45 – Not a Colt or a Record

Back in July I wrote: “since I started posting about my weight loss journey, I have been followed by just about every keto diet page, healthy living page, eat better/workout more page and such. This irks me for some reason. I post my stuff here to keep myself accountable. On the weeks I gain weight I will post that, too. This is my journey – if you are here to cheer my on, fine. If you are just here to sell your products, you may unfollow me at any time. I don’t plan on following you back.”

These follows continue, and I keep deleting them. I am doing things my way and am not interested in the content of these pages. On occasion, I will get a follow where the page doesn’t even exist, however that works. It’s weird.

At any rate, after staying at the same weight last week, I racked up a 4 pound weight loss this week. This brings my total weight loss to 45 pounds. I am very happy to see the weight coming off, although now I need to start thinking about getting some new clothes. My scrubs are falling off me at work and I put on jeans this weekend and really had to tighten the belt.

I don’t want to get too crazy with a new wardrobe yet, as I still have more weight to lose. I think it is safe to say I at least need a new pair of jeans and a couple of shirts.

I wish I had gotten a good “before” picture. I never think to do something like that. Even though I am seeing the results with clothes, I really hadn’t started to notice it elsewhere until I shaved today. I can kind of see my face is a little thinner. It’s a good feeling.

The journey continues and I will, as Paul says in his book to the Philippians, “keep pressing toward the mark.”

Gourd Ahead, Make My Day!

Saturday morning, when I got home from work it was raining. I had hoped to come home and take the kids to the local orchard to pick up pumpkins. I love going there because they do a hay ride that takes you out to the pumpkin patch and you can go get your own pumpkin. Along the way they have wooden cut outs of super heroes, cartoon characters, and things the kids get a kick out of.

The rain let up in the afternoon, and we decided that it was probably too muddy to go to the pumpkin patch. Sam, however, remembered that there was a local stand that had pumpkins, corn stalks, hay bales, and more near her mom’s house. We had to head that way, so we decided we’d make a stop.

As soon as we were out of the car, Ella began her search for a pumpkin. I grabbed a wagon and once she found the one she wanted, we put it on the wagon. Sam picked out one for Andrew and that went on the wagon next. Sam saw these “stacking” pumpkins she wanted for the front porch, so we picked up some of those, too. On the way out, Ella found a table with little pumpkins and she started throwing them on the wagon!

It was the first time Andrew has ever seen a real pumpkin! It was fun to see him look at all of them.

Because of all the pumpkins, we didn’t have enough cash to get corn stalks or hay, so we may have to go back out to get those another day. I still hope to be able to get to go on our autumn hay ride.

For now, the various gourds make the house ready for fall.

Life Turns On A Dime

Just what does that even mean – “Life turns on a dime?” A quick Google search will offer up some explanations for folks unfamiliar with the phrase:

Since a dime is the smallest U.S. coin, the ability to “turn on it” is a figure of speech meaning you can change direction very quickly in a very small space. In this case, it means that life can change course very quickly. Depending on the circumstances, it can be either good or bad, but either way it will be rapid.

To “turn on a dime” means turning sharply and/or suddenly. To say that “life can turn on a dime” means that a person’s life can change radically in an instant (or very quickly). It’s more often used to mean someone going from a “good place” to a not-so-good place, but it can also mean suddenly taking a turn for the better.

Turn on a dime is an English idiom meaning change dramatically, suddenly and without warning or coming out of the blue unexpectedly. It usually results from a single event that dramatically alters the course of events either as a negative or a positive.

Stephen King uses that quote quite a bit in his time travel book 11.22.63. It is almost like a theme throughout it. One thing can change history (as in the case of the book) in the blink of an eye. I guess another way of explaining it is that life can change just like that (imagine a finger snap here.)

I had totally prepared to work on my article for the next round of Turntable Talk today, but some things have been tossed into our path that has led to this one instead. I write this as a reminder to you and myself to take nothing for granted. I write this as a reminder to live each day to it’s fullest. I write this as a reminder that life is a fragile thing.

In the baseball game of life, we are thrown many curveballs. Some of those we see coming and some brush us off the plate. Some of those we get ahold of and can knock them out of the park, while many of them we swing at – and miss.

Enjoy every moment. Never miss an opportunity to say “I love you.” Life is too short to hold grudges. These are all things that I have said in one way, shape or form in previous blogs.

It has been hard for me to scroll Facebook lately. So many of my friends are hurting because of sickness, death, grief, or struggle. I pray for each of them daily. Sure, there are plenty of happy moments shared on social media, but in amongst those things are people I care about – hurting. Life turned on a dime for them. Factor in some other news that we’ve been made aware of over the past few weeks and we see life turning on a dime again, this time closer to home.

The storm is off the coast. It is clear as day on the radar. Heading toward us. We will watch it’s course and the skies. We will prepare the best we can. We will do our best to be ready for it. In the meantime, we will enjoy the moments and savor each one.

Friday Photo Flashback

Time for another Friday Photo Flashback. I was going to say that I am not digging too deep for this week’s picture, but when I realized that it is probably at least 10-15 years old. Is that considered old? You decide.

This is one of my favorite photos of me with my dad and brother. This photo used to come up for both of them if they called me. With each new phone and contact transfer, the photo got more and more pixilated. I wasn’t even sure I still had a copy of the original until I found it saved on a hard drive.

