Qdoba’s Meatless Impossible Taco: A Review

Trying the meatless meat by Impossible at Qdoba

I altered mine a bit from the advertised serving suggestion

I decided to try the 100% Vegan Impossible “Meatless Meat” at Qdoba yesterday. Thought I would do a traditional taco (NOT Vegan) but use the Impossible filling rather than meat and assess the difference in taste and texture.

The look of Impossible Meat Substitute in a taco

First off, what is the Impossible Meat Substitute, What’s in it and how is it made? Impossible Foods uses genetic engineering to make ingredients that are essential to the taste and texture of its plant-based meat substitute: soy leghemoglobin (also known as heme) and soy protein. Soy protein replaced wheat protein as the main base for Impossible’s second recipe, while soy leghemoglobin is responsible for making the patty taste like meat.

According to its website, the five main ingredients include: water, soy-protein concentrate, coconut oil, sunflower oil and natural flavors. If you get a 4 oz Impossible hamburger patty: The Burger is kosher and halal certified but not organic. A 4 ounce patty packs 240 calories, 14 grams of fat, 370 milligrams of sodium, and 19 grams of protein.

I thought I would try regular tacos and replace the meat wit the Impossible Meat Substitute

So, it does qualify as “Vegan.” But many Vegan advocates have gone much further in recent years, promoting a “whole food, plant-based” regimen that limits oil, does not use sugar (or honey or agave), does not eat flour and avoids processed foods, especially the highly processed foods.  (If course animal products of all kinds are also avoided including meat, poultry, fish, eggs, milk and cheese). My sweet wife has followed this eating regimen for nearly two years and looks and feels great. I enjoy much of what she prepares, but I am weak…I still want meat and cheese and bread, for instance.

That said, a WFPB advocate would not even consider this Impossible creation as it is highly processed, genetically engineered and loaded with fat, even if its vegetable fat.

Trying out a meatless taco

But me, I tried it. And it tastes pretty good. It is not spot on like meat, but it’s close. If I was blindfold tested, I could certainly tell the difference. Impossible spent a great deal of effort to make it taste like hamburger — and it’s close. But not so close in texture as it is much chewier. Sadly, Qdoba didn’t add any taco flavoring so it was also a tad bland.

The big difference is price. A regular meat-filled taco at Qdoba is $3.50. An Impossible Taco is $4.25. Is it worth the difference? For taste, no. But Vegans and others may argue that it is if you are trying to save the animals killed for meat. It may also be better for the environment on a number of levels.

I enjoyed my tacos, even with the Impossible filling. But was it because I added cheese? Nah…it was good.

Bottom line, if you don’t mind spending a little extra money for a soy-based meat substitute that is likely more healthy and certainly better on the environment, than go for it. It tastes pretty close. I give it a 4 out 5…dinging it on the slight texture difference.

New Krispy Kreme Reese’s Donuts – A Review

Reese’s Lovers special packaging

So, I am a food geek. When something new and unique comes out I wanna try them and review them. Just a weird thing about me.

Chocolate Lovers

I tried out the new Reese’s donuts at Krispy Kreme Doughnuts yesterday. I have loved Reese’s for decades. The donuts are cake donuts filled with either a chocolate cream or a peanut butterishy cream. The PB cream donut is iced with chocolate and the chocolate cream one is iced with a peanut butteryish icing.

The Two Pack

Advertising

Honestly, it was a massive sugar overload for me. I don’t usually go to get donuts anyway (unless I am near a Voodoo Doughnut or a Hurts Donut shop —- they are amazing!). But, you can get a two pack in a designer box…makes it more fun.

Peanut Butter Lovers

Gets a 4 out of 5 from me… Waaay too sweet to get a 5. 

3 to 40: We Are Family – Part 2 (The Boys)

In my previous post I wrote about how our forty years is tied to our family and did a montage of photos for each of my first three children, all daughters.  Continuing is a collection of photos about our two boys, Seth and Solomon, who came to our family in March 1987 and March 1989.

I was working on my PhD at Arizona State University (which I never completed) when Seth decided to come into our world in March 1987. At that time the three girls were seven, six and four and a half.  It was a new experience for us as we actually had children old enough to appreciate the newborn young boy and even, in some respects, assist us with him.

