No time for sex on the beach!

Went down to have a coffee at the library yesterday and read the daily paper.  You can’t beat the prices since both are free.  On the first page of the local section of the news, I noticed the following headline:  “Nude beach is no party for the DNR:  Arrests for drugs, lewd activity up; woods in surrounding area close.”  Reading further, I was shocked and appalled to find that couples at this beach in Wisconsin were actually taking their clothes off and then going into the woods to have “OMG, Sex.”  One bystander noted “I don’t know what fun they get out of that.”  The woods just north of Mazomanie, Wisconsin “includes a naturally secluded beach that offers spectacular views of the surrounding forests and bluffs.” Evidently, it strikes some folks as a good place to spend an afternoon.
I could not believe what I reading.  What kind of perverts, what kind of weird obscene people, what kind of misanthropes would have sex in such a place?  I had to see this for myself. I grabbed my Bushnell 4000-500x high resolution binoculars and jumped in my car to drive down to Mazomanie.  I yelled to Karen as I left, “be back in a while, I am going to see some perverts.”  It did not take me long to get there. I pulled up quietly behind a rise overlooking the beach where I hoped I would not be noticed.  I slithered up the hill and slowly raised my head.  I spied one nude couple who were talking to each other. They looked promising. I adjusted my Bushnell 4000-500x high resolution binoculars and waited. Sure enough, after about an hour of talking, the couple lay down and started kissing. I was very disappointed since I had hoped for more.  However, I kept my focus on them and sure enough, a short while later; they both got up and headed for the woods. I could not believe it.  They were going to have sex in the woods.  I adjusted my Bushnell 4000-500x high resolution binoculars to the maximum power.  I was flabbergasted. I was appalled! I was insulted! I was speechless! Due to the nature of this blog, I cannot tell you what they were doing but it was sinful.
Can you imagine!  What if a little child walked by and had some binoculars like mine?  What if an elderly couple was taking a walk in the woods and they came upon this fornicating couple?  What If some stargazers with high power telescopes were looking in the wrong direction and they saw this obscene act.  What could such people be thinking?  Where is their sense of propriety?  What did they think God made beds for?  I rushed back home to tell Karen what I had seen.
“Karen, Karen, I yelled as I arrived home. You would not believe it. They were having sex in the woods and they had no clothes on.”  Karen replied “What’s the big deal; people have sex in the movies all the time and what about those sexy X-rated films you like. They show people having sex without clothes on.  Most of TV is about sex these days as well. Why would anyone get upset about someone having sex?”

“Karen, you don’t understand.  Those are actors and actresses.  This was the real thing.  They were really doing it.”  “Come with me I said, and I will show you.”  Karen said, “I have a better idea, why don’t we jump in bed and you can show me there?”  I did not think she was taking me seriously so I told her later and went on to my computer.   I wanted to look up “pornography” and see if anyone had encountered a similar situation to the problem we are having in Mazomanie, Wisconsin. Perhaps, some other community had the same kind of perverts we have in Wisconsin and have found a solution to the problem. 
As I was surfing the web, I found additional information on the Mazomanie nude beach problem.  The DNR has now closed down portions of the beach flanking the road. It has also recruited wardens to hide in the woods and bluffs to observe the beach.  They have set up high powered telescopes in hopes of “curtailing sex in the woods.”  The DNR spokesperson said that with increased surveillance, they would be able to keep people in full view and hopefully decrease incidences of lewd behavior. Several DNR agents had volunteered for the job.  I thought maybe I should call them and see if they needed more help.  I also have several friends who might be interested.  After all, my Bushnell 4000-500x high powered binoculars are state of the art equipment. I could see perverts almost a mile away with them. 
I was interrupted while sending in an application by Karen who noted that supper was ready and that we could watch TV while eating.  I said well “Should we watch old episodes on Hulu of Desperate Housewives and Sex in the City or new episodes of GCB, Smash, Girls, Apartment 23, or Mad Men?”  Karen said “haven’t you had enough sex for one day, how about we watch some old reruns of the Mousketeers.”  I said “that sounds like a great idea. Annette Funicello was really hot in those days.” 

What does it mean to be a hypocrite?  How come we are obsessed with sex but real sex offends so many of us?  What is unnatural about “sex in the woods?”  Do we secretly want to have wild risqué sex but need to keep up appearances of decorum and sanctimonious eschewal of the real thing?  What could the DNR do to better spend our tax money?  Would you like to buy a pair of high powered 4000-500x Bushnell binoculars cheap?  

