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4 years old

I got a email from my blog yesterday. It was an alert to tell me that Adventure Wannabe was turning 4 years old. Of course it got me to reminiscing about all that has happened in that time. In addition to all of the noted excursions and experiences that I have had that were a direct result of my blog I have had so many countless others. 

I became a father again. 

I have been blessed to continue living a life with my best friend as my wife.

I have made numerous new friends that have made life so much more interesting. 

I have become a published magazine journalist. (Sonoma Family Life)

I have gone to events that I never would have before. (Ringside at UFC)

I walked up to one of my heroes. (Willie Mays at the final 49er game in the ‘Stick.)

In addition to all of the documented adventures that you have read about in my posts.

However I think that the most lasting impact that AW has had on my life is that I no longer have as much hesitation to attempt new things. Life is way more crazy than when I started this. I had no idea what raising two little boys was really going to entail. That is the best adventure that I have been on though. They have given Dani and I a life filled with something new each and every day. For that I am blessed. 

-J

Light at the end of the tunnel

Well I am in the last hours of this challenge…last day of depriving myself of Coke or any other soda that I feel like downing. Today I’m feeling extremely proud that I was able to make it to the end. There were times that I didn’t know if I could.

Last night for example…Fam and I went to a local greasy spoon for dinner. Nothing goes better with a burger and fries that a ice- cold Coca-Cola. I was saved by a summer time favorite on the menu though. Arnold Palmer, that crusty old golfer has a delicious and refreshing beverage named after him. The half iced tea- half lemonade is one of my standards when the weather gets hot. It also makes for a nice change of pace to break the summer heat, and can be make for a lot cheaper than downing soda all the time. In a ironic twist my Arnold was brought to me in one of the biggest Coca-Cola glasses that I have ever seen.

A great substitute for your favorite soda, but they didn't have to put it in that tempting glass.

So I have a few more hours to go and no celebratory plan yet. I’m sure at midnight I could pop open a Coke and have that smile they are always talking about, but it seems anti-climactic at this point. All the suffering and temptations that I survived will all be brought to an end when that first sip surfs across my taste buds. I’m anticipating it being great, and am proud that I was able to deprive myself for 30 days, but it feels like there should be a greater reward. Such as last year when we celebrated with Salumi after our vegetarian experience.

The one thing that I can say that I’ve learned about myself with these two months of “suffering” is that I can control urges, even if it takes a bit of groaning and complaining. I feel that I can put a challenge out there and accomplish it. That’s a pretty awesome realization. It also is eye-opening that I don’t call upon that will power that I’ve now proven that I have to do some of the things in life that I would like to do, such as dropping a few lbs.

Well, I’ve still got a few hours to go so I haven’t accomplished anything yet. But I can see the light at the end of the tunnel finally, I just hope it’s not a train coming.

Suffering through January

January 25, 2011 2 comments

It’s official!! I hate January! Mostly due to my intense need for a Coca Cola. As bad as this experiment has been I think that I have thought of a new challenge that I MAY undertake next January. Might as well make January official “do without” month. Coffee, I could go a month without coffee. I don’t really think that I can go without coffee for a month, but it’s a good goal. This “no soda” isn’t as bad as I thought it would be, not nearly as impossible as last year’s (can you believe that I can say last year??) vegetarian fiasco. Coffee might be as horrible as vegetariaism. I drink coffee everyday, most days multiple times a day. I have been addicted to Starbuck’s at many points in my life. Pete’s coffee is one of life’s great pleasures. In addition I have found that people don’t really like me without coffee. In high school I was sent out of class in the mornings to go “fix the problem.” Co-workers will actually press as hard as they can up against the wall if I pass them on the way to my cup in the mornings. I don’t see what the deal is…I find myself perfectly pleasant in the AM.
Well I am counting the moments until I can pop the top on a frosty carbonated yum yum drink. Dani asked me the other day if I was going to stay up til midnight on the 1st to have a Coke. I said no, but since then it has crossed my mind A LOT. So if I find myself awake when the clock strikes Feburary…you never know what can happen.
For some reason that I can’t explain I have had a huge jump in hits on the blog since the New Year. I hit my all time high of 40 viewers yesterday. Maybe I will be getting to cross 100 viewers in a day off sooner than I ever thought. I mean that is almost half way there. I really was flabbergasted when I saw my stats. So thank everyone that has taken the time out of their life to read my random thoughts on this list.
Ed (you might remember him as the nemesis of the Coke/Soda Challenge, opening a delicious coke right under my nose…I could pretty much feel the bubbles popping on my face.) has recently expressed interest in helping me with a few items. I think that he feels badly for trying to sabotage my soda boycott and wants to make his karma right. If I didn’t have a Leadership Mendocino class on Friday he has offered to take me out to shoot a gun. He has also been investigating a possible Robin Williams meeting, but it doesn’t look like this year will be possible. You know that whole having a kid thing.
This literally just in… The Cartman was cleaning out his office and came across a binder of old baseball cards. He has offered to let me see if any of them will help with my dream team. Just another example of how much help I am getting with this from my friends. Another example of how he always finds a way to wiggle and get himself into another blog post. HA!

