Wednesday, October 20, 2010

If you're a music fan, and can admire true creativity, go check this out.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The Melting Pot

Life's been a mixture of insanity, joy, frustration, exhaustion, and a host of other emotions I don't care to divulge. Danielle's now at 21 weeks preggo, and I'm getting a husband's taste of the emotions that come along with the whole pregnancy gig. I'm learning to appreciate my father-friends much more these days, and the sage advice that comes with their friendship.

We began a couple home-remodeling projects late last week (both starting the same day I left on a trip to Nashville to visit Dad/Austin). First being the landscaping project. I possess a black thumb (the thumb of death), and while Danielle likes to think she's in possession of a green thumb, she doesn't have the time to employ it. Thus our large front flower bed has been reminiscient of the Amazon this spring/summer/fall. Enough is enough. My good friend Danny the landscaper brought in the heavy machinery and the subcontractors and did some positive damage to the yard. The attrition? A blue spruce tree, a dead maple tree, several cratemyrtles (sp?), Danielle's "wildflowers" (aka weeds), the persistently infuriating holly bush, the 8 ft. tall weed Danielle thought was a wildflower, and most of the shrubbery I found it frustrating to mow around every 3 weeks. The additions? Two Japanese maples, a whole lot of river rock, some small slow-growing bushes, and definitely NOT any wildflowers.

The second project being the deck. We've had this decrepit, pathetic-looking little balcony off our master bedroom that gets no use and acts solely as an eyesore. In order to facilitate more fiestas at Casa Barron, we decided that a full-fledged, fully-functional deck needed to take its place. Hopefully it will be done before the weather goes fully sub-60's. Dimensions: 16x30 ft.

A bit of trivia: the deck alone is officially larger than the duplex Danielle lived in during her last couple years at JBU.

Once these are done, it's a master bathroom remodel. And quite a remodel it will be. Costly, but should add value galore. Let's hope so. We don't want to be in our house forever.

Work is frustrating, as usual, but until the craziness surrounding our little boy's arrival subsides, I'm going to stay in the current job to avoid any additional uncertainty.

Oh, and yes, it's a boy. Jonathan Daniel Barron (J.D.) should arrive on/around 3/3/2011.

Much more. I'll likely be blogging more in the near future. Lord knows I need the therapy.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

The long, exciting, scary journey commences...

For the two of you that (perhaps) read this, I found out last week I'm going to be a dad.

The poor child.

The last 7 days have been a time of deep thought, considerations for the future, acclimation to incoming changes, and fear.

Pray for me. Lord knows I don't need to screw this up!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Bad coffee and worse weather

I tend to gripe a lot in my blog posts. I suppose it's because this is my "outlet". It makes for uninteresting reading, I know, so I will try to keep it to a minimum. Who wants to sit and listen to someone else complain?

The bone spur/knee sprain hasn't quite gone away yet, which has really put a cramp in the workout regimen. Danielle and I go walk as much as we can, but if I go to long the knee starts popping and aching. I'm hoping that my trip to the doctor next week doesn't yield more bad news, as his plan is to send me to a specialist if the pain/problem doesn't abate soon. I've always associated knee surgery with future problems (Danielle's grandfather's health went downhill quickly after a knee surgery gone bad), so I'm a bit leery of the idea of any kind of arthroscopy or surgery of any type. Hopefully it can be cured with simple R&R. Please pray.

The softball team has dropped to 1-7. I have a very difficult time with this. Baseball/softball have always been my best sports, and I'm ultra-competitive when playing them. Being in a church league definitely doesn't do much to tamp down my competitive (and temperamental) nature, and I have a hard time keeping myself from lashing out at some of the younger players who don't take the games seriously. I pay money and spend my own time to play the game, so I have resources invested. Thus, when I show up, I play to win. Unfortunately, it's just "something fun to do" for a lot of the 18 & under folks, so we tend to lose...a lot. Our only win: 18-17. The score was 18-10 in the bottom of the 7th with us in the field, and the other team managed 7 runs before we finally got lucky with an infield fly. There's been several games where we were winning, but lost it due to fielding errors (our most common, painful problem). C'est la vie...just need to make sure to keep that temper in check with the churchies :)

Alright, time to keep chugging the bad coffee, waiting for the rain, and wishing for 3 PM (i'm leaving early dangit!) to get here. Happy weekend!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

And the times, they are a'changin'

During one of our softball team's rare wins (we're 1-6 so far), I was rounding 3rd base heading for home, and as I hit the bag I heard (and felt) a nasty pop in my right knee. I made it home no problem, but the pop merited a trip to the doctor.

