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Thursday, June 16, 2011


I had an occasion to visit with someone who I haven't seen in a few years. She is a beautiful, warm, funny, intelligent and non-BSing woman. And I love her like she's my sister. =)

Once all the catching up was done, she said something to me that literally moved me -- like in I jerked my head & my jaw dropped ! She could tell by my physical reaction that she had hit a nerve.

"You seem so ... so ... UNlike YOU. I can't put my finger on it, but you're NOT the same person I've come to love and admire. What happened to that person ?"

WTF was she talking about ?!?! I'm still ME, still the same dorky nut-job that she's known for the past 28 years !! I was speechless (trust me, that's QUITE an accomplishment for me !) and I think more than just a tad offended. I told as much & she countered with that she didn't mean to insult me, but that it was as if my "inner glow" had dimmed considerably. She was worried, that's all.

I agreed to do allow her to help me do some "digging" to shed some light on what exactly she meant. We covered the past 2 decades -- the good, the bad & the ugly. Slowly, slowly I began to realize the meaning behind her astuteness. And like all great friends, she let me make that discovery at my own pace until the light bulb FINALLY lit up. I have constricted my FOCUS -- plain & simple. Sounds that way, eh ? But it's really NOT that plain nor simple.

Everyone has different focus -- some are apparent & some not so much & still some prefer NOT to try and focus at all. Anyone who knows me, knows that MY life is S-T-R-U-C-T-U-R-E-D chaos and I function best when 85-90% of my mental duckies are in a semi-straight line. I DO allow for coloring outside of the lines -- may not happen at appropriate times, but that's how I roll. I know this, I accept it and it works for me. Those whom I call best friends, accept me as I am.

So when she dropped that bombshell on me, my world's axis tilted a little more to the left than usual. Here all this time I thought I was keeping pretty good track of myself, considering all the crap that has hit my life-fan in the past 20 yrs. So I wasn't prepare for the honesty, that on the surface, I perceived to be brutal when in fact it was just an honest observation by someone, whose opinion I regard very highly.

We parted on the best of terms like always and I assured her that after the initial shock I was once again kool. But it seems I'm not. It's been 2 weeks since that visit & more often than not, I find my mind turning that convo over & over in my mind like the proverbial rotisserie spit. The more it turns, the more I'm tempted to "baste" it with some kind of salve instead of the "drippings" of the real meat of that convo. Could it be I'm scared to face it ? Nahhhhh, I doubt it. Could it be I'm just trying to OVER rationalize it ? Mmmmmmmm cooooood be, but doubtful. Whatever the impetus, I think I've discovered the root of the problem & have arrived at the reasonable solution.

I've spent the last 17 years (ever since Pop died) trying to ignore my probable fate -- if I beat it, it'll NEVER happen to ME. Well THAT was a waste of 17 yrs cos it HAS happened to me & I went into panic mode and THAT'S when my focus became constricted. It's a proven fact that the human brain cannot analyze, disseminate and come up with solutions to more than 2 things at one time. So whomever sold us the manure pile that multi-tasking is THE way to go about our daily lives, should be immediately deposited in said manure pile ! But I digress .....

I've narrowed my focus on avoiding diabetes and am trying to balance too many "balls" in that regard so now I've made it THE focus of my life. Now don't get me wrong -- avoiding diabetes is a GOOD thing, but at what cost of the remaining aspects of my life ??

It's ALL about balance. Life is nothing but strife, confusion and pain if balance can't be achieved. The sooner we get that balance, the better the remainder of our lives will be. The perfect equation for balance is as individual as fingerprints. What works for YOU may not necessarily do the same for ME. However, the building blocks of balance are the same .....

1) Admit, FINALLY, that you are human and as such are genetically wired to make mistakes. The key is to LEARN from them so that you don't spend your life repeating them.

2) Take care of this "machine," cos it's the ONLY ONE WE GET. It's harder to do than to say, but can mean the difference between reaching your final destination in a "well-used, but well-kept" state OR arriving there a burnt out shell.

