Forgiveness + Tribulation

I gave this talk on forgiveness in my ward September 15, 2019.

Three and a half weeks ago, my wife and I landed in the Paris airport, ready to begin a two-week second honeymoon and celebration of my progress in triathlon — the chance to race at the ITU Age Group World Championships.

I qualified to participate during races last year (oly, sprint), and we got married in June of this year. So as we brought our carry-ons down from the overhead bins and shuffled off the plane, we were well familiar with our feelings of anticipation and nerves of excitement to embark on a journey one year in the making.

Forgiveness + Tribulation: Our bags at CDG
Our bags for a week in France, a week in Switzerland and two World Championship triathlons.

After passing customs, navigating French directional signage for traces of English and snacking on chocolate croissants, we boarded a train, hoisted our things up on a luggage rack and collapsed, again, into our seats for a 4-hour ride. 30 minutes in, I got up to walk around. I crossed into the car behind us and, upon returning, passed the luggage rack to look down and find the lower slot empty.

Our bags were gone.

Stolen.


From just those few words, you might have felt, right there in your seat, that gut sinking, stomach-in-a-knot-tying sense of dread — the feeling of being violated, of the world not going the way you think it should, and grand plans running awry.

Perhaps you recalled a time something someone said or did broke your sense of reality, when your trust corrupted, or when unexpected circumstances shattered your sense of the way the world and people are.

We are all familiar with tribulation.

I am going to talk about forgiveness.

We all face tribulation. By tribulation, I mean events that bring about trouble, suffering and sorrow.

We experience tribulation …

. . . from our own weakness
Our own humanity guarantees mistakes.

. . . from our own intention
Yes, on occasion we know better. We rebel.

The line between good and evil cuts through the center of every human heart.

AS, emphasis added

And sometimes, we act in evil.

. . . from others’ weakness
We are surrounded by humans, like us, blumbering along, dropping balls, communicating poorly, forgetting, assuming incorrectly even with good intent, innocently insensitive and so on.

. . . from others’ intention and malevolence
Yes, on occasion we brush up against crime, the intent to harm and destroy and rob another of his or her agency.

In all 4 situations, millstones temporal and spiritual end up around our necks.

[B]ut we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope.

Romans 5:3-4, emphasis added

And whether we be afflicted [no matter the source or type of our afflictions], it is for []our consolation and salvation.

2 Corinthians 1:6, emphasis added

Among patience, experience, hope and the many attributes we can develop in tribulation, practicing forgiveness is one that is always available.

A heading from a Come Follow Me lesson reads:

As I am forgiven of my sins, my love for the Savior deepens.

March 11-17

Further, I believe our love for each other and God and the Savior also deepens as we forgive — whether for sin or weakness — ourselves and others.

DISBELIEF / REJECTION

When I first looked down at the empty luggage rack, my initial reaction was disbelief. As my gut sank, I rejected the possibility of theft. “THIS THEFT CAN’T BE TRUE.” I first accused myself of mistake and error: “Am I really looking at the spot where I put them?”

I looked up. Yes, Emma was just seats away.

My gut again said they were stolen, and I held off, granting general humanity the benefit of the doubt as I wondered, “Perhaps someone had good reason to move them?”

Forgiveness in this moment

There was forgiveness for myself: I forgave myself for the natural, hasty accusation that I was in error.

RECOGNITION / ACCEPTANCE

When I determined our bags were nowhere in the car, I shut off my disbelief, my willingness to be generous and my willingness to believe in the goodness of others. I began to accept the reality of theft. After leaving the first station, we had stopped at two others.

“NO, THE TRUTH IS WE REALLY HAVE BEEN ROBBED, AND OUR THINGS ARE GONE, NEVER TO BE SEEN AGAIN.”

Forgiveness in this moment

There was forgiveness for myself: I forgave myself for the harsh abandoning of granting others the benefit of the doubt, and for saying things like, “I’ll never let our luggage out of our sight again,” a statement which implies the accusation that no one, in any circumstance, can be trusted.

REACTION / RESISTANCE

But I didn’t want the theft, or the consequence of it, to be true.

In a moment, the meaning of the theft transmuted from “a few material things are no longer in our possession,” to

  • “this entire trip is a bust!”
  • “Emma will never travel with me again!”
  • “I am a failure of a man, not doing my duty to watch and protect my family and our things!”

In the swell, I resisted the reality and rejected my emotions of sadness and hurt.

Rather than letting my emotions come over me, I fought — “I don’t want this to be true” — by seeking for things I could control in vain attempts to force time backward and reality to undo itself.

“I will contact the conductor. I will get him to undo the situation, notify the police, review the security footage, apprehend the thieves, restore our belongings to us, and make all well in the world again.”

We did that, and I even paced up and down every level of every car of that train, saying to myself, “By checking every nook and cranny I might magically rewind time, undo what has happened and bring the suitcases back.”

My sadness, unacknowledged, gave way to anger, badgering the conductor to do more, and saying under my breath, “Just wait’ll I find those thieves and see what I do to them…”

Were I sharper, I might have metabolized my own anxiety rather than pushing it out on others.

Upon visiting every car and exhausting the conductor, I came to that place where Father Adam and Mother Eve arrived some time after The Fall: the realization that there is no going back to the Garden of Eden.

Emma and I experienced, as we all do, another Fall in mortality. And there was no going back to the way life was before.

Forgiveness in this moment

There was forgiveness for life generally: I forgave, generally, that it happened — to forgive the world, knowing the conditions of mortality.

There was forgiveness for myself: I forgave myself for my own proclivity to catastrophize situations — to shout “woe is me, all is lost!” in a selfish show to win sympathy and attention from others.

I forgave myself for responding to feeling robbed with attempts to rob others of their agency.

I forgave myself for entertaining, even if briefly, the thought that it was Emma’s fault because she was facing the rack.

I forgave myself for being less than gracious with the conductor.

There was forgiveness for the conductor: I forgave the conductor for being a man of limited means and doing his best, which was far short of stopping the train and turning back, or calling in French special ops to drop their present tasks, review security footage at the 2 stations we stopped at and put all resources into tracking down and apprehending the thieves.

There was forgiveness for the police: I forgave the police for doing what seemed to be so little — asking the station Lost and Found departments if they had received anything and inviting us to file a report.

There was forgiveness for the thieves: I forgave the thieves for the feeling of being violated.

REACHING OUT / CALL FOR HELP

I came to myself as I realized we weren’t in this alone and that there were more ways forward than the singular solution I had at first: rewind time and undo the theft.