SETH DAVID

Three sisters started adoring on their little brother Seth almost immediately

Baby Seth was a cutie with red hair that he soon lost.

When Seth was about 5 months old, the family was on its way to Oita, Japan, where we would live from 1987 to late 1991.  So, for most of Seth’s early years he was watching Japanese television and getting the Japanese experience (as were the three girls, who made their way into Japanese public schools, learned the language and the culture, etc.)

Shortly after arriving in Japan, Marissa helped Julianne with Seth

It was easier to carry Seth on our back everywhere we went

Seth’s favorite bath place was on our balcony overlooking the Oita River.

And he liked the beach to. This was in Saga-no-Seki, Japan

Like the other kids, Seth was pulled into Japanese ads. He was in a number of them as a blonde baby boy.

Another shot for a different ad in Japan

Japan had a major influence on Seth

Marissa and Seth were captains of a ship in Beppu (at least for a few minutes)

Seth prized his Mickey Mouse wizard doll when in Japan

Finally back in the United States in 1992, Seth was able to get established in American schools and did well.

Seth visiting the Grand Canyon shortly after getting back to the U.S.

Visiting Sunset Crater National Monument near Flagstaff in 1992

Seth became a Jamestown settler for a while in Jamestown settlement Virginia in 1993

Hanging with his sister Amaree in 1992 (celebrating our 13th Anniversary)

Looking dapper in 1994

Seth in elementary school in Nicholasville, KY

Seth the high schooler

We visited a “bodily function” exhibit in St. Louis. Chelsea and Seth seemed to enjoy the Poo to You display

The Giant kid with the Jolly Green Giant in 2004. He accompanied Amaree to Great Falls, Montana when she moved there after graduation from UK

Seth as a football player at Lafayette

Shortly before graduating high school, Seth obtained his Eagle Scout. A proud moment.

Seth at Lafayette High School Graduation

Seth served an LDS mission in Salt Lake City

Seth and Holly Wedding Day in December 2009

Seth was so popular that they named a town after him in West Virginia

SOLOMON JOSEPH

Julianne and Sol in 1989 shortly after he was born. This was in Oita, Japan

We were already living in Japan when Solomon decided to join our family. According to Julianne, he was her easiest birth.  And, almost instantly he was a hit in Oita.  Not many “gaijin” children were born in that part of Japan.  So, it was great news for all of us and for many of our Japanese friends.

Solomon had long, fun curly hair

He always had a smile on his face (or so it seemed)

Seth and Solomon pretty much grew up together and were pretty much inseparable until about high school days…

Got a nice shot of Marissa and Solomon at a Japanese cafe around 1991

One of our favorite pics of the two boys together.

Solomon had his favorite toys too. This was at his grandmother’s house in Mesa, AZ

Amaree and Solomon together at some event.  That’s Chelsea in the background

Watching the horse events at the Kentucky Horse Park

Solomon and Seth looking nice in their ties

Fishing with Grandpa Bateman in Utah in 1997

Some of the kids, including Solomon at Bowlin’s Akela Flats in southeastern New Mexico December 1999

Seth and Solomon with Marissa in Chicago, just a couple of weeks before she was married

Solomon was always playful

Solomon and Seth giving “Aunt Beula” a kiss after a Trailer Park Troubadours concert

Seth and Solomon were mentored in many ways by University of Kentucky (and later pro) football player Aaron Boone

Solomon really liked hanging out with my friend, former Steppenwolf and Trailer Park Troubadours guitarist Bobby Cochran

Solomon as a football player at Lafayette. As a Senior in 2006 he was named All-City.

Solomon was a tough wrestler as a sophomore. He ended up going to state

Solomon at his Eagle Court of Honor

Both Seth and Solomon were linemen for Lafayette High School’s Generals

Solomon graduation from High School with his lovely mother

Ha! They named a town after Solomon too!

Soon after graduation Solomon made his way to Colorado to work in the Medical Marijuana industry.  He has become an expert in growing and prepping medical grade cannabis and is now in Kentucky working on a large hemp facility.