3) It pays to feed this machine the way it was meant to be fed. Think of it like this ..... would you put crappy fuel into your prized Bugatti ??? Didn't think so !

4) Effort .... that's all it takes .... just a little effort each and every day to eat clean and healthily.

5) Movement beats the snot out of painful stagnation due to bad choices. ANY movement is a GOOD thing.

6) Balance CAN be achieved once you're right with yourself. Make YOU your first priority and the rest will fall into place.

7) And finally -- make yourself lose focus every once in a while -- it'll make all things come in soooooooo much clearer afterward.

Thanks for reading & I wish only balanced days ahead for all of us !!

It's not like the old adage tells us

It's NOT that easy to get back on that bicycle & ride. I found this out recently. First some background .........

Three years ago I decided that I wanted a bike -- not a fancy-schmancy one, just a plain old bike. Who would have thought that finding a coaster brake, single speed bike would be so HARD ???? After an exhaustive search, I found a bike -- sort of. It is a three speed with coaster brake -- I figured half right was better than none right ... right ? It is a 26inch somethingorother in metallic cadet blue -- QUITE handsome, I must admit.

Fast forward to about 2 months ago. Yeah, unfortunately things & life being what they are, I never got on that bike -- UNTIL 2 months ago .... long story & not an interesting one at that. Anyhoo, with childlike anticipation and excitement, I dragged it out from under the house & wiped it down, oiled the chain & proceeded to throw my leg over the saddle to mount & ride like the wind !!! Wellllllllllll not really.

Seems my eyes are MUCH bigger than my actual stature, for I could not clear the saddle to get my leg to the other side. Did I mention it is a BOY'S bike ?? Now I rode boy's bikes when I was younger. Yeah clearing that bar in the middle was tedious, but manageable -- at 15 yrs of age, most definitely NOT at 51 yrs of age !! But I finally managed to get on the dammed thing & DID get it going so I figured that's half the battle, right ? Noooooooooo, actually it was just the beginning of the skirmish between human versus machine.

Stopping became interesting as I clearly remember that all you had to do was push BACK on the pedals. Wellllll, that's true but only if you're riding at a normal speed not cruising speed. Push back, push back, PUSH BACK -- why isn't this infernal machine slowing ?!?! Coming up fast is the driveway & I'm still barreling along at a good clip, trying desperately trying to slow down. 15 feet .... 10 feet .... 5 feet .... DAMMIT, YOU MISSED THE DRIVEWAY !!! And DOWN the hill I went. Finally I got the bike to stop at the bottom of the hill. No way was I going to pedal UP the hill to the driveway.

Now a new problem presented itself -- how to dismount without #1 falling off, #2 tipping the bike into the ditch or #3 having me AND the bike land in the ditch. Now I'm pretty good at being semi-coordinated (for being a klutz at my core), unfortunately, this time wasn't one of those instances. So I sorta leaned & jumped and by the grace of the Divine, the bike and I managed to miss the ditch, but it DID fall over & I DID stumble, but stayed upright.

So I walked the bike back up the hill & instead of just turning into the driveway, I decided that what I needed was P-R-A-C-T-I-C-E and proceeded to try & re-mount. Seems it's easier to do this on a LEVEL surface, and not on the crest of a hill. Then I had a BRILLIANT idea !! Put the bike in the cement ditch & mount from the road !!! I can exit the ditch at the graveled end & be on my way !! WOOOOO HOOOOOOO !!!

Ahem, many an idea are best left just as that -- an IDEA. Execution was difficult, scary & downright UNgraceful to say the least. But I did manage to get back on & away I went. I did one more circuit around the neighborhood & headed back home. THIS time I hit the driveway (AND managed to miss BOTH cars !) AND get the bike to stop. Then came the dismount.