I sat down across from Emma and we looked at each other, aware of our shared sadness. We expressed gratitude for having each other, and offered each other assurance that all was not lost, that we’d have a good trip, and everything would be OK.

I emailed the Team USA managers to ask about getting a replacement racing jersey. Just in case, I contacted a friend here who had the jersey in my size, and asked him to give it to another friend who was traveling to the event later.

Emma contacted a neighbor to ask her to fetch a new pair of my contacts from our home and rendezvous with my friend before he traveled.

Emma made conversation with the people sitting around us, and the man behind us asked a friend of his, who was into triathlon, to recommend a store where I could buy the proper shoes and pedals for my bike, since mine had been in my suitcase.

WE COULDN’T UNDO THE TRUTH OF THE THEFT, BUT WE COULD ASK OTHERS FOR HELP TO LIVE IN OUR NEW REALITY.

REPAIRS + RESTORATION

Once we arrived at our destination, we spent the next 36 hours receiving help and going to work to restore what was lost.

We visited the bike store.

We got new clothes.

We got toothbrushes and toothpaste, and essential things to live comfortably for the next two weeks.

WE RECEIVED HELP AND TOOK NEW ACTIONS ALLOWING US TO LIVE WELL IN OUR NEW REALITY.

Forgiveness in this moment

There was forgiveness for my uncle: I forgave, even here, my uncle, our host, for not knowing exactly where to take us to get what we needed to replace what we lost.

There was forgiveness for the store owners and the small town: I forgave them all for having what they had — and not everything we hoped they would.

There was forgiveness for the thieves: I forgave the thieves again, now for us taking time to do all of this, instead of our original plans.

RECONCILIATION / PEACE

It is easy to replace a shirt, or pants, or a toothbrush.

It’s harder to replace unique, sentimental and one-of-a-kind items.

Around my birthday in March, Emma remembered that during a previous trip, I threw out a suitcase that had come to the end of its days, and she presented me with a wonderful new suitcase. With our Europe trip months away, the gift was as much a gesture of restoration as a statement of promised companionship in the months to come.

I gave the suitcase a dry run during business travel that spring. Finding myself pleased with Emma’s selection, and also wanting to say, “I’m looking forward to an adventure with you,” I got Emma a matching suitcase. Having matching suitcases for our European adventure was part of the thrill of going.

The suitcases being gone, and everything within, seemed to tarnish the memory and the sentiment. And it seemed buying new suitcases simply wouldn’t polish that out.

One is not only to endure, but to endure well and gracefully those things which the Lord ‘seeth fit to inflict upon [us].’

NAM, Patience, emphasis added

Beneath any temporal restoration lays a sense of spiritual and emotional loss — where the tribulation actually lives.

Even as Emma and I restored our lives temporally, my soul was troubled:

  • Why did this happen?
  • I would have put the suitcases in a different spot had I known . . . 
  • I should have never taken my eye off our bags.
  • I could have prevented this fiasco had I . . .

The bottomless pit of worrying “Why me? Why us? Why now?” in search of an explanation where there is none, and the troubling triumvirate of woulda/coulda/shoulda, are certainly predictable, normal, human responses to tribulation. And I don’t blame myself for having had them, and wouldn’t blame you either.

But they are millstones and were around my neck on that train and the days following.

To endlessly ask “Why?” when the Lord has said, “I give you tribulation for your salvation” seems to be an impatient plea to bring about justice on our time table, rather than to shoulder the cross of mortality and continue walking toward Heaven.


My grandfather died in a military plane crash in 1961.

Some time within a year of that event, my aunt was talking with friends about whether God lets things happen, or if things happen and He is surprised. After that conversation, my 12-year-old aunt knelt in her room and prayed and asked God about it.

The Holy Ghost overcame me from head to toe and the answer was: ‘i-t d-o-e-s-n’t m-a-t-t-e-r.’ And that has given me comfort throughout my life. That it’s not given to us to know in this life. And on the other side in the grand scheme of things, we’ll be able to see and understand. But for now it d-o-e-s n-o-t m-a-t-t-e-r.

PHH, personal notes Sep 22, 2016

The answer revealed to her reminds me of the oft repeated scriptural phrase: “it mattereth not.”

To beat oneself with woulda/shoulda/coulda, seems to deny ourselves “the grace that, so fully, He proffers me” (Hymns) and to reject the gift of the veil and conditions of mortality, wherein we have space between our choices and the necessary, full, eternal magnitude of their consequences coming down on us, so that we can repent and go at it again without being doomed to live forever in our sins.


In all tribulation, there is the physical-temporal component, and the spiritual-emotional component.

The spiritual component and how we feel about it is more important than the physical because …

Things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.

2 Corinthians 4:18, emphasis added

Our visible things will not go with us.

But our unseen hearts and thoughts will.

From President Henry B Eyring:

If we are to have unity, there are commandments we must keep concerning how we feel. We must forgive and bear no malice toward those who offend us. The Savior set the example from the cross: ‘Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do’ (Luke 23:34). We do not know the hearts of those who offend us. Nor do we know all the sources of our own anger and hurt. The Apostle Paul was telling us how to love in a world of imperfect people, including ourselves, when he said, ‘Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil’ (1 Cor. 13:4–5). And then he gave solemn warning against reacting to the fault of others and forgetting our own when he wrote, ‘For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as I am known’ (1 Cor. 13:12).

That We May Be One, Apr 1998, emphasis added

I promise to do my best, to be patient with you. To cultivate a forgiving heart. And to seek spiritual gifts in the tribulation we experience, inadvertently and intentionally.

In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.


Books that helped tremendously in my practice of and growing capacity to offer and receive forgiveness:

I listened to all of these on Audible, except Alice Miller’s work which I found on YouTube. It’s now also on Audible.

Try Audible Plus or gift someone a 3-, 6- or 12-month Audible membership.

h/t to Ashley Rasmussen for these suggestions. Her man Danny was featured here earlier.

By |2021-02-11T14:11:12-07:00September 15th, 2019|Faith, General Life|0 Comments

Weight Loss and Management: Nuts and bolts from a physician

This is a guest post on weight loss and management from my friend and former classmate, Taylor Christensen. He blogs over at Clear Thinking on Healthcare. My go-to resource on weight loss and management is Matt Fitzgerald’s Racing Weight. That book is useful if you are pursuing performance as a very active person or competitive athlete, as I am with triathlon. Having read Matt’s book, I enjoyed his research-based, field-tested, no-dogma approach to nutrition. Similarly, I appreciate Taylor’s straightforward look at the fundamentals. Knowledge like this is useful when well-meaning friends, who are ideologues about nutrition, and glossy marketing fluff come your way. Enjoy.

