Posts Tagged ‘hollidays’

How about that!!!

Thursday, October 24th, 2013

storephotoLately I have been noticing a significant amount of new subscribers to my site.  That is a really cool thing when people notice your blog and want to be part of it so thank you all for signing up. I have been in a little bit of a slump of late and I haven’t posted anything for months because frankly I can’t seem to come up with anything but political opinions that I probably shouldn’t share on a regular basis. That being said, some new things have happened that I would like to share in future postings but today I will start with the biggest item first.

Life for me has taken a turn recently, in a great direction, since the sale of our family business this past August. I had been so busy the months prior to the sale working and trying to put together the deal that brought on the new ownership. After 30 years I had been feeling burnt out and wanted to step down from all the responsibility and just stay on to help grow the business for a new owner. Seeing and feeling the new energy since the sale has given me new life. I almost feel like I did when my family first opened except I don’t have the nervousness that comes from starting a new business.

Responsibly can weigh a person down and more so than I believed it could until I realized just how different I feel since the sale. People often say that letting go of responsibility  in their life can feel as if a “weight” had been lifted off their shoulders and I can relate to that now. Over the past 30 years I had spent most of my days baking, managing and running the finances of the bakery which never gave me the opportunity to concentrate on any one area and that  prevents a business from growing. I always felt that the only way I would ever see this business grow would be to sell it, because I would never be able to do the things necessary to make it happen.

Today, as I sit in sunny Florida, I have time to reflect on the changes and how I feel today about my future in this business. After the last 2 months or so under my new boss, Joe, I have had the time to actually bake everyday for 8 hours. I always felt that if I could just bake  I would be able to turn out more product than anyone else which would help to increase sales and perhaps bring more business as we would have more product available everyday. I have been enjoying my new position as a baker and I feel like I am having fun for the first time in a long time. Getting to create and pay attention to the details of baking full time has made me find renewed energy and creativity.

Stepping aside for new ownership raised a question from both my friends and customers who wondered  if its weird for me not being the boss but still working  in what was once my shop. I guess I had to stop and think about that but it has been such an easy transition that I feel very comfortable where I am at. The new owner makes me feel more like a partner than an employee and having to teach him the many aspects of the bakery business gives us the opportunity to  get to know each other better. Besides, the passing of the day to day responsibilities of running the bakery has given me more time to enjoy the other aspects of my life, which is what was most important to me when we talked of what I wanted from the sale. Things like more time in Florida, restoring my Chevelle and having weekends off to do the things most people take for granted were high on my list of what was important when changing ownership.  When you work most every weekend for 30 years you miss a lot of things because they all happen on Saturdays and Sundays. I have a lot to catch up on and I am working hard on that now!!!

When I sit back and think about what feels most different about my life, I realize that I actually have moments now when I am thinking about nothing. I am sure that sounds funny but its true. I spent most of my days and nights thinking of the business. Coming home and working on insurance quotes, making sure the money is there for payroll, paying bills, worrying about wedding orders being filled etc..etc…Now I come home and think about what parts I need to order for my car or how I can put a second floor on our vacation home. Yeah I still think about Holidays and how many Stollens we will need to make but it doesn’t constantly burn in my head anymore. The single biggest change since  no longer being the”boss”  has got to be  the peace of mind that comes with free space in my head!

Now as I look to the future of what was once our business, I hope that there will be a place for me as it grows, where I can find a balance between work and free time. Where I can play a significant role and yet enjoy the things I missed out on over years past. Be there when I am needed most but still have time to explore the things I have been wanting to do for so long.

How about that?  It looks like I might have found a way to  have my cake and eat it too!

The Regular Guy

The Greatest Story ever told

Monday, December 13th, 2010

The Bible is the greatest story ever told.

When I was young enough and not able to express my own feelings about religion and church, my parents made it their personal agenda to see to it that I was brought up a good Catholic and that I attend church every week. Back then and now in hindsight it was probably not the right way to go about introducing me to religion. Forcing me to attend church just made me resent going even more.

Now, as an adult, I have my own feelings about my religion and beliefs, even though I still have a mother who every once in awhile lays the guilt trip on me about my lack of attending church regularly. That standing, I have always been fascinated about my Christan background and its roots beginning with God, Adam and Jesus Christ.