Seems in my zealousness to conquer machine, I didn't take into account the fact that I hadn't ridden a REAL bike in 30 yrs & my first outing was probably a 3 mile trek -- my legs let me know that immediately. Stumbling and eventually falling onto the patio made for a less than stellar dismount (not to mention the patio rash !) and resulted in Beener coming to my rescue by lifting the bike OFF me & helping me onto my jello-y legs. But I came up smiling, cos I BEAT THE MACHINE & WON !!

Since that reintroduction to bike riding, I have purchased a 24inch bike (21 speeds, and THAT'S a whole other story !) and have to admit that I now remember why I loved biking so much as a kid & teenager. The wind thru my hair, iPod blaring in my ears and the knowledge that I CAN go back & be a kid -- if only for an hour or so a day.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

I've Got an ITCH

And it's called spring planting ! FINALLY the weather has seen fit to be reasonable so I think we're ready to get the planting season started. I'm taking off next week and hope to get a LOT of stuff done -- including getting the garden ready for planting.

This year we've chosen to go the raised bed route, just because neither of us can bend, kneel or crouch anymore .... and if we DO find ourselves caught up in the rapture of the moment, someone had better have the fire dept on speed dial !

Anyhoo, I digress .......... this year we're "scaling down" and only planting : green snap beans, wax beans, sweet peas, pickling cukes, tomatoes (2 kinds), sweet peppers, carrots, turnips (purple tops), onions, beets, summer squash and of course the requisite salad mixings -- mesclun, redleaf, black seeded simpson green leaf. Yeppers now THAT'S what I call scaling back to a right proper easily handled garden ......... NOT ! Oh well, with prices of everything going up & up & UP, at least we'll have some produce to see us thru the summer & fall.

Now if I could only "grow" my own oil, have my own refinery & gas pump ,,,,,, I'd be set !! HAPPY PLANTING, FRIENDS !!! =)

take care .... stay kool .... be content

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

"Clean as a Whistle !"

Well maybe not, but that's approximately what I heard thru the drug induced haze.

Had the occasion (note I DIDN'T say pleasure) to have a colonoscopy done recently. Yep I've reached that age where the mere mention of that term can cause involuntary compression of the sphincter and the medical community starts harping on it like that kid in the back seat asking "are we there yet ?" every 90 seconds for the duration of an eight hour road trip. So after the scare from Mom diagnosis and running out of excuses for over a year, I finally relented and was rewarded by an actual smile from my Doc for the first time in 3 yrs.

Sunday was nothing short of torture. NO SOLID FOODS after 2200 on Saturday & nothing but fluids on Sunday. Part of this fluidation routine was TEN LITERS (that's 2.62 US gallons) of a some demented person's idea of a "pleasantly lemon-lime flavored" concoction, that neither tasted like lemon-lime nor was anything remotely related to "pleasant." Eight of said ten liters was to be started consumption @ 1700 Sunday evening & in 12 oz increments till it was all gone.

To make things even more FUN, the better half was working ALL day and thereby was spared the facial contortions and spewing of expletives that'd make a sailor blush after each and every one of the 12 oz dosings. But being the brave little soldier, I bulled thru it & only spewed once -- luckily towards the end of the routine.

So fast forward to Monday morning. I have to drive 62 miles for this procedure and after no food for 36 plus hours, it was a new land speed record ! Got there, got checked in, wired up & drugged .... I'm kool. Till my less-than-better-side was left exposed for it seemed like 20 mins while the Doc "prepared." Peeps are breezing back & forth with my butt flashing everyone. NO secrets in the endoscopy suite !! Once you've mooned two-thirds of the staff, there's not much more in life that'll embarrass you -- trust me.

Finally Doc comes in & begins explaining the procedure ... did he say a probe the diameter of a cigar ?!?!? Oval office flashbacks followed by unbridled guffaws and questioning stares ... something about removal and cauterization ... ummmmmmm, that's like burning something, right ?!? ... a thirty minute recovery in the room -- did I have any questions.
HELL YEAH I HAD QUESTIONS !!! Ummmmmm, why is that monitor swirling ? that's just the drugs
What happens if I sneeze whilst you're up there mining ? I will wait till you're done
What's that dammed beeping ?! that's the EKG monitoring your heart rate
Ohhh -- Okay, I guess that's all I've got.