The good news: I stepped on the scale and weighed in at 251 lbs. A nice change from 6 months ago, when I was topping the scale at 283. And a BP of 110/70, which I have to say I'm quite proud of.

The bad news: A bone spur on the back of my right knee (which, apparently, I've had for quite some time) and an acute sprain of the right knee. A knee that, until the last couple weeks, I've never had a problem with.

I did something to aggravate the right knee during the P90X Plyometrics workout a couple weeks ago. So, I stopped doing the lower body workouts and walked instead on those days. Then the softball incident.

It made me realize that I'm sure not getting any younger. All I did was step on a plastic, cushioned, bag while running and my knee about gives up on me. It's quite depressing to be honest. I remember when I was 25 years old, 215 lbs, and in the best shape of my life...I was practically invincible. Never would have had this problem at that point.

But it's nothing compared to what my mom's facing right now. She goes under the knife tomorrow for a biopsy of the right breast. Apparently the doctor found a small growth there and is testing to see if there is any cancer in the region. My mom's convinced that it is benign and, being a smart person, have chosen not to argue with her about this. I'm just glad that she caught it early. But if those who read this would keep her in your prayers, I would greatly appreciate it. We're going up to Siloam Springs tomorrow afternoon to be with her and let her know we love her.

And we're making the trip in my new truck! We decided that, after 40k miles of faithfulness (for a total of just over 100k miles on the odometer) from the 2003 Ford Escape XLS, it was time to upgrade. Plus, we'd just paid off the last of our credit card debt...HUZZAH!...and had decided quite some time ago that we would upgrade when the CC debt was gone. So, last Friday, we closed on the sale of a new 2010 Ford F-150 FX4 SuperCrew 4X4 in Electric Flame Blue. I'm loving it. Though I know that I won't love it so much when I go to the gas station to fill up the 36 gallon gas tank. It is nice, though, in that the backseat has gobs of room (3 fully-grown men with plenty of legroom, with both front seats all the way back, could very comfortably fit in back) and it has a lot of fun bells & whistles. My favorite: being able to make and receive calls with voice commands via my stereo system's cell phone interaction feature.

The downside: the $2,200 or so I'll have to pay in sales tax at the end of the month. Thank God for commission checks.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Who I am vs. What I am

I've been struggling with this a lot recently. I work doing a job I really don't enjoy, for a company I don't enjoy working for, with no idea what exactly I could realistically do if I wasn't doing what I'm doing now. I'd love to play music, live in the mountains or tropics with my lovely wife, travel the world. But what I am so often gets in the way of who I want to be.

I could go on about this for hours, but I'll simply say that it's becoming increasingly difficult for me to rationalize to myself (I do a lot of inner arguing) why I have not been more proactive in trying to be who I want to be. I spend a lot more time mundanely focusing on what I am.

I'm becoming convinced that the only way to flip the equation is to give the internal argument up. We Christians always say "I'm going to give this or that to God". It's a cliche anymore, a promise that most of us don't have the willpower to carry out. If I truly feel that God wants me to be who I am (defined by me as someone who seeks out God's plan for our lives, which happens to fall in line with the true desires of our hearts), then I need to give over the worry that I will always be what I am to God.

I don't know how to go about doing this. Is it a simple statement, a prayer, to God? Is it a magical combination of human willpower and heavenly assistance? Or is it just an inner decision to put our who/what in our hands, extend them to God, and let him take that part of ourselves? Because if so, that's kinda scary for me. I'm not that trusting. Which is sad. I call myself a Christian and yet don't trust God enough to hand him my hopes and dreams in exchange for something light years better.

