Daily Schedule

As a part of my efforts to improve work / life balance, a schedule is essential. I jotted down a list of some the things that I need in my daily schedule in order to be successful at work and in life. Currently, the daily schedule looks like a summer camp for of mindfulness and self-improvement. I have decided not to restrict myself to allotted times, rather granting some wiggle room (this freedom allows my creativity and productivity to thrive).

Running / Fitness 

Days are better for me when I run. It jumpstarts my day, gets my blood flowing; it challenges me yet calms me. Beginning the day with the run, I have accomplished something the the rest of the day cannot take away from. During runs, I am able to process thoughts, experience the outdoors, and stay in strong physical shape. The fitness is listed as some days will fall under a recovery day, those days will include yoga, core strengthening, swimming or cycling.

Writing

My self-awareness is higher, mindfulness more abundant when I write. With the practice of writing, I include a few moments of meditation. I reflect and plan, note expectations and experiences, challenges and successes; as well as potential places for improvement. Sometimes is a reflective journal entry, other times it becomes more of an essay on life or a testimony about certain elements within my life.

Coffee

Over the past several years, coffee has become a staple. It is more than just a shot of caffeine for me; I truly enjoy the flavors that different coffee’s provide. Though Cuvee Coffee is my absolute favorite, I like finding new coffee’s – especially when I travel.

Community

We all need people. Funny enough, I was recently reminded of this through the Lego Batman movie. Granted I watched it at a time when there was a great shift in what I thought I knew regarding my future. The themes that rang true were family, friends, and Not-going-it -alone. Even though each of us may be strong as individuals we are stronger together. Often times. experiencing places, things or events with others adds a significant amount of value to that moment.

Sports

With a career in youth soccer development, sports are a piece of my everyday life. I enjoy watching most sports and keep up with the sport world. Of course, it is most enjoyable when I get to play as well.

Learning

Currently, learning some things about myself, as individual (outside of a relationship). I look to learn something new daily – whether it pertain to the world, nutrition, the Spanish language, or the driver’s education course which I am enrolled.

Outdoors 

Nature. It does so many good things for the soul. Beyond breathing fresh (for the most part) air, sunshine, water, greenery and touching the actually earth  – each of these appeal to the senses and enhance life.

Relaxation

Any or all of these activities or items can be combined. After two weeks with this schedule, only the writing portion has be solitary (or just coupled with coffee). This was necessary at the time; now that I share some of that with you, it falls under community.

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Hello again: Work / Life Balance

I’ll skip the part where I list all the reasons excuses for why I have posted in a while. I’ll also accept your forgiveness for my absence and my learning to write again. My paucity in posts could essentially be boiled down into one reason: a lack of work / life balance. This blog was never work but more about life; it lost out when I took on more responsibilities at work. Over the past month, I have recognized the problem and am taking necessary steps to resolve the issue.

The past year I have become immersed in work. This is due, but not limited, to an excitement about the possibilities, an inability to say no, an avoidance of other potential problems in my life and a lack of a fixed schedule. Being so involved in work meant losing out on relationships, events and most of the enjoyment that came along with them. Don’t get me wrong, I was still enjoying work but unhealthily neglecting everything else; even to the point of beginning to resent the work.

Recently, I have take a few steps to remedy this. Recognizing the problem is a big part of resolution, so I am on the right track. I have also begun meeting with a mentor, that understands the work that I do. He had some good advice regarding some beginning steps to take.

  1. Do not be an item on somebody else’s to do list. I would reply to texts, phone calls, and emails immediately, regardless of the urgency, time or day. One could argue that I was almost waiting for the next one to come through. Moving forward: I will have a certain time of day where I check and reply to emails. I will update my settings to eliminate every email from coming to my phone will put my phone away at night, only responding to personal (non-work) calls and texts. These two actions are combined with the new expectations and boundaries I will set with colleagues and clients.
  2. Take some time for yourself. I did not have a regular day off; a day that I could take care of me, relax, explore, learn or enjoy. I plan to take at least one day a week and also capitalize on the time I have during the summer.
  3. Set a schedule. I had failed to define a daily schedule. So I was flexible, which is good (yes, very go with the flow), but it also allowed me to fall victim to the flow. It didn’t give me any reason to say no – which meant I was overeager and vulnerable to overuse. My schedule will be another post altogether but involves: running, coffee, writing, learning, community, etc.
  4. Live with a Growth Mindset. In some aspects of life, I felt I was open to change or development. With others, I was closed off, thinking it is what it is. This topic is also post in and of itself. I look to continue to nurture that mindset and a “not yet” mentality.