"Just relax and this will be over before you know it." HEY BUDDY, YOU WANNA TRADE PLACES & WE'LL SEE HOW RELAXED YOU ARE, M'KAY ????
WOWSER !! So that's what my colon looks like !! Oddly fascinating and abhorrent at the same time.

"Sorry, this is a tight corner and you may feel some discomfort." Okie dokie, what part of OUCH ! didn't you get ?!

"Almost done, you're doing just fine." Okay, I'm down with that. Watching it in reverse is kinda kool, too !

"Please try and pass gas to relieve some of the pressure." WTF are you talking to ?!?! ME ?!?! No way, no how -- nuhn-uh !! Ain't never gonna happen, capice ?

"Please don't be embarrassed, it's natural and trust me, you'll feel much better. Besides I won't release you until I'm satisfied that the pressure has been released." WTF ?!?! FARTING BLACKMAIL ?!?!?! This is NOT happening !!

Somewhere between his calm explanation of the naturalness and necessity & MY bawking, wind broke and time stopped ..... so did the breathing. NO one wanted to be the first one to let their facial muscles betray the essence of the immediate breathing space.

"There, now you'll feel much better. Thank you for allowing me to perform your procedure. You will be receiving a report and pictures in about 10-14 days. Have a nice day !"
Well there you have it ... WHAM! BAM! Thankya ma'am !!

And so ended my saga of my first (and hopefully LAST) colonoscopy.

I realize this was kinda humorous (it was meant to be), but I do NOT want anyone to take away from this that this procedure ISN'T important -- it is VERY IMPORTANT. If you're over 50 (or have familial history) and have not discussed with YOUR Doc this procedure, please DO. For about 20 minutes of discomfort and/or embarrassment, you'll gain valuable knowledge that could save your LIFE. So ASSUME THE POSITION AND SMILE !! ;-)

take care .... stay kool .... be content =)

Friday, February 25, 2011

Badly Bent, Nearly Broken

There is a song by The Tractors that I think sums up my lot at the present moment .....

I'm goin' back to the country
'Cause I can't pay my rent
I may not be completely broke
But brother I'm badly bent
I don't understand
Where the money went
I'm not broke
But I'm badly bent

They warned me about the city
About the city life
But I thought I knew everything
I took no one's advice
Now I don't know where
All the money went
I might not be broke
But I'm badly bent

I am just a country boy
Tryin' to make some sense
But I'd like to ask the congress
I'd like to ask the president
Can you tell me where
All the money went
We might not be broke
But we're badly bent

Between the telephone, gas and electric bills...
Car payment and the rent
Give it everything I got
Can't seem to make a dent
I don't understand
Where the money went
I'm not broke
But I'm badly bent
Can you tell my where
All the money went
I might not be broke
But I'm badly bent

This kinda sums up my life right now. The BoD decided to change our pay schedule & it's been rough trying to get back on budget. What used to be an easily mapped out routine is now a nail-biting, breath-holding fingers-crossing fight to get the bills paid on time and have any left over to cover living expenses !

Unfortunately most of my bills fall BEFORE the 15th and that's the first paycheck of the month ! So I'm having to scrimp on the end of the month so that I have a big nuff cushion to hold me over thru the 15th. Why oh WHY couldn't they have decided on the 1st & the 15th instead of the 15th & the 30th ?!?!?!!!

Oh well, I guess it'll all work out in the long run. I DID get my tax refunds so that helps out a bit .... even if I DID want to use some of it to put away for vacay in the summer. I suppose I really don't need to leave home on vacay -- lots to do/see here. Siiiiiiiiiiiigh Part of my angst is the fact that I HATE WINTERTIME !!! Not the temps (although it HAS been colder than normal), but the seemingly unending darkness. I think I may suffer from SAD, but won't mention it to my Doc as she has enough to deal with my care as it is.