I'm probably going in circles with this internal dilemma. But I've come to the realization recently that I can't just continually refer to myself as a terrible Christian. That solves nothing. I've also realized that part of the reason I'm a terrible Christian is because I do not trust God with all of my life, only portions. The solution is obvious, but the method is not.

Ah, the pain of being human.

Happy Easter folks :)

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Needing a vacation after my "vacation"

Mexico was great. I was amazed to see a group of 200+ orphans/castouts/dropoffs looking so healthy, happy, and hard-working. As for our own activities, we gutted the childrens home's sewing facility and performed several upgrades. Ripped out the bathroom and set up new walls, installed new, pre-built (courtesy of my cabinet expert father-in-law and his crew) cabinets and open sewing/working areas, secured the looms to the ceiling with wire bracketing rather than multiple 2x4's, repaired sheetrock, mudded/taped, primed, painted, cleaned, and got the heck out.

For me the biggest frustration of the trip was the ride down and the ride back. I realized how impatient and easily-annoyed a person I can be. There's a couple guys who go to our church, father and son, that I rode down to Matamoros with. Now the father is a very compassionate guy, easy to get along with and great company to keep. But his son is a nightmare. I'm convinced he has some sort of social disorder. He walks, talks and acts like a bratty 13-yr old, only he's 30 years old. He is divorced, with a little girl who lives with her mom and her husband (apparently his former best friend). He is semi-employed, and lives with his father in a trailer on a friend's property.

Now I tried very hard to get along with him. But good grief, I can only take so much absolutely awful behavior in a single day. After about 1/2 hour on the road, I wanted to strangle him to silence his bitter, biting, hateful comments. One of those Christians who believes the Republican party exists to represent Jesus' legal interests on earth, that Obama is the devil incarnate, and that anything made by a company other than Chrysler/Plymouth/Dodge is a piece of garbage. Worse, he's very vocal about all of the above.

I learned a very valuable lesson last week. Ignorance, while bliss, does not endear you to the illuminated. It also can get you a fat lip if you're in the right (well, I guess wrong) company.

In other news...I turn 31 in 3 weeks. Ugh.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Spring forward, step backward

My body won't adjust to the time change. Both today and yesterday my trusty iPhone woke me up at 4:40 AM. It felt like 3:40 AM. I couldn't get myself out of bed. I still managed to get myself to the gym after work, but it just feels nice getting the workout done in the morning and having energy all day.

My proposition: dump spring forward and fall backward. Why do we need them? To preserve daylight? Just leave nature alone...let people adjust themselves to time, rather than adjusting time for the people. It's messing with my chi...and my chi doesn't like to be messed with. My chi can get downright nasty when you mess with it like this.

I'm heading to Mexico on Thursday to film construction of a sewing facility at an orphanage in Matamoros. Additionally, I'm taking some stills that, apparently, are going to end up in the 501 Life magazine (Central Arkansas news magazine). Which is a bit scary, as I've always enjoyed taking pictures but have never exactly had any formal training. Perhaps my wife's trusty Nikon digital SLR will keep me in line. Thank goodness for auto-mode. I'm excited about the trip...granted I'm on the team that's driving down (thanks to the amount of film gear i'm bringing) so it will be a long trip. And I'm riding down with some folks who are...different from me. I'll leave it at that. It'll be an interesting drive. Lots of time to read, better hit the used bookstore before I leave.

It also means a week off work. What will HP do without me? More importantly, what will all the rookie reps who depend on me to answer all their questions do without me? Hopefully survive. I feel like Obi Wan Kenobi leaving Luke Skywalker alone on his first mission. Hopefully the rookies survive ok and don't turn to the dark side (I could talk about how this could happen, but I'll leave that topic alone in order to avoid bashing a co-worker).