Weight Loss and Management: Nuts and bolts from physician Taylor Christensen

Speaking as a physician for a moment, I’ve had a long interest in weight loss, and over the years I’ve accumulated a list of things that I believe anyone trying to lose weight (or trying to avoid gaining weight) should know.

If you have any questions about these points, please ask.

Here are my 9 Principles of Weight Loss:

1. Changes in total body weight are attributable to changes in the amount of fat, muscle, water and stool in your body.

Daily/hourly variations are water and stool.

Fat and muscle change slowly over the long term.

If your weight isn’t decreasing over weeks, it’s either because you’re not losing fat or because you are losing fat AND gaining muscle at the same time (if you have increased your exercise recently).

2. 80% of weight loss is dietary, 20% is exercise.

To lose weight, the focus needs to be on your diet.

Exercise has huge mental and physical health benefits (including motivating you to do better with your diet), but it’s not the primary thing that will directly make you lose weight.

An example: It’s a lot easier to not eat a 900-calorie piece of cake than it is to exercise off that extra 900 calories (a 200-lb person would have to run about 6 miles to burn 900 calories).

3. Weight loss is simple math.

You must take in fewer calories than you expend.

If you expend more calories than you take in, you will lose weight (assuming muscle mass is constant). No exceptions.

There are thousands of things that predispose to weight gain or make weight loss more difficult for people (including genetics, sleep, stress, medications, insulin resistance, etc.), but all these things can only affect weight either by causing you to eat more calories or burn fewer calories.

4. There are only three types of calories: proteins, fats and carbohydrates (aka ‘carbs’).

One calorie of protein = one calorie of fat = one calorie of carbs.

But carbs are different in an important way — they also affect hunger/fullness hormones. Eating carbs stimulates more hunger/cravings, which usually leads to you eating more calories total. The more processed (i.e., “simpler”) the carbs, the more they seem to stimulate those cravings.

5. Our bodies are amazing at interconverting these three types of calories, so your diet’s balance of carbs vs fat vs protein is less of a concern for weight loss.

There are a couple caveats to this.

First, as mentioned already, eating lots of carbs, especially simple ones, is going to make it more difficult to lose weight due to the extra hunger they stimulate.

Second, for some people, the timing of eating and also mix of calories (proteins vs fats vs carbs) may have a nontrivial effect on how many calories their bodies are burning. These caveats (and many others not mentioned) do not change the calories in vs calories out equation, and their importance varies by the person.

6. One lb of fat is about 3,500 calories.

A calorie deficit of 500 calories per day means 1 lb of weight loss per week.

7. Setting your daily calorie limit so that you will have a 500 calorie deficit per day (it’s calculated based on your age, gender, size, and activity level) and then tracking every calorie you eat to make sure you don’t go over that limit is a GUARANTEED way of losing 1 lb per week.

The preferred calorie tracking app for this seems to be MyFitnessPal.

This calorie limit will be fewer calories than your body is used to taking in, so you might feel hungry for a few weeks until your hormones adjust to this new intake, and then you will find that you’re not hungry like you used to be and even feel overfull if you try eating as much as you used to.

If you are not losing 1 lb per week, it is because you are either
(1) eating more calories than you’re tracking (food labels can be at fault sometimes)
(2) burning fewer calories than the calculation estimated, or
(3) gaining muscle mass.

8. Being thin and being healthy are not the same.

You can eat horribly and have a sedentary lifestyle and still lose weight as long as you don’t consistently go over your daily calorie limit.

So please exercise and eat lots of vegetables, not for your weight but for your health.

9. The above points should make it clear that, to lose weight, you do not need to adhere to some strange or restrictive or trendy diet.

Chances are, these will not be sustainable for you anyway. The sustainable way to lose weight and keep it off is to enjoy food, eat healthfully in a way that fits your life and to not eat too many calories.

Taylor originally published this April 18, 2019. The comments there are worth looking at too. Thanks T!

By |2021-01-15T16:39:38-07:00May 7th, 2019|General Life, Triathlon|0 Comments

In the news: “How A Utah Man Became A Triathlete By Changing His Morning Routines” – KSL TV Feature

Change your routines. Change your life.

Pleased that Aley Davis and the KSL (NBC) TV team asked me to share how routines helped me turn around my life and remain a core part of my success today. (If the video doesn’t show below, click here.)

Wanna try a tri? Come train with Balanced Art Multisport’s #bamtrifam and you’ll fall in love with training in a whole new way.

Or come to an Intermountain Tri clinic for a safe, welcoming space to learn basic skills in swimming, biking, running and triathlon.

Or if you’re not in the Utah/SLC region, check out www.mytimetotri.com (a project by USA Triathlon and IRONMAN) for tips and resources to give swimming, cycling, running and triathlon a go.

And you’re always welcome to ask me for ideas. I love when people reach out with questions about shoes, gear, training on heart rate, nutrition, what races to do, how to run faster …

Our bodies are incredible machines and a big part of my life is mastering mine and helping people celebrate theirs.

Notes:

  • In Jan 2018, I co-founded Intermountain Tri and now serve as the president — join with just your email. Come just to swim, bike or run … or all three in triathlon.
  • When I talk about consistently being up until 3a and having no habits … I’m talking about 18 months into having started my marketing business (launched Aug 2012; 2013 was ROUGH and I kept sliding right into Apr 2014). With no boss to report to, no office to show up to, and so on, there was no fixed activity pushing against the demands of my time. So everything got very loose. I lost sense of the day of the week. Weekends were indistinguishable, as was afternoon from morning and “too late” from “time to go to bed.” And my lack of strength with managing my own time became evident. Just as I crammed assignments and studying in school, I tried to cram client work. Hence the late nights. So many days, I would give myself a huge pep talk that “I’m waking up at 6a tomorrow to reset the cycle!” And then I would surely sleep until noon or 1p. And the cycle continued. For months. Until I did these three things to hijack the death spiral:
    • Signed up for Ironman Maryland. I wanted to have a good experience and knew I had to train to succeed. I couldn’t just show up and wing it. It was too big a stress to waltz in.
    • Asked someone who was already really good at getting up in the morning and going to bed on time for help. Many thanks to Erica Wiley for her gentle and supportive texts as I got sleep on track, starting with shutting down and going to bed at a consistent time.
    • Committed to a training plan. I made half progress here with a half-marathon training plan I found and then peppering in runs and rides. But then I hired coach Alan Gulledge who really got me in gear.
Triathlon routines supported by group classes early in the morning
530a M/W all winter long at BAM’s tri training studio in Sandy
  • The cycling class I teach is the BAM Power Program.
    • The workouts are written by sports medicine doctor and pro-cycling coach, Dr. Max Testa, of Park City.
    • Anyone who rides any kind of bike for any purpose at any level of competition/interest/competitiveness can benefit from the classes because they start with an assessment of your present fitness and then are structured around helping you progress from there.
    • It’s very different from a traditional gym/studio “spin” class, which is structured to burn calories. And it’s not like riding on Zwift or Trainer Road because you don’t waste effort “racing” people. Yes, we’re all in the same room (you can join online too!), but each person is in their individual zone, and there’s no leaderboard. It’s just a cool crew of people working hard together and supporting each other.
    • Dr. Testa adjusts the classes each year based on his research and the real outputs of all his riders.
    • Bottom line: it’s the most effective method possible for gaining fitness on the bike that makes you stronger and more efficient.
  • The doc they interviewed is absolutely correct about momentum is your ally with routines.
    • The momentum also comes, as he says, from “feeling much better than you did before.” Once you experience the state change, you know you can get it and will work to get it again.
    • If your baseline is zero, just start moving. A gain of 1 is a gain from zero! Once you baseline is 1, then a gain to 2 is still a gain . . . and on and on, until you perform the routine 5-7 days a week no problem.
  • At USA Triathlon Age Group Nationals in Aug 2018, I finished 20th in the Olympic-distance race and 10th in the sprint. End of summer 2019, I will wear the red, white and blue on Team USA at the ITU Age Group World Championship in Lausanne, Swizterland.

Watch (2:04) and read the whole KSL story here:

KSLtv also did stories on BAM Coach Suz Martin and BAM Coach Bill Fowler and his family.

By |2021-01-15T16:40:55-07:00April 19th, 2019|General Life, Triathlon|0 Comments

Cook a Steak: My How-To

I learned a lot from my father who is a master chef and baker, but we never had a father-son “Now, my boy, come here and let me show you how to cook a steak” moment so this is one thing I’ve figured out on my own . . . with a little help from my friends.

How to Cook a Steak

Step 1: wrap in paper towels

How to Cook a Steak: wrap in paper towels
You want to sop up all the blood. Yes, you want it juicy, but there’s plenty of moisture in there. You’ve heard restaurants tout “dry-aged” steaks, this is what they are talking about.

Step 2: place in the fridge

How to Cook a Steak: put in the fridge

If you’re leaving it in there overnight, put it in a ziplock bag or cover with plastic wrap.

The *best* way to do it is in a breathable situation, but you probably can’t afford to let the rest of your fridge get “fresh” from an aging steak, and I bet you don’t have a mini fridge dedicated to aging meats, nor ventilation to run that funk outside instead of through your basement … so just cover it with plastic.

Step 3: wait

How to Cook a Steak: let time go by

How long (how many days) you wait depends on your schedule. You can unwrap/rewrap in fresh paper towels multiple times. The thicker the cut, the more drying cycles/time you’re gonna want.

Step 4: admire the beauty

How to Cook a Steak: admire the beauty

Mother nature. On my plate. Gorgeous.

Step 5: salt & pepper

How to Cook a Steak: salt and pepper

That’s all you need to cook a steak. Keep it simple. Keep it classy.

Step 6: rub it in

How to Cook a Steak: smush

Push the salt and pepper in there.

I like to smush my cuts down a bit. Helps especially with the thicker cuts.

You can also do the salt earlier in the drying/aging process.

Step 7: put it on a hot piece of metal

How to Cook a Steak: heat

As hot as you can get it.

(Reasonably. At home.)

I’m a fan of a hot pan and oil (vegetable oil; coconut oil smokes, butter burns [but comes into play later]), and lots of times the George Foreman is handy.

If you have a strong argument for why this is a bad thing, I’m open to hearing it. But seriously, I’ve cooked a lot of delicious meats on this simple thing.

For thin cuts (3/4″ or less), a minute on each side will do the trick and keep it nice and medium rare. If you want browner than medium rare, get outta town.

For thick cuts, give reverse searing a try (bake at low temps for a bit first, then sear).

This was a pretty thin cut of bison, it cooked super fast.

Step 8: rest with a square of butter (on a fresh plate)

How to Cook a Steak: rest

Even once you take it off the heat, the cut retains heat and continues to cook. Let it for 3-5 minutes, or until that square of butter starts to run all over. This stage is called resting.

Butter alternative: Mexican crema, ohh baby that’s good

Step 9: enjoy

How to Cook a Steak: enjoy

Don’t use a table knife. Use a knife knife.

Step 10: that’s it

How to Cook a Steak: all done

Hope you enjoy my version of How to Cook a Steak. If you gram your food, use #RedMeatThursday (only, of course, if you cook it on Thursday) and I’ll look for your excellent creations.

I won’t post all my #RedMeatThursdays, but here’s where that comes from:

  • intense workouts on Thursday
  • red meat for dinner Thursday to rebuild
  • recovery-effort training and lighter eating Friday to prepare for . . .
  • high-volume + intensity training on Saturday

Bon appétit.

For faster protein immediately after a workout and that will let you get back to work in a few hours, check out my homemade protein shake recovery mix.

By |2021-01-15T17:06:42-07:00June 21st, 2018|General Life|0 Comments

Pound The Rock

Pound the rock.

It’s in the footer of my website.

It’s in my email signature.

It’s the first phrase of three I have littered all over the internet. (The second and third being “Do good” and “Have a great time.”)

It’s the motto Gregg Popovich uses at the San Antonio Spurs. Their fan club is named after it. In fact, I’ve been told, it’s the only quote/motto/words-of-inspiration that appear anywhere inside the Spurs’ facilities.

So what about it? Why pound the rock?

This:

When nothing seems to help, I go and look at a stonecutter hammering away at his rock perhaps a hundred times without as much as a crack showing in it. Yet at the hundred and first blow it will split in two, and I know it was not that blow that did it, but all that had gone before. — Jacob Riis

Pound The Rock - Jacob Riis

We love telling “overnight success” stories.

They aren’t true.

Every “overnight success” story is … just a good story.

A story designed to get us to believe “we too” can be as successful as the “overnight” success.

Well, we can.

But not overnight.

Because they didn’t get there overnight.

These stories, so it seems to me, often are told to sell “the overnight method.”

When we buy that method, we get burned. Expectations fall unfulfilled, and we don’t succeed overnight — because we need to pound the rock:

To pound out our weakness,

To pound in our dedication,

To pound out non-essentials,

To pound in our focus,

To pound out dead weight,

To pound in muscle memory.