However, spring is only 23 days away & the clocks change in only 16 more days -- so I'm keeping THAT in my sights in order to keep me from going bonkers !! COMMMMM'ONNNNNN SPRING !!!!

take care .... stay kool .... be content =)

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Spring Cleaning .... With A Twist

As spring is most assuredly just around the corner, my thoughts have honed in on the "essence" of spring -- rebirth, new growth, out with the old & in with the new, etc. An interesting mental phenomenon occurred and I just had to put in writing for future reference !

Recently, I had the occasion to watch a show on TV called Confessions : Hoarding. It is about people who are overwhelmed and held captive by their love for animals and the toll it takes on them, their families & their homes. After watching two shows (back-to-back), I got a nervous uneasy feeling. NO ! I'M NOT A HOARDER ! But it DID get me thinking about the accumulation of CRAP in this house. Stuff is STUFFED everywhere !! It no longer resembles a home -- it's a storage unit with two beds and a bathroom !! Immediately I got up (well during a commercial break) & grabbed paper & pen and started making a list, well actually two lists -- Things To Donate and Things to Clean Out ASAP.

In less than 5 minutes, I had a total of 20+ things to either get rid of or clean out so to regain space in the house. It was cathartic !!! But not as cathartic as it will be to GET IT DONE ! I grew up in a household created by two Depression-era parents and their 50+ years of accumulation. Something about that time in history created a generation that NEVER GOT RID OF ANYTHING. Because my Pop was in the USN for 31 yrs, every time we moved, the gov't packed us up & we moved to the next duty station. Every move saw more & more stuff being packed and delivered to the next house. When he finally retired in 1973 and we moved to the final house, the stuff accumulated in all those years, filled a two-story house, the attached garage, the attic, the basement AND AN OUT BUILDING !

So to say that I have a reactionary-formation to clutter, would be THE understatement of the century ! I swore that when I moved out & got my own place, the basic necessities were all that would be in my place. For almost 18 yrs, I lived a spartan life (for 2 yrs I slept on a mattress supported by 8 cinder blocks & some plywood !) .... and enjoyed it ! People would visit and asked if the rest of my stuff was in storage. I'd tell them no, with a clear conscience and a big smile.

I met and moved my better half into my apartment in 1997 and for awhile we stayed relatively "stuff-free." In 1998 we moved to VA & into a bigger unit -- it was the beginning of the subtle encroachment of stuff. In 2000 we bought a HOUSE and I agreed that we needed some more furniture, etc to complete the rooms. Fast forward to 2011 .... the house is boardering on overload & my temper is getting shorter and shorter.

Watching that show gave me a wide awake daymare !! Visions of my growing up in houses that were stuffed to the rafters, flashed before my eyes. No, NO, NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO !!! I WOULD NOT TURN INTO MY PACK RAT PARENTS & OLDER BROTHER !!!! I could envision the "clean slate" that the house could become & it excited me to the Nth degree ! So I sat & waited for the better half to come home from work. I would fix her a nice snack & drink, let her decompress for a bit and then WHAMMO ! hit her with the proclamation of PROJECT HOUSE DE-CLUTTER 2011.

Well it sorta went that way -- sorta. The proclamation didn't occur till 2 days later & it was less enthusiastic, but still got the point across. "I agree. This house is on overload !" SHUT THE FRONT DOOR !!! Did my ears deceive me ? Did I just dream that convo ? No, NOOO I didn't !!! The thought of making her sign a contract (in blood preferably) and holding her to it DID cross my mind, but I decided against it -- after all, I needed the help & pissing her off would be counterproductive.

So I'm happy to say that she is going to request a couple of days in a row when I take vacay at the end of April & we're going to GI the house. I'm not sure how much can get done in 3-4 days, but by cracky, we're gonna give it a bloody go !! I can feel the lightness already !! =)

take care .... stay kool .... be content =)

Friday, February 18, 2011

Who IS that crazy broad looking back at me ?!?!