I have also been getting more and more interested in taking on a race, a marathon or something along those lines. If anyone has any ideas of fun races I would be interested to know what you think.

No Coke, Changes to the list and my Kindle

January 9, 2011 2 comments

I’ve been threatening making changes, and now that the year has changed I guess it’s as good a time as any.

It's so good when it hits your lips

But first I need to tell you about a challenge that I’m deep into right now. Apparently January has become “do without something” month for and crew and I. Everyone should remember that last year I went without meat for 30 days. If not you might want to go back and review what was pretty much the worst month of my life. (Special credit for that goes out to Pat Garrett and the infamous bacon pot incident…I haven’t forgot about that.) 2011 has brought 30 days with out soda. To set the stage I drink A LOT of Coca Cola. Usually one or two at a minimum every day. On a good day I can probably put six away, it depends on what I’m eating. Needless to say I have a special place in my heart and on my tongue for that delicious concoction. Not to say that Coke is the only soda that I enjoy. I’ve been know to do the Dew, Crush a Sunkist, and put down a A&W (usually in a mug with vanilla ice cream.)  The people that know me the best know that this is going to be very difficult for me to complete. So far I have been able to restrain my cravings, but I’m only 8 days in. I am very proud to have made it a week. I wanted to do this for pretty much the same reason as the vegetarian challenge. I know that I have vices and I believe that it is good to check them at times and make sure that you are still making the choice to use them and your not completely addicted. Its a control challenge. I just want to make sure that I am still in control.

The Cartman was going to take this challenge with me also, but parently the only drink that goes with Al Pastor Tacos is a Mexican Orange soda. After only a couple of days…WEAK!The Cartman's taco soda kryptoniteSo please wish me luck for the next three weeks as I try to avoid my nemesis. With a bit of luck #120 will be off the list on February 1st.

Now on to the changes that I’ve been considering for so long. I have spent a long time thinking about these changes and feel good with them. When I started out on this I always knew that I was going to get to a place that some of the items didn’t mean the same thing to me anymore, so this was an eventuallity. I’ll take each one and explain why I’m changing it and what the replacement is going to be.

#17. Do P90X…This was a big fad a year ago and it has been replaced by Insanity and some other fad workout programs. I realized that all of these are just ways for the creators to make $$$ off of hard working people. That being said I think that the Insanity and P90X are good workouts, but I didn’t want to look back in a few years and see that was on the list. I also don’t see this as a way to stay in shape for a lifetime. I think they are probably pretty effective at restoring people’s physical fitness, but I long ago came to terms with the fact that I am never going to have a six pack. It’s just not in my genes. That being said I do want to focus on long term fitness and use races as a marker and goal of my progress…So P90 had to go.

The new #17 is to own the perfect home. This is going to be a collaboration between my wife, my kids and myself. I like this as a life goal because it is something that is going to have a major effect on the rest of my life. Dani and I have often sat and dreamed about what we would want to include in a dream home. This is going to be a place that my kids can be comfortable and safe, and Dani and I can grow old in and host holidays when our children bring their children. This is also going to be a very difficult item to complete.

22. Lunch @ Salumi– This one is going to surprise some people given how much I love food and I fell in love with their salami last year when we ordered it to celebrate a month of vegetarianism. My thinking is that I have already tasted their salami and I have a lot of list items surrounding Seattle. If I happen to be in the neighborhood (aka Washington) I will be seeking it our, but I don’t feel that it is something that needs to be on my list anymore as I have already tasted some of their delicious products. I feel that the list should be things that I have yet to try or accomplish.

Salumi has now been replaced with The French Laundry. I feel that this is an acceptable upgrade on this item, and it will be a challenge for me. Financially this will be work as it is VERY EXPENSIVE, but even more of a mountain for me to climb is going to be not having any control over what it served and opening my mind, horizons and palate to the what I can only imagine is delectable dishes.

