…

 

Eye Of The Beholder

One day, not too long ago, I stopped by the grocery store to pick up a few items.  As I got out of the car I spotted a woman with beautiful, long hair wearing a tank top going in ahead of me.  She had an amazing physique.  Her shoulders, triceps and traps were beautifully shaped…muscular and lovely.  I immediately started considering my own workouts lately.  I started regretted not lifting heavier, with more emphasis on muscle building.  My back has always been my favorite and most responsive body part to train and although I still lift diligently, I’ve not been pushing the very heavy stuff around for quite a while.  Most of the time I’m pretty satisfied with the balance I’ve been able to strike.  Although I’m not lifting super heavy I’ve still been able to maintain a little muscle mass and my joints are much happier than they used to be.

…But that woman!  Seeing her sparked that old competitive spirit that lurks inside.  I was comparing her physique to my own (both the new and the old) and watching her so intently, I wondered if she could feel me from across the parking lot.

As she turned inside the store to grab a cart, I was jolted out of my musings.  She was a HE!  The woman I’d been watching from behind was actually a man with long hair!  I had to laugh.  For years, I’ve had relatives telling me that my view of an ideal female body is skewed.  I like more muscle than they do by far.  I suppose this is one story I’ll keep to myself at family gatherings!

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Wow…that v-taper, those shoulders, the triceps!   She sure looks great from behind!

 

Memorial Day – 2017

Angels on the Battlefield

The sculpture below speaks to my heart.  I’ve never even seen the finished piece but I don’t need to.  It already says everything just as it is.  This was a work in progress in 2014 and from what I understand it was being created for an art show.  I can’t imagine it didn’t win first prize.

If I was an artist, this is a piece I’d want to create…

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Description from the sculptor, Larry Binkowski

Angels on the Battlefield is a memorial sculpture created both as a tribute and a reminder of the sacrifices made by the nation’s fallen war heroes. The sculpture features a lone modern day warrior mortally wounded in battle. The figure of the soldier is symbolic of all the service branches of the military, both men and women. The soldier is faithfully watched over by an angelic figure, a somber look graces her face as she gazes down at her newly acquired charge. Her wings shelter him as her hands reach out as if to protect him from further harm. The heavenly guardian comforts and cares for the soldier as would all of those that will now be touched by his departure. The pictures are of the work in progress. The sculpture will be finished in cast stone. The following inscription will be engraved on the front. “When the brutality of war has ended and the cool chill of darkness steals your last remaining breath away, may you find the comfort and compassion of your loved ones in the warm embrace of angels”

(Larry Binkowski is a primarily a self taught sculptor from Auburn Hills, Michigan. He started his sculpture career as a figurative and portrait sculptor with commissions coming from both the public and private sector).

Dance Flower! Dance!

Fitbit Alta HR

Now and then, in a quest to keep thing fresh and moving forward, I like to try something new.  To that end, I got a Fitbit Alta HR a few weeks ago.  I thought it might be nice to have a way to track my steps each day.  The Fitbit researchers decided, upon the recommendation of the Center for Disease Control, to start everyone on a 10,000 step per day goal.  I’ve since moved mine up to a 12,000 step a day goal which better suits my needs.  I walk the dogs every morning so that takes care of a lot of the requirement but then I find times during the day to walk to make up the difference.

Besides walking each day I also row using a rowing machine and lift weights.  The tracker allows me to add distance (for the rowing) and time to my overall activity minutes but those activities don’t count toward my step goal.  So in addition to my 12,000 step a day minimum I can also keep track of other activities like lifting, running, playing tennis, jumping rope etc.

I figured I would get some benefit out of having the Fitbit but it turns out it’s provided great motivation for me.  One of the clock faces you can choose from, has a flower on it.  When you’re not very active, for instance if you’re sitting at a desk working on a paper, the flower is short with just one a bud.  If you start moving around, the flower will grow taller, sprout more leaves, bloom and finally dance.  Oh my goodness, the things I’ve done to get that flower to dance!

One day I was waiting for a friend at the hospital and although I had my 12,000 steps for the day, my poor flower was just a sad looking little thing.  I went to a quiet corner and started marching in place (that counts for walking…and if you lift your knees high, is an excellent exercise).  Now, that was an odd thing to be doing, alone in a hallway and sure enough a nurse caught me as she came out of a stairwell next to where I was happily marching.  I stopped and just looked at her.  She said “Oh, you’re trying to get your steps, right?” Then she showed me the Fitbit she was wearing, the strap of which happened to be color coordinated with her scrubs.  We had a good laugh.  She went about her business and I kept on marching until that flower danced!

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I’ve got the Fitbit set so that it will give me friendly reminders to move when I’ve been still too long.  That’s a handy tool, since most of the time, I can get up and do a quick few steps.  If I can’t, it thankfully won’t bug me but the awareness that I’ve been sedentary for a significant period of time is a good little nudge to move around a little bit.

I’d say the Fitbit was an excellent purchase and I don’t even use most of it’s capability.  I don’t care to track my sleep, use the calorie counter or connect with other people for fitness challenges.  This particular model of Fitbit is very slim and unobtrusive and will track your heart rate. 

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Because it’s so slim, I think this model is marketed primarily toward women. I know there are Fitbits with wider bands that will fit a man’s wrist well.

It came with a black strap but if you go on Amazon you can order generic brand straps in a rainbow of colors to fit it.  They’re quite inexpensive.  I got a large assortment for a very reasonable price.   I even got one in leopard print.  Naturally, since I got all the colors, I find myself wearing the black strap every day.