Being that we are now in the Christmas season, it is hard not to think about Christ and what he means to Catholics and Christians everywhere. With all the hoop-a-lah and shopping, the real reason for this holiday gets lost in marketing for new I Pads, phones and the latest electronics that our kids can’t live without

All of my adult life I have always believed in religion and had hoped that what I had been taught really happened, but being an adult I also questioned how incredible it would have to be if it were in fact all true. I know that as a Christian I am not supposed to question my faith but how can any person not think that it might possibly be just “the greatest story ever told”.

Just thinking about it all and how it was passed down for centuries almost seems like an impossibility that one story could live on for that long and not be based on truth and real events. It seems to me that people who believe without question are more at peace with their lives than those who don’t. There must be something to it.

Although I have always questioned my faith, I have always wanted to believe. When people would ask the silly question about one person I would like share a conversation with, I always chose Christ, even though I think I would turn to a sobbing ball of mush in his presence due to the awe of it all. It just seems to me that this life we have must be for some bigger reason than the stress and craziness we live with day to day. To believe strongly that someday we will be in a better place, would make this life easier to get through.

And so in closing, I think its probably better to believe and find that in the end there is no afterlife, than it is to not believe and find that there is a judgment day and I failed the test. So as the good Catholic that my parents raised, I should say that this year, I hope you  remember to keep the Christ in Christmas…God Bless!

High blood pressure, P90x and my path to a better me

Sunday, February 7th, 2010

pillsQ: What time is it when your doctor says you have high blood pressure?

A: My guess was “it’s P90x time!”

As every regular guy knows, age tends to make us less of a man in some places and more of a man in others. Unless you have worked out your whole life up to this point, then your body has become somewhat less desirable and fit. Reaching your forties has a way of reminding you of that every day.

Being somewhat of an A- type personality ( used to be an A+ but figured I needed to slow it down some), I tend to carry too much stress, along with an extra 20-30 pounds I picked up over the years.But unlike most regular guys I hang out with, I thought I kept myself looking pretty good. Although I did have those pounds attached to me at my mid point, I still got around really well as compared to my friends and most other men I encountered that were in my age group.

Now I was faced with an older mans disease . Hell, all I ever hear from older guys is something to do with the high blood pressure or the cholesterol medicine that they are taking. There is something that makes us refuse to believe that this will happen to us. But the truth is we create this mess when we are in our teens. Our metabolism is set on high and we eat everything we can get our hands on. Then in college we start drinking and staying out late and eating bacon cheeseburgers at 2 am. That is really not a good start on the long road of life we have ahead of us. So after years of abusing our bodies, we all wait for the news that its time to adjust our lifestyles and eating habits. Unfortunately at this stage, our insides are probably too far gone to correct the plaque and mess we have made of our arteries. Our blood pressure though, we still may control.

At this point in my life, I know that I have to take better care of myself. Lets face it we all know what is good for us and what isn’t. It’s just a matter of putting in the time to make better choices for our body. So when my doctor told me he was giving me a month to try to get my pressure down, but believed that I would be on meds anyway, it pissed me off enough to make me face up to the fact that it was time to make better choices.

I hate gyms! Other than looking at girls in tight workout clothing, I hate going to a gym. Muscles are cool, but I can’t get that motivated to sign away a year of my money in hopes that I will stay focused enough to continue going to a gym 3-4 days a week. So I was faced with the dilemma of how to get a workout and not sign a contract.

Although I have never been an athlete on any level, I have stayed in pretty good condition by not overeating my way into sweat pants oblivion. I have always refused to own a pair of sweat pants because once you start wearing them, it becomes easier to overeat. Hey those things stretch out four waist sizes before you need a bigger pair. So armed with my trusty Wrangler jeans, I have never been more than a 36 inch waist size. Not good, but definitely not that bad either.

In my younger days I became a fan of the Martial Arts. I tried the traditional Karate classes and reached a certain level of success through colored belts but I found that the spiritual and way of life part of the Martial Artist was what attracted me to it. I found that the balance a true Martial Artist had in his life was really what I was seeking. Nothing in extreme, but everything in moderation. Simplicity. Calmness. Things that were not so easy to find in my upbringing and in life itself, but things I could use at this point of my life.

I needed a plan and I knew what I had to do but wasn’t quite sure how to do it. I needed a workout, something that was cardio and also weight resistance training. I needed to eat better. Make better choices but not a diet. And most important, I needed relief from the stress in my life.

Enter P90x. p90xThis program is designed to help you reach every goal that you need to get your  life to a better place. This program gives you cardio and weight training workouts, along with some Martial Arts and Yoga. You can also follow along with its nutrition plan to help you make better choices with the things you put in your body. And best of all you do it at home with no monthly gym fees and contracts.