And last but not least, P90X. I've finally got the cash to buy it. I'm scared. I hear it's pretty hardcore. I've been trying to gear myself up for it by going to the gym and doing some strength training in areas I'm weak (particularly abs and lower back). But I need a change, South Beach only dropped about 20 lbs off my frame before leaving me on a plateau, and from what I hear if you follow the P90X plan, you can really shed the lbs and put on some serious muscle. I'm looking forward to it, despite all the sweat and pain it will cause I want to lose the flab badly enough to stick with it.

Oh, the boss is here. Bye now :)

Monday, March 8, 2010

My Running Shoes...

...are completely FAIL. I have blisters 2 inches in diameter on the balls of both feet thanks to them. I think it may be time to bite the bullet and head to the shoe store for some $100+ running shoes. My cheap self is highly averse to spending that kind of money on running shoes, however when it comes to shoes, you pay for what you get. And I can't suffer any more of these abnormally large blisters right on the part of my foot I walk/run on. Off to the Sporty Runner I go.

Being inside all day today is unbearable. It's 72 degrees outside, sunny, the perfect day to roll down the windows and blast the rock n' roll. Unfortunately I'm stuck longingly peering outside, avoiding the slowness of my workday (though I should just thank God i'm slow...that's not the norm) and wishing I was getting an early start on my tan.

In other news, we're purchasing P90X very soon. I need a workout that mixes it up and forces me to take exercise to the next level. I keep hearing the stories from friends and friends of friends about how awesome of a workout it is. If I'm going to drop another 40-50 lbs, it's going to require something other than what I'm doing. And hey, having P90X may just save us $50 a month on my gym bill.

They're roasting us alive in the building today. I think it's time to go outside, where it's nice and cool.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Creeping up there

I realized this morning that, in about 6 weeks, I will be 31 years old. Turning 30 was not so great, but 31 is like a nail in the coffin.

All those 40-50 somethings can call me an idiot for saying i'm "old" at 31, and give me their "oh Adam do you hear me playing my violin over here?" sarcasm, but I don't care. I'm not saying that I feel like i'm getting arthritis with each passing moment due to my advanced age...I'm just saying that it's a bigger number than I want to get used to at this point.

The weight loss program has plateau'd over the last week or so...I've only dropped about 1 lb. So, I think that Danielle and I may invest in P90X. I've heard good things from people who've stuck to it, that if you really do the program wholeheartedly, you will see results. That's what I want. I can stick to a program, but I have to be able to see the results after a month or so. And i've still got almost 50 lbs to go before I hit my target of 210. Ought to be interesting.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Going Postal

I sell HP servers to the government through my actual customers, who are government contractors (companies akin to Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, etc).

These people are angry...almost all the time. Today I've had 4 calls from people who were nearly yelling into the phone. I'd done all I could for them, but company policy and rules/regulations will only let me do so much myself before I'm forced to rely on someone else to complete their part of the task (and of course speed is not as important to them as it is to me and my customer).

Wherever my next career destination is, remind me not to get a job in sales.

Monday, February 22, 2010

The Little things...become the Big things.

It's interesting (not to mention frustrating) how, as human beings, we want what we don't have and don't want what we have? For the most part i'm pretty content with my situation, but there are some areas in which I wish I was in a better place. It's easy to begin focusing on those wishes, ignoring that which we possess and should be grateful for.

I won't go into detail here, as much of my personal struggle is just that...highly personal. Just a thought. As soon as I improve in an area, I immediately see three areas in which I'm not happy with myself, the situation, whatever. And not in a "constantly driving to improve" sort of way, where that dissatisfaction leads to motivation. More of a feeling of hopelessness because I'm not where I want to be and it seems so far to the desired destination.

In some cases, the dissatisfaction has led to apathy, which has in turn led to major life issues. Again, not going to go into detail, but sometimes you look at a deficiency you have and it seems so insurmountable. The feeling that there's nothing you can do prevails. And all you can bring yourself to do is think "I wish...".