#37 Read a 100 books- This is just an alteration. I now feel that I need to up the ante and am going to ten fold. I want to document reading a thousand books with the same 25% or 250 books recommended to me by others. I also have been seeking out lists of people’s favorite reads. Stephen King always has a list coming out and a huge on in the back of his book, On Writing. Every celebrity is willing to put out a top ten list, not to mention the innumerable summer reading lists, so I don’t think that I will ever run out of ideas of what to start next.

#45 10 things out of the Change the World for $10- I was disappointed in this just because some of the items are so vague. I still plan on working on some of their suggestions, but it gets hard to measure success on most of the items. Like how am I supposed to be able to mark off that I smile more? So I promise to learn and attempt to keep up on the suggestions that I liked, but off the list it goes.

New #45 is Getting Interviewed on National Television. How cool would that be? I have no idea how or what I’m going to do to get on a national interview, but I felt I needed to aim higher. I’m hoping for like a Today-type show, or something very similar.  If you can help me out at all on this. PLEASE!

#97 Donating a day to helping a stranger- I just felt that this one was already on the list with helping ten others do something that they want to do before they die, so good-bye #97. Now to replace it I want to Learn to Handle a Firearm. Just because I don’t.

#116 Jump off a waterfall- This one I have done before. Up near Tahoe is a place off the Emmigrant Gap and a buddy of mine Brian Elzy took me up there and we leaped off next to a waterfall. It was amazing and I think that is why I put it on the list in the first place, to get that feeling back. Like I said earlier I feel that I need to have things that I haven’t done before on this list. 

So I’m replacing it with Writing a Play and having it performed. I think that it would be amazing to see something that you wrote brought to life on the stage. I have always enjoyed the playwriting portion of all the creative writing that I have taken. I think that I would be incredibly proud to attend a play that I had written and seeing my name on the program. Pretty narcissistic, but hey every one needs a little of it in their life right?

#117 Firefighter Combat Challenge– I think that this was just something that I put on the list for my buddy Wes. I don’t think that I ever really cared to do it. If the opportunity comes up I’ll take it, but it isn’t anything that means anything to me. I think that it would be fun, but not something that I feel I have to do, besides I’ve set up courses at work many times before. I know what it’s like to do it.

Now this replacement I don’t really have any control over, but I want to hit 100 visits on my blog in 1 Day. I will take this as a sign that I either my writing is improving or my life is getting more interesting. Which is the two main reasons that I started up this project and blog.

#170 Another clarification and this has to do with different interpretations of the Pacific Coast Highway. Some claim it runs from the top of Canada to South America. My route will be the California leg of PCH which I will define as a road trip that goes from Leggett to Dana Point. This is where Hwy 1 branches off from 101 in the north and terminates in Interstate 5 in the south. I also think that it will make a great trip.

#190 Celebrate National Months- There just too many of them. Each month has like a hundred causes to celebrate so until we all decide on 12 of them and stick to it. Adios.

Instead I am going to go Island Hopping in the Caribbean, which I define as a single trip that includes setting foot upon at least three different islands. I have always had a fascination with the Caribbean and the history, culture and people of the area. But I have never made it to the islands. Plus…That’s where all the Pirates hung out so it’s got to be awesome, right!!?? It will also be an amazing vacation for my family and I.

Well that wraps up the changes that I’m going to make…at least for now.

In some other news I got a Kindle from Santa.  I have to say that this is a great device if your into reading. If you are looking into one just know what you are going to use it for. It’s not an iPad, but it kicks the iBook apps ass. It sounds like all their ads, but the screen really is as close to paper as anything I’ve seen. If it has a draw back I would say that it is too thin and feels weird in your hand until you get a cover for it. A cover solved all my problems with the Kindle. Now the only problem that I have is trying to decide which book to read next. Another problem that I just thought of is can you call them books anymore? There are no pages, no paper, no bulkiness. What should the new name of “books” be? Bottom line the Kindle is a great product as long as you get it for reading, not for internet, or anything else. Just use it to read. I am really going to try and use it to cross the 1000 books off my list.

Eating, Reading and thinking about working out

Well 2011 is off to a rocky start on the on blog here. I can’t seem to stay up to date on the little things that I have been up to.

I did make a couple of things out of Tyler’s Dinner at my Place almost two weeks ago. An appetizer called Garden Puree Bruschetta that was very different and pretty tasty. It has peas, asparagus and green beans all pureed up with some ricotta so it looks a bit like guacamole, but you spread it over baguette toasts. It was good, so I took it to a party and it seemed that most people couldn’t get past that it wasn’t guacamole. I have to say that it was a great, healthy alternative to most appetizers our there.