An additional bonus is that for my job next year, I will be at set location so my vehicle will no longer be a storage unit. It will be nice to have my vehicle and my life back.

Looking forward to finding that balance.

fpsf five

Though I missed Wildcat! Wildcat!, First Aid Kit, & Lord Huron due to the rains, Free Press was still a success. We made it down just in time for Chvrches, who went beyond my expectations and were my favorite act of the weekend. That show combined with White Noise, a specialty brew from Saint Arnold, made my Fest complete.

The rest of the weekend was compiled of great acts that I had seen before: Big Gigantic, Washed Out, Poolside, Edward Sharpe & Jack White; some old school music: Welcome to Houston and Wu-Tang; some new music: Anamanaguchi and White Sea. My Line-up and links below.

The stage locations had changed from years past nearly eliminating The Hill that had become such an integral part of my FPSF experience. One main stage still featured The Hill on the side of it but it lacked the stadium or amphitheater feel. The stages that were on the street meant less impact on the grass and parks but unfortunately meant it was harder to get around to other stages. The one thing I would change from this years set-up would be additional restrooms; in the center of the festival and in the fancy pants areas. I am glad to see this festival continue to grow providing more must-see acts and adding to the overall fun-level; I just hope that the organizers and staff can keep up with its growth.

SATURDAY SUNDAY
Chvrches Washed Out
Welcome to Houston White Sea
Anamanaguchi Poolside
Ishi The Kills
Big Gigantic Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros
Twin Shadow Wu-Tang Clan
Zedd Jack White

dutch lessons .01 (application through Anthropomorphism)

Let me begin by clarifying that these are lessons learned from the Weimaraner, named Dutch, at my house, not actual lessons in the Dutch language. If you need to move on to another blog due to the misunderstanding, please do so now. 

We have all heard that “the grass is always greener” and Dutch seemingly proves this over and over. The grass is greener on the other side for any number of reasons but the one I would like to highlight is contentment. Dutch will sit inside by our sliding glass door and look out over the backyard. Aside from bird activity (more on this in the next episode) and the occasional breeze blowing leave across the patio, there isn’t much to excitement. The backyard is a good place to entertain, just not entertaining on its own accord. 

Dutch is trained well enough to know to go to the bathroom outside. He does this mostly on a schedule so it is rare that he will randomly need to go. Should that time arise he will sit or lie down by the door – stay there – and even begin to whine if needed. If we call him away from the door, he will not budge when he needs to pee or poop. Sometimes he just really wants out though, in these cases he will lie by the door and whine or sigh (like a kid in timeout or teenager ready for this lame time with the parents to end). Naturally, it is up to us to let him out and as always, better safe than sorry. 

WITHOUT FAIL once he is outside, he will want back inside. Regardless of whether he goes out to do business or just to chase a bird, his desire to be outdoors is short-lived. That is until once he is back inside, where after getting a sip of water or taking a lap around the living room, he will immediately need to be outdoors again. I have yet to test it, because of the strain it would place on me and possibly my sliding door, but it might be fun to see how many times he would go out and come in and go out… consecutively. 

Application: What window am I looking out? Where do I want to be and then do I double back to the place I just was? For me I know that I am very “in the moment” but write this today because of how easy it is to want to be on the other side. 

Anthropomorphism: Dutch leaves the comforts of the indoors for the excitement and beauty of the outdoors but misses that beauty and excitement because he immediately wants back in. Once inside he is uncertain how comfortable and cozy it is because he once again desires to be somewhere else. 

looking forward to

89792_lgAs I mentioned early last week, I am looking forward to music and soccer later n the month of May. The first of the shows I am excited to see is Little Hurricane. Though I have seen them before (and blogged about them too), this is the first tour that they are headlining. They recently released their second album Gold Fever. This Saturday, May 24 at The Parish, my favorite indoor venue in Austin. There are tickets still available.