Solomon shows off the Cannabis Cup that he helped his company win in Colorado.  He still works with Todd (in the left) growing hemp in Kentucky

We have certainly been blessed with a wonderful family of five children.  Tomorrow, I’ll talk about the expansion of our family…our ten wonderful grandchildren.  These have extended the joy we have as we approach our 40th anniversary in a few days.

Solomon with Mom and Dad in 2017

 

 

4 to 40: We Are Family – Part 1 (The Girls)

Obviously, there are five other people that have been very involved in most of the forty years of Julianne and my marriage.  During the course of our first decade of wedded bliss, we also had the blessing of five wonderful children…  We did the girls first gig with Amaree, Marissa and Chelsea.  These three were born within 35 months of each other and were all married in a six week period in 2005.  Then the boys Seth and Solomon came along in 1987 and 1989, almost exactly 2 years from each other (Well, actually 2 years and 2 days).

In many ways our children grew up with us  Julianne and I were married at a young age.  We were ready.  And we were also ready for children.

All three girls married in 2005

The following shots are of our first three girls as they were growing up.  I intentionally did not add anything with brothers.  Those will be added in Part 2 tomorrow.

AMAREE

Julianne and David with first daughter Amaree on a winter hike near the San Francisco Peaks, Flagstaff, AZ 1980

Here I am with Amaree as a newborn

I was there at Julianne’s side in Flagstaff, Arizona on that cold winter morning when Amaree was born. Word can never express all of the feelings that went through as I became a 23 year old father. I still get chills when I thing back to the MAJOR event in the life of my wife, myself and our new first child.

As with any parents, we had many hopes and dreams for this sweet little daughter of ours.  And, obviously, we had no idea if any other children would come our way.  But, we made sure that THIS child was loved beyond measure.

Amaree in Flagstaff ca. 1983

Amaree in front of the San Francisco Peaks near Flagstaff, AZ ca. 1983

Amaree Getting Made Up 1982

Amaree around 1989, taken in Mesa, AZ

Amaree all dressed up nice in the early 1990s

Amaree in an ad in Japan in the early 1990s

Amaree at her high school graduation in June 1998

Amaree and Aaron June 18, 2005 in Cardston, Alberta

MARISSA LEA

Just about 14 months after Amaree was born, we had another cold winter March morning in Flagstaff when our second daughter, Marissa, came along.  The feelings of joy I had when Amaree was born were the same for Marissa. No favoritism in joyful feelings!

Marissa baby picture – don’t have many. (Wish I had a better one!)

Dad and two daughters in 1983

Our little family in Flagstaff AZ in 1981

Hiking with Marissa and Amaree at the Grand Canyon

Julianne with Amaree and Marissa in the fall if 1981

Amaree and Marissa were fun sisters (taken in Sedona, AZ)

One of my favorite shots of little Marissa taken at Student Housing in Flagstaff

She is STILL a Supergirl and SuperMom

Marissa getting a swing from her Aunt Laura in Mesa, AZ

Family picture at family reunion in early 1982

Marissa with her friend Rika in Japan in 1987

Posing in Japan

Marissa in Japanese advertisement in 1989

Marissa in High School

Marissa Graduation from High School

Amaree and Marissa hanging out during ther high school days

Marissa reporting that she is going to Thailand to serve an LDS Mission

Marissa at her wedding in Louisville, KY in June 2005, just five days after Amaree’s wedding in Canada

CHELSEA DAWN

About 18 months after Marissa was born, we had another visitor.  Chelsea came into the world on a cold November day in Flagstaff.  Joy continued for us as our third daughter entered this world.  Couldn’t find any baby pictures, but

Little Chelsea sleeping when she was about 2

I think Chelsea was around 2 in this shot

Julianne and me with our first three…all girls..(L to R) Amaree, Chelsea and Marissa

Chelsea’s 3rd Birthday November 1985

Young sassy Chelsea Dawn — “you WILL NOT spank my little bottom Mom!”

