Day 105 – A Week Nearly Over

Keeping a smile on my face as I prepare to hook up another sleep study in a far-off location.
Keeping a smile on my face as I prepare to hook up another sleep study in a far-off location.

My day took me as far southeast as Greensburg and as far northwest as Lebanon.  I started the day with a home visit and ended the day with a sleep study in the patient’s home.

I figure I’ve hooked up more than 200 sleep studies over the course of the past four years.  That’s a lot of sleep studies, a lot of home visits, a lot of second hand cigarette smoke, and a lot of travel.

I don’t mind it too much, really.  It gives me a chance to meet people where they live and I nearly always get to watch TV while we hook the patient to the equipment.  And it’s rarely the same viewing from house to house.

I’ve seen everything from Ice Road Truckers to slasher films.  I’ve been challenged by Jeopardy and nauseated by MTV.  I’ve watched late-breaking news and Entertainment Tonight.

Once in a while, the TV watching is interrupted by a family pet or child.  Several times I’ve had to concentrate on my work while the patient’s dog (s) bark at full volume at my ankles during the entire procedure.  Other times, I have to shoo cats away from my equipment.  Children pull wires, ask questions and hover.  I’ve had to feed one child because he wanted more Gold Fish and hot dogs but mom was mid-hook-up.  I’ve been sniffed by dozens of dogs and only bitten by one cat.

Sometimes we don’t get to watch TV because they don’t have TV’s…Or furniture for that matter.  In fact, there was one patient who had nothing more than a single light bulb and an over-stuffed chair in their home and we completed the study by the equivalent of candlelight.

What makes it worse is if the study didn’t work the first time (wires come loose, equipment is removed by the patient, or some other disruption occurs).  Then I have to go back and do it all over again another night.  For instance, tonight’s study is a repeat because the patient removed the blood oxygen monitor from their finger, making it impossible to know if their apnea resulted in desaturations.

My work is a challenge and difficult to put into words on a resume.  It’s something I never thought I would be doing 15 years ago.  And it is certainly something I hope I won’t be doing 15 years from now!

Day 85 – Fooled Again

My portrait for Friday, May 17, 2013.

I learned this morning that the performances I so enjoyed are not over.  Early in the morning, while my coffee was still hot, he called to inform me that the Jazz Choir has one final concert on Monday night and he’s making little pies for the event.

Two things: First, what the hell are little pies?  Second, ANOTHER concert?  Didn’t the last concert last for three-and-a-half hours?  Didn’t the Jazz Choir sing twice?  Aren’t all the kids in Jazz Choir also in Singers or New Dimension and didn’t they already perform?  Do we really need another night at the school?

All that said, I have a conflict on this night and cannot attend.  For this scheduling snafu, I’m truly sad.  Ben is a performer and I wish I could see him one more time.  The up-side to this is that my wife was traveling for work this past week and wasn’t able to enjoy the Thursday night concert.  Now she can go and enjoy the best of Cole Porter and Nate King Cole.  I think they only sing songs written by people who have Cole in their name.

As for my Journey?  Oh, of course.  I mowed my yard and worked in garden, giving me a walk of nearly three miles and a very good work out.  I did eat spinach, mushroom and egg for breakfast, my daughter’s macaroni and cheese with tuna and peas for lunch, and a vege pizza for supper.  Add to the fact that I worked in our garden for a while and I can honestly report that was closer to vegetables than I’ve been in a long time.

And I’m down four pounds.  Perhaps there’s something to this hard work, full sun, and a plate of spinach from time to time.  Who knew?

Day 62 – Another Frosty Start

2013.04.24Every time I think about my Journey to 50 and my slow going, I simply remember my garden to re-assure myself.

Seeds and bulbs are planted.  New growth is beginning to show.  The green leaves and colorful flowers are peaking out.  It looks like it is almost time to bloom.

And then the frost hits.  Something cold and unplanned stunts their progress.  They don’t stop growing but they slow down their Journey to full bloom.