Garden Puree Bruschetta...not guacamole

I also put together the famous “Pregnancy Pasta” that Tyler says his wife craved during their son’s pregnancy. I had really high hopes for this recipe as it sounds on paper like all the things in life that are good…topped with bacon’s prettier cousin, Pancetta. Unfortunately Preggo Pasta didn’t live up to the hype. I will shoulder the blame on this one (because I don’t have a Celebrity Chef career and restaurants with my name on them all over the place), but both Dani and I thought that it was a little bit bland. I even went back to the recipe to make sure that I didn’t miss a step or forget an ingredient, but it was what it was. I guess that I was going to have to find at least one recipe that I wasn’t a huge fan of in the book, but I really never considered that this would be the one that would let me down. It wasn’t a total loss though, I got an immersion blender out of the deal. I had always wanted one of those anyway.

Pancetta Carbonara with Fresh Baby Spinach, The famous Preganancy Pasta

I also put another book away around Christmas, Iron Will by Mike Plant. This was given to me by Larry at work and fits right into his active fitness lifestyle. Iron Will is basically a history of the early days of the Ironman Triathlon. It covers about the first decade of the race and how it went from a kooky character test of wills to the endurance phenomenon that it is even today. Ironman has long been a goal and dream of mine, and I really want to do the Hawaii race, so this was a great read to see exactly how it all came about. There are a lot of stories and myths that surround this race and Plant does his best to get to the real truth, but I don’t think any one that wasn’t there will ever know the “real” truth. There are just too many crazy characters and the stories get better and better every time their told. It has rekindled my triathlon spirit again and I need to find a couple of races to do this year. I would love to get another half iron distance (in 2007 I completed the Vineman half Ironman…still one of my proudest accomplishments) under my belt, but I’m about 30 lbs and lots of workouts away from undertaking that.

While we are on the subject, if you haven’t seen the 2010 coverage of the Hawaii Ironman race it’s worth checking out. One of the classic, closest races in the history of Triathlon. Plus it might inspire you to get up and out and do something you don’t think you can do. The best part of those televised specials is the age-groupers (ordinary folks like you and I) coming across that finish line after covering the 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike ride, and 26.2 mile run. Chokes me up everytime.

Til next time.

It’s been a year

December 28, 2010 1 comment

One year ago I started this journey. I will say that it has made for a very interesting first year. I really can’t believe how much I got accomplished, or all the help I had along the way. I also can’t believe some of the things that happened to get some the items off the list. How did the Giants go to the World Series, never mind winning it? How is it possible that I flew an aircraft? Why did I buy an FJ40, and why did The Cartman  drink grape juice that I crushed with my very, very sweaty feet during a City Chase race in San Diego?

I also made some good progress on a couple of the longer term items. I am absolutely a better cook thanks to Tyler Florence. I am back to reading for fun on a everyday basis (Santa also brought a Kindle to me for Christmas…I am so blessed.) I have eaten some of the best meals in places that I NEVER would have stopped at before.

In addition I have grown as a man. I am a better father. I hope I’m becoming a better husband. I’m extremely excited to be welcoming another son to the family in March. I have been able to learn and appreciate what a great life that I have. I have amazing friends and an awesome family that I know I will never take for granted.

Alright, lets get to some business. I’ve done some stuff, just haven’t really made time to put a post together.

First off a while ago I started my collection of my baseball dream team rookie cards. I went to the local card shop for the first time in probably 15 years. I was able to pick up a Barry Bonds and Randy Johnson rookies and started a collection for my sons by getting a Buster Posey and Madison Bumgardner cards. I really hope that they get as much out of the game as I have, especially over the last season being a Giants fan.

Dani, Robby and I also “officially” made our Christmas Eve tradition a tradition by delivering food and gifts to needy families in our town. We weren’t able to do it as long as we thought, but that’s life with a 2 year old. He was a trooper for the couple of hours that we were driving around, but when you got to eat, you got to eat.

So here is a toast to 2010, and a big welcome to 2011. I can’t imagine what is going to happen in the next year. I definitely couldn’t have scripted this last one. Thanks for coming along on this journey by reading and leaving comments on this blog. I also need to thank all my fam and friends that have come along on these adventures this year. I can’t believe that I’ve kept up with this for a year and still am working towards my goals. Of that I am really proud. Happy Birthday Adventure Wannabe!

My favorite picture of 2010.

Oh yeah, my kid got to do something on my list that I didn’t. Can you believe that he met Willie Mays!!!!!???