Moments of realization or clarity can either be helpful or cause a new layer of stress. I find myself wondering from day to day why these moments keep switching sides on me ? How can they provide soooooo much helpful insight one day, only to belittle and criticize the next ??? Is THIS how insanity begins ?! Now actually, THAT concept doesn't scare me much as I've always leaned moderately farther left of center than my peers. I think it's the UNCERTAINTY of it all. Will I glean helpful cues today ? Or will I find that the tiny fault lines have widened and lengthened since the last time ? This is the stuff that keeps me awake.

I know that I'm NOT young anymore, but both feet are still planted firmly ON the ground (READ : ABOVE the sod)
. So I ask you -- why do the body and mind betray me ? There are days when I PHYSICALLY feel like a broken and bent 90 yr old, but my MIND is skipping along at age 20something. Conversely, I have days where I find myself DOING stuff that I used to do waaaaaaay back when, only to be nagged by the echoing thoughts of a fretful and frail senior. WTF up wit DAT ????

Maybe it's a case of "I-don't-wanna-grow-up-I'm-a-Toys-R-Us-kid" when I really NEED to grow up ? Nahhhhh, anyone who knows me, knows better than that. I'm probably the most AR, black&white thinking, OCD child they know ... and yet they still love me ! ;-) Still it scares me to have these moments of conflict that are growing in frequency. Makes me wonder if one day I'll wake up & have NO grasp on reality and go do something really stoopid and UNme -- like bungee-jumping, tightrope-walking or rock climbing !! Butttttttt, then again losing my vice grip on reality could mean my being totally free from the exhaustion of failed attempts to control things I CAN'T.

Maybe what's called for is a major mental meltdown, but just how DOES one "invoke" this ??? Quite frankly, I don't think I'M capable of detaching from reality too easily, because MY reality and everyone else's are already worlds apart now. Perspective is EVERYTHING, doncha know. So I guess I'll just muddle through & get to the final destination much like everyone else. I've even gotten my hand basket all picked out -- it's quite handsome and verrrrrrrry utilitarian ! See y'all down at the station !! I'll be standing in line for the Downtown Express, care to join me ?? =)

Friday, January 14, 2011

And so the journey begins

After a week of dealing with the "creeping crud," I finally feel (and look) like a human being again. I don't get sick often (thankfully), but when I DO get laid down it knocks me for a loop ! Fevers, chills, sneezing, clogged sinuses, aches, and my personal favorite laryngitis. I've almost gotten my voice back and the fever broke sometime Wednesday evening. I even went to work yesterday, but may have rushed things as I felt like death warmed over this AM and ended up staying home.

Bout the only "good" thing I can say about this crapola is that is DOES aid in weight release -- my appetite disappears and even though I know that I must feed my body during its time of lowered resistance, I rarely get much into me past cereal with milk & OJ. I even mentioned to the Best Half that I find it quite ironic that one can judiciously follow a eating/exercise routine & just lose a half of a pound in a week. But let a flu bug hit you & lay you out and 1 to 2 pounds come flying off. Totally bizarre and UNFAIR, but I digress.

The topic of this entry is starting on a new journey. I've found that attempting to maintain routine of getting to the Y 3-4 afternoons per week after work, is NOT working out. So I've read about some people in the same fix as I am, get up earlier & do their exercise first thing & "get it out of the way." So beginning Tues., January 18th I will give it a whirl & see if it's a good fit for me .......... or not. I'll be getting up @ 0500 & getting to the Y roughly 0520. I'll give myself 30 mins of aerobic and 30 mins of strength/toning. If I can manage this 3-4 days per week, I should be in good shape ...... er, or better shape. Dammed good thing I'm a morning person, eh ? HAHAHAHA !!

take care .... stay kool .... be content
mk =)