Showing posts from February, 2011

Diets Suck and Other Random Thoughts

My new doctor strongly suggested I lose another 10 or 15 pounds. I am not overweight in the classic sense, but I guess I’m 10 to 15 pounds above what I should be for my height. My blood pressure was a little higher than it should be and he says those two factors could be related. OK, OK, I get it and that last 10 has been on my goals list for two years. Sadly, I am trying to expand my cooking horizons at the same time I am supposed to lose weight. Timing apparently is everything.

I had a sandwich for lunch today. Made it myself. Whole wheat bread, sliced turkey breast, one slice of cheddar cheese and a dab (a large dab) of mustard. Snacked on some cashews. Did NOT hit the vending machine. Actually, I DID hit it, literally, while muttering something about wanting the contents as I walked past it to get yet another cup of water.

I’m planning to take a drive-west-till-I’m-tired adventure soon, just to change up my patterns. I really need it. Not sure where I’m going yet. I have a first c…

Ask for Help

One of the most important elements that make up the spectrum of friendship characteristics is ‘helping each other out’.

This is on my mind today because I saw one of the saddest sights of my life this afternoon. D, the friend who died last week, was in many ways a very private person, even to her closest friends. I am a friend by association so I was not very close to her, although we did have some deep conversations over the years. M, who I am closer to, was D’s best friend and until today was the only person in D’s entire circle of friends who had ever been inside her house; and that had only happened during D’s last weeks when it was obvious that the end was near.

D claimed the house was messy and she was embarrassed to let anyone see it, even M. I accepted that explanation for a long time and wrote it off to the possibility that D was just easily embarrassed by things. This situation, however, is far more complicated than that. The only house I have ever seen that was in more dep…

Stay At Home Perspective

I took the day off work today. That was not my original plan but it turns out I really needed the relief.

The decision was actually based on a suggestion by my boss. I told her some of the issues I was dealing with this morning (the short version: my car wouldn’t start again AND I also had to run a long, convoluted series of errands to fix a different problem that should not have even been mine to begin with) and I explained how I would handle my work till I could get into the office. She suggested that I just not come in today if necessary, as long as the critical work stuff was handled in some way. Best thing I heard all morning, up to that point.

I was able to do some of my timely work remotely while waiting for the tow truck. They arrived just as I reached a stopping point. One by one I was able to handle today’s issues. By 2 PM things settled down, critical issues were addressed and I was safely in my house just as a severe wind storm rolled in. I checked work email again, saw th…

Finding One in a Book

Do you have a doctor? Your very own primary care physician? One whose name you can correctly spell when filling out a form that asks for the name of your doctor? Or do you go to a clinic for checkups or when there is some kind of non-emergency medical problem?

I am a healthy guy who believes strongly in preventative medicine and I generally live a healthy lifestyle. But it has been several years since my last annual physical. Part of that delay is the result of wanting to change docs. Have you ever tried to find a new one?

My specific search involved geography, my health insurance plan and some other factors such as education, experience and patient ratings. I narrowed my search to two and learned as I tried to schedule an appointment that neither was taking new patients. One of the practices offered two other choices and I picked one at random, which leads me to two important questions: 1) am I stupid? And 2) is the whole health care system stupid?

There is no clear answer to either …

A Great Song

I'm sure I've heard this song a few hunded times but I never get tired of it. Smoking hot video too! Enjoy.

Wow, I Completely Forgot About It.

I knew the day would come that I would forget my Dad's birthday. He died ten years ago so his birthday is no longer a calendar event leading to the purchase of a card or present, but I usually still think about him on his birthday and I acknowledge the date. But not this year. Or at least not consciously.

I was thinking about Dad yesterday as I searched through the old tool boxes I inherited from him, looking for a wrench to help a tow truck driver figure out something on my car. We were talking about how much simpler cars were decades ago and I had even told this guy about my Dad's ability to fix cars. Hours later something triggered the memory of his February birthday and that is when it occurred to me I had missed it.

However, I did not totally miss it. As I spent time with a dying friend in a hospital last weekend I mentally flashed back to my Dad's dying days and that lead to memories of earlier times with him when he was still able to communicate. What hit me as I …

Carpe Diem Randomness

I am a creature of habit and ritual and I make no apologies for that, but changing the patterns occasionally can make life more interesting.

Recently I’ve written about the last days of a dying friend and about how her situation has reminded me of the ‘seize the day’ concept … life is short so live in the moment, take charge of and enjoy each day. A more complete explanation, courtesy of Wikipedia, is that the whole phrase from Roman poet Horace is Carpe diem, quam minimum credula postero – "Seize the Day, putting as little trust as possible in the future."

I am trying to embrace that idea in a more direct way by actually seeking out one or more specific pattern-changing actions each day and then documenting them, possibly publicly in this blog. Making note of my successes, or at least my attempts, helps me mark progress and enables me to be a bit more accountable for sticking to the goal.

