Loss of a Great Man

Dennis Lee Buckley, August 17, 1941 – April 25, 2008

“Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm”  – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Dad was enthusiastic about many things. The Raiders. Collecting pens and ball caps. Bowling. But more than anything else, he was enthusiastic about his family. And when you look at us, you can see the closeness we share, the strong bond we’ve built, and you can see that greatness was achieved.

I always looked up to Dad. I wanted to be like him. He was in the Air Force, so as a child I wanted to be a jet pilot. Later on, when he took up woodworking as a hobby, I wanted to learn as much as I could about that as well. He always wanted the best for us and gave us everything that he had.

Thank you Dad for being kind, gentle and understanding.

Thank you for being silly and having a sense of humor.

Thank you for teaching me to be a gentleman

Thank you Dad, for encouraging me to do well in school and get a college education.

Thank you for showing me that family and love are the most important things in life.

Thank you Dad, for giving me the blueprints for what a good father is.

I’m proud of Dad. Proud of his life’s service to our country and his life’s devotion to our family. I’ve strived to follow his example in order to make him proud of me in return and I know that I have.

Dad will always be with me in the things he taught me, the memories I have of him, and the life lessons that I will now pass on.

“Only a life lived for others is a life worthwhile”  – Albert Einstein

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Candy Mountain

This video makes me laugh every time I see it. A friend introduced it to me and I’ve tried to share it with everyone I know. People either love it or hate it.

If you love it, joooooyyyyy!!!!

If you hate it, shhhuuuunnnnn the non-believers!

The Pre-Pre-Proposal

Let’s take a step backwards to Superbowl Sunday…romantic, I know.

So we’re sitting on my couch watching the game (not really paying attention though) with my buddy Stephen. Talking, joking, generally having a good time. Denice is playing with a box of those candy hearts with the words on them, you know, they say things like “luv u,” “fax me,” “be mine.” Well she finds one that reads “marry me.” She handed it to me and said, “this is what you’ll ask me someday.” My immediate response was, “you’re right, I will.” I think she thought I was just playing along, but I really meant it. I whispered to her that I wanted to tell her something later. The whispering was so that Stephen wouldn’t hear because he was already about to vomit at how cutsie Denice and I were being.

So later on, after the game and after Stephen had left, we revisited the whisper. I remember looking deep into her eyes (I get lost in them quite often) and said in a very matter-of-fact tone, “I’m going to marry you.” This led into an entire conversation about how we had both been thinking the other was “the one.” Yea! It felt so good to be on the same page and have those feelings reciprocated.

When you know, you just know, so why wait? Exactly one week later I was buying a ring and asking her father for her hand in marriage. More on that next time…

The Proposal

I have never been more nervous or anxious in my entire life than I was today.

I awoke feeling anxious and the anxiety just continued to build until I could barely speak, my hands were shaking uncontrollably and I thought my heart was going to explode out of my chest. All this anxiety over asking my sweetheart just one question. One question that would change both of our lives forever…”will you marry me?”

She said YES! I knew that she would and yet I was still so anxious. A celebratory shot of Stoli Razz was definitely in order to calm the nerves. And my hands still shook for about two hours after popping the question.

But now there is a sense of relief. Finally we can relax. The life altering proposal had been hanging over our heads all week. Ever since I spoke to her parents, old school style, and asked for her hand in marriage last weekend. Now we can get back to being ourselves and just enjoy it and each other. Neither of us could stop smiling all day. I know I’ll be smiling all week.

I can now call Denice, my fiance. It feels odd to say it in regards to me and my life. It’s always been a word referring to other people’s lives. It feels good to say it and is so odd at the same time.

Anyway, enough for now. I am exhausted. I will have to blog later with details of the past week…the conversation between her father and I, the ring shopping experience, the waiting for the ring to be ready, the proposal preparation…so much has happened.

Oh, random thought, one to blog about also…I rode a horse for the first time yesterday. Good times!

Life Happens Fast

I haven’t blogged for awhile. Life has come at me so quickly over the past few weeks that I just didn’t have time to share it with the world. Here are some recent and random highlights from my life.

This weekend was really the first time I’ve had to sit down, do nothing for a bit and process what’s been happening all around me, to me, in my head and in my heart. To follow-up on my last blog, “A Love So Deep,” everything has worked out perfectly. We are both so happy and looking forward to a lifetime together. My worries and fears have been resolved and now I feel a strange sense of calm. I’m following my heart and have taken my own advice (as well as that of others) to live for today. There are no guarantees in life and we might not be here tomorrow so live with no regrets (easier said than done).

Valentine’s day is fast approaching and I’m actually excited about it this time around. I’ve never been a fan of the retail world forcing me to spend twice as much for flowers, chocolates and jewelry just because it’s February. This year however, I’m okay with it.

New catch phrase for West Coast Tri, “Do something about it.” This works in so many situations…you want to do a triathlon, you hate your job, you’re overweight, you’re unhappy in a relationship, your car keeps breaking down, your dog pees in your closet everyday, you don’t like my blog…”do something about it.” We all have control over our own lives. We just need a reminder to take action. T-shirts will be available soon at www.westcoasttri.com.

My buddy has decided to join the CHP. Told him he has to grow a mustache and wear aviator sunglasses starting now. I’ve been trying to help him prepare for the physical training assessment. We went out to El Cap High School to run at their track because one of his tests is a 500yd run. To pass he must finish under 2:30min. I beat him of course. Finished in 1:45! That’s just over a 5 1/2 min mile. Not too shabby if I have to say so myself.