Chelsea was a cutie at age 5 in Japan

One of my all-time favorite pictures of Chelsea taken in August 1987 in Oita, Japan

 

Three Sisters

Three Sisters in Kamiura, Japan around 1989

Chelsea was in many ads in Japan – This one for a large department store

Julianne with the three girls

Chelsea in a kimono in Japan around 1988

Visiting grandma in Arizona

Chelsea in Sedona in 1993

Three Sisters in Monument Valley – July 1993

Chelsea in high school

Chelsea Senior photo

Chelsea’s mischievous look

Dad…QUIT – 1998

Chelsea was also married in 2005, but that didn’t end well.  She married Jorge Mendez in 2015 and they are great together.  The first photo was one I took of Chelsea on her wedding day in 2005.

Chelsea – wedding shot 2005

Chelsea at her wedding to Jorge in 2015

And finally, to finish off Part 1 — about the girls…

Dad and three married daughters June 2005

 

 

 

 

5 to 40: Hanging Out Together

Forty years is a long time.  At least it seems like it is to me.  Throughout these forty years we have had much fun just hanging out together doing fun and interesting things. That is the best part of the relationship…having fun.

So, for today’s post I am adding a bunch of our “together” pictures without the kids.  Some have stories and some don’t.  Since our early years had relatively few pictures, some of them are repeated herein as I try to show a quick chronologically correct history of our togetherness.  I love this girl so much.  Only rule in this post…no pics with the kids.  That is coming in tomorrow’s post!

First off…our very first photo together. Taken at the Provo Temple in Provo, Utah in January 1979.  And I think it is the ONLY photo of us together without my having a mustache.

Our first photo together ca. 1979

Another shot of us in Provo

O…yes, I kissed Julianne…why not?

I think we took this in Salt Lake City before we were married…all in fun.  I think we made a nice 1800s looking couple.

Then we were married…July 1979

David and Julianne Wedding Photo July 1979.  She still looks this beautiful 40 years later.

Cut the cake!

David and Julianne 1979 in Monument Valley

NAU Graduation 1984

Taken in Central City, Colorado. 1986

Kyoto Japan with my Dad…1990

David and Julianne in Japan 1990

My birthday Oct 4 1997…up in the mountains

Goofing around at the park in Lexington

Being weird in Seattle in 2004

On a cruise in Alaska with Julianne’s family. 2004

David and Julianne – on our 25th anniversary (2004)

Fun being with each other after a daughter’s wedding in Canada in 2005

Julianne and David, visiting the old Tulum ruins in Mexico as part of a cruise. 2007

I Married Up…2008 (See the shirts and the license plate?)

Goofing around…2012?

And a bunch from 2012 to 2019…

Julianne and David have enjoyed 35 years! (2014)

I love hanging around with my BEST friend

David and Julianne at Corn Palace in South Dakota in 2012

Julianne and David — I am grateful for my sweetheart

Julianne and David

The Sweetest Kind of Hershey Kiss! – Hershey, PA in 2015

Julianne and David in front of the Wizard of Oz prop from Wicked. This is the only prop allowed for photos.  December 2015

Mu Number 1 Sweetheart 2015

Holiday times are fun

With Naughty in December 2017

My sweet wife smiles with me on my 60th birthday celebration – October 2016

ON the trail in West Virginia in the fall of 2017

Sipping together in Nashville

Five K together. Thanks for her support…I made it

Mt. Rainier, WA in 2017

Washington DC 2017

Our life has many rainbows together

Visiting the Mystic Pizza shop in Mystic, Connecticut 2017

Julianne and David – Nov 4, 2018

Julianne’s birthday 2018

Julianne and David November 2018

And all of these from 2019…the year of our 40th

Julianne and David – May 2019

Having a nice time together

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

6 to 40: The Good Sport

Julianne is a good sport.  She really doesn’t like me to take her pictures.  But, I am a picture taker (and sometimes photographer).  I have never really claimed to be  people photographer.  My favorite thing to do is either take straight candid shots of people or have them do silly poses.  Admittedly, the only real photos of people tend to be selfies…since I am the “Shamelessly Self-Proclaimed Selfie King.”

Despite all of this, I have convinced Julianne to allow me to get her to pose for pictures…some which were silly, but others where I was really trying to get a “serious” pose.  She is such a good sport.  This is why my 40 years with her has been so joyful!

