Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Dr. visit - and day 4

I went to the doctor this morning. I needed to refill a prescription and I hadn't been for a check up in awhile. I also wanted to get his opinion on this knot on my hand. It's like I have an extra knuckle between my index and middle knuckle on my left hand.

The knot - which I'd already had Dr. Tim look at - is just what Tim said... it's a floating cyst. He/they said it may at some point dissipate, or it may stay. It doesn't hurt, but does seem a little more noticeable than when I first realized it was there in early July.

As for the visit... it went well. I always print out a sheet that lists: 1) why I'm there; 2) the medicines I'm currently taking; and 3) any items I think he may need to know.

My prescription for Sertraline (Zoloft) has run out, so he wrote me a new one for that. I had been taking 100 mg a day, but for about the last month or so I've been breaking them in half. So I've only been taking 50 mg/day (which is what I started on). He said he could write me a script for 50 mg, but as long as they weren't too difficult to break in half it would be cheaper to write me one for 100 mg and I could keep breaking them. That way I can save some money, or, if I decide I need to bump back up to 100 I can do that. So that's what we did.

I had recently started taking Lisinopril again for my blood pressure. It has started running a little high since I haven't been exercising, have gained weight, and started smoking. Today it was 134/88 (I was a little stressed because I was running late). He said that was fine, and that I could judge for myself when I needed it and when I didn't (he knows I keep a good eye on my health and regularly check my bp).

We talked about the smoking, and life in general. He said if I needed anymore help besides the patch to just let him know. He said Zoloft also helps with that. He also said that the biggest aide in quitting is simply the desire to quit. He was satisfied that I had the desire and in his usual manner gave me some encouragement.

My weight was 163 (fully clothed). I do have to admit that I purposely wore shorts and left my watch and phone in the car, just so it wouldn't add to it. This time last year I was about 143. I'd settle for being right in the middle of that, but 145-148 is a good weight for me (in my opinion). He was not worried about it, but I know how I feel and where I need to be to get off the meds again. I am going to start working on that - but the smoking is the top priority right now.

He scheduled me for another check-up in 3 months to see how I was doing, and said he may order some more blood work at that time - since it's been awhile since I've had my cholesterol and such checked. Overall, it was a good visit.

UPDATE ON SMOKING: This is day 4 without a cigarette. I do have to admit that I slipped slightly yesterday. I worked with the Sales/General Manager yesterday morning, and that went alright, but then one of the owners was in the rest of the day. He is fine to work with, but I was a little jittery in the afternoon, so I dug through my glove compartment and found an old Pall Mall I had stashed in there a few months ago. I smoked about 1/4 of it at 5 pm, and threw it down. It tasted TERRIBLE, and I wished I hadn't done it. So I'm not counting that as smoking. Otherwise I have been doing pretty good. The patch seems to be working, and I am starting to have a lot more energy. I've also found that taking some deep breaths now and then helps. It's still one day at a time though. I'm sure I will always have somewhat of an urge for a cigarette. Such is life. Today started out great, but then I got to work and... well, I'm hoping this will de-stress me a little.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Why i want to quit smoking

As previously stated, this is day 3 of my trek to stop smoking. I am using 'the patch,' and it comes with a guide called the HABITROL Take Control Support Program. One of the first things they suggest if you really want to quit is to make a list of the reasons why you want to quit. It should be short enough to be kept on a card in your pocket, or on your mirror, dashboard, or desk. So here is my first attempt as such a list:

  1. Family & friends - the people who care about me and don't want me to smoke.
  2. Freedom - I don't want to be controlled by or tied down to cigarettes (or any other nasty habit).
  3. Health benefits - Cancer, heart disease, emphysema, breathing in general, sense of taste & smell, and so I can begin running again.
  4. The cough - I hate coughing up gunk, and just that lingering cough altogether.
  5. To feel better - I want to have more energy, and a clearer, cleaner mind and body.
  6. Time - I want to start using my time more productively and on things I want to do.

STATUS: So, after two whole days without a cigarette... I already feel better physically and mentally. The cough has been better - even at night - and my breathing seems easier. For some reason my head just feels better too. I have yet to use the nicotine gum - though I did buy some regular (sugar free) gum last night. I guess you're not supposed to chew the nicorette for at least 15 minutes after eating or drinking anything. Um... that's exactly when I want a cigarette. So I plan to chew some regular gum after eating. As far as sleeping - I did wear the patch again last night. I still had weird dreams, but not as wild as the first night. And I rested well. Today will be another challenge, with the Sales Manager working in my office for a few hours, but overall it has went pretty well so far. Sure, I still have the urge for a smoke, but I don't feel like I HAVE TO have a cigarette. I think it was mostly a boredom thing for, so it will take some serious self-discipline to get over that. I do think it was good, though, that I started making my own cigarettes a couple months ago. I have been smoking pipe tobacco, so it doesn't have quite so many chemicals as regular cigarettes, and I also don't inhale near as much. We will see. Here goes day three...