Anticipation time can help you to plan your life more effectively!

Anticipation time is that time when we are waiting for something to happen.  It is when we know in advance that something will happen.  Whether it is good or bad, when we are anticipating something, it can seem like forever.  Time can move very slowly when we are in an anticipatory mood. Those of us who like to plan may try to control these events.  I have been accused of being overly controlling.  My excuse is that I am a strategic planner and that is my nature. I plan my vacations two to three years ahead. I love the anticipation.
For instance, Karen (my spouse) and I had decided to go to Peru a few years ago. It was fun for me to visualize what it would be like to climb Machu Picchu and to take the train in Peru. I was anticipating that we would take a small boat ride up the Amazon River. In my mind, everything worked fine.  I anticipated no problems.  Guess what. Everything worked exactly as I visualized and anticipated it would.  I planned my first overseas trip twenty five years ago.  Since the first, Karen and I have gone on 20 trips to 33 different countries. Each trip was planned more than two years in advance.  We post pictures of where we want to go, buy books, get maps, contact people, get local newspapers and get more and more excited as the day draws near.  In many ways, our anticipatory time goes very fast.  There are so many details and so much to work out to make sure that everything goes as we anticipate. And so far, all of our trips have gone exactly as planned and each one has been more fun and interesting than the last.  I am now planning a trip to South Africa for next year.
However, regardless of how much we try to control the time in our lives, there are inevitably events we cannot control.  On Monday morning, your boss says “I want to see you in my office on Friday.”  Your annual performance evaluation, an important presentation or an upcoming court date are just a few of the many different events that will create “anticipatory time” in our lives. Some of these events will not be ones that we would choose.  These will create “negative” anticipatory time.  I call this the time we have to wait that is not fun and that creates stress in our lives.  Positive anticipatory time may also go slow but it is time that is fun to think about and where we are anxious for the time to move fast.  In both cases, we want the time to go by but in one case, it is with positive anticipation and the other with negative anticipation.
What do you like to anticipate in your life? Are you in control over your anticipations or do you just go with the flow? Would more planning help you to have more fun with anticipation?  What can you do to minimize the “negative” anticipation in your life?  Are you leading the type of balanced life that helps to minimize stress and problems?  If not, how can you get more balance in your life?  A balanced life will have less negative and more positive anticipatory time. 

Today is the best day in the entire world history!

This is the best time in the world.  Today is the best day in the world.  There has never been another day that is better than right now. There is no better time than October 2, 2012.  Perhaps it might seem foolish to make such a claim. Perhaps tomorrow it might sound foolish. To some it will always sound foolish.  There are those who might say it is looking at the world with rose colored glasses. Others might attribute it to a foolish optimism.  Very few would see it as a statement of realism.  It will never be possible to prove it as a statement of fact.  Yet, it determines to a large extent what we do with our lives and what we attempt to do in the world. My view of the world today will affect most of the things that happen to me today and of course my attitude tonight whether or not this was a great day. 
A few weeks ago when we were traveling back home, we stopped in Austin to visit my wife’s son.  He found a job down there about a year ago and Karen had not seen Kevin in nearly a year.  While Karen was visiting Kevin, we stayed in a nice room with a kitchenette. I went to the local Wal-Mart to pick up some deli items. There was a young man behind the counter and we greeted each other. He sounded very cheerful and I asked him if he was having a nice day.  He replied “I am always having a nice day.” I said, oh, you must be feeling healthy and happy when you can make such a statement. He said “No, I don’t need to be healthy.  I get up each morning and as long as I am alive, healthy or not, I am going to have a nice day.”  I left with my goodies but I could not forget this young man’s attitude.  Neither health nor working at a rather low paying job was going to affect his view of life and the world.  I have always declared a nice day as one where I woke up feeling  healthy and he took it a step further as one where he simply work up. 
When you believe that the world feels wonderful, it changes your whole perspective on life.  On the days when I can grasp this thought, there is no other place I want to be. Things are going just right, all is well.  I feel healthy, happy and contented.  I am not unhappy with the right wing or left wing or chaos anywhere in the world.  I can just accept the world for what it is.  It is a wonderful feeling.  I sometimes wish the feeling could last forever.  I think of the quote from Dickens that: “this is the best of all possible worlds.”  Where else could I go? 
 If we look around us, we can see a beautiful place full of beautiful people and extraordinary places and opportunities. Of course, we can see the opposite if we are minded to.  There will always be war, hatred, killing and violence. It is part of human nature.  But are you part of the problem or part of the solution?  If you are not doing your share to end the problems of the world, why complain about them?  Take some time to end violence, to end poverty and to end war.  But for today, try to find only the good out there.  
See if you can find three things that make you happy or three good things that you like about the world.  Try to be aware today of the good things in your life. Write them down and look at them again when you wake up tomorrow. See if you can feel why this is the best of all possible times and today is the best of all possible days.  Tomorrow will be even better.  Can you make the choice?  