The actions I speak of could be little things … ordering a different coffee at Starbuck…

Don’t Tell Me That

This post will piss off some readers. I’ll take my chances.

When it comes to religion, I generally respect everyone’s right to believe or not believe whatever they want. I will admit, however, that I am often a skeptic about some widely held beliefs about death and God’s will.

A comment frequently made when someone dies is “they’re in a better place.” My mental (and sometimes verbal) response is “they’re in the morgue (or a coffin). That’s a better place?” I will admit that when someone who has been suffering dies, they are no longer suffering. In that regard, they are in a better place. People who use the ‘better place’ phrasing mean well and maybe their view on religion leads them to believe that the person who died has moved on to heaven and that’s a better place than planet earth. Again, my skepticism kicks in. I do not know if there is a heaven. I try to live my life as if there is nothing after it so I try my best to make this a good life for me and everyone I know. If it turns …

Hospitals, Friends, Family and Death

D, the dying friend I’ve written about, was taken back to the hospital Friday and was moved to the Intensive Care Unit today. This afternoon we were told there is nothing more they can do for her, other than to make her comfortable. The ‘we’ I refer to is a collection of her closest four friends and assorted significant others. I am one of the ‘assortment’. She has no living relatives that we know of, so this cast of characters is her family.

During the five hours we spent there, I was impressed by much of what I saw. D was very private, so the friends spent part of the afternoon piecing together various parts of the story about the return of the cancer; no one person in the group knew the whole story. The friends and D’s lawyer, who is also a friend, discussed D’s various wishes and options. One very important thing was to have her favorite dog there at some point and the friends went to great lengths to make that happen. Fortunately the dog is also a registered service dog so the ho…

NASCAR Randomness

The Daytona 500 is today. This is the beginning of NASCAR season.

Jimmie Johnson has won the Sprint Cup championship a record-setting five seasons in a row. Nobody expects him to top that mark, but I will predict right now, before the first race even begins, that he will come damn close.  And. He. Could. Go. All. The. Way.

Stock car racing began as competition among moonshine runners.

Some of the early ‘official’ stock car race cars were so stock that drivers would take their families to church on Sunday morning then drive the same car to the track and race on Sunday afternoon.

I am determined to go to at least one race this year. The two closest tracks to my house are a little over three hours away. I should be able to do this.

Tracks in Chicago and Bristol are relatively close to two good friends who occasionally read this blog. Any interest?

It is hard to believe that it is already 10 years since Dale Earnhardt lost his life in a serious slam-the-wall crash on the last lap of the D…

C'mon Baby, Do It, Let's Start Now

According to a survey commissioned by Jiffy Lube, three out of five Americans talk to their cars.

Here's what they're saying (they could give more than one answer):

- 50% have thanked their cars for a job well done, like getting them somewhere on time.

- 39% of people say they verbally encourage their cars. Like, "Come on, get up the hill without making me turn off the heat. You can do it. You got this. You're a beast."

- 32% have apologized to their cars, either for reckless driving, getting in an accident, putting them through bad conditions, and more.

- 30% beg or plead with their cars.

- 21% of people talk sweet to their cars while RUBBING the dashboard, steering wheel, or some other part.

- And 17% of people try to bribe their cars by verbally promising them premium gas, a car wash, and other special gifts.

Do you ever talk to your car? What do you say? I’m usually too busy screaming at other drivers to say anything to my car.

What Do You Say To Someone Who’s Dying?

Last month I wrote a post about my friend M and her best friend D who is dying from cancer. D learned this when she was in the hospital for back surgery. She had survived breast cancer a few years ago but the cancer returned and has spread to many other parts of her body.

The best guess three weeks ago was that she has only two to six months to live. Now, halfway through that two month marker, she got an update. Doctors say the cancer has spread to her brain and a particularly insensitive doctor gave her that news today on her cell phone and cancelled a consult tomorrow because he didn’t want her to go all the way there (50 miles) just to hear that.

D was discharged from the hospital a week ago and has been at our house since then. She is not allowed to go home yet because she needs constant assistance for the most basic functions and M offered to take turns helping along with another of D’s friends; the plan is/was two weeks here, two weeks there, etc. D has been making a very slow r…

23 Adult Truths

I have seen many lists about various topics, but this one is new to me and is one of the best. These aren’t mine originally but I can hear myself saying them. You too? Enjoy!