Friday, February 19, 2010, omelets and eye boogers

Day 12 - 17 lbs down. The goal is to look like I did in this picture from '05 (myself, Michael Smith and Tommy Craft, L-R).

For some reason, it's been insanely difficult to get up in the mornings this week. Now I've never, ever, been a morning person, but generally manage ok. But this week has been awful for getting up on time, and when I do wake up I feel as though I've been up for days and, after finally getting a little rest, had someone wake me up after 4 hours of sleep. I leave my contacts in at night (bad habit) so I have terrible eye boogies when I get up, and even the thought of turning a light on makes me cringe. Perhaps I need to start going to bed earlier. I thought I was a pro for going to bed at 11 and waking up at 4:40, but my body is telling me otherwise. These late nights, while I love them, are just knocking me flat for the next morning.

On another note, we have Wards coming to town this weekend. Very jazzed, madness and mayhem will ensue.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Adam misses carbs

We had some bigwigs from DC come in last night, and the boss mandated that we show up at Gusano's in Conway at 6:30 for pizza, appetizers and beer (on the bigwigs). So there I sat for 90 minutes, staring at food I would normally heartily and passionately devour, yet eating nothing. It was a relief when the clock struck 8 and I had every right to finally leave the building. Only in the last couple of days have the carb cravings really smacked me in the face. It's only the 15 lbs i've lost in 9 days that keeps me subjecting myself to this misery.

I just wanted to put my gripes into written form. I'm a Whiny Wilson today.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Diet & Exercise...Lord why did you give me a slow metabolism?

This is day 3 of South Beach Diet drudgery. The exercise part I've already been doing for about 4 months now, but the diet part sucks. You never realize how much you miss carbs until you're not eating them in any way, shape or form. I don't even get to look at a carb until week after next, when I go into phase 2 of the diet - limited, healthy carbs. If I haven't lost 15 lbs by the time I reach phase 2, I will birth a cow. Because it's all I can do not to think of Old Chicago, Slim Chicken's, Wingstop, Chik-Fil-A, and other carb-heavy favorite eats. Curse genetics. Curse them. Thanks to genetics, I'm eating an unsatisfying lunch of tuna fish (just tuna fish), almonds (not of the smoked or salted variety) and part-skim mozzarella string cheese.

Changing the subject now. I'm desperately hoping that the government realizes the error of their ways, regrets taking ~35% of my year's pay in taxes, and decides to refund a huge chunk of that back to me. Because not only would that be awesome, but Danielle and I would no longer have any credit card debt, and Adam would get a nice new Ford F-150 Crew-Cab 4WD. However, I am a pessimist by nature, so I highly doubt this will actually happen. They'll probably send me a little note saying "Hi Mr. Barron - here's your check for $50. Enjoy your stimulus." Let's hope I end up pleasantly surprised.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

It's been awhile

Preface: For the 2 (maybe) people who pay attention to this - I require a great deal of self-validation and ego-stroking. So please...comment! It keeps me going.

Part of me wants to be deeply philosophical in this post, discussing matters such as Haiti's earthquake and long-running governmental uber-failure(s), the iPad and my growing annoyance with Steve Jobs, and the Amazon v. Macmillan Publishing dispute and how retarded Amazon is.

The other part...the part that wins...wants to talk about how lazy I am. Granted, I get up 4 days a week at 4:40 AM and go work out for an hour, work a full day at work, and (some of the time) cook a full meal upon my return home. So i'm not that lazy...but I am pretty lazy. I could probably make my workouts more intense than I do, but I'm too lazy. I could probably put myself on a stricter, more regimented diet program, but I'm too lazy. I could find something to do on the weekends other than sit on my couch watching TV and playing video games, but I'm just too damn lazy.

I think all the time about how I could go camping or hiking, pick up my acoustic guitar and play, go out and take care of the yard, teach the dogs new tricks, re-organize the house. Then I think about how I don't really want to do anything other than what sounds the easiest and most enjoyable.

I drive myself nuts with how lazy I am. I think about how much I hate my laziness, but am too lazy to do anything about it. Vicious and perpetual laziness.