Before and After

Before and After!  How many times have you seen these words and the accompanying pictures?  Indeed it is difficult to go to a grocery store without seeing the ubiquitous ads glaring at us from the front of a dozen magazines while we wait at the checkout register.  Young and old, fat and skinny, powerful and weak, six packs versus no packs, hair versus no hair, there is no end to the changes we can make in our lives if we only will adopt their 100 percent proven guaranteed money back easy to apply secrets that cost pennies per week.
Before and After!  After and After!  In just six weeks, with our new diet, program, tapes, books, routine, etc. you too can become a model for our next “Before and After” ad.  You will be slimmer, smarter, stronger, faster, happier and live longer. You will have more friends, a better marriage, children to make your neighbors envy you and a love life that never stops.  Why wait, start now.  It only takes six weeks.  Motivation does not matter. Effort does not matter.  The secret is with our proven methods. 

Does anyone know when they first saw such ads?  I remember seeing them when I joined the Air Force over 45 years ago. I would bet the first ads went back to the time of Moses.  I imagine some enterprising Egyptians were selling the Israelites dreams of what the Promised Land would be like.  “Now you are slaves, but in only six weeks, with our powerful mind control techniques, you can be free like us. For just a few shekels, free yourself from the mind of a slave and enjoy life in the Promised Land. Thousands of other slaves have benefited from our free money back offer of happiness.” 
Recent evidence, which seems to keep repeating itself in study after study, shows that most good things in life take more than six weeks to obtain. In fact, you and I both know that most good things take more than six months and even six years to obtain.  We know this but we become seduced by our dreams for overnight success and instant results.  Dr. Deming used to say that managers wanted instant pudding and that was why there were so many faddish management programs in vogue.  That is why credit cards become so popular.  Why buy on lay away, when you can have it now?  Instant pudding, overnight success, instant gratification, weight loss without hard work, abs of steel with no burn and pain; these delusions blind us to the reality that we know but don’t want to accept. 
There is no overnight success.  There is no gain without hard effort.  Instant dreams of “Before and After” blind us to the reality of life.  The “Law of Effort” is as much a law of life as any physical laws that exist. You do not get something without giving something. The more you get, the more you must give. The more you want to change, the more changes you must make. The more weight you want to lose, the more calories you must expend.
“But why wait, with our new formula, you can burn calories while you sleep and wake up looking like a super model or a super hero.”

Could it be possible?  Hope springs eternal in the human breast. However, hope must be tempered by some firm realities. To repeat, you cannot get something for nothing in this world.  Money does not buy anything but a new coach or trainer.  YOU must still be the one to put up the effort.  This is a message that if everyone really understood and accepted would erase all of those seductive magazine ads that portray a false picture of reality.  These ads are dangerous because they promote unrealistic dreams of life.  
Most people last anywhere from six weeks to six months on any given program and then they give up.  Ask anyone at your local gym if you don’t believe me.  Conditioned to think that they only need to work six weeks or to find the right program, most people do not start out with the right attitude.  They subscribe to the wrong set of premises; a set of premises that doom most people to failure.  But would anyone buy a program that said “It will take you anywhere from six months to six years to fully realize the benefits of this program and you will have to work hard at it five or six days per week.  In fact, you may have to work at it the rest of your entire life.”  And by the way, “You will never look like Jessica Alba or Brad Pitt.” 
You say no.  People would never change if they realized the true effort that would be involved, but I say we need to tell the truth.  If there were not so much money in these phoney commercials, there would be less lies.  I think perhaps there would be more people who would give up their day dreams of overnight success.  I am not saying there would not be dreams but they should be dreams that have a real chance of success. Dreams based on faulty premises such as overnight success only doom the bearer to failure. I want more people to be smarter, happier, slimmer, stronger and to live longer. I believe it is possible if our dreams are based on a realistic plan of success and not some fairy tale dreamed up by some greedy Wall Street marketer. 
Do you have dreams of before and after?  Are your dreams followed by the effort you need to make them a reality? Can you dream and still be realistic in the work you need to make your dreams come true?  Maybe you do not dream enough or maybe you do not put enough effort into making your dreams a reality, which is it for you? 