1. Part of a best friend's job should be to immediately clear your computer history if you die.

2. Nothing sucks more than that moment during an argument when you realize you're wrong.

3. I totally take back all those times I didn't want to nap when I was younger.

4. There is great need for a sarcasm font.

5. How the hell are you supposed to fold a fitted sheet?

6. Was learning cursive really necessary?

7. Map Quest really needs to start their directions on # 5. I'm pretty sure I know how to get out of my neighborhood.

8. Obituaries would be a lot more interesting if they told you how the person died.

9. I can't remember the last time I wasn't at least kind of tired.

10. Bad decisions make good stories.

11. You never know when it will strike, but there comes a moment at work when…

February Randomness

The temperature in my town is supposed to be in the upper 60s on Friday. The sandals I ordered should arrive Thursday. Timing is everything.

The Daytona 500 is Sunday. I am quite certain I’ll be watching it.

Warm weather and NASCAR races are sure signs that spring is coming. It might get cold again before April but I am an optimist who is always looking for signs of better things to come.

The gym is usually crowded on Mondays but there weren’t very many people there last night. Is February 14th some kind of holiday or something? -:)

Several people at work celebrate birthdays in February and we usually have ice cream cake on those days. Good thing I went to the gym yesterday.

Some good blues bands are playing in my area this month (and next). Looks like I’ll be busting my budget.

Duran Duran guitarist Andy Taylor turns 50 this month; actress Jane Seymour turns 60.

Some tech geeks will remember February as the month iPhone became available for Verizon users. Next February those same tec…

Valentine Randomness

I am romantic. Yes, men can be romantic without giving up their ‘man card’.

I usually remember birthdays, anniversaries and preference details of women I like. I usually pay attention to what women tell me. No, I’m not perfect and my ego is not as big as this post makes it seem.

A female friend called me a ‘peaceful man’ a few months ago. I am that and sensitive too, but don’t ever confuse that with lack of resolve in conflict. I am perfectly capable and willing to beat the shit out of an adversary if I can’t find conflict resolution with words.

Love is a complicated four-letter word in the same league as jazz and rock. It means many different things to different people and there are many shades and degrees of love. Parent love, friend love, romantic love, love of country, “I love that song” love, sibling love … all of it involves caring and some of it involves chemistry.

I saw results from a survey on the Comcast home page yesterday called Best Cities for Love. It ranked American ci…

Weekend Thinking

What is your typical weekend like? Is it exciting? Filled with fun activity with friends; parties, movies, athletic pursuits, exotic meals? Or do boring-but-necessary activities dominate your Saturday and Sunday? Things like running errands, grocery shopping, laundry, house cleaning, catching up on the sleep you didn’t get during the week?

Mine is mostly on the boring side and the older I get the less I like that. There are reasons not currently in my control that lead to some of my weekend scheduling and that will change this year. Meanwhile, I do routine things most weekends, sprinkled with the occasional fun activity with friends maybe once a month.

The rundown this weekend, so far: got my car radio fixed at a Honda dealer, shopped for groceries at two different stores, worked out at the gym, bought two bottles of wine, cooked jambalaya for dinner last night, solved some logistical issues in my house relating to a house guest who is recovering from severe back surgery, repaired a s…

There Is Music Again

The whole situation in Egypt is both scary and encouraging. The scary part manifests itself on many levels. There are the obvious factors related to thousands of people trying to overthrow a government. Even when the intentions are good, such as tossing out a dictator, the chaos is dangerous. Another scary aspect is the possibility of an even worse governmental entity taking over to fill the power vacuum. That population’s goal is to have some form of democracy installed, but they are not at that point yet. And then there is the possibility of our own country sending in troops to ‘help’. It appears that will no longer be necessary, but in my opinion it would never be necessary, just as it hasn’t been in some of the other conflicts over the past few decades. Why should we be the world’s police? I know things are not as simple as I’m making it here but sometimes simplicity is the correct approach.

What is encouraging about developments in Egypt? The fact that their president/dictator fi…

Holy App!

Need to go to confession? There's an app for that. Catholics and those who study that brand of religion will either laugh or be offended. Please tell me you have a sense of humor. Catholics can now confess via their mobile device. I can hear it now: bless me Father for I have linked.

OK, I borrowed that last line from the headline in a New York Times story about this new confession option. Hmm, I wonder if reprinting without permission is a sin. At least I am reprinting with attribution.

As long as I am quoting, here is a re-written prayer, copied from that article.

Our Father, who art in pixels,
linked be Thy name,
Thy Web site come, Thy Net be done,
on Explorer as it is on Firefox.
Give us this day our daily app,
and forgive us our spam,
as we forgive those
who spam against us,
and lead us not into aggregation,
but deliver us from e-vil. Amen.

CLICK HERE to read the whole article, especially if you are or ever were Catholic. I grew up in that faith so I remember confession well. It was…

Random Happiness Quotes

We all need these sometimes. Nothing too serious, just cool little things to contemplate. Enjoy.

Happiness comes of the capacity to feel deeply, to enjoy simply, to think freely, to risk life, to be needed.

- Storm Jameson

Happiness is like a kiss … you must share it to enjoy it.