I’m getting there but I’m not there yet.  I’m walking.  I’m mowing.  I’m eating less and meditating more.  I’m finding positivity in all things and fretting less.  I’m reading pages and striding miles.

I won’t let a little cold air stop the journey.  Neither should you!

Day 60 – Monday, Monday, Monday

2013.04.22Some days are very productive.

This wasn’t one of those days.  But that doesn’t mean the day was bad.  It just wasn’t perfect.  In fact, when I think about it, the day was better than good.  The day was GREAT!

It started slow with our monthly meeting with our financial adviser who helped us learn about all the money we don’t have.  Next, I went to my first home visit where the patient decided he didn’t want a visit after all.  I suspected my day might be one of THOSE Mondays.

Thankfully, the day got better.  I had a great lunch with my friends/co-workers, got some good file work done and completed another home visit later in the evening.

At 7:30 I was on my way north and enjoying the fantastic weather.

Now I’m ready for bed.  But first, being true to my Journey, I willl drink three glasses of water, do 10 sit ups, 10 push ups and get in a good 15 minutes of meditation before I hit the hay.  That’s a good way to end a great day!

Day 56 – A Lost Soul

2013.04.18The hospital where I work is making some changes to the halls.  There is a new coat of paint and fresh colors in every direction.  They are also updating many of the signs.  As such, new directional signs and safety warnings are posted about.

But the signs aren’t all complete.  For example, this picture to the left.

Despite this sign’s intent, I am unaware of where I am and I have no idea where I’m going.  I do not feel reassured about my odds of surviving an emergency.

In the first 56 days of my Journey to 50, I’ve felt like this from time to time.  I’ve wanted to know where I am and where I’m going.  I need to know how to navigate my way out of the fat and fatigue that endangers my life.  I want to move from the emergency and into safe territory.

You can’t get to a better place if you don’t truly know from where you are starting.  And so, today I will re-evaluate my “starting place”.  I’m not going to look back to February because things have changed since then.  The landscape is different.  The Journey has taken me to a different place.  Instead, I’ll look at where I am today and where I need to go to be in the best mental, physical and spiritual place I can be.

Day 53 – Tax Day

2013.04.15Despite the fact that today is Tax Day, I’ve had a very good day.

At 4:30 this morning, I drove my wife to the airport for her business trip.

I was at work by 6:30 and had a very productive day.

I left the office by 3:00 and had very little traffic.

Once home, I boned the chicken I roasted last night and made a pork roast for tomorrow.

A glass of red wine with dinner and a Corona on the back porch as I watched the setting sun were a perfect way to end a perfect day.

Then my daughter came home and we finished her taxes with minutes to spare….The only tense part of my day.

Not too bad for 19 hours of fun.

Day 48 – Man’s Best Friend

2013.04.10My dog gives me joy.  She doesn’t care if I’m overweight.  She doesn’t flinch when I’m grouchy.  She doesn’t judge when I make the wrong decisions.

My dog loves me for who I am.

She’s been a part of my life for four years now and finally, and very thankfully, she is able to sit quietly at my feet without crazy-making.  She licks less and loves more.  She twitches when she sleeps.  She desires nothing more than to be with me, whether dreaming or awake.

I’m trying to take a lesson from her.  My life should be one of loyalty to others, without judgement.

My life should reflect the very best of others.

But most of all, I thinks she’s teaching me that I should nap more…Yes.  That’s it.  A nap is the perfect lesson.

Now where is my floor pillow?

Day 45 – Starting….NOW!

2013.04.07Okay, I’ll be honest.  My Journey to 50 has fallen off the track just a bit.  I’m eight weeks into this process of changing my life and I’m just as fat as I was 45 days ago.  In fact, I’m actually one pound heavier.  Weighing in after vacation, I’m now at 211 pounds.

Oh, sure, I’ve grown as a person.  I’ve learned more about art and positivity.  I’ve read books and taken nature walks.  I’ve experienced life and all its many wonderful colors and flavors.