Can you run your time away?

Run time!  No, this is not the run time for my computer.  This is my personal running time.  I have been running regularly for 35 years.  On the average, I run about 5 times a week and about 3 to 4 miles each run.  I am still waiting for the runners “high” where I can feel nothing but blissful peace. I really enjoy running but through the years, there have been numerous pains and hurts to overcome.  It seems to get harder running in the winter.  I suppose running is a great deal like life, it has its ups and downs and it only gets better when we keep working at it.  There are no magical highs (except for temporary ones on drugs) but in general, the pleasure I get from running out weighs the pain.  
I no longer try to increase my running speed or my distances. I will not be an Olympic marathoner nor am I training for my 101st marathon. I like to say I am a “maintenance” runner.  That means my schedule is set up to maintain my present level of fitness.  For my age, I am in reasonably good health.  I am five foot eight inches tall and I weigh about 150 lbs.  I feel good and have not been to surgery or to the doctor for anything serious yet in my life. I pray it will remain the same for the next ten years.  I suppose like many people I avoid going to the doctor unless I have to.  I will have my first physical next Wednesday in five years. Karen said she was remiss in letting me skate for so long.  
What does running have to do with time?  I find that by doing “maintenance” running, I notice my running times go in cycles with the seasons.  I run more in the late summer and fall and less in the winter and spring. At first I was worried at these dips in my “maintenance” schedule.  Then, I read that it is natural to go with a cycle and that it lets my body recover.  Just like winter allows the earth to recover before it starts to bud out in spring and emerge more glorious in summer.  As each year progresses, I find that I am running farther and farther and enjoying it more and more. As winter sets in again, I slow down and with the shorter days, my runs become shorter and shorter.  Spring is when I start feeling like increasing my runs and distance.  My body and running seem to respond to the same cycles as the earth. 
Have you ever found a cycle to your life? What activities or efforts in your life seem cyclical?  Do you fight your cycles or do you allow yourself to “go with the flow.”  How have cycles made a difference in your life? Would better managing your natural cycles improve your life?  

Does Love last forever?