The true backstory of every success (“overnight” or not) is years of trial and error . . .

. . . effort on effort, and upset and defeat followed by persistence and consistency … all of which finally yield a win.

I’ve long said the most important attribute for any marketing campaign is consistency. You can blog once a day or once a year. If you stick to your schedule, people will accomodate whatever pattern you establish … if you stick to it. What doesn’t work is rush then stop. Publish then quit. Launch then disappear, only to relaunch with flare and pizzaz in 6 months quickly followed by flame-out, just as before.

And see that all these things are done in wisdom and order; for it is not requisite that a man should run faster than he has strength. And again, it is expedient that he should be diligent, that thereby he might win the prize; therefore, all things must be done in order (Mos 4:27).

This isn’t bad news.

Success isn’t in one-trick ponies or luck-of-the-draw rewards.

Success is in being adept at producing desirable results again and again, at will.

Success is in knowing “the wisdom and the order” of how things work, the present limits of your strength (your lactate threshold, for example).

Yes, part of success is arriving at the destination, a destination — of finishing or winning a race.

But grander elements of success are:

falling in love with getting there

knowing you can get there when you decide you want to

knowing what it takes to get there, how to command the elements and the circumstances to combine and align in getting you there

in other words, knowing how to get there again, on command … without assigning any piece of arrival to luck or chance

experiencing your personal capacity to do work every day, to conquer in the face of resistance, and to survive or even thrive in the face of calamity.

“Pound the rock” is a motto to succeed every day.

Between each sunrise and sunset, put.in.the.work.

99 of 100 blows of the hammer end with the rock uncracked.

In a darker moment, the uncracked rock may seem to laugh or scorn.

“What are you doing? Does your work even count? You’re not strong enough. You have the wrong tools. You can’t do this. You’re not making a difference at all. What a waste. Now this, what you’re doing, this is insanity!! You keep swinging, expecting me to crack. I’ll never crack. The outcome is the same. And always will be. Move on … move on to easier ground.”

It’s tricky.

Insanity is doing the same thing over and over, seeing no results, and expecting a different outcome.

Yet that definition is insufficient.

There are some tasks that are … a pound-the-rock scenario. A scenario where is just does take 99 repeated blows of no-difference-at-all results, which, when followed by the 100th WHAM! everything changes.

It may seems just one blow counted. One blow must have been different from the others. But no … all 99 changed the structure, strength and integrity of the rock until on the 100th it cracked. All 99 up to that point took mental grit and steadfastness and belief that the work was worth it.

I’m not a “good” runner.

I’m not “gifted” or a “natural.”

I don’t have lean thighs.

My VO2 max, when I’m not fully trained, is super average.

My calves are huge, the extra weight doesn’t help.

My calves also don’t connect high on my leg, so their biomechanical leverage is . . . average.

My knees rotate out and my tibia & fibula bow in to compensate, so some force from every step gets wasted in non-vertical, non-forward vectors.

My early years of swimming made my ankles super flexible, and early years of gymnastics trained them to act like absorbers; but great runners have stiffer ankles, trained to act like springs.

Yet my half marathon times keep coming down:

1:42:09 (7:47/mi) — 2008

1:40:26 (7:40/mi) — 2014

1:28:27 (6:45/mi) — 2015

1:24:35 (6:27/mi) — 2017

Why is that?

Because I pound the rock.

There’s nothing special about me.

Sure, I’m learning better form. As I pound the rock.

Sure, I’m in overall better shape … because I pound the rock.

Sure, I’m more flexible and less prone to injury … because I pound the rock (and rollll out, thanks TriggerPoint!).

Sure, I have better run gear and better workout routines … because I pound the rock.

I just pound the rock.

And anyone can pound the rock.

This much about life seems so simple and clear: when you work hard under the direction of people who understand the mechanics of how things work, you get results.

That’s why I put “Pound the rock” everywhere.

To remind myself of, and to stand for, the ethic of putting in the work.

“In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground” (Gen 3:19).

“Whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap” (Gal 6:7-8).

Mastery thru repetition.

Affinity through consistency.

Results from no work are empty gains.

Dreams with no work are naught but wishes.

Gains from shortcuts are, eternally speaking, hollow.

Unearned upsides can be wonderful blessings and grace from heaven, but if converted in my mind and heart to expectations or views that “I don’t have to work because good things simply come my way” or “I will succeed because I am deserving of success” … those attitudes diminish my soul and others’.

Which brings me to another reminder baked into those three words:

To touch base, to make contact with, The Rock … every day. That rock being the “lowercase” rock of revelation and the “uppercase” Rock of Revelation who is Jesus Christ.

To meekly remember I am able from the gift of choice.

To meekly remember I am forgiven and cleansed from His gift of mercy.

To meekly remember I am empowered beyond my natural strength by His gift of grace.

So . . . I pound the rock.

By |2021-01-15T16:47:21-07:00January 3rd, 2018|Faith, General Life, Marketing, Triathlon|1 Comment

A frozen banana has a three-fold mission in every shake

The frozen banana has a three-fold mission in every shake.

[1] It cools the shake.

[2] It thickens the shake.

[3] It sweetens the shake.

There you have it.

Frozen banana winter wonderland of thick smooth sweetness in your mouth.

Frozen Banana - 15 Pounds for the Freezer

Why yes, I buy my bananas 15 lbs at a time. A shelf in my freezer is dedicated to bananas. I may even get another freezer and dedicate entirely to bananas.

Pro Tips for the Frozen Banana, etc.

If you’re using greens, blend them first with just the liquids. That will allow them to get chopped up in finer pieces without everything else in the way.

Add frozen fruit last. It’s the hardest to blend and will blend easiest when everything else is already liquidy and smooth.

Try my Homemade Protein Shake Recovery Mix. It’s easy and delicious. And a great post-workout nutrition boost for triathletes and endurance athletes.

For endless inspiration of smoothie recipes, check out my friends at Simple Green Smoothies. Tons of recipes. Other cool food and nutrition ideas. And Jen is the bomb. +400k Instagram followers, she must be doing something right.[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]

By |2021-01-15T16:37:20-07:00December 22nd, 2017|General Life, Triathlon|0 Comments

Are we related? We could be cousins . . .

Are we related? Over Thanksgiving I found out I’m related to 12 of the 102 Mayflower passengers (5 directly), so if you have any connections there chances are good we could be cousins.

Are we related? We could be cousins.

How did I find this out?

www.RelativeFinder.org

Join my group and lets find an answer to the question “Are we related?”

