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Frontier Airlines took 2 Hours From Me

Ok, I'm having trouble letting go of my recent flight delay. My new job requires me to travel most weeks. For the bulk of the summer I will be back and forth between Denver and Portland. I am enjoying Denver, sneaking up to the Rockies, starting to explore the downtown, etc. But when it is time to head for Portland, all I can think about is getting home, spending time with my wife, sleeping in my own bed, using the BBQ, walking in my park, heading to the coast. So......... When I show up at the airport and I find my flight home has been delayed, I get a bit irritated. 10 or 15 minutes I can handle, but yesterday it was over 2 hours. 2 hours of wasted, non productive time. Sure I could have pulled out my lap top and sent a few more emails, but my focus was on getting home, enjoying every precious minute I get at home before jumping another plane back to Denver.

To make matters even worse, instead of eating dinner at home I had to shell out a few bucks for dinner in the airport. Getting home at 6:30 pm is dinner with my wife, Arriving at 8:30 pm means me eating in the airport. Say good bye to $10 for a $5 meal. Pulling out of the long term parking I was hit with an additional $10. Seems I stayed just long enough to be considered a 6 day stay instead of 5. With all the added fees for bags, to the new Frontier fee of $1.99 for a can of coke, I am beginning to think there is a better way.

Many industries have a "Fee for Performance" payment system. Why not airlines? My thinking is simple, I pay a fee for an expected service, to be performed as advertised. The airlines advertise via their schedules an expected take off and arrival time. That is what I am paying for. I make my plans on either side of the schedule, based on their published schedule. I am paying for them to meet my expectation. The problem is there is no penalty for the airlines if they fail to meet my expectation. Sure I can take my business elsewhere, but does that cause the airline to think about doing things differently in the future to meet my expectations? The current system does not force them to think about quality in this area. In fact, everything about the airline industry has moved away from customer service to herding people from one airport to the next. They are no longer trying to win customers because they know that for many of us we have no choice but to fly in order to meet deadlines and expectations of our own.

So I make a simple suggestion. For every minute late to the gate, the customer, whose expectation was not met, is returned $1. Hotels comp rooms, restaurants will discount meals, products get returned to stores for refunds, when expectations aren't met. I can not return an airline ticket if it did not meet my expectation, no one offered to comp me my ticket due to my disappointment, even though I will fly each week, at least 10 more round trips, over the rest of the summer. A simple $1 per minute would get them to think about their performance, to really think about how to meet expectations. Not once was I told why there was a 2 hour delay. We all just sat nicely in the airport and waited and waited and waited. At some point a back up plane could have been rolled up to the gate, or some plan B put in place. Plan B seems to be "make the customer wait."

Looking up Frontier's flight 793 from Denver to Portland, shows on average they are 20.83 minutes delayed. Out of 106 flights from January 1 through July 5, they have a 56% on time rate. That is a little bette than 1/2 the time the do it as they planned. If I hit my financial or quality targets only 56% of the time, if I meet customer expectations only 56% of the time, I am out of a job or out of business. I get that there are things outside of their control, but isn't it their job to manage my expectations? As you can tell I am just a little frustrated because I lost 2 hours of my life yesterday, and 6 hours in 4 weeks, flying Frontier (that is both directions - to and from Denver). To bad they are the only airlines flying direct flights in the time frames I need. I obviously need them enough to keep flying despite all my lost hours.

Hoping for a change in the future.

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A Change in Weight Loss Approach

Over the last 10 years I have tried a number of different weight loss approaches. The Mediterranean Diet, South Beach Diet, P90X, Turbo Fire, and variations of all of them combined. Each time I have varying levels of success in losing weight, but after a few months I am right back to where I started. While reading South Beach, I learned the importance of eating the right types of food together to hold of diabetes. In P90X, I learned about muscle confusion and how to really get your muscles to burn calories all day long. It all makes sense, but I have a hard time working out 50-120 minutes a day. Eating mostly the same food over and over again gets old. As I took inventory of my life I had to be honest that I am a 50 year old, overweight male, who thinks he is younger than he is, works out on occasion, but can't sustain it long term, and who loves the taste of food.