Monday, September 15, 2014

Isaac's anniversary & my quit day (patch)

Very few things can compare to walking your daughter down the aisle and performing her wedding ceremony, but Isaac & Ricci's wedding weekend at Story, IN was one of the best times I've ever had in my life too. Yesterday was their first anniversary. It brought back so many good memories. And I can never get enough of this video put together by their friend Drew Beaty:

Yesterday was also my "Quit Day." I started using the PATCH to help me try to quit smoking. I feel like the biggest idiot in the world for starting again after I had quit some 25 years ago. It was just another consequence of a tough year last year. Certainly not the end of my life or anything. I can still remember that first one a year ago August. I'd always had nightmares that I had one cigarette, and that was it - I was hooked again. And it happened.

So, I started on the Meijer brand 'Step 1 Nicotine Transdermal System Patch.' I am to wear one of these a day for 14 days, and then hopefully move to step 2. I also bought some 2mg nicotine gum. Nephew Dr. Tim said that some new studies have shown that gum, along with the patch, can have much better results than either alone. I will only use the gum if I have to though, because I don't want to OD on nicotine (seriously). I definitely recommend reading all the instructions before starting.

After the first day it seemed to go okay. Although Sunday's are usually an easy day to go without anyway. Today - going back to work - will be the real test. The only issue I had so far was with the dreaming. It says I can take it off at night if I have "vivid dreams." Man, did I ever. I had the wildest, full-color dreams I can ever remember. None of them were necessarily bad, but just crazy. I actually KNEW I was dreaming, and I don't remember ever noticing the colors so much. At one point, when I realized I was dreaming, I tried to determine what I would dream about. I don't recall now if it worked or not. But I think I will take the patch off to sleep from now on.

Otherwise, I am hoping this goes well. I feel pretty good about it. I need to make a list of all the reasons I want to quit. Perhaps I will post it tomorrow. I would still appreciate any prayers or good thoughts for those of you who are into such things. Thank you in advance.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Title and registration for motorcycle, oktoberfest, mowing, trim, etc

Yesterday I went to the BMV and got the title and registration for the motorcycle. It has to be done within 31 days of purchase. It wouldn't have cost that much if not for the sales tax. It ended up being $180 or so.

Our Waynedale BMV is great though. It was busy - it was Saturday morning - and it still only took me 12 minutes from when I walked in the door to when I walked out. That's crazy. Someone has really shaped that place up.

When Jane got home I asked her to trim the hair on the back of my neck. I need to cut it, but that was good enough for now.

In the afternoon I went down to Headwaters Park West for the Mad Anthony 'OK to beer fest.' I always wondered why they had Octoberfest in September. Didn't know until yesterday that not the name of it. I saw Curt & Colleen there. I was actually hoping to run into Colleen's dad, but he wasn't there. So I just stood around mostly by myself, sampled quite a few craft beers, and listened to music.

When I got home I mowed the lawn. It was long again, but I still mowed one setting down from the highest.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

A perspective from the pastor's spouse

My wife left this as a comment a few posts back. If you don't know the back story, I'm sorry but I don't care to rehash it again. I thought this was beautifully worded, and worth keeping. While there is much I could say, want to say, and maybe should say... For now I'm just going to post it and leave it at that.

I could go back and comment on several of your recent posts, but I'll just put it all into this one.

I do still believe in the church and friendships - even though this past year it has been somewhat hard. I think the worst part of the whole church situation is thinking that you have found a common understanding with four or five people where you want the church to really try to reflect what you believe God intended the church to be. You know where you live life in such a way that you can depend on one another, you can share in the struggles as well as the joys. You can be honest about the problems in your marriage, how your kids have maybe messed up or made decisions that you don't understand. How you struggle with doing what you know is wrong but you just don't have the strength to stop...or start...or whatever the case may be. How when people are at their lowest, you don't let them down. And of course, when we all fail at those things at some point, you help each other work through it all in an attempt to bring healing and to show the world...this is why the church is different. Maybe that group of people has found all of that without us - and if so - well, good for them. But as far as we are concerned, when we were at a low point, they let us down. I understand that when someone is drowning, you have to wait for them to stop struggling before you can pull them out. I guess they waited for the struggle to stop and then decided to walk away. That second, key part of the equation never happened. I suppose it was all less messy least for them.