In between that show and the next set of shows falls another soccer event. It is in Dallas in association with the Boys & Girls Club and educates players on Hispanic Scholarship opportunities. It will also be treat to be working alongside Marcelo Balboa again. Though a short clinic, this is a great opportunity for the players to interact with each other and Marcelo while learning some skills and playing the game. Some of those attending the clinic will be selected as ball boys or girls for the Mexico National team game the following day.

After working the soccer event in Dallas on Friday, May 30, I will drive down to Houston for Free Press Summer Fest, May 31 – June 1. This two day festival grows bigger and better every year. My Fancy Pants Pass gives me rapid entry, access to air-conditioned tents, access to shorter bar lines and some private viewing areas. I bought them at the blind-pre-sale for less than what even the general admission passes are going for now.

 

 

Though I am most excited about Chvrches, I am also thrilled to see Jack White, The Kills, Vampire Weekend, Edward Sharpe…, Big Gigantic, Tune-yards, Washed Out, Lord Huron, Wildcat! Wildcat!, First Aid Kit, Poolside – and that is just to name a few. I am sure you understand the level of my excitement. Tickets are still available and if you search around may find someone selling them for less than the current face-value.

 

something new

I had driven my sun & hail damaged ‘06 Volvo s60 for far too long. The A/C had gone out, needed new struts and several other costly repairs. It was time for a new car. Since the temperature was beginning to rise, I was more motivated to look into new vehicles. Though Volvo had been good to me and I enjoyed several of their other models, I decided it was time for something new.

When considering a new vehicle, I was concerned with safety, comfort and, of course, style. The car would also need enough cargo space for my massage table. I looked at some sedans and also SUVs. The sedan that I was most attracted to was the Audi A4 (well any Audi for that matter). The new A3 was more within my price range but lacked the cargo room I needed. The A4 would suffice on that front but lacked the horsepower I desired. This would mean for Audi I would need something like the S4 or the A6. With that A becoming an S and the 4 becoming a 6, the $$ became $$$ or greater.

A sedan that caught me by surprise considering its ride, pick-up and additional bells & whistles was the Kia Optima Turbo. I enjoyed how well it handled and the price was far easier to swallow than the luxurious Audi. The rear window is smaller though and can’t see why that large of a blind-spot would be a good thing.

When it came down to it, I really wanted something more than a sedan. I missed being higher-up like I had been in my Durango from long ago. I really wanted an SUV. Once I had settled on an SUV, the Jeep Grand Cherokee really fit the bill when considering what I was looking for in a vehicle. Additionally, I really liked the Granite Gray color, knew I wanted leather seats, and also wanted the 4×4. Those last two additions raise the cost a little but insured that I was getting precisely what I wanted.

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The dealership didn’t have an exact match on the lot but found one in Katy and drove it here. After they looked things over, they handed the keys over to me. I love it. Specifically enjoying being higher up for the first time since my Durango which I drove 2001 – 2006, like that it is 4 wheel drive but AWD the rest of the time; and it has an eco mode, which kicks it down a couple cylinders, shifting sooner, saving on fuel. The Satellite Radio, navigation system, and back-up camera are also wonderful features. I truly look forward to enjoying this vehicle for years to come.

 

 

running

Running is an essential part of my life. It is so much more to me than exercise; it is a drug that allows me to remain balanced in a number of ways. When I fall into a running rut, I will run every day for a week; much like I am doing this week with the blog. The regularity gets me back on track, helps me get back to where I want to be.

For the remainder of March, after the ½ I ran in Little Rock back, my running had struggled. I was still running three or four times a week but without much purpose; meaning without much promise as well. Going into April, I knew I needed to get back to running more regularly. My brother and running partners have helped with this in several different ways.