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The straps come in every color you can imagine and there are lots of patterned straps too. They’re easy to switch out.

If you find yourself lacking in motivation and bored with your traditional way of tracking  your workouts, you might want to consider getting a Fitbit.  It just may provide a fun and amusing way to encourage you.

PC and Planes

The other day I was thinking about our fabulous Airmen, which led me to thoughts about pilots and planes…and naturally after that my mind turned toward the lovely combination of old planes and pretty women.

As I write the word “Airmen” I’m reminded of the new writing guidelines my son was issued by his college.  They’re no longer allowed to use words in their papers that contain the word “man” or “men.”  For instance you have to write humankind instead of mankind.  You have to write infantryperson instead of infantryman.  If you don’t you’re subject to getting marked down.  I think they call it gender neutral style but it’s so insipidly stupid, I didn’t absorb all the ins and outs of the new PC guidelines.  Suffice it to say I’m not politically correct…and neither is my son.  He says he’ll write exactly what he wants and dare them to do something about it.  He’s big on defending his free speech rights and I certainly wouldn’t want to be the administrator trying to mark him down or punish him for ignoring their freshly minted rules.

According to the new guidelines, I’m supposed to be using the term Airpersons but I”m not.  Sorry, but Airmen, Airmen, Airmen, Airmen, Airmen…

Anyway, in another disapproved of (by the PC brigade) move, I’m going to reflect back on the days when women could say they liked men and even show it with sassy, sweet displays of encouragement.  Thank goodness there are some modern female holdouts.  I found some wonderful photos on the internet and thought I’d share them with you.

Fit women and Flying machines…

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(All photos from Google images)

Staff Sgt. Sanchez

I find little bits of inspiration and motivation all over the place.  Yesterday, I saw photos of Staff Sgt. Sanchez finishing the Boston Marathon.  He was running with an American flag as he crossed the finish line and I thought it was a particularly powerful image.

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Later, I read a bit of his story and in it he said, “It’s not for me, it’s for others to be inspired, to be motivated.”  Oh really?  Well, mission accomplished!  I, for one, am feeling particularly pumped up.

This story makes me feel appreciative, fiercely proud, uplifted and infused with energy.  We all have challenges we need to face.  It helps immensely to see someone else who has successfully met challenges of their own.  It reminds you of the possible and how though wounded inside or out we can overcome, we can heal, we can re-fashion the shattered pieces of ourselves and continue to go forward…maybe just not the way we’d originally planned but forward nevertheless.

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Staff Sgt. Sanchez’s story as featured on NBC Sports sponsored Olympic Talk.

“On the best day for Americans in the Boston Marathon’s prize-money era, it was a man who took nearly six hours to finish who provided the most indelible image of American pride.

Staff Sgt. Jose Luis Sanchez, a retired Marine who lost the lower part of his left leg stepping on an IED in Afghanistan in 2011, was filmed and photographed throughout Monday’s 26.2-mile race.

Sanchez wore a “Semper Fi” shirt, ran on a prosthetic left leg and carried an American flag.

“I wanted to not only recognize veterans, but everyone that thinks that they’re unable to do something,” Sanchez told media afterward. “I couldn’t stand up for more than three seconds or walk more than two feet [after stepped on an IED]. And I found my for four, five years, just to be able to walk farther, be able to lift my body up. I kept on pushing it. Mentally and spiritually, I was good, so I wanted to push it even farther and do the marathon.”

The flag Sanchez carried Monday was full of inspirational messages. Via Runner’s World:

The flag was sent to him by his patrol unit as he recovered in the hospital.

“I boxed it up for three or four years because I didn’t want to acknowledge it,” Sanchez said. “One day I opened it back up and read through the inspirational quotes they sent me and I was motivated.”

“It’s not for me, it’s for others to be inspired, to be motivated,” Sanchez said on local Boston TV in the finish area. “We live for others. I’ve learned that throughout being angry, being frustrated. With all that PTSD, I’m channeling it to do positive.”

He previously ran the Boston Marathon and Marine Corps Marathon in Washington, D.C., last year, carrying that same flag.”

Easter 2017

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Wishing you and yours a joyful Easter!  As you go about your day, please remember those in the world, particularly in the Middle East and North Africa who can’t worship in peace.  If you feel it in your heart to do so, please take a moment to pray for them.  God bless you today and always.

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The Way You Make Me Feel

All veteran lifters know what it feels like to hit a personal best at the gym.  It’s just the greatest thing to meet a goal that’s been calling your name for a while!  If you want to smile, watch this video.  It’s only a few seconds long but that little baby has the spirit!

Little, Bitty Goals

Rest assured, there were a ton of little, bitty goals that were met between the following before and after photos!

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It helps keep workouts going strong when you set little, bitty goals along the way.  There’s nothing wrong with setting big goals like losing 50lbs or running a marathon or winning a bodybuilding competition but it’s meeting the small goals that really propels you along day to day.  We all like to win so setting yourself up to do so is a smart way to keep yourself motivated.

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What do I mean by little, bitty goals?  I mean purposely setting the bar so you’ll be able to reach it with just a little thought and effort.  Perhaps you’ll ask yourself to drink one extra glass of water each day for a week.  Maybe you’ll add one extra set to each of your lifts for a month or go an extra quarter mile on your usual morning jog during football season.

Successfully meeting goals is a habit you can develop.  Reaching little, bitty goals regularly creates a mindset of accomplishment.  You learn how to keep the commitments you make and that sets you up for success with the larger goals you wish to attain.

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Practice makes perfect (or at least it gets you close)!

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