Two sales reps walk into a bar.
The first one says, “I had such a great day! I met with 6 different prospects, and I had great conversations with each of them. I’m really making progress!”
The second one says, “Yeah, I didn’t sell a damn thing today, either.”
Philmont’s most famous landmark, the Tooth of Time.
When I started getting in shape to go to Philmont, I really didn’t know what I was doing. I decided that I could lose weight if I started running … something I had never been serious about. I had run track in high school — but I mean that in the loosest possible sense. I ran, I was in high school. I was pitiful. The only team point I ever scored was when I finished 5th in a 5 man race. I ran the 2 mile. No idea what my times were … who would keep track of such a thing? The stop watches were already off when I finished. Every time.
Assistant Referee, 2002
Move forward many years, and Velda volunteered me to be a referee for Christopher’s soccer team, a part of the AYSO program. (Many referees begin this way!) I told myself that it was my exercise program … and it was better than nothing. But it did not lead to healthier lifestyle choices, and I remained overweight. I could run as fast as a 9 year old dribbling the ball, though, so I was OK. This would have been 1992.
Ten years later, I was a better, faster referee, but I still needed to shed 60 pounds. When I first hit the road to begin running … I couldn’t run a mile. Long before then, I was a wheezing mess. I kept at it, though, in my sweats and my Reebok cross trainers … and kept at it. I actually ran enough miles in those Reeboks that I wore the soles of the shoes away to a severe angle (come to find out, I’m an underpronator. Who knew?). When I finally bought new shoes, I found I could not even walk without pain, as my tendons wouldn’t let the soles of my feet land flat as I ran anymore. Oops. Back to walking.
And then I was a fitness runner. As I got more serious about my running, I got more serious about my gear, eventually switching to good shoes, a GPS system, and (perhaps most importantly) a simple spreadsheet log of what I had done. I began to keep a daily record of my runs after I was well into my fitness program; in February ’03 I was able to do 10 minute miles for 3 mile runs on a good day (on a bad day, not so much). I split the longer runs into shorter intervals, and kept track of my time for every interval. I didn’t have that in high school … now, I became obsessed with it.
I believe that this daily ritual is the most important reason that my running succeeded: I always knew how fast I was running, and I wouldn’t let myself slow down. I pushed. I was in a race with myself, and I celebrated every time I broke my record for an interval by coloring that square in my spreadsheet a special color! Silly, but it worked. I focused on turning the spreadsheet green, one interval at a time, one day at a time.
On my last run before Philmont, I did my 3 miles with an average mile pace of 9:51, my best yet. My weight? Back to what it was in college.
Philmont was GREAT … my life was GREAT. I felt better than I had in years. And suddenly … I had achieved my goal — and didn’t have another. That just wouldn’t do. It was about then that I talked to a great lady, Linda Johnson. Linda was a serious runner — she was doing 9 miles as a daily run. Linda worked with me as a sales rep, and she taught me the value of multiplication.
Linda asked what I was running, and I told her I was doing 3 miles most days. She said great, if you can run 3 miles, you can run 6 miles (and I could!). And if I could run 6 miles, Linda said I could run 12, and that’s almost a half marathon. And if I could run a half marathon, she proudly said, I could run a marathon.
A marathon? WHAT?
Remember where I started: I could not run a mile. And here I was a year later, with a real runner telling me that I could do a marathon. Unbelievable.
And then I did it.
Here’s your takeaway:
1. Get a goal.
2. Keep track of your progress versus that goal.
3. Celebrate your progress towards your goal.
4. Achieve that goal.
January 18, 2004. San Diego Marathon, now called the Carlsbad Marathon. 26.2 beautiful Southern California miles!
Yellow moth on our yellow butterfly bush. Shot with a Nikon D7000 and 85mm lens @ F8, 1/250 second.
This artisan tequila tastes as good as its hand-blown bottle looks!
When we were visiting Old Town Liquor in San Diego, we learned about a highly recommended tequila: Sin Rival. This new Reposado had to be worked into our search for the Perfect Margarita!
Another discovery in San Diego was this organic margarita mix. It is NOT FRESH, but it’s the best bottled mix we’ve found. When you don’t have time to make fresh margarita mix, this is not awful; it’s better than many bars serve!
Also on the agenda: checking out the idea that agave nectar is superior to simple sugar in margarita mix. Seems like a simple idea, right? But until you actually check it out, you just don’t know. Happy to do that for you!
Four of us did some quick little taste tests. In a word, YES, agave nectar makes a big difference. It’s clear that’s going to be our new standard in our search for the Perfect Margarita!
