Monday, August 16, 2010

M-Cubed for 8/16/2010

Monday Morning Musings for August Sixteenth, Twenty Ten. A smattering of thoughts that alone don't constitute a blog post but together end up here on Monday morning.

- I woke up yesterday morning in extreme northern Virginia, on one of our country's most beloved U.S. Army bases and wrote the following.  It resonated with a few friends, so I wanted to share it this morning:
"Make great things happen. Greatness is not achieved through check-marks, milestones, or perception by others of you. True Greatness is found by reaching for goals via a burning passion and fire, only to be fueled by you, regardless of the outcome. Today, find True Greatness and make it happen."

- Burnout = achieved.  On my 6 hour drive home yesterday, I realized that I'd only had one day off since August 1st, the Burning River 100 weekend.  I'm not complaining, but it made sense why I felt mentally, emotionally, and physically burnt out.  2 back-to-back weekends with the Navy away from home were exhausting but equally perfect as well.  I wouldn't change a thing!

- OK, so I'm standing in line at the Starbucks in Breezewood, PA yesterday, the most congested interchange on the planet, and this lady in front of me had a solid 10 minutes to determine what she wanted.  Not her, though.  She gets her turn and all I hear is a series of "ummmm...."  "let me think....." "hold on a minute...."  At least 5 minutes later, several custom-made drinks, some cookies and pastries, and over $18 spent, I got to order my soy, Cinnamon-Dulce, venti iced coffee.  Seriously, people.  Get it together.

- Friday was my travel day to northern Virginia and I opted to drive vs. fly.  I saw this as the perfect opportunity to return to our nation's capital where I hadn't been for a very looooooonnnng time.  My destination is only 30min outside of D.C. so this was perfect.  I was on the road at 5am, and arrived in Arlington between noon, parked my car at a Metro train station, got thoroughly confused by the "SmartCard" system.  I had to have the clerk walk me through it.  "SMART" card?  It was a "STUPID" card to me.  I got on and deboarded right at the National Mall at the Smithsonian.  For the next 6 hours, I visited the Museum of Natural History (in which I called my girls because one of their favorite movies...Night at the Museum...was made here), the Navy Memorial, White House, National Archives, Lincoln Memorial, Vietnam and Korean War Memorials, Washington Monument, and walked across the George Washington Bridge to Arlington Cemetery.  There, I witnessed the amazing Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and the changing of the guard.  I felt 99 pictures were good enough to keep and they are posted here on my blog from Saturday.

- On the topic of pictures: I've got a hobby as many of you know..picture-taking.  All weekend, outside of the conference I was at on Defense Logistics and supporting the warfighter worldwide, my thoughts were consumed with taking my picture-taking to the next level....let's call it "photography."  (HA!) That sounds a lot more serious, doesn't it?!  I love my Canon point-n-shoots but I want more.  I want higher quality and more "umph" out of my pictures.  I want them to convey how they make me feel without saying a word.  I reached out to
Tom Sperduto who is professional photographer and fellow ultra-runner.  I came to know him as he was a finisher at last year's Oil Creek 100 as well.  His work is incredible.  For me, I seek to take it up a notch so when he mentioned that the lens alone for his camera cost $2300, I had to readjust my priorities a bit!  Going to a high-end SLR camera is not going to happen.  In my former life of charging everything on plastic, I may have done it.  Not anymore.  He did recommend a "toy" camera called the Holga which is old-school to the core.  It is plastic, uses 120mm film, and takes amazing photos.  I was at first drawn in but developing the photos could be an issue and I can see frustrations looming already.  His alternative suggestion was a high qualify point-n-shoot.  In particular, I'm looking at the Canon G11.  It has a ton of customization options but remains digital.  He recommended a few others but I'm extremely happy with my past Canon's an am familiar with many of their features.  One thing I want to do more of since I'm not running trail events at the moment is to go out and capture these trail events via photos.  Hardly anyone is doing that locally and it's a shame.  I feel a calling to step it up and do it myself.  My thoughts are to create a website just for this, probably using blogger, just to share all of my work.  Gotta save for it first...

- Speaking of saving and charging on the credit card, we're less than 2 weeks away from being credit-card-free!!!  For the first time in nearly 18 years of marriage, we will no longer have a credit card.  It has kept us shackled for long enough!  We're still thinking about how we can creatively destroy that card.  I had initially thought of screwing it to the bottom of my trail shoes and going for a trail run.  We'll see.  We've been operating on cash-only since Christmas 2009 and haven't charged a thing and are approaching the $30,000 mark on our debt snowball.  A rolling stone gathers no moss!!!

- A friend of mine here in my small town lost her uncle last week.  In the process, the family learned more about his service in the Army.  She took a picture of his "shadow box" with his old patches, medals, and pins from his service and sent it to me in a effort to find out what they all meant.  All she asked for was info about the medals but I couldn't stop there and looked up everything.  He was an Airborne Ranger, an infantryman, a parachutist, and veteran of the Korean War.  It was humbling to look each item up and read about it's history.  From what I hear, he never talked much about his service but his shadow box tells a story about his selfless service to his country.  They buried him yesterday at the Western Reserve National Cemetery not too far from here, a beautiful cemetery that all should visit some time.  Thank you, Corporal Vanaman, for your service.  Your country is forever indebted to you.

Have a great week, everyone, and Happy Trails!

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