My goals were simple. Eat better. Exercise. Calm my mind and body. Ninety days to a better me. After one month, my weight was down ten pounds and my blood pressure was normal again. My doctor wanted to see me again in six months to make sure this wasn’t  a fluke. His disbelief in me from the start was the fuel I needed to get my ass going in the right direction so the fact that he still didn’t believe only made me more hungry for success.

It has been fourteen weeks since I began my program. I now eat smaller meals and snacks, five or six times a day. I eat carbohydrates in moderation and no sweets or heavy meals during the week. A glass of red wine every night with dinner. Weekends I have dessert or maybe a dinner out with friends. Never two bad days in a row. The most important change is that I pay attention to everything I put in my body now as opposed to before, when I knew what I was putting in but didn’t care. I worked out six days a week for fourteen weeks (one extra week than the program because of missed days, holidays, illness etc..) but now I work out every other day unless I am motivated I will do extra cardio on an off day. This is the hard part of my new lifestyle. Trying to fit an hour workout in everyday can be difficult. Things get in the way all the time but now I make it a priority to take care of myself first.

In the last fourteen weeks, I have lost more than twenty pounds without dieting, recovered lost strength and found the sense of calmness in my life that was missing.

This is in no way an endorsement for P90x but just a means to a way I found to get me back to a better place in my life. P90x alone won’t do this for you. This has to come from inside. This was from an angry person inside me who just had enough with the way my life was going. Funny thing is, we all have this person inside that knows right from wrong but something keeps it hidden, buried away from us until the time is right. You just have to look at yourself in the mirror and be honest. Stop making excuses for who and what you are and get busy. One day at a time. Always just one day at a time. Never look past the next day. Start with just one day at a time. It makes it easier to accomplish your goal if you stay focused on just the present day.

In life we are given opportunities to make changes. Sometimes those changes are very clear to us and are easy to accomplish. Sometimes they are clear to us but for some reason we can’t get ourselves on track to make those changes. Maybe for me, being an A type personality, it was a little easier because I always look for a challenge to keep me going. When I have nothing to challenge me, I get bored or disinterested. I guess my high blood pressure was the challenge I needed to put me on a path to a better me……

The Regular Guy…


 

Holiday Postcards…..yuck

Monday, December 28th, 2009

Who is the person that started the Holiday Postcard trend? I for one can’t stand them!

Okay, at first your thinking what kind of person am I that I can’t stand looking at someones kids? I have to say that I am really tired of seeing pictures of kids that I never met, haven’t seen in years or are just plain scary looking. What makes people think that their kids on a postcard is what people want to see on their mantle. It has to be a woman thing, because I can’t see a guy thinking this is a good idea, unless he developed it and is making a fortune.  Really now, did you take a good look at some of the kids on these cards? Unibrows, hook noses, no necks, girls that look like guys, crazy clothing, funky hats  etc.. And now we get to see them as college students too! At that age you present a whole new problem because if they are good looking your husband is probably checking that one out over beers with his friends! Ha! And here’s a better one. How about the single girl with her dog picture. This girl doesn’t have kids or a regular guy so she thinks it’s cute to pose with a canine? And the dog is better looking than she is! Guess that”s why she’s not posing with a guy or her own kids. Not happening for her!

Five years ago it seemed like a pretty cool idea, but it’s time to put this fad to bed already. This years pictures we received took the cake and if it couldn’t get worse we received one with President Obama on it. Come on man, its the Holiday’s! Do I need to get your political statement on my Christmas card? Especially since I didn’t vote for the man. Whats next, advertisements?  Pillsbury presents “The Mitchell Twins”. The pop and fresh dough boy framed around to ugly duckling twins.

I always felt that greeting cards were a tremendous money maker for Hallmark and a big waste of money for the people sending them. Cards don’t get more than a glance by most and those who receive them seldom see or hear from the sender other than Holidays. It’s a shame now that we have reduced ourselves to sending pictures of children to friends they never met, when instead, making time to get together would do a lot more for developing a relationship. I say, throw out the cards and start using the phone. The minutes are free, long distance is a thing of the past and hearing from old friends is always better than seeing pictures of their children. This is all part of a bigger problem. With all the ways of communicating we have today we have lost touch with the human element. Visits and conversations have gone the way of texting and emails, and now picture postcards.