The password is my first and last name together (this website without the ‘www’ and ‘.com’) — all lowercase, no spaces.

Even if we aren’t related, Relative Finder will show you if you’re related to a large basket of famous authors & poets, saints and popes, composers, entertainers, movie stars, sports figures, U.S. Presidents and their families, signers of The U.S. Constitution, signers of The Declaration of Independence, European royalty, scientists and technologists, and more.

FYI, if you’re a family history / genealogy noob . . . “3rd cousins twice removed” explained:

Your first cousins are the children of your parents’ siblings, i.e. your aunts & uncles’ kids. First cousins because you are the first generation down from the sibling connection.

Your second cousins are the kids of your parents’ cousins, or your grandparents’ siblings grandkids. Second cousins because you are two generations away from the sibling connection.

Now, your second cousins’ kids, what are they? Your second cousins, once removed. “Removed” just means however many generations off from the sibling connection. The smallest number of generation lines to the sibling connection is the “___ cousin” and the “___ removed” counts the rest.

So when my second cousins’ kids have kids … they will be my second cousins twice removed.

My Grandpa Doug‘s line goes way back to early U.S. colonial days so I’ve got some cool connections, a lot of which are through him. People including Oliver Wendell Holmes, Emerson, Thoreau, Steinbeck, Elvis, Harry Truman, Jefferson, the Bushes, Johnny Carson, Carrie Fisher . . . lots of people.

Pretty cool to find these things out.

If you need a hand getting into the group or set up with anything, post a comment.

Have fun, cuz.

By |2021-01-15T15:37:22-07:00November 26th, 2017|Faith, General Life|0 Comments

Metabolizing Anxiety: Highlights from Ask a Mormon Sex Therapist (Ep 20)

If the mere mention of Ask a Mormon Sex Therapist in my bio hasn’t prompted you to listen, maybe these selections on metabolizing anxiety will.

Btw, these interviews are all Q&A based — usually two Qs per episode, this one has three. To get the backdrop on this metabolizing anxiety conversation, jump to the start of the third question and Dr. Jennifer Finlayson-Fife’s answer at @ 22:00.

What follows are loose transcripts from the episode. I cut “you knows,” “I thinks,” and so on, and added content (in parentheses) that I believe accurately connects allusions to previously mentioned ideas so that it’s easier for you to follow the excerpts.

 

@ 34:33 – Giving people space to grow

To tolerate the discomfort of another’s discomfort is part of what it is to actually give people the space that they need to really grow, and to manage your own anxiety.

 

@ 35:59 – Metabolizing Anxiety

If you’re going to actually grow, you have to metabolize more anxiety within yourself and not use the people around you to manage what is your work, or what is your job, or what is your responsibility.

What is of virtue is to take 100% responsibility for exactly what your responsibility is — in a marriage, or in a family, or in any group — and 0% responsibility for what isn’t your responsibility.

That sounds very selfish, but that’s actually one of the most virtuous things you can do: to really do what your job is in any situation.

It also frees up other people to grow in the ways that they need to grow.

When we get in trouble is when we rush in to kind of get anxiety to go down in the moment, but then we stabilize and mature our destructive patterns.

The virtue in creating goodness is tolerating difficulty up front. That’s what sacrifice is: you take your difficulty up front to create something better ultimately.

It’s against our human nature (to do that, to sacrifice, to tolerate difficulty up front) — it’s natural man to not to do it (to avoid difficulty up front, escaping to an easier path). But what creates goodness and godliness is doing that (tolerating difficulty now).

 

@ 40:15 – When’s the time for metabolizing anxiety?

It’s when you’re having a hard conversation, and they’re pushing on those buttons on you that you like to react to, that you get all self-righteous about.

Instead of getting self-righteous and reacting, you calm yourself down and you stay constructive. That’s what I’m talking about in the “real time”: that you don’t (use) your losing strategies, which are the reactive things we do that feel good in the moment but that keep suffering alive.

You have to really track what it is you do (habitually) so that you can push yourself to do the better thing in the face of a lot of pressure to do the thing that’s familiar. (Catching yourself before you do the familiar thing) is what development is all about.

 

@ 42:56 – The effect of metabolizing anxiety

When you step into new action, or action that’s driven by a sense of what you believe is right, even if it’s hard, you literally expand your capacity as a person, and you expand your sense of self.

 

@ 43:52 – Metabolizing anxiety includes not doing the familiar thing to get validation

Many of us prefer to kind of just do and deal with the (familiar) things that (have, in the past, managed to get us) validation from the other person, and so we constrict our relationships (to doing just those things, even if they are losing strategies that perpetuate suffering) to our detriment.

We have to work against that natural-man tendency.

 

Ask A Mormon Sex Therapist is a sub series of the Rational Faiths podcast.

Have a listen.

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Metabolizing Anxiety

Dr. Jennifer Finlayson-Fife

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By |2021-01-15T15:37:22-07:00August 31st, 2017|Faith, General Life|0 Comments

Dating Feedback: Got Asked for Some and Said This Instead

Recently got a request for dating feedback.

Dating Feedback

A few things before getting to my response . . .

[fusion_builder_container hundred_percent=”yes” overflow=”visible”][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none”][1]  I don’t think her request means anything about me, but I think it does mean something extraordinary about her heart, her desire and her humility. Not pathetic at all. All good things that I believe will serve her well generally in life and more specifically in dating and nurturing a relationship.

[2]  Pretty sure this has never happened to me before . . . that a date got vulnerable this way, asking for this sort of response. At least not at this early in the game. The rarity of the event is also worth noting.

[3]  The one and only date we shared was Tue, July 11. About an hour together. More like a casual meeting to determine whether a proper date would follow. Anyway, the math is then that her request came 7 days and a morning later. IMHO, a little long to ask, but that’s OK. No rules on that.

[4]  There was no communication between the end of our date and this message.

 

All right.

 

Why am I sharing the “dating feedback” I texted back?

I believe in sharing stuff that others may find useful.

I believe in writing my own story, including being clear on the ground where I choose to stand.

In November, I shared my first draft of The Pillars of Our Partnership and here’s a where-the-rubber-hits-the-road followup to some elements of that.

And because if I ever have the thought to ask someone after a first date / first meeting for feedback … I’m drawing a line in the sand that I won’t. And if I were to say to you or to my future self,

  • “I want to ask her why she didn’t call back . . . “
  • “I want to know why she blew me off . . . “
  • “I wonder what happened, it seemed to be going so well?!?!”