Julianne is certainly my Local Honey. She is sweet and wonderful. And doesn’t mean that I have other honeys elsewhere. Everywhere I go she remains my “Local Honey”

Julianne is also my “Sweet Tea”… how sweet can she get? (I had to try hard to convince her on this one)

This is often what she does when I try to take a picture of her

Julianne is a real chipper gal….almost out of control with the tortilla chips

She obviously didn’t want me to take this Naughty shot of her

Julianne wanted to make sure that people knew she was the grandmother of the Noe’s kids.  She is good at picking her nose too!

Sometimes we just clown around

Did I say that Julianne was my “Local Honey?”  Pure Raw Local Honey!  Yep, that’s her!

She is my Number 1 best friend. Still had to fight to convince her to get in the picture.

I need s’more of Julianne’s pics (by the way, she does not eat these any longer)

Then there are the “Forced Poses”

I am always trying to get her to pose for pictures. I think this is a nice one.

She probably still hates this picture that I took by the Ohio River at Rabbit Hash, KY

I had to BEG her to get into the sunflowers for a nice shot. She is brighter than the flowers

I think she liked posing for this one with all of the beautiful colors in Red River Gorge.. She is Red River Gorgeous!!

I like shots of Julianne with flowers

And she likes posing with her flowers too

This is the “Why are you taking this picture?” face 

This is another one I asked her to pose for. I had to beg. Nice view above Cincinnati

Like this?

Not another one David!

Do I really have to David?

Yes, I can peek through the window…and I’m still Naughty

“If I stay like this maybe he won’t take a picture.” — WRONG!

Hold on!!

I fall for her every fall….and all the other seasons too

As wonderful as an ocean view

Another poser!

Another one I had to beg for. Cute isn’t she?

Julianne is beautiful.  She is fun. She is playful. She’s my local honey. She is a good sport.

 

7 to 40: My Best Friend, My Soul Mate

It is now one week away from my 40th Wedding Anniversary.  This is a big deal for me.  Sure, the 50th Anniversaries are always the really special ones.  But, to me, we have almost made it to 40.  We are on the final stretch…one week to go.

According to various reports, only about 10% of all marriages make it to 40 years.  It drops to 5.5% for a 50 year marriage. Apparently, the national average for marriage length is 8.2 years and the divorce rate in the U.S. is somewhere in the area of about 41%.  That is pretty amazing to me as most of those people got married because they loved their spouse and cared about him/her.

Fun with Julianne

I would love to take the time to dig into Census Data and other Social Data and find out things such as divorce rates or marriage longevity for couples with children and couples without children.  But, alas, I don’t really have the time for that.

Our life has many rainbows together

So, all I can really do is assess why Julianne and I have made it 40 years.  I believe that love and commitment to each other were the prime drivers.  The willingness to give and take is another.  Of course, raising our children and being an example to them was important as well. We have two daughters that have managed 14 years of marriage and are beating the odds as well.

Julianne with her “No-uh” face

But, bottom line for me, is that my spouse is also my best friend.  She is my soul mate.  I truly do and always have loved this special person.  Does this mean that our relationship is always hunky-dory?  Absolutely not!  Does this mean that we don’t have disagreements and things that tug us in different directions?  No way!  Certainly, we have had numerous times in our relationship that we could have called it quits, for one reason or another.  But, we haven’t.  Our friendship is a much stronger bond than that.

Fun being with each other

As we have grown older, there are segments of our individual lives that have grown apart.  I think it is only natural. Our individual interests and pursuits tend to blossom after the children have left.  Though there are many common pursuits as well, these sometimes falter for one reason or another.  But the familial ties bind us strongly.  We both love and cherish our children.  We both adore our grandchildren.  And we both love to be around each other.

Visiting Pittsburgh on a recent trip to visit her sister

I am humbled by my sweet wife’s willingness to hang in there with me, despite my foibles, faults and even failures.  I have strived to be there for her and take care of her as well as I can. She has done the same for me.

Julianne and David – Nov 4, 2018

Honestly, forty years ago I was not sure if we would make it this far.  I most certainly hoped we would.  But, it is difficult to see the future and all of the challenges, frustrations and disappointments that lie in the dark shadows waiting to leap onto an unwary couple. During those times, we had to hold each other tightly and get through the storms.  And we did. Over and over.  Because we loved, and still love, each other.