World Champs, almost showered, Ralston’s hand, and Tyler’s soup

So I need to catch up on some things…

First would be can I get some love for the World Champion San Francisco Giants!!!! The last six weeks have been the funnest, greatest, incredible ride with any sports team EVER. End of story. I did let it take over my life a little bit, but I can finally say my team is the World Series Champions! Besides, what use is living if you don’t let yourself get swept up by events. We had dinner parties for the games and spent more time with our friends than we have in a long, long time. Sitting there after Brian Wilson blew that last pitch by Nelson Cruz and Buster Posey started jumping around like a maniac, I really didn’t know what to do. I have never experienced my favorite baseball team winning it all. It took a minute to sink in and then I kissed my wife, hugged my kid and had a drink with my friends.

I almost was able to cross #128 off the list when NateVagt’s wife ran out to celebrate by spraying us with champagne, but like idiots most of us ran when we saw her running at us. I guess my “flight” of “fight or flight” jumped in. Damn! How many opportunities do you get to take a champagne shower??

The Giants did help me get one more item crossed off though. They held a victory parade in the city as part of the World Series celebration. Had to take a day off work, but I packed the family up and drove into San Fran. The original plan was to take the ferry over and spend most of the day there. When we saw the mile long line of cars just to get off the highway exit to the ferry we took my Bro-in-laws advice to just drive into the city. Once we got past the ferry it was smooth sailing over the Golden Gate and into SF. Seems like everyone was thinking public transit was the easiest way to get there, and bound the system up so much that no one was really getting anywhere.

It was so crazy once the parade started that this is the only pic we got of anything in the parade.

Some of the crowd while we wait for the parade to arrive.

Once in the city we found parking and walked down to the parade route. Our spot wasn’t that bad, until the parade arrived and everyone rushed to the street to catch a glance of the World Champs. It was hot, sweaty and my kid decided to take a nap once the parade got to us. Which made him weigh twice as much as normal I swear. All of that was okay though. The main problem that I had was the inconsiderate morons that felt they had to light up everything they were carrying. I never really thought about the idiocy of smokers until I had kids and a pregnant wife that were being unwillingly harassed by second hand smoke. I really can’t believe that people still smoke in this day and age. I guess I’ll be working on their disgusting lungs soon enough at work. Heads up smokers!!! Smoking kills you!!!

The parade was really cool though. I got to see some of my current heroes and a few of my childhood ones. Not to mention Willie Mays and Willie McCovey. I have to say that the most incredible part of the entire parade was seeing Bruce Bochy hoisting the World Champions Trophy high over his head. I have never felt so proud to be a Giants fan.

So when I got home and saw that about a half million people were at the parade I thought, #180 See a major city parade, off the list. I doubt it gets much bigger than that, and it was something that closed out an incredible journey for my family, friends and I.

Some other things have been happening that aren’t baseball related.

Not a fun read, but it is an interesting story.

I finally finished another book. This one was Between a Rock and a Hard Place, by Aron Ralston. This is the story of the kid that amputated his own arm in a Utah slot canyon after a boulder sat on it for six days. The first two-thirds of this story were boring, it wasn’t really about the incident, but all that he did to become an outdoorsman. I’m pretty sure that the last third would have been just as slow, but I really found it interesting how all the agencies and people came together for his rescue. It did have a few pictures and the money shot of the severed hand sticking out from the boulder. I wouldn’t recommend this read, unless you really know the area in Utah, have undying curiousity of how he did it, or just read all the outdoor survival stuff you can find. For everyone else I am going to recommend going to see the movie that they based off the story, 127 Hours. It looks a lot more fun than this book was for me.

Last night I made another of Tyler Florence’s recipes out of Dinner at my Place, Dr. Tyler’s Chicken Meatball and Tortellini Soup. This was another amazing dish. I took advantage of the first cold, rainy Sunday with my family to put a pot on the stove. I believe that there is nothing better on a cold, wet day than a nice warm bowl of soup. It really can heal the soul. The piece that puts this bowl above other soups is the chicken meatballs. It was a great twist on the traditional grandma standby. I also liked the cheese tortellini’s, but it really is the chicken meatballs that make this recipe worth repeating and putting into my personal cookbook. This one gets a big thumbs up.

Dr. Tyler's Chicken Meatballs and Tortellini

So there it is, I’m all caught up. So here is the other half of the story.

I gave up going on a trip to Green Bay, but I got to go to the World Series. I have had a standing invite to go horseback riding, but haven’t made the time. This is my own fault and I need to make sure that I grasp the next opportunity to go. Moral of this story…I’ve wasted a couple of my opportunities. I have to get better at not doing this if I am ever going to make it through this list.