To all those situations, my present-self response to my future self is:

“Doesn’t matter. Continue the search, my search.”

It’s not that asking for feedback and pursuing learning about myself isn’t valuable. It is. And I would totally ask for feedback after several dates or well into a due diligence process. But I wouldn’t ask right off the bat because that sets up a situation where someone else’s POV and/or values become more important than mine.

Would I ask career advice from a recruiter who declined to grant me a second interview … and that was our only interaction?

Would I ask fruit advice from someone I ran into in the produce section who’s not a store employee and otherwise a perfect stranger?

Would I ask someone swimming in the lane next to me for pointers on my stroke, unless I were well aware of their approach to swimming and their history coaching swimmers?

Would I ask color advice from the paint clerk at Home Depot who hasn’t taken the time to ask many questions about my house/home/style/family?

No. No. No. and No.

In these situations and so many others, the other person has so little information about me and what I value that I would never put them in a position to suggest what I ought to be doing. They might know. They might have amazing advice … but asking for it at this stage is out of order! They don’t know me well enough. I don’t know them well enough. What’s most likely to happen in these scenarios is that I’ll get a summary of their biography, rather than seasoned, tested, sage counsel that is actually useful for me, given my situation and my values.

I recognize that through the voice of anyone the Holy Ghost can whisper important promptings, and I recognize an element of humility is willingness to learn from anyone. That said, I choose my teachers/coaches/mentors with discretion. I don’t spend all my time learning, so when I am learning, I seek learning from people whose lives I wish to follow, whose values align with mine, whose performance is consistent with what I wish to do, and whose followers/students/proteges conduct lives I wish to emulate or who are otherwise people whose company I seek.

So there’s that. I choose my teachers carefully and won’t ever expect someone I barely know to be aware of my values and therefore offer feedback / guidance / advice that works inside my value system.

And then there’s this:

I believe — and I think this is apparent in the dating feedback I gave — is that when I am crystal clear on what I am offering and what I am looking for (before going out to meet people and go on dates), then I don’t need dating feedback after a first date. I know what I want well enough to make a sound decision right away: “this isn’t a match” or “this is worth continuing to pursue.” YES I mean “this” rather than “she.” Why? Because I’m not acquiring a person. I am looking for a person who wants to work at “this” … a relationship. The “this” is the connection.

Also to Note: “this is worth pursuing” simply means I am clear it’s worth going to the next round of due diligence, or “getting to know someone”, or whatever label works for what is next. These are not the same as: “All in! Show me the dotted line, and I’ll sign today.” (When to do that, to formalize an agreement, is an entirely different conversation. This conversation is simply about dating feedback or other feedback being unnecessary at or immediately after initial contact.)

Said another way, I’m telling my future self that if I ever find myself wanting to ask for dating feedback at the early stage of a first date (or professional feedback after a first interview), my present-self suggestion is that doing so is a misdirected use of energy.

Instead of pursuing that angle, what I do and will do instead is use my “why didn’t this go forward?” energy to inquire more about myself and what I want/need/desire/am looking for so that I can make a sound judgment … “wait, what am I looking for? What am I offering? What am I looking for someone else to be offering? How will it be clear to me that that is what they are offering? What will they say? What will they do? How can I tell quickly and rapidly upon meeting someone whether there’s enough potential to pursue, or if it’s best to walk away?”

Enough. To my response.

My “dating feedback”:

Hey [her first name], replying here to your request for feedback. Mad props for your willingness and humility to open the door for it.

I’m hesitant to say much as I believe at the end of the day everyone writes their own book on love. Rather than feedback, I’ll tell you about my approach. I spent a good deal of time investigating what my values are. There are a lot of things I value, but I boiled those to a short list of what’s most important to me. These encompass my beliefs. That’s Part 1.

Part 2: also spent a lot of time considering my strengths. What am I good at. What am I inclined to do first or without thinking about it. What do I like doing. Because I value a relationship type & structure that is complementary in nature (vs reflective in nature — both being good at the same things), I also have a short list of complementary strengths I’m looking for in someone to date. I’m good at XYZ, she’s good at ABC…and together, we cover the whole alphabet. There are some behaviors that I watch and observe for as indicators of the presence of these complementary strengths I am seeking. And I trust my intuition and connection with God to help me see these in others, while also listening and looking for a presence of matching and similar values — AKA life priorities. What does she put first? Of all choices, where in the hierarchy does she place dating & creating her own family? (To me, this is a nuanced difference from participating and contributing to her nuclear family.) Is that position the same as mine?

So … I could tell you what I’m looking for. But it’s personal, and only valuable to me as I did the work to arrive there. Would be up to you to arrive at your own choices and short list. Also, I usually don’t share it as well because I don’t want to introduce observer bias … “I know that I am being watched for particular behaviors and because I know that and want to be seen as having them, I am going to perform them … but because I’m being watched and not necessarily because that’s what I what normally do.” You know?

There’s not a rightness or a wrongness about any of it. This is not a good-person bad-person situation. Or a “I like/ don’t like.” It’s a … “what’s the healthiest and strongest combination?” I’m impressed by the goodness of most people I meet, including you. And … that doesn’t mean that their strengths are a good match *for me*. Where I’m strong … I can help her. Where she’s strong … she can help me. If we’re strong in the same areas, we don’t need each other as much … and then we’re also mutually blind and weak in the same areas.

All I can really suggest with confidence is come up with your list of values for life. And put them in linear order … what’s #1, what’s #2. I max out at 5 right now. Everything else is on a tier below. No ties either, “these are equally important…” And then … think about your strengths. What do you want to contribute to a dating relationship / partnership / marriage … and what kind of strengths in a man would be complimentary to yours? What things would he not be good at (the things you are good at), so you can support him … as he supports you where you aren’t as strong.

Having that stuff crystal clear … what do I value, what are my strengths to offer, what complimentary strengths am I looking for … that’s all been a game changer for me. I meet people and I have a few things to look for rather than a huge picture of everyone else’s advice about what makes a good relationship work. And then I’m really clear and ok walking away from something or being OK if someone is non responsive or not interested. “She’s not what I’m looking for.” “I’m not what she’s looking for.” Or both. This is way more peaceful for me to handle than … “could this have worked?” “What happened?” “Why didn’t this go forward?” Or whatever other wondering thoughts I may have. Which I do have. Like anybody. And then I fall back on … “was she what I was looking for?” Or, “she gets to choose what she’s looking for. And it’s OK if it’s something other than what I’m offering.”

I don’t think I’ve answered your question. But this is what I have confidence in as a worthwhile response.