Riding the storms of societal change

Its not over.  It continues forward.  I love and adore my sweet Julianne.  She is an inspiration.  She brings me joy.  She is my best friend. She is my soul mate.

David and Julianne – on our 25th anniversary

9 to 40: Discovering the “Garden of Youth”

As I mentioned in my previous post, Julianne is a learner.  She strives to excel and, most of the time, succeeds. It seems like years that she has been searching for her “fountain of youth.”  We have both struggled with our weight throughout this 40 years together, but, I am certain, Julianne has ultimately succeeded in her battle.

Fighting weight issues is a massive challenge for all that attempt it.  Most don’t ever really get there.  It requires dedication, planning, gumption,fortitude, desire and struggle to get there.  And, of all the people I know that have struggled to get there, Julianne is really the only one that has truly succeeded.

I can remember her years ago studying the Macrobiotic Diet, probably as a result of our time living in Japan.  The macrobiotic diet is a pescetarian diet (sometimes vegetarian or vegan) fixed on ideas about types of food drawn from Zen Buddhism.  I think at the time she tried, it was too difficult.

Dr. John McDougall

After struggling with other diets, Julianne ultimately discovered Dr. John McDougall, an outspoken proponent of the consumption of a whole foods plant-based diet (WFPB), especially advocating low-fat, starchy foods, like potatoes.  She studied his concepts intently and eventually was led to watch videos such as the famous documentary Forks Over Knives, which was based on the book of the same name, which ultimately became a number bestseller on the New York Times list.  The book (and film) suggests the adoption of a plant-based diet that helps people regain control of their health and their lives.

Forks Over Knives was on of Julianne’s catalysts for change
Jane Birch – Author of Discovering the Word of Wisdom

Julianne then became friends with an LDS proponent of WFPB named Jane Birch. She is the author of a book titled Discovering the Word of Wisdom.  She then pursued her efforts and, after a while had great success such that she was featured on Jane’s website. (see Julianne’s story here).  I think that this is where Julianne “discovered” what I am referring to as her “Garden of Youth.”

Discovering the Word of Wisdom
Julianne in her “youthful” 2019 look

 Julianne began digging into this Garden of Youth more and more.  The learner in her kicked in full-bore.  As an employee of the University of Kentucky, she could take classes and, in one of her classes she had to do a report.  In doing so, she found a disturbing article by Michael Moss titled “The Extraordinary Science of Addictive Junk Food.”  This article, published in the New York Times in Feb. 2013, revealed how the giant food manufacturers were intentionally making food addictive.

 

Julianne visiting with T.Colin Campbell, author of The China Study, a major publication suggesting a plant-based lifestyle

From there she focused on food addiction and realized her addictions, which drove her even deeper to overcome them.  Unlike most of us, including me, that are afraid to admit food addiction and/or are not willing to accept or take it one, Julianne dove in full force. She committed herself to change based on her research, evidence, and, by this time, experience.

Julianne and Chef AJ In 2019

She then found Chef AJ, who runs the Ultimate Weight Loss group, another program she loves. She has learned a lot from Chef AJ and her program really sent Julianne to the next level.

As Julianne’s husband of nearly 40 years, I have done all I can to support her efforts (short of jumping on board the WFPB train completely) to help her succeed. I really have.  I am proud of her fabulous success.  Since starting WFPB sometime in 2017, she has lost nearly 100 pounds.  She actually weighs less than she did as a 19 year old when we married in 1979. She looks 15 years younger than her actual age.  She is vibrant, active and happy.  She loves her journey and the many friends with similar mindsets that she has made.

Julianne with plant-based guru and author Rip Esselstyn, who also just set world swimming records for someone over 50

Ironically, in our 40 years of marriage, the past two have probably been the hardest for me.  In my life journey, I am still, admittedly, not willing to jump into WFPB, though I have seen first hand what the benefits are as I have seen the great progress of my strong and successful wife. Indeed, there are many who are in my same boat.  Perhaps its our lizard-brain, or our food addictions.  Much of the foods she prepares are wonderful, but I still find myself craving the meat and cheese and oil.