But vacation ended yesterday.  TODAY it is back to the real world.  NOW…and I mean NOW!  everything changes.  NOW I start moving.  NOW I start exercising.  NOW I start eating like a rabbit six days a week and enjoying life’s bounty on the seventh.  NOW I’m on my complete journey.  Mind, Spirit, Soul AND Body.  I’m going to move until I sweat.  I’m going to do Yoga, Power 90 and Kickboxing (well, maybe not all three at the same time).  NOW is the time to start.


Day 38 – We Haven’t Changed A Bit

Lynn and I enjoy time together before Easter lunch.
Enjoying Easter with Lynn and Wendy.

We had a great day today.  Easter worship in Katy, Texas.  Lunch with my old friends, Lynn and Wendy.  Fun the boys and a super night’s sleep.

This trip is already shaping up to be a great experience.  Lynn and I worked together for a few years beginning in 1987.  We enjoyed one another 26 years ago and after only a few hours together this weekend, I realized why.

Lynn is brilliant, funny, and loving.  He might have more gray hair and a few extra wrinkles but he’s the same wonderful person today as he was nearly three decades ago.

Another wonderful day spent with my boys and my friends.  The journey can’t get any better.

Day 37 – My Traveling Buddies

2013.03.30Elliott and Ben will be with me for the next eight days as we travel to Texas and back.

We’re going to see things.  We’re going to do things.  We’re going to make the most of every moment; even if that means taking a nap in the middle of the day.

Spring break.  Senior year.  Finding friends.  Having fun.  Making the most of the journey.  Talking about girls, computers, video games.

I imagine I’ll cherish these moments with my youngest son and I hope he cherishes them, too.

A once in a lifetime trip.

Day 34 – Getting Ready for Taste

2013.03.27Our garden, though frozen solid, is doing quite well in the windows of our home.

My wife is planning ahead. She is taking the time to plant seeds, water the plants, and prepare for a bountiful harvest later this summer.

Do we have tilled soil now?  No.

Do we have red, ripe tomatoes now?  Of course not.

Do we enjoy fresh produce on our table in March?  I wish.

The point isn’t that we have it now.  The point is that we are preparing for the future.

I’m working on losing 1/2 pound a week to prepare for my future.  I want to be fit, not because it serves me right this minute but because I will reap the benefits for years to come.

My body will enjoy the benefits of the change but it will take time.  What I eat today prepares me for what I will be later.

How I move this morning will result in a change down the road.

We do things today and sometimes we enjoy the benefits immediately.  But more often than not, our actions today are preparing us for the future.

Some day this summer I’ll pick a red, ripe tomato from the vine.  But that day will never come if we don’t tend the garden today.

Day 30 – Another Day, Another Shoot

2013.03.23This was a fun day.  Long, but fun.

Up early (3:00 am), I delivered my son to the high school for his show choir performance.  He had to be on the bus, ready to travel at 4:00 am.

After a quick drive there and back, I took a short nap and ran my lines for later in the day.

My day was filled with another film shoot on location in Greenfield.  This was my fourth film in the last year and the second movie in which I’m the lead character.  I did a great job on a couple scenes but struggled with a few.  I’m excited to see the final product.

In my life-time, I’ve been an artist, a musician, a farmer, a fast-food worker, a paralegal and a researcher.  This newest venture doesn’t pay my electric bill but it does expand my creative opportunities.

I have 11 months remaining in my Journey to 50 and have been successful in my first 30 days in several ways.  I’ve found new ways of expression, new focus and increased joy in the presence of my family and friends.  It’s been a good year so far and I’m excited about what tomorrow brings!

Day 25 – Image Problems

2013.03.18My dog seems to have a problem with her image.  She’s been spending a little more time with her head in a corner.

Perhaps it has something to do with her recent weight gain or her non-stop licking.  Either way, I feel for her.

There are days when I’m not too proud of myself and wish I could join her in the 90 degree space.

For instance, I started my day with a healthy breakfast of Schwan’s chicken pot pie.  In the interest of full disclosure, I should report that I had two pot pies.

I know…I know…corner of shame.