My brother, Joe David, is a Physical Therapist at the Texas Physical Therapy Specialist Bee Caves location. He invited me to try out their AlterG machine. As you can read more about if you click on the link, this machine fights gravity – taking away your weight – allowing you to run while your body recovers. I started with running on the treadmill with 100% of my weight then took it down to 85 – then to 70 which is really where I could begin to feel any stress on my joints begin to disappear. I continued to increase the speed and eventually the incline. At 50% of my body weight I compared the way I felt while running to that of my youth soccer players. By the end of my run, I was running with only 30% of my body weight.

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The AlterG also has cameras surrounding the legs to allow its user, and the doctors standing nearby, to analyze stride, foot-strike and balance, among other things. The side view showed my stride or gait to be pretty well in sync with what I though it should be. The view from the front just looked like someone was going to trample my face. I found the rear view to be the most helpful. With this angle, I noticed that my left foot falls out a little as a step. My anatomical and functional training as a massage therapist interprets this to mean that I need to strengthen core, gluts, and hips to remedy this. Honestly really returning to full body strength training altogether will help.

In addition to that strength training, I am also getting back to running regularly in general. Currently I am focused on building up mileage.  Primarily I have been running with Sarah a 3:16 marathoner that prefers, and excels accordingly so, to run the half. My other regular running companion is Lesley a 3:19 marathoner. Off the road, I am part of a regular-texting-group of guys that are very serious about running. They keep me excited, motivated and accountable.

The thing that has proven to keep me more responsible to running regularly is a race on my calendar. I am leaning toward the Chosen: Marathon for Adoption in New Braunfels. Though an out-and-back course, it is beautiful, peaceful and for a great cause. This year our Ninja Running Team will compete in order to support our friends, Chad and Cris Yarbrough, in their adoption.

 

April Shows

Austin always has great live music but the month of April proved greater than most. This is said with consideration that March has its SXSW and October its ACL. Two of the bands from my current top five played her in April in addition to another great live band that I saw long ago, before they were big.

Arcade Fire played the Austin 360 Amphitheater on April 10. We took a party bus from downtown Austin – which we learned is the way to travel out to 360 if the band you want to see isn’t playing IN town. Of course we brought along all the essential party supplies and enjoyed ourselves in a way that we could not have, had we driven ourselves. When the tour was initially announced, it was requested that attendees wear “formal attire”. Some people didn’t like this at first thought but I was happy to see a good percentage of folks decide to give it a go. I wore what I called “fun formal” including Loud Mouth Golf pants, a tuxedo shirt, bow tie and cumber bun. Prior to the show we also did some tailgating of sorts and had our share of pictures in the bluebonnets.

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The actual concert was true to form with an unmatched musical performance, show effects of lights, confetti, dancing, music and large paper mache heads of the Pope and Obama. They played mostly from their new album but a good number of older songs as well. Those of us up close in the pit did our fair share of dancing our pants off, some literally.

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The National played the Moody Theater, also known as ACL Live, three consecutive nights. They sold out every night, which speaks to their talent and Austin’s good taste. Since I was out of town the first night and had soccer the second, I attended the third. At least that’s what I tell people. Honestly, the first two nights sold out before I had a chance to grab a ticket so I had to wait until the third, magical, night was added. Though I went to this show alone, I enjoyed running into some old friends and meeting & hanging with some new ones. Concerts are good places to meet people because you know you already have something in common; it is an experience that you can build upon. Warpaint opened and you know I am a sucker for a front woman, this is a band of four. I had seen these girls before, at an ACL once upon a time, but felt this may have been one of their better shows. They had certainly matured musically. The National was, as one of my friends put it “soul crushingly amazing”; I might change that slightly by adding an -ly to amazing and wrapping the description up with beautiful. The universal humanity of their lyrics reaches deep within the individual whose ears they fall upon. Matt passionately poured out his heart in each song. He even got the crowd involved by firstly walking throughout the entire crowd and ultimately having us all sing along to an acoustic Vanderlyle. The full set list can be found HERE on my Instagram.