We used a slight variation of this Agave Nectar Margarita Recipe from Food.com:
1-1/2 oz reposado tequila
1/2 oz fresh lime juice
1/2 oz fresh lemon juice
1/2 oz agave nectar
1/2 oz Grand Marnier
The first thing we did was make 2 versions of this recipe with Don Celso Reposado. We put agave nectar in one mix, and simple sugar in the other. All 4 tasters agreed: no contest. Agave nectar is the clear winner!
We then continued with a couple of other taste tests, using agave nectar but with different tequilas.
1. Don Celso Reposado again bested Sol de Mexico Reposado.
2. Don Celso Reposado bested Sin Rival Reposado.
Don Celso, you may recall, was the top-ranked tequila from our original taste test of 15 tequilas. It’s the undefeated champion so far. It must be noted, however, that each tequila brings a unique flavor to its Margaritas. As we continue in our search for the Perfect Margarita, we’re going to need to tweak the final recipe to match the flavor profile of the winning tequila.
Tough, tough work ahead of us.
A great tasting tequila, and with its undefeated record in taste tests so far, it’s going to be hard to replace Don Celso Reposado in our Perfect Margaritas!
Letha Shull, age 16, showing a bit of the grit that would power her genealogy research decades later!
My Mom got into genealogy by accident, really. As part of the Bicentennial celebration, our home town was publishing a history of the community. “On the Banks of the Elk Horn” was to include the history of the town and the families that had lived there. Mom was tasked by the committee with writing the history of the Mowry family, so Mom dutifully talked to the older generation and wrote our history in 1972.
Multiple members of my family had copies of these pictures of my Great Great Grandparents, but not all of them were labeled so we knew who they were!
A year later, she was convinced, much of what she had written was wrong. The oral history she relied on was proven inaccurate when confronted with basic research into county records that were easily available.
And Mom’s love of genealogy was born.
She began buying 3×5 cards by the case, and typing individual records of life events on each card (so, one for a birth, one for a marriage, etc). She typed cards for every announcement in the local newspaper, and then began adding other published records.
Eventually, she typed thousands of cards for everything in the four counties in northwest Missouri, and then started adding more esoteric records, such as funeral home and cemetery records. A database was created, and then re-written. And she’s now begun entering all of those old index cards into the database.
She’s a few thousand cards in, and she’s still only in the B’s. And this is still what she does for fun!
I knew my father was adopted, but I didn’t know he cost $23 until Mom showed me this receipt!
Mom has infected me with her passion, of course, and I’ve tried to help her around the edges since the ’80s. I had access to unique resources in LA back before everything was online. Today, her decades of knowledge still far outweighs my access to the LDS library in Santa Monica!
She’s already done a huge, huge amount of work, taking our family back multiple generations (and proving multiple connections to the Revolutionary War soldiers which will eventually be used for my Granddaughter’s DAR membership, for example). Mom’s work has taken the Mowry line now back 7 generations to John “Maurer” Mowry, born in 1725. The Morgan and MacDonald family lines are also back into the 1700s.
Not all records are in the family bibles! These birth and marriage dates were recorded by my Great Grandmother on to a wall hanging that included photos of her 7 kids.
Remember, though, where her journey began: bad information from relatives that she had to record and then disprove on her way to a more complete understanding of our family tree.
So, how should YOU get started?
- Write down what you know … for some people that’s their personal information only. Some people are lucky enough to know their grandparents and even great-grandparents — and their birth dates. It’s a very rare person, though, that actually knows birth, marriage and death dates back 3 generations. Write down what you THINK you know … here are some forms you can download and use to get started, here or here.
- Write down what you don’t know … this could very well be a larger list. Sometimes you discover things you don’t know along the way … like a new step grandmother that your grandfather never mentioned.
- Talk to your immediate family for information, direction & more. You’ll probably know what you can talk about with your immediate family … and what subjects you best avoid. It’s great to know “everything” … but do you really NEED to know every divorce date? Avoid those topics that will incite relatives, and lead to them disengaging from your project.
- Get pictures! If you have been following my blog, you know that I love family pictures. You will be very surprised at the pictures that various members of your family have that you’ve never seen. Even your immediate family will likely have pictures that you’ve never seen before.
- Talk to your extended family. Some cousins may not be happy with prying questions about marriage dates, birth dates … not everyone will want to share private information! Ask questions, be happy with the answers … and then you can check them for accuracy on your own time!
- Get pictures! When you look at pictures from your extended family, you’ll be amazed what you will find. Cousins will have new pictures, identifications on pictures that may be unlabeled in your collection, or simply better prints that are in better condition that the pictures in your immediate family’s collection.
- Begin your research. I’ll leave research tips to the myriad of published and online resources that you have to call upon. My go to is Ancestry.com; it’ll help you in many ways — but be careful. Just because something is online doesn’t mean it is true!
This picture is from a tin type, and is probably the oldest in our family’s collection. John Blair Morgan died in 1865, age 73.