In April I ran in to a friend that I didn't recognize. He had lost a great deal of weight over a three to for month period. His face had changed, his waist had changed, and he talked of feeling better (I have since heard that he has passed the 30 lbs. mark). When I asked him what he was doing he told me basically the same story I told you. Diets, exercise, temporary success. He told me he knew what he should do, he just wasn't doing it. He told me that he had down loaded a free phone app called My Fitness Pal. He uses it to keep track of his calories. If he walks into a restaurant he can type in the name and he can see what the different meals will add up to. It asked him about his activity level, his target goal, and basically told him how many calories to eat a day. He said it was working.

For the last 49 days I have been using My Fitness Pal to track my calories. I also hooked it up with Endomondo (a program that tracks my exercise), and it automatically adjusts the calories I can eat for the day based on my exercise. I kind of like gadgets and things I can use on the IPhone, and since using this app, I have dropped 21 lbs. I learned a lot while reading about the other diets I have tried. My food choices are based on the knowledge I have gained over the years, but tracking calories has been the ticket for me. I am not working out more than I used to, although I am working out some, because I travel for work I am eating out everyday and yet still losing weight.
If you have struggled like I have over the years this is worth trying, and the application is free. This is definitely helping in my battle and I think it can help you in yours

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A Quote to Get You Going

Some times it is tough for me to get out of bed to start my day. I would rather just lay back and dream about what life could be, where I could go, what I could do? I sometimes spend hours doing just that. But a quote like the one above by Zig Ziglar brings it all back into perspective. I can day dream, plan, and talk all day long, but if I don't "Start," it is all a waste of time. I aspire to be Great, that is the destination, not the requirement to step to the starting line.

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End of Life

Today I find myself pondering life and death. It has a way of sneaking into your thoughts when you are sitting bed side, listening to the slowing breaths, of a man you have known for 37 years.

This man gave me my first job, took my back packing, helped me move, painted my homes, and trusted me with his daughter. His life was full of living, being generous, and loving others. It was also full of painful knees, battling Alzheimer's and in the last year, his own frailty. As I sit next to him I wonder if he feels he lived well, if he has any unfinished business? Are there things he would like to do over or do again? Would he have taken a different career path, stayed home more, or maybe less? Did he answer all the questions he had about life, is he ready for what is next? I would ask him but he is no longer talking, not recognizing, only fighting for each breath. We are no longer counting years, months or days, we are counting hours of a man who has impacted those most important to me, each of my children, my wife, and my self. Thank you!

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Six Months to Fifty - Better Health through Diet and Exercise

It is finally time. I am six months out from my 50th birthday. With my goal being to be in better shape emotionally, spiritually, relationally, professionally, and physically, than I was when I hit 40, I don't have much time to get everything in order. Most of them I can say I have made some good progress, but physically is my challange. I have 180 days to get to 180lbs.
That means I have to drop 54 lbs in 6 months. That is about 9 lbs a month. I say it is doable as long as I have a plan and I stick to it.

So today I dusted off P90X, and two days ago started on SouthBeach Diet again. Both of these have worked well in the past. My problem is I get to about 200 lbs and I quit, or I get tired of hearing Tony Horton talk on the workout video. I need to figure out how to move into a lifestyle of health and wellness. So once again I launch towards a goal. This one is worth meeting.

One Man's Battle

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“You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough.”
― Mae West

I love this quote! Here is to living life right.

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Healthy Grocery Shopping

After two years I have the routine down. Nine months without kids I am getting the quantity part down. Now I just have to get the calorie/nutrition part right. Today's list is nothing but fruit, veggies and some chicken.