I sure do miss the “old days”………

Just one mans opinion

The Regular Guy

Ipod

Wednesday, February 4th, 2009

How does the Regular Guy listen to music these days? I am going to go out on a limb and guess that its with an MP3 Player. The Regular Guy used to carry that Walkman with him to work on the subway. Now our personal music players are so small they can fit in your palm. My IPOD is one of the best things that I have acquired in my lifetime. This electronic piece of magic brings me more music from such a small place than all the albums, cd’s and cassette tapes I had collected for over 40 years. How the hell does this thing work anyway? How can so much music fit in such a tiny place? At 30 gigs I will never reach maximum capacity.

I have loved music since I can remember. My mom sang professionally on and off all her life. I think I inherited the music bone. I wake up every day with a new  song in my head and it must be because of my mom. Somehow I got the love of music without the talent to do anything with it. So I just enjoy listenming to as much as I can. And now with my IPOD, I am loving life.

Plug this thing into your home stereo. Plug it into your car. Take it to the beach. I even fall asleep with it while listening to Podcasts. Hell I even listen to the Minnesota Vikings Podcasts of their local radio stations. How cool is this thing!!! You know the best thing I found so far is that I take all my Cd’s and rip them and then toss ’em to the curb. Who the hell needs all those shiny discs anyway. Man all those years collecting discs for sometimes just one song. No more. And organizing music was never so easy. Playlists by genre, by year, artist, album.. it goes on and on. Endless combo’s endless ways to listen. Does it get any better?  Yes it does. Did I forget to say how I watch movies on my IPOD while flying at 35,000 feet. Take this thing on a plane and you have your own personal video player. Team this baby up with your Tivo and things get better yet. Tivo has a program where you upload video from you DVR to your computer and then transfer the files to your favorite IPOD.

So now they bring us the ITOUCH. How can they do this to me. Just when I get used to my IPOD they tempt me with this new version. Maybe a christmas gift for me this year. Well this Regular Guy has to get back to work ripping those Cd’s and dancing to the tunes.

The Regular Guy

AAAAGHH Its the Holiday’s Man

Thursday, January 8th, 2009

christmas_glitter_2412

Another New Year. Holidays get harder to enjoy as you get older. I still can’t figure out how to shop for my family. Man what do you get for your parents that 1) they don’t already have after some 40 years or so 2) they will actually USE  and 3) you won’t eventually wind up with someday. How about children? When I was a kid A/FX cars, Hot Wheels and Bicycles were pretty much it. Now most Regular Guys have to take loans on their credit cards just to pay for an IPOD or cell phone that texts. And if that isn’t bad enough, next year that IPOD just got updated and it isn’t good enough anymore. So it starts all over again.

I see friends of mine agonizing over buying for their kids and then they think they didn’t buy enough.  I stopped by Walmart 6 times in hopes of securing a Wii for my daughter, who by the way, told me she wanted it on Black Friday. Did you ever try buying a video console for Christmas? It’s madness. Luckily, my wife happened to be there when a delivery truck arrived on her ONE visit. Go figure.

What happened to the Holidays? Everything is all about what you get and even worse, what you have to buy for others. I miss the times when our whole family would meet at my Grandma’s, squeeze some 15 people around a table for 6, ate until all the men fell asleep watching football while the women sang songs doing the dishes. My daughter will never experience that. I have to say, I never realized just how nice it was while it was happening, but I sure do miss it now.

Everyone is so spread out now. Families no longer live in the same state let alone the same town. Used to be that everyone grew up, lived and worked in the same place their whole life. The family has changed and so with it did the old Holiday traditions. It always seems to be such a big deal now trying to get everyone in the same place. With kids and  traveling, and sometimes up to four families to visit due to divorces ( see Vince Vaughn/ Four Christmas’) its  always a nightmare. Then you get the guilt factor from your Mom. Oh its so subtle but you know it when it rears its ugly head. “Oh I guess you’ll be spending Christmas with ( fill in ) this year. Its okay. Your father and I are getting used to being alone”. Wow, that doesn’t sting!!

I like the way some of my Regular Guy friends and their families handle Holidays. They have a plan to be in the same place for the same Holiday every year, with one family taking turns to host. It’s so simple yet so elusive to most. I been trying to get my family to do this for years but always another excuse why we can’t make it happen.

And so the agony continues…Overall this years Holiday seemed to work out pretty good. I can’t wait until next year. NOT!!!

Just one man’s opinion…

The Regular Guy