- Unknown

The reason people find it so hard to be happy is that they always see the past better than it was, the present worse than it is and the future less resolved than it will be

- Marcel Pagnol

Happiness is a butterfly, which when pursued, is always just beyond your grasp, but which, if you will sit down quietly, may alight upon you.

- Nathaniel Hawthorne

Totally Random 5.1

February 7th is boring. Super Bowl is past, NASCAR is future, and winter is still here. Why can’t it be April now?

Winning the lottery would be a good thing for me and my peeps and my causes. I would not be one of those sad winners you hear about who get so caught up in the money that it ruins their lives. Few people in my circle would even know. I’d help my sister and a couple of select friends who are struggling with finances, I’d get through a current personal situation much faster, I’d find a way to anonymously donate large sums of money to my favorite non-profit groups and I’d travel. I would keep my job for awhile but I’d change my job description a bit. My lottery prayer: “C’mon, help me prove good guys win.”
An acquaintance recently got an overnight job. I was telling him what I did to make my life relatively normal when I worked that shift. I skipped the part about how thirteen years later I still don’t sleep well.

Supercalifragilisticexpealidocious. Can’t get much more rando…

Reagan at 100

Yesterday would have been Ronald Reagan’s 100th birthday. I did not like this wildly popular President but I did respect how he was able to make the country feel better about itself.

There appears to be a big publicity campaign centered on his centennial year. As a history enthusiast, however, I am less interested in him and more interested in how much the world changed during his 93-year lifetime and the seven years since his death.

Think about 1911 for a minute. The Wright Brothers first powered human flight had just taken place eight years earlier and commercial flights did not yet exist. Women did not get the right to vote for another nine years. Arizona, New Mexico, Alaska and Hawaii were not yet states and Oklahoma had only been a state for four years. Most American homes did not have indoor plumbing, air conditioners or refrigerators. The typical work week was 50 hours/6 days and there were only three holidays a year.

Two of Reagan’s primary pre-politics careers, radio and tele…

Who Nose?

You’ve heard the phrase “it’s all in the eye of the beholder.” I have been contemplating a different one lately: “it’s all in the nose of the smeller.” Don’t be surprised if you’ve never heard that one; I just made it up. It goes along with my question of the day: what is good fragrance for a cologne or perfume?

Brut and Old Spice were popular men’s fragrances in my youth and I’m sure I soaked myself in plenty of each at one time. Yuck! I hate both now and I bet women I know would agree. Tigress was the perfume my first girlfriend used and I have fond, unprintable memories related to that one, but I do not believe it is made any more. I wonder what my reaction would be if I whiffed that scent today.

So what men’s cologne is favored by women in this century? I tried many brands ten or fifteen years ago but gave up because I did not like any of them. My favorite non-cologne scents are coconut, pine and coffee but I’m not sure those would make for good manly fragrances. Axe is allegedly …

Winter Randomness

I haven't taken many photographs lately so I decided to do something about that. This is in my yard today.

Visit my photo blogs for more:

Photo Bernie

Middletown Daily Photo

Totally Random 5.0

Had margaritas with some work friends tonight. I have great work friends. The drinks were good too.

Still no tunes in my car. I had an online chat with the local Honda dealer via their website. Weird. But “Kevin” couldn’t answer my question at that moment and I’m still waiting for their reply … and my sound system.

Super Bowl is Sunday. My 5th favorite team is playing. Not sure I’m going to watch, although I do want to see the commercials and the half-time show.

Many incomplete sentences in this post. My high school English teacher would be pissed.

I was thinking about my friends, the ones who are the emotionally closest but who all live so far away. The geographically closest of them live an hour away, the rest are spread out across the globe in North Carolina, Louisiana, Wisconsin, Colorado, Hawaii and England. They are a diverse bunch, mostly female, most in their 40s and 50s. The main two things they have in common are music and me. I met every one of them in totally random situat…

Cool Quote

"Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter...and those who matter don't mind."

- Dr. Seuss

The Radio Code

If you drive a late-model Honda you might already know where this story is going. If not, read on.

First, a set up. I am not the kind of person who believes that the ‘good old days’ are better than today but I do believe that some aspects of the past made life simpler than it is now. Take cars, for example. They used to be simple. Spark plugs, carburetors, direct throttle linkage, fan belts … fairly easy to understand parts that made cars run. I did my own routine maintenance and even a few things that were not routine. I once did a clutch adjustment on my beat up old Mustang in a parking lot and once changed a broken fan belt on a Toyota while on the side of the Capitol Beltway as a legendary DC traffic jam crawled past me.

My current ride is a ‘pre-owned’ Honda. The pre owner bought it new with nearly every option that was available that year and it is definitely the most luxurious vehicle I have owned. I love the electronics but I do not have a clue how to fix anything on this car.…