This is my current battle to be healthy

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Trust Yourself

"As soon as you trust yourself, you will know how to live." - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Decision making has always been hard for me on a personal level. I can make decisions all day at work. I set the direction for the team and facility, I hire, I fire, I determine how to spend our resources. But, come home and even choosing what to eat can stop me dead in my tracks. It really has never bothered me. I surround myself with people at home to make the choices of what movie to see,what to do on the weekend, and even which direction to walk at night. But now the kids are gone, and my wife is heading to Spokane for the summer to study. I am left with the realization that I will have to decide how to use my time, what to feed myself, whether or not to go out to a bar with friends. It's not that I can't make these choices, it's that I am afraid I will make a wrong choice, a bad choice, a choice that will cause people to question my motives and thinking process. For all practical purposes I don't trust myself to make the decision that I think everyone else would be most happy and supportive of me making.

You see, many years back I found it easier to do what you (and i use "you" collectively) wanted, think what you wanted me to think, go where you wanted me to go. It became all about making others happy because it created less conflict, promoted harmony, reduced problems. What I failed to realize, was that each time I did this I lost a little more touch with myself. I remembered less about what was important to me, what made me feel alive, what I was passionate about. I stopped thinking about me on a personal level and now I find myself unable to trust that I can make a good decision for me. I don't want to make the decision that I think you want me to make anymore. I want to make that decision which is best for me, the one i know will put a smile on my face, that will take me in the direction I need to go. I want to exercise my ability to think freely and chose rightly for me. I need to trust that I can make good decisions for myself and as the quote says, i will know how to live. It's time for me to grow up in this area of my life. Look out world, here I come.

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Portland MS Walk 2012

This year I have joined up with friends and family to participate in the MS Walk. On April 14th, thirty of us from Avamere Rehab of King City will be making a difference by raising money to defeat MS. You can view my Personal Web Sight by clicking this link. You can join us by making a small donation.

Thanks for your help

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The Story of Our Lives

I came across the video below as i was processing some issues in my life. The video is short and simple, and looks at the story that each of us create with our lives. It finishes by asking the simple question -Did you enjoy your story? By that I take it to mean the story of our own life. It seems like there is much in life that is unenjoyable. Should our goal be to enjoy as much as possible, and what do we do with those things that keep us from enjoying, or cause pain, do we discard them and remove them from our lives? These are some of the questions I am thinking through today.

A Story of Tomorrow

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Looking for Happiness

"People spend a lifetime searching for happiness;
looking for peace.
They chase idle dreams, addictions, religions,
even other people,
hoping to fill the emptiness that plagues them.
The irony is the only place they ever needed to search was within."
~Ramona L. Anderson (1887-1949)American writer

As I was playing around on my IPad the other day, wasting time and trying to at least feel productive, I came across a post in Facebook from a friend of mine Mitch. I don't know if it was the great sunset in his profile picture or the fact that the post was from someone I find interesting, but I quit flicking my finger long enough to read the quote by Ramona Anderson.

I have to tell you, I hate it when a quote speaks into my life and this one definitely did. It got me thinking about my pursuits and the reasons for them. It started me questioning why I involve myself in certain things or behaviors. Is it truly a pursuit of happiness, or drilling down a little deeper, is it my attempt to make myself feel good, or, not feel bad? Why do I hangout with people, watch movies, work so hard, drink, smoke cigars, etc... Is it to try to make myself feel good, feel important, escape feeling lonely, insignificant, unloved or unlovable? Why is it that I define happiness based on external things like number of Facebook friends I have, how many nights I am out of the house, my job title, the car I drive, how many people I make laugh or smile? These aren't bad things, but if they are what I base happiness on, I will start out each morning having to score happiness point in order to define myself as happy for that day. How miserable to start each morning as unhappy, and have to work towards happiness, and who defines how many points you must score to be happy.