For those of you that may not know…Julianne’s dietary lifestyle is a radical change from how most of the rest of us eat. She eats no meat, fish, dairy products, poultry.  That’s a given in a plant-based diet (notice, I am NOT using the word Vegan here). But, she has taken many steps further — no processed foods, no sugar, no honey, no bread, no oils.  Her downfall and biggest temptation?  Tortilla chips and salsa.

Julianne Before and After… on the left was early 2017. On the right late 2018

Her mantra is “Nothing tastes as good as healthy feels.”  She has discovered her “Garden of Youth” and you can see it.  I am proud of her success and honored to be her husband…despite my own weaknesses.  Not many of us are privileged to be with such a strong and amazing person!

Julianne 1979
Julianne 2019 – looks better than ever!!

10 to 40: The Always Improving Inspiration

The ten day countdown has begun for our 40th Anniversary on July 15, 2019. What an amazing journey this continues to be for the both of us. The togetherness we have shared for nearly four decades continues.  But, today’s “togetherness” is not the “togetherness” of twenty years ago. Life changes and so do we.

Before we even became empty-nesters, our “together” paths began to become somewhat different.  With no children left in school, by the mid-1990s we both had jobs and our journeys were no longer totally on the same course.  How could they be? Different jobs.  Different schedules. We were soon developing our own interests that may or may not have been conducive to the other’s real interests.  But, in my mind, that was OK.  We have always been different people.   We shared the goals of raising good children and sticking together through thick and thin.

I the early years, Julianne was always doing things with the children.

Loving life together. She was always there for me.

For nearly twenty years Julianne was a support for me.  She selflessly sacrificed many of her interests and goals to make sure the children had a mother while I chased after careers and ways to sustain the family, including long periods of not being home due to jobs.  Once the kids were gone, those shackles on Julianne were removed and she had much more time to pursue life.  (Knowing her, she will never say she was shackled, but, she really didn’t have the kind of freedom to move about like I did.)

Century plants only bloom once every ten years

It has been a wonderful experience for me to see Julianne blossom beautifully like a dormant century plant, especially over the past decade.  This lovely lady is one that is always striving for improvement in all facets of her life.  She is an inspiration to me, to her children and to many of her friends and associates.

Seems like for years she has sought for a way to transform herself.  We both hit weight loss program after weight loss program with some minor successes.  But, a few years ago, Julianne took hold of the Whole Foods Plant-based Methodology…not only for weight loss, but for better health.  She refused to fail and today, as I write this, my vibrant wife of 40 years looks like she is only 45, she is vibrant, happy and an inspiration to many. (I will write more about this in a later post).  In any case, she has accomplished what I have had many a struggle trying to even conceive in my mind.  I am proud of this.

At a conference with Whole Foods expert Jane Esselstyn

Julianne with her boss Nicole (right) and another staff member from the College of Pharmacy

Soon she will be hitting her six year anniversary at the University of Kentucky College of Pharmacy.  She has thrived.  Early on she had to one of those personality tests and “discovered” that she is a learner. (I ALWAYS knew that!).  And she has not only run with that inherent talent, she has excelled.  Challenge after challenge on her job has been overcome because she sought to learn.

https://vimeo.com/240555345

And this learning has carried on to other areas of her life.  She needed to learn Photoshop and she did.  She needed to learn Database management, and she did.

Studying a book to better herself for her job

As an employee of UK, she is able to take classes and she has always been at or near the top of each class.  Why?  She refused to quit until she got it. And then she would improve upon it.  One great example was her creative writing class.  I loved to hear her read what she had written for the class.  She most certainly could compile her class writings into a nice little book.

Julianne and Marissa kayaking on July 5, 2019

As I write this post, Julianne is out on the Kentucky River on a kayaking trip with our daughter Marissa.  Neither of them had ever kayaked before.  But, I am sure that Julianne’s all-day adventure on a kayak turned into a master class and she became the master.  I expect her to come and tell me that she wants to buy a kayak now.