It's funny how people want to claim credit for their influence when everything turns out well, but no one wants to take responsibility for their influence when it doesn't. I will be the first to admit that we all do have to take responsibilities for our own thoughts, actions, beliefs. But if that's all we're responsible for, then I don't understand anything at all.

Friday, September 12, 2014


We had a storage auction where I work yesterday. Actually, 4 of our 6 facilities had one yesterday. The other 2 will have theirs later in the month. It was the second auction I've worked at/attended. My facility only had 3 units - because we were the only one to have an auction the last time - but the other 3 had 10, 10, and 11 units up for auction. It went okay.

It was a chilly, cloudy morning, so there were only a couple dozen people there. It is very similar to the show 'Storage Wars,' only maybe without quite so much drama. I still find it kind of exciting. I got to be the one to lead people around and open the doors so the bidders could walk past. I asked if I could bid as well, but my supervisor wasn't sure so I didn't push it.

Two of my units were basically full of junk - some furniture, an old piano, boxes, etc. But one unit had a Harley soft-tail, and the guy who bought it said there was at least one other motorcycle he could see that no one else saw. He hadn't cleaned it out yet when I left work yesterday. He did come back later after buying some units at other facilities. He showed me an antique watch that was still in the box, and the price tag on it was for $1250. He bought quite a bit of stuff, and claims to make a lot of money doing it.

These auctions are kind of sad though, because while there's the excitement of the bidding, and what people find, you also realize that someone has just lost a bunch of stuff that at some point must have been valuable to them. It's especially so when I know who the people are (from interacting with them as customers).

Anyway... that's about it. I'm sure today I will have to clean up. The winning bidder has 24 hours to empty the unit they buy, but they have to turn in any personal items like pictures and bank records and stuff to me. Oh, and all sales are cash only. Fortunately we took in just a tad over what the people owed in back rent and late fees. So... there ya go.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

10 books

I have seen this thing on Facebook where people are supposed to share 10 books that have been influential in their lives (or at least memorable). Maybe not the best books you've read, or the most recent, or anything like that. Just 10 books that stick out to you. Here are mine - off the top of my head.

1. Blue Like Jazz - Donald Miller
2. Messy Spirituality - Mike Yaconelli
3. New Kind of Christian - Brian McClaren
4. The Story We Find Ourselves In - Brian McClaren
5. The Shaping of Things to Come - Frost & Hirsch
6. In the Name of Jesus - Henri Nouwen
7. The Mouse and the Motorcycle (children's book) - Beverly Cleary
8. An Arrow Pointing to Heaven - James Bryan Smith
9. Praying With the Church - Scot McKnight
10. The Jesus I Never Knew - Philip Yancey
11. Several Eugene Peterson books

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Almost like...

It struck me yesterday - as I was sitting in a hospital room with a friend - that this was almost like old times. A few weeks ago I made somewhat regular visits to another friend as he was recouping from a motorcycle accident. Then yesterday I found a co-worker unconscious. I called 911 and followed the ambulance to the hospital. I spent 5 or 6 hours in the hospital with her. There was no one else to be with her, and it wasn't something I was obligated to do, but I felt I needed to do. Didn't mind at all.

So it struck me also how ignorant some people can be who think that church is nothing but a Sunday show... They think you need someone to do the music, someone to present a "talk," and someone to take care of the maintenance of the building. These assholes are oblivious to the need for someone to pray for people, someone to visit with people, someone to give a shit, and commune and listen to God, and clean the toilets, and pray over places and events, and... well the list could go on. It just irritates me when people think "church" is a simple list of things to do. It requires so much more, but it starts with someone committed to living a simple life, and attending to the needs at hand. The needs of people.

Yes, it would be great if we could do it organically, or share the burden, but let's face it... Most of the time it doesn't happen. Everyone thinks someone else will do it, or that it's not really necessary. But it is, dammit.

I still want to believe in the church, but I'm losing faith (in the church). It's not an event, or a business (non-profit, at that). It's difficult work, it's tedious work, it's time-consuming, and it's something that some people will never understand.

That's all. Rant over.

Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Baby steps - not quite running

Ugh... I went for my first run in a loooooong time a week ago yesterday. I wanted to see if it would be at all possible for me to even do the 10k at this year's Fort 4 Fitness. So, I stretched out, and took off really, really slow. I jogged about 1.5 miles in 15 minutes. And I was wasted. So then I walked for 5 minutes, then tried jogging again, and walking again. Then I was toast.