But one just isn’t big enough and two are just right.  Who would have guessed that they totaled to 1300 calories!?

But the rest of the day I was pretty good and even though I’m 25 days into my year, this was only the second time that I was over my calorie target.  So it might be better to leave the dog in the corner by herself and go for a walk, with my head held high!


Day 19 – Another Day of Weighing

2013.03.12I’m at 107.4 today.  Yes, yes, I know that it isn’t Friday but I thought I’d stand on the scales to see how I’m doing.  That’s three pounds in just a few weeks.  My goal is 1/2 a pound a week and I know that the first few pounds  come off the easiest so I’m not fooling myself.

But I’m down nearly 3 pounds in a few weeks and that is a big deal.

I’m thrilled.  Sticking to the calorie counting has made a big difference.

Every day.  Count the calories.  See a difference.

Day 14 – Temptation, Thy Name is Chocolate

2013.03.07As my daughter unpacked her bag, she was kind enough to unload her massive, and ever-expanding stash of chocolates and crisps.  All laid out on the kitchen table, we were able to see the challenge before us.

I have three weaknesses:  Salty Foods, Sweet Foods, All Other Foods.

This evil pile of cocoa and sugar are simply another opportunity to review my plan and stand up to the challenge…Wait, are those chocolate covered cherries?

This might be harder than I originally thought!

Day 13 – Working the Plan

Another early morning on the road for work.

A lot of my life is lived out of my car.  I arrive to work early and often work late into the night.  It isn’t the perfect way to live, especially when I’m trying to keep the quality of my food high as well as my activity level.

These are the days that heating a healthy lunch becomes impossible.

This is a growth area for me.  I really need some good ideas for food to eat while on the road.  Rather than stopping for a sandwich, I need to have some food to eat.

Any ideas?

Day 12 – New Moon Rising

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHere’s the bottom line…Here’s the truth.

This is a new life.  This is a new approach for me.  I’m not thinking short gains.  I’m not thinking quick loss.  I’m not worried about buying new outfits and getting my tan on.

I’m fat now and that won’t change too soon.  I know that.  I get it.

But my journey is just starting.  The plan isn’t to chop off massive pounds.  I’ll take off a little at a time.  I’ll lose a few pounds a month.

I’ve given up the fads and am changing my life…one day at a time.

Day 3 – Garbage In…

2013.02.24 c
Second stop: My neighborhood Kroger!

It’s Sunday and for my family that means two things:  1.  Drop the kids off at church so they can help with the Special Friends (kids with disabilities), and 2.  Shopping while we wait for the kids to be done.

Before you go all “They just drop their kids off at church!“, let me explain that we usually go to the Saturday night service at our church.  But the kids have volunteered to help with the larger crowd on Sunday.  See?  We are religious AND pious.

Back to the story.  When we shop, we often think about what we need to make healthy meals.  Unfortunately, when we get to the store we often buy things because they look and taste better.  The end result is that we often end up with too many chips, too much soda, and too many excuses to eat wrong.

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Which rice is the best rice?

But today was different.  Today, I took stock of our pantry.  I made my list of meals for the week and cross-checked this with the supplies on hand.  Fruit?  Check.  Beans?  Double-Check.  Rice?  Triple-Check.  Vege’s?  Plenty.  Mushrooms?  Never enough…And so it went.

So I find myself in the store and am faced with the difficult dilemma of deciding between good food and bad food.  Sure, I made a meal plan.  Of course, I made a list.  But look at all those options!  Can’t you hear the Doritos calling my name?

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Piles and Miles of Peppers!

But, in the end I emerged victorious.  Just like I did yesterday.

Yesterday was a good day (okay, it was only day number two and I had no where else to go but up after day number one) and I’m proud.  We walked 35 minutes at a VERY brisk rate…probably because it was very brisk outside.  I stayed under my calorie goal by more than 200 calories.  And we went to church because I’m so very religious.  I was triple blessed.

Yep, yesterday was good and today promises to be even better!

Now it’s time for that walk!