Julianne is the other #1 in the picture

Bottom line, the Julianne of 2019 is an inspiration to hundreds of people. She may not know it or realize it either.  She is always surprised when she reads a Facebook post from someone noting how she is such an inspiration.  She humbly denies being an inspiration to people at work or church.  But, there it is.

Author Jane Birch, a proponent of Plant-based living said this recently in a Facebook post about Julianne:  “Her strength and resolve inspire me, and I hope it will inspire many others!”   I have seen similar sentiments by others.

Julianne is the “awesomerest”

 

Funny thing — I have become famous for my “How are you?” response when I say, “I am awesome, but I am getting better. There is always room for improvement.”  But, Julianne skips the “awesome” part and just continues to strive for improvement in all she does.  And that makes her the “awsomerest” wife and friend that one could ask for.  Yes, as the Antsy McClain tune attests… “I Married Up.”

12 to 40: Then and Now – Part 3

This is Part 3 of the Then and Now posts for my 60 to 40 posts.  As noted in the previous two posts, a lot has changed in 40 years.  That includes our two lives as a married couple. As with any marriage, we have had our own roller coaster ride.  Each marriage has its ups and downs.  But, we have come through because we really care about each other and have made give and take a key part of our lives.

With that in mind, there are many outside influences that can impact a relationship and one’s lives. And this has been the case for many of us in the past 40 years.  We have lived through a number of national and worldwide crises, terrorist events, massive social changes and more.  Following are some of the big events that have shaped the world we live in and, in some way, shape or form, impacted the way we live our lives.

Some of the US Presidents from 1979 to present
U.S. President Donald Trump, first lady Melania Trump, former President Barack Obama, former first lady Michelle Obama, former President Bill Clinton, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, former President Jimmy Carter and former first lady Rosalynn Carter participate in the State Funeral for former President George H.W. Bush, at the National Cathedral, Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2018 in Washington. Alex Brandon/Pool via REUTERS

Since we were married in 1979, we have seen seven Presidents in office including Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, George Bush, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, Barack Obama and Donald J. Trump.  What a ride that has been!

The horrific attack terror attacks on New York, Washington DC and Pennsylvania on Sept. 11, 2001 have had a major impact on the world

We have heard of dozens of terrorist attacks in the world, from the kidnapping of Americans in Tehran, to the horrific devastation of the 9/11 attacks in 2001 and many more since. For us, life goes on.  Gratefully, none of these attacks has a direct impact on our lives, but the indirect impact has been immeasurable.

 

I worked in the solar energy in the 1990s. It is a huge industry today.

Wind farms now dot the country

In our 40 years we have seen the renewable energy industry grow by leaps and bounds around the country. This is a wonderful thing for the world.

Gas shortage of 1979 was a major impact to us

Gas may have only been around 88 cents a gallon, but the shortage in 1979 caused massive lines

The country has seen a few major financial crises, but the 2008 crisis was massive

The housing crisis of 2008 was the cause of many losing their homes. We were very lucky…more than once.

Crisis after crisis, Julianne and I have been blessed to weather the storms in many ways.  Sadly, some of the crises did cause unplanned job losses for us. But, we worked with resilience and have come back on a couple of occasions.  Job loss is not easy.  It takes a toll on you emotionally.  But, Julianne and I have created multiple skillsets over the past 40 years and so we were able to move on to other areas of employment and survive these crises.

Social Change has pulled our country in different directions

Riding the storms of societal change

Both Julianne and I grew up in the 1960s when the Vietnam War had been a driving force for Social Change.  We also experienced the effects of racism and sexism.  Since the 1970s, there has been much in social change.  Not only have we seen a return of race-related protest and violence in our country, but also protests for women’s rights and the evolution and normalization of rights for the LGTBQ (Lesbian, Gay, Trans, Bi and Queer) groups.  Fights over gun rights, employment rights, the rights of gays and lesbians to marry…all of these have had major impacts on how society and the work place function.  Diversity rules in schools and places of employment have led to more difficulty in employment.  In fact, all of the brouhaha surrounding all of the social change was likely a contributing factor to Donald Trump winning the Presidential Election in 2016.  So far, Julianne and I have weathered these storms as well.  Commitment to our own values and commitment to each other has really helped us through this.

We can get through change