I suppose it's good that I was able to do 3 miles of interval walking/jogging after having done nothing but smoke cigarettes and sit on my butt for the last year. I am so out of shape. My left knee started hurting at the 7-minute mark. And that was WITH a knee brace on. Then after I was done my heel hurt pretty bad. My thighs were also very sore. I could barely make it up and down stairs for several days after. So I didn't do anything the rest of the week... other than be sore. And depressed. Starting over is so hard.

Well, I decided to try again yesterday. This time I just jogged about 8 tenths of a mile, then walked, for a total of 1.6 miles. It felt like I wasn't even doing anything... But my knee didn't hurt, my heel didn't hurt, and my legs felt good the rest of the day.

So I think I need to take baby steps. It's just hard when you have to start over from scratch. I want to start from where I left off when I stopped running. There's probably a story in there somewhere. But that would require thinking. One thing at a time...

Monday, September 08, 2014


Jane and I both took trips this past weekend. She flew to Colorado to see her brother, and Carrie and I drove to Illinois for a memorial service and a visit home. They were both fairly good trips, but we are both pretty tired.

Jane left out of Fort Wayne on Thursday morning. I took her to the airport before my Thursday breakfast group (before work). She flew to Chicago and then on to Denver, then she rented a car and drove up to Loveland. She said the flights were pretty rough due to storms in Chicago and beyond. She stayed with her brother Keith, and it sounds like they mostly just hung out at his house and visited. He has some pretty serious health issues so he doesn't get out much. They did manage a ride on his Harley though. Sunday morning she drove back to Denver, met Keith's step-son Matt and his family for coffee, then flew back home through Chicago. I picked her up at the FWA at 7:45 pm.

Carrie and I - along with 4-month old Caleb - left around 7:30 am Saturday. We drove to Vermont, IL for my aunt Mary Edith's memorial service there. We didn't arrive in time for the burial, but they had a time of sharing and eating afterward and we got there in time for that. I was asked to help with the service, but declined. Homey just doesn't do that anymore. Anyway, the three of us left and drove the 2 hours to Buda just after it was over. I had several cousins, aunts, and other various relatives and friends of my parents there. It went okay. I was not a big fan of this aunt.

When we got to Buda (the hometown) we hung out for awhile, then went to Red's in Sheffield for supper. Dr. Tim and his family came along too. It was kind of busy, but we all finally managed to find a place to eat. Later on that night Carrie and I went back to Sheffield for the Brother's Pub 3-year anniversary party. It was awesome as usual. Windjam played from around 8 pm until after midnight, there was a good crowd, and they had free food. It's always nice to see/hear Windjam play, and it's great seeing old friends.

Carrie left after a few hours (so she could feed Caleb) and I was to get a ride home with Joe and Crystal. Instead, after the bar closed we all went to Julie's moms house. It was me, Moose, Joe, Crystal, Lisa, Julie, and Brenda. We hung out and laughed and talked until around 4 am. I ended up getting a ride to my parent's from Lisa, since she was driving by herself.

Carrie, Caleb and I then left for home on Sunday morning around 10:30 Central Time (11:30 our time). We made good time and got home in 4 1/2 hours. Caleb was super good on the way there and back. All in all it was a really good trip.

When I got home I took a motorcycle ride in the country, then went to pick up Jane. We had supper at Wings, Etc. A good, but tiring, weekend.

Friday, September 05, 2014

I got a motorcycle

So... remember the story about my doctor friend who crashed his Harley?? Well, last night I bought his '06 Kawasaki Vulcan 500. It has 4530 miles on it. It had 3 miles on it when he bought it new. It did seem a tad ironic to be buying a man's motorcycle while he was in a wheelchair. At least this way he will no longer be tempted to ride it once he's recovered, but if he gets the urge bad enough, he knows he can borrow it anytime. Stranger still was that my next door neighbor just got his dad's Suzuki... because his dad wrecked his Harley. His father was killed in the accident though. Kinda weird that we both got bikes from similar circumstances, and within a week of each other.

Anyway, this is a pic of it in my garage. The son-in-law gave me a ride to my friends house after work last night. Of course it started raining on the way there. It had quit raining by the time I was ready to ride it home though. It rides good, but I do need to practice my starts and stops a little before I'm ready to maneuver the 32 stoplights on my way to work each day. My friend was kind enough to throw in the helmet that's sitting on the backrest.

So, here it is...

Thursday, September 04, 2014

Anna's first day of preschool

Our daughter carried on the tradition of a picture in front of the door on the first day of school. This is our lovely granddaughter Anna, who started preschool this past Wednesday.  Isn't she just adorable?

I think she goes Monday, Wednesday and Friday for a few hours in the morning. It's held at the Avalon Missionary Church - which is right down the street from our house. Anna is now 3 1/2 years old. My how time flies. Wow.