Fwiw, here is her reply:

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By |2021-01-15T15:37:22-07:00July 26th, 2017|General Life|5 Comments

“What should I do in New York City?” All Of This.

Since I lived in Manhattan for 5 years (New York 101: Manhattan is an entire island, and it’s 1 of 5 ‘boroughs’ that make up New York City), people often ask what they should do when they visit.

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New York - The 5 Boroughs

If you’re an American, you ought to know at least this much about NYC. “The City” comprises 5 boroughs. Manhattan is an island. Staten Island is one too, and a joke. The Bronx is up north, Queens clockwise from there, and then wrapped inside Queens between there are Staten Island is Brooklyn. Queens and Brooklyn are the far western end of Long Island (also an island, pronounced “Lawn GY-land”). That said, Manhattan is where everything you’ve ever associated with New York City is. And heads up, if you forget this is what NYC really looks like, you’ll get all whacked looking at the MTA Subway map which is completely out of proportion.

 

When in New York, do these things

Live Jazz: VJO Monday nights at Village Vanguard

Pizza: Juliana’s on Old Fulton under the Brooklyn Bridge, Motorino in the East Village, Don Antonio’s on 50th in the Theater District. If you want to venture beyond Manhattan for good pizza: Roberta’s and Di Fara are excellent. Di Fara’s is a legend. (btw, if you go to one of these places OUTSIDE New York you’re nuts if you expect the same experience)

Note on Juliana’s: Some people might tell you to go to Grimaldi’s on Old Fulton. Up until a few years ago, that was the advice you wanted. You see Patsy Grimaldi is one of New York City’s Pizza Godfathers. And, true enough, he opened a shop on Old Fulton. Then in 1998, someone convinced him to sell the business, including the rights to his name. The lure of retirement was sweet, so Patsy sold his name.

That person ran Grimaldi’s into the 2000s until 2011 when a little dispute with the landlord arose. By 2012 he was out, but not for good. He simply opened shop on the corner of the same block. He bought an old bank and, still owning the name, slapped “Grimaldi’s,” above the front door. To this day every tourist from Torrence to Tokyo doesn’t know any better, so what happens on Saturdays? A 2-hour line forms at Grimaldi’s doors and snakes down to the water.

HOWEVER . . . those who know, know that when O.G. Grimaldi got wind of the dispute between the landland and the owner of his namesake, Patsy started making moves. No one who loves food enough to open a restaurant ever truly retires. I mean really. Here in Utah the family behind Gloria’s Little Italy spent a couple years off the map and Florida and where are they now? Back in Bountiful with a pizza shop.

Patsy was restless. You bet he was making pizza from 1998 to 2012. And with the tenant of his shop on the way out, it was time. No way would he hold back … the original location, AVAILABLE! So move he did! Right.Into.His.Original.Shop. Patsy rebuilt the oven, refreshed the dining area and set up a bar so guests can watch him and his proteges do their finest work. And just before opening, he christened his comeback with a new sign, emblazoned with the name of his mother: JULIANA’s.

Burgers: Shake Shack (handful of locations; there’s even one in JFK and Las Vegas and other places, so don’t go out of your way for this, but say you go to the Museum of Natural History, well, it’s across the street). If you have time and want to try a +$20 burger, start with the Black Label at Minetta Tavern. If you don’t have time, try your luck watching the bar like a hawk and snag 2 stools as soon as they open. Full menu service there.

Cookies: skip Levain, go to City Cakes on 18th and 8th

Pastries: Pretzel croissant (City Bakery, on 18th and 5th. If it’s cold, they have killer hot chocolate too), a REAL cronut from Dominique Ansel Bakery (arrive an hour+ before the store opens to get a spot in line. The cronuts sell out once the store opens)

Cheesecake: IMHO it was Carnegie Deli, but they are now closed and only ship. Juniors is fine (it’s convenient). Looks like 2 Little Red Hens in the UES is worth checking out. Eileen’s is also good.

Asian: Oh my, how did I leave this out for months? Xi’an Famous Foods (original in Chinatown, convenient locations on 45th near GCT, in the UWS on Broadway and 102nd and elsewhere). There’s only one thing to get your first time: the N1, spicy cumin lamb with hand-pulled noodles. Never seen another noodle like this anywhere. Yum. This is NOT a sit-down restaurant. You MIGHT find a spot at the counter to put your plate and eat while you stand or sit on a stool. Make plans to eat it hot and fresh. It’s better that way.

Korean BBQ: KOKO Wings opened around the corner from my front door and man alive I was a frequent customer. Small combo for 1, medium for 2 or large if you’re starving. Sauces: half and half every time. Sides: 2 words . . . kimchee coleslaw. You can also jaunt over from Herald Square a block and zigzag your way from 35th to 31st (btwn 5th and 6th) poking your head into just about any storefront there and find yourself some delicious Korean BBQ.

Broadway: Try your hand at a lottery (that link or Google ‘playbill student rush’) OR if they offer a “rush” option in the morning, show up 2.5-3 hours before that ticket window opens with a cushion and a good book. You’ll be first in line to get, typically, a front-row ticket.

Dinners: Buvette (West Village), Westville (couple locations)

Fancy-A Dinners: Daniel, Eleven Madison Park, Gramercy Tavern, Minetta Tavern, The Modern at MoMA, Per Se, Blue Hill, ABC Kitchen, L’Artusi (or any of these)

Don’t miss: the grilled corn-on-the-cob at Num Pang Sandwich Shop

Comedy: EastVille Comedy Club or Comedy Cellar on MacDougal. You never know who’s gonna show up that’s not on the bill.

Experiences: sauna/steam/spa at the Russian-Turkish Bath House in the East Village. Walk The Mall in Central Park and finish at Bethesda Fountain/Terrace. Top of the Rock. Walk the Brooklyn Bridge. Take the Staten Island Ferry (once it lands in Staten Island, don’t get off … just get right back on and go back to Manhattan. Ain’t nothing to see in Staten Island). The Highline. World Trade Center plaza, 9/11 Memorial. Take the N/Q or F/D to Coney Island. If you go when it’s warm, take the LIRR from Penn Station to Long Beach.

As you can see it’s ludicrously easy to entertain yourself in The City of New York.

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New York - Nat Harward - Radio City Music Hall

Radio City Music Hall – 6th (Avenue of the Americas) & 50th – a few minutes before Bon Iver in concert

In part, that’s why I left.

But while you’re there . . . have fun 🙂

Questions? Looking for something else? Leave a comment and I’ll get back to you.

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By |2021-01-15T15:37:23-07:00May 7th, 2017|General Life|0 Comments