Call me Cynic!  I am sorry but I am not a believer in everlasting love.  When I go to weddings and see the “happily” married couples with stars in their eyes and passion in their hearts, I wonder how long it will be until the divorce.  What many people regard as love is little more than infatuation and naiveté.  We begin our romance with delusions of how wonderful this person makes us feel, how much we enjoy being with them, endless nights of passion and a lifetime of love without strings attached.  Somewhere along the way for all too many couples today, this fantasy of love changes.  Our blemish free partner suddenly develops warts, demands start increasing, passionate nights of love making become less and less frequent.  At some point, we begin to have doubts as to what we really saw in this person.  Did we really make the right choice?  What were we thinking? 
Well, you are probably thinking about what a miserable person I am right now. How can I say these things about love and marriage?  Perhaps all my relationships have been terrible but yours certainly would not be.  What world is he living in?  I suppose  I could point to my present 23 year marriage to Karen as some evidence of my experience in this matter but you could simply say “Yes, but it sounds like you are pretty unhappy.” Actually, that is not the case.  I have never been happier or more in love with Karen then I am now.  We started dating in 1983, married in 1989 and will have our 24th wedding anniversary in September.  I submit some people stay married simply because of duty or loyalty but that is not my case.  To be perfectly honest, I do believe in the possibility of living “happily ever after.”  Call me Idealist!   This is not the same as everlasting love. 
Next weekend, I will attend my former employer Lou Schultz, who is now my good friend and his wife Kay’s 50 anniversary.  I could not be happier for Lou and Kay. Throughout all the years I have known Lou, he has worked hard for whatever he has obtained.  Nothing was simply given to Lou nor would he expect the world to simply take care of him.  Lou served in the Marine Corp with honor and subsequently built a very successful career with Control Data.  Not content to simply pick up a paycheck and put his time in, Lou struck out on his own in the early 80’s and took the risk of starting his own company.  Lou and Kay put up a great deal of their savings to start PMI.  During the 80’s and early 90’s, PMI was one of the most successful quality consulting firms in the industry.  Kay continued to work to help support the effort and Lou put in many 60-80 hour work weeks.  The same hard work and dedication that Lou put into the company, Lou put into his marriage.  Thus, next week they will celebrate their fiftieth anniversary. Call me Realist!
At PMI, I learned from Lou and others, that most of life is a process.  There are ups and downs, ins and outs and normal variation in day to day levels of quality and satisfaction.  I submit that true love is really like that.  It is a process. You must feed and nurture it. You must work at it and you must expect ups and downs.  Some days, you will feel more loved and closer than ever before. If you continually work on your process, you will find the ups and downs become less severe and you will find your overall “quality” levels increasing in a steady upward trend. Meaning you will begin to have more and more a deepening sense of love for your partner. In team building, we describe the process of team development as going through four stages. The first stage is Forming when the group begins and selects it rules and leaders.  The second stage is Stormingwhen the group starts challenging the rules and power struggles break out.  The third state is Norming when standards and expectations begin to be understood and the group begins to really work together. The fourth and final stage is Performing when the team is really working on task and accomplishing its objectives in a unified and cohesive manner.  It has finally become a real team. 
I believe love may go through similar stages for many of us.  At least for those of us who are willing to stick it out past the Storming stage instead of heading off to Divorce Court.  However, unlike a team which is only formed for a short period of time, our marriage or our relationships are “teams” that we want to form for life.  The implication or consequence of this decision is that: Forming, Storming, Norming and Performing may become part of our overall cycle of process improvement.  Love grows as a result of sticking to this process and continuing to build trust and loyalty with our partner.  It is all too easy to give up on them and to look for someone else who better meets our expectations.  Keep in mind that these expectations are most likely the same ones that your former lover once filled. However, since you have never understood the idea of Love as a Process, your desire is to simply fulfill that fantasy of love which still exists in your mind.  You go out again hoping to find Mr. or Ms. Right. This is the only person in the world who can satisfy your dreams and hopes of everlasting and effortless free love.  What you are really in love with is yourself and you are looking for a mirror to reflect that love back to you. This might happen for a short time but eventually and inevitably, your dream partner begins to have dreams of their own.  The “Mirror Mirror on the Wall” will someday tell you that you are not the “The fairest of them all.”  And thus the cycle of disillusionment starts again. 
Are you in love today or in passion?  Are you a cynic, an idealist or a realist about love?  Do you work at your relationships or do they just happen?  What could you do to apply the ideas of Forming, Storming, Norming and Performing to your relationships?  What do you think it would take to put more love in your life?  

What is the true value of time?

Polls show Americans like instant gratification. A recent AP Poll showed that Americans are an impatient bunch. We get antsy after a few minutes on hold; we hate to wait in grocery stores or in airports.  Older people are more impatient than younger people.  People in the country are just a little more patient than city people but not by much.  This poll was based on 1003 adults.  Most people answered they felt more time poor than money poor.  Benjamin Franklin said that time was money and many of us take this truth to heart.
The findings from this AP Poll will probably not surprise anyone but it is significant in that today we are beginning to value time more than money.  Economic theory or the Law of supply and Demand says that the scarcer something is the more valuable it will be.  If we now have less time than money, then time will become proportionally more valuable to us.  People who can afford SUV BMW’s and other such luxuries may have a surplus of money but there are only 24 hours in a day.  I have often noted that time and money are like matter and energy, they are interchangeable.  The more money you have, the more time you have because you can pay people to do things that you don’t want to do. If you have time and no money, you can just do them yourself.  Of course, that oversimplifies the relationship between time and money, since you have to spend time to get money.  
Another comparison of time to matter and energy is that no matter who you are or how much money you have, the time you have is fixed.  Just like matter and energy are fixed, so is the amount of time in any given day and perhaps in any given life.  No matter how rich you are, you cannot buy another minute in a day or another second in your life. You may work overtime to acquire more toys or to display a luxury lifestyle image but rich or poor you share the same amount of time each day as everyone else. Time will become more and more precious while the things in your life will soon lose their luster.  Bling only blings so long and then goes out of style.  A short life does not always equate to a cosmic sense of justice and perhaps the length of our lives is more random that we would like to believe.  The good do not always die young but neither do the bad.  
What is the true value of your time?  What if you wanted less? What if you spent less time shopping and buying and acquiring things?  Would you be happier with less things and more time?  How does buying and spending keep you from enjoying your time and relaxing more?  How does owning so many toys affect your life?  What if you adopted the virtue of frugality?  Would you trade your things for more time to spend with those you love?  Would your life be happier if it were simpler? 

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