Since Vampire Weekend is set to play at FPSF in Houston at the end of May, I had initially passed on the ticket to Stubb’s. When I realized how many friends were attending, and considering Stubb’s is my favorite venue, I picked up a ticket from a couple just before they unloaded to a money-hungry-scalper. The show held a friendly happy feeling to it general and it was good to be there with friends. It was also good to be a little nostalgic, thinking back to when I saw them at indoors (at a pre-remodeled) Mohawk a number of years ago with just a handful of people indoors versus this sold-out show at Stubb’s. I look forward to seeing them again at the end of May, but the details of that festival are reserved for this Friday’s post.

 

Copa Coca-Cola

Once you have worked in a field as long as I have coached soccer, you become connected with enough people to connect you to other people. This was how I became involved with UK International Soccer and the Copa Coca Cola. After helping run a San Antionio tournament, one of the ten regional events across the US, I was invited to LA for nationals. To qualify to attend, the teams had to win their respective regional. Over the weekend of April 16 -18, I flew with a team from Houston as a chaperone/coach to the Copa Coca Cola National Tournament. Coca-cola, Delta, McDonald’s, Walgreens, and Starwood Hotels sponsored the tournaments. The regional champions were flown out (expenses paid) to LA for the weekend.The games were held at the Stub0hub center, an enormous soccer mecca that hosts the LA Galaxy. The national champions were entered into a drawing for the Grand Prize, trip to the opening ceremony and a week-long camp in Brazil for the World Cup this summer. Former players Marcelo Balboa, Shannon MacMillan and Kevin Hartman were there throughout the weekend – encouraging, coaching, hashtagging and signing autographs. I was very impressed, encouraged even, to see their level of involvement. All in all it was a great opportunity for the kids and I hope to help with similar events in the future.

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Marcelo Balboa, Shannon MacMillan, & Kevin Hartman talking to the girls before their game.

The girls’ team from Houston flew out early and home a day late so I did not travel with them but was pleased to work with them throughout their stay in LA. They made it to the semi-finals on Sunday morning where they faced a composed, patent and highly-skilled team from Seattle. At the weekend’s end, I relayed to the girls that I felt they represented the Houston area well, on and off the field. The boys faced tough competition as well but came away from the tourney with a 1 – 2 – 1 (win-loss-tie) record. I also enjoyed experiencing the flights with them; it was a first-time flight for five of the eight. We also had a short layover in Salt Lake City making it the boys first time to see mountains and snow. In addition to the wonderful soccer played the weekend also featured the World Cup Trophy Tour. As tournament participants we were VIP’s and enjoyed a special viewing of the trophy. Additionally, we were front & center at LA Live that night for a concert from David CorreyAloe Blacc, and Wisin. I often take my many concert experiences, and flying experiences for that matter, for granted so it was really cool to see the kids get to experience such an event.

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Back here in Austin, my soccer season has just wrapped up. Girls and two of the boys will move up to select while the rest of the boys will return to the academy next year. I had debated putting my name in the hat for a select team but think for now I would prefer the flexibility to work for UK Soccer again. Events like the clinic I’ve been asked to work in Dallas on Friday, May 30, with Marcelo Balboa.

 

april absence brings may abundance

As I return to blogging after over a month away, I decided to write this long hand. Of course, now I am typing what I had written on the legal pad. All too often I forget the therapy included in handwriting. For that matter, I forget the therapy incorporated with a number of things: long drives in the car, runs, hikes, spending time with others, the driving range, and yard work. Each of these has a therapeutic value that is taken for granted. The reason for my absence had some to do with motivation and some to do with the rest of life that seems to get in the way; for a while I was even flirting with potentially moving to Houston, but now that is less likely. 

Next week I will update you, at least those of you that do not follow me on Twitter or Instagram or Facebook, with my adventures from the past month or so. Instead of throwing it all into one bulk post, each day will feature one specific theme: soccer, music, running, something new and everything that I am looking forward to.  Following next week, I look to get back to blogging regularly. Remaining motivated, if for no other reason, because of the therapeutic aspect of writing. Constantly reminding myself of why I do what I do: Write, coach, and massage because I want to share my passion to allow others to enjoy a similar experience. 

#DontBeSorryMakeUpForIt

#TheBestIsYetToCome