Ramona suggests that happiness is not externally driven, but internally based. I have to be honest, I have a hard time with this thinking. I don't always like to look inside and "cultivate the soul, or practice self care, or tend to the issues within." isn't that for introverts, not extroverts. That's the stuff of Psychologists, HR managers, etc... Those who are CEO's or oversee large groups of people, or must out perform the world everyday of the week, can't look inside. I don't know how to define happiness internally. Is it a feeling? I was told feelings aren't always reality. Is it a inner voice? I was told that could be the voices of past fear and doubt, or my elementary school teacher telling me I wasn't coordinated (thanks Mrs. Smith). But it does make more sense that happiness is a state of being rather than an endless pursuit. It is something you know instead of a destination on a map.

Obviously, I have no answers only thought, and that is what looking inward is all about for me. If you have any thoughts or input please add it to my blog or Facebook. May you experience happiness today. I am going to the Brewfest to contemplate.

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Insanity Workout Day 25 - Cardio Recovery

The alarm started to ring, it was already 5:30. How could that be? I hit the snooze and somehow hoped another 10 minutes would do the trick. It didn't! As I turned of the alarm I went through my checklist ritual. Rolling my ankles, contracting my calves, then my quads, and on up the body. As I went I kept telling myself it's recovery workout, no cardio. Throwing on my shorts I head downstairs to focus on a better me. How is it that deep breathing feels like work, deep muscle work, squats, pulses, just add to making me sweat. Yet, somehow half way through I start to feel better, looser, still tired, but my body feels good and I am once again glad that I didn't stay in bed.

Tip for the day: push yourself to get up and workout. You will be glad you did.

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Insanity Workout Day 24 - Cardio Circuit

Still hurting after this mornings workout. Legs feel tired and so do I.

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Insanity Workout Day 23 - Power Cardio

It is so nice when you see improvement from one week to the next. I am jumping higher and longer, I am pushing harder, I am smiling bigger. Still, I am not ready to star in Shaun T's next video. 23 days of Insanity Workouts and going strong. I am not seeing much weight loss, I have been stuck around 214 since my initial 5 lbs drop, but if I am in the process of trading fat for muscle, I should see some change happen soon.

I am still having fun and that is what matters most to me. I am into a daily workout routine that I want to sustain not only for the 60 days of Insanity, but for the next 360 days and ultimately the rest of my life.

Today's Tip - enjoy yourself, even if it is just listening to the music. 38 minutes goes by so fast.

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Insanity Workout Day 22 - Pure Cardio/Cardio Abs

I decided to do it a bit different today. I did the Cardio this morning, and the abs tonight. I figured why not. It looks like the guys on the video are starting fresh. So before I went to work i hit the cardio hard. I am pushing more and feeling it more. I keep wondering if these workouts will ever seem easy. All the squats, lunges and jumping is really starting to change the way my legs are looking and feeling.

Coming back tonight to do abs was tough. I had to force myself to put on the shorts and shoes and begin the warm ups. However, once I started I was glad I did. I completed much more of the workout and 20 minutes later am still feeling it in my gut.

Today's lesson- its not a bad idea to split the workouts. You'll feel stronger and able to go longer. 22 days down and getting closer to the finish line.

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Insanity Workout Day 21 - Day Off

Day 21 and a much needed day off. My knees are sore, I've felt sluggish, and while I would have pushed another day, it's nice to not have to. I am 1/3rd of the way through the Insanity Program, and I have noticed some changes. While I am not dropping pounds like I did I'm P90X last year, I am watching my gut shrink. The love handles are decreasing, I am down to the last notches on my belt, and my legs are toning up. Not to shabby for a 48 year old guy. What I am most excited with is the fact that for 21 days I have stayed with the program. I have picked a good time of day to do the workouts, I haven't been traveling, and things seem to have just nicely dropped into place.

While I wish I was seeing more than a 6 pound drop for all the hard work, my real goal is fitness. I have a goal to climb Mt. Hood with my wife when she turns 50. I also want to do the second half of life better than the first half. So far, so good. Here's to the next 21 days.

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