I feel like there’s so much more to tell, but we’ll save some for next time (have to keep you coming back somehow). 😛

A Love So Deep

Have you ever loved someone so much that it hurts? So much, so deeply and so quickly that you scare yourself?

These feelings of a love so strong have been the cause of much of my recent stress. Over the past few days I’ve been on a rollercoaster of emotions. I’ve experienced the highest highs and the lowest lows. In addition to my newly found bitterness toward my employer, trying to start my own business, the normal stresses of paying bills and being a responsible adult, I’ve fallen completely and madly in love. So much in love that I can’t believe it’s real. Everything feels so perfect that it just can’t be true. I decide to trust my heart and then I thought I lost it all.

Our relationship started out slowly. Some harmless hanging out just getting to know one another. I thought we would most likely only become good friends. After about a week however, it just exploded into full blown falling in love. Suddenly I couldn’t stop thinking about her. We were spending hours and hours of time together every day. I found myself daydreaming of a future together. My rational side told me we could work together because we have similar likes and dislikes, sense of humor, family values, active lifestyles, and on and on. Emotionally, she made me so happy I felt she could be the one. Wow! That’s when it got scary (you have to take into account that I went from “hanging out” to thinking “forever” in a little under a month).

What scared me was my insecurities. Wondering if she felt the same as I did. How do I know? Sure, we both had said we love each other, but did she mean it to the same extent I did? How much is this going to hurt if it doesn’t work out? Why am I worrying about it not working out? How did this become so serious in such a short time? Why did I let myself get so attached so soon? Ahhhh! The thoughts just came racing uncontrollably into my mind. And then it happened…

I’ll save you from the details, but the gist of the situation is that I got so caught up in my mind with all of my thoughts that I missed something very important to my new love and in doing so deeply hurt her feelings. In and of itself, it might not have been a big issue. But when put into context of “scary because this might be the one” and on top of all  of our individual stress factors, it became a crisis.

It appeared to me that my new road to happiness was about to deadend. She was so upset she was ready to walk away from it all. That single thought crushed me. I care so much about this woman, that the thought of losing her and not having her in my life destroyed me. I couldn’t speak the words I wanted, needed, to say. It felt like my world was spinning out of control. I felt helpless, lost and alone. Somehow I was able to keep her from walking out the door that night and slowly the spinning came under control. We both regained our footing and took a small step toward each other. Then another. And another.  

Turns out she was in the same place as me. Scared of how well everything had been going and just waiting for it all to come crashing down. Scared to the point of trying to run away rather than face the potential for future heartbreak. Unconciously, we were both dissecting every bit of information trying to find a flaw. A reason to run away. Fortunately, we were able to talk about it openly and honestly. The crisis has passed and we are even closer now having survived it.

Can we ever really know if this love will last forever? I don’t know. Does it just feel so right that it’s still a bit scary? Yes. However, I’m confidant that this is a real and lasting love. It’s touched me at my core and I’m trusting my heart to lead me forward.

Corporate Pawn: Part 2

Another week has come and gone. I’m in the same place at work with the same problems. Yet now I have a new perspective and a fresh outlook.

Last Monday, my DM and RVP were supposed to visit my club. It was going to be my opportunity to ask the big questions that had been on my mind and hopefully get some straight answers. Specifically in regards to status of the manager trainee program so I can hire and train a replacement for myself in order for them to allow me to be promoted (their condition). To no surprise, the RVP had more important things to do and never showed up. My DM stopped by and left without allowing me a chance to talk to him. He thought he had escaped. Knowing very well that his cell phone is never out of arms’ reach, I called him immediately after his departure. “Hey boss, I didn’t get a chance to talk to you while you were here. I have a couple of questions for you, do you have a minute?”

The ensuing conversation was pretty much what I expected. Still no concrete answers. Lots of errs and uhs because I caught him off guard. The conversation ended with him promising to talk to the RVP and have an answer for me by the end of the day. At 6pm I was about to head home and still no call from my DM. Hmm…so I called him before I left and got his voice mail. Strategic use on his part of the classic avoidance tactic. Well played!

Fast forward to the next day…10am, call the DM, voice mail. 12pm, voice mail. 2pm, voice mail. Finally, around 3pm he returns my call, but with no answer. Instead, a request for me to send more information. Nice stalling tactic. 

I spent the afternoon putting together the info he requested. Finished it up the next morning and sent it off. A few hours later I get a call. “Sorry, Jeff. Looks like the manager trainee program is on the back burner until at least April. Maybe longer.” Wow! I went through all of that to be told the program is axed for now. He knew this from the beginning so why not just tell me from the start. So now I’m unable to hire and train a replacement, which they stated I had to do in order to get promoted. Stuck, right where I started.

Now we get to the good part. Going through all of this has helped me decide to move on. I no longer care about getting the promotion and won’t be working harder and longer trying to get it. I’ve scaled back my hours, decreased my productivity, increased the length of my lunch breaks and even left work four hours early on Friday! I’m feeling loads better already! No more special projects, no helping out other departments or clubs. This coming week, and those following, will consist of doing just enough to get by and focusing my efforts on my new future.

I’ve decided to follow my dream of owning my own business. I’ll stay at my current job while I get started, but West Coast Tri is finally moving from the drawing board to reality. I’ve got the support of my friends and family behind me and nothing to stand in my way!