My brother, as you may recall, lives in Ohio. He usually gets up to Michigan a couple times a year. This was taken during one of those visits.

We had obviously gone to lunch or breakfast at Leo’s Coney Island, because we are in the parking lot there. My dad and brother must have drove up to see us. If I had to guess this may be around 2009 because I am wearing my B95 coat (and I still have some hair). I’m guessing that this was springtime as the trees in the background are still green.

What I love about this picture (and many subsequent ones of the three of us) is that there is no doubt we are all related. The older my brother and I have gotten, the more we started looking alike. The older we get, I also feel like we look more like my dad.

What I hate about this picture is knowing when it was taken. I was still with my ex and I’m sure that any time I was allotted to see my brother and father was based loosely around whatever she had to do or wanted me to do. My time with them was never as much as it should have been. To this day, I look back and wish I knew then what I know now. I lost out on a LOT of time with my family.

On the bright side, I feel like my relationship with both my father and brother are stronger now than they have ever been. For that, I am glad. I love this picture and love them both.

Two Day Trip to Italy

One of the things I love about blogging is “meeting” other bloggers and reading what they are writing about. One of the blogs I follow is written by Beth (a fellow Michigander) who writes at “I didn’t have my glasses on…” In a recent blog, she mentioned a book she was listening to that had her laughing out loud. She went on to mention that it was set in Italy. Her blog can be read here:

https://wordpress.com/read/feeds/11420585/posts/4258084624

The book was “The Patron Saint of Second Chances” by Christine Simon. On Beth’s recommendation, I requested it at the library. I picked it up yesterday and finished it today. I am sure that I easily could have read it in one sitting. It was a delightful read that did have me laughing out loud at times. Here is the Goodreads synopsis:

Vacuum repairman and self-appointed mayor of Prometto, Italy (population 212) Signor Speranza has a problem: unless he can come up with 70,000 euros to fix the town’s pipes, the water commission will shut off the water to the village and all its residents will be forced to disperse. So in a bid to boost tourism—and revenue—he spreads a harmless rumor that movie star Dante Rinaldi will be filming his next project nearby.

Unfortunately, the plan works a little too well, and soon everyone in town wants to be a part of the fictional film—the village butcher will throw in some money if Speranza can find roles for his fifteen enormous sons, Speranza’s wistfully adrift daughter reveals an unexpected interest in stage makeup, and his hapless assistant Smilzo volunteers a screenplay that’s not so secretly based on his undying love for the film’s leading lady. To his surprise—and considerable consternation, Speranza realizes that the only way to keep up the ruse is to make the movie for real.

As the entire town becomes involved (even the village priest invests!) Signor Speranza starts to think he might be able to pull this off. But what happens when Dante Rinaldi doesn’t show up? Or worse, what if he does?

It was a book that did not require a lot of thinking and at times was ridiculous, but I loved every second of it. Perhaps I could see a little bit of my Italian relatives in some of the characters. To me, the book read like a very funny sitcom episode or like an old radio comedy show. At times there was some predictability, but it doesn’t take away from the story at all.

On the back flap of the book it says this about the author, “Christine Simon grew up in a very large and very loud Italian family…” I don’t know any Italian who doesn’t have great stories about their family! In the acknowledgments section of the book, she mentions family members who were the inspiration of some of the characters.

One of the things that I must give kudos for is the fact that this book is very “family friendly.” I don’t recall an overabundance of profanity. As a matter of fact, I think the word “ass” is mentioned once or twice and that’s it. There are no long and detailed paragraphs describing sexual acts. There is a kiss or two. Violence is kept to a minimum as well. It’s just a really fun book.

The book was written by the author while in quarantine, and it is her first novel. This is the second “first novel” from someone that I have read and really enjoyed. The other was The Measure by Nikki Erlick. Maybe I need to check out more unknown authors?

I know today is the first day of fall, but it won’t be long before we’re all shut in because of the cold and snow. This book is an easy read that provides lots of laughs and is the perfect book to enjoy over a cup of coffee or a glass of wine.

Thanks, Beth!

Broadcasting Live from the Library

I love the local library. Just recently I have checked out numerous books on tape to listen to on my drive into work. I have also checked out physical books to read as well.

Just like a stroll through the local book store, I love walking up and down the aisles looking for various titles and authors. Many times, if I don’t want to purchase a book, I will take a picture of it at the book store and then request it from the library.

Many people use the library for computer use, to make copies, or just to relax and read. There are also many other things that happen there, too. Monday, I took the kids to a “story time” session.

Ella loved being able to see other kids around her age and made new friends. Getting her to sit still while the stories are being read is a bit of a challenge though. She loved when they got up and danced along with songs, played with scarves, and played with the small parachute. She really had a blast, even though it doesn’t look like it in this picture.

Story time on my day off happens at a library near Sam’s mom and dad. So I packed up the kids and drove over that way with the kids. There was something that I was really surprised to see, smack dab in the middle of the library – a podcasting booth.

Many people have said that I should do a podcast since I have retired from radio. I have said that I really don’t have the equipment or a place to do it quietly. I suppose with the right portable equipment and the use of this cool booth, a podcast would actually be fun to do.

As surprised as I was to see this in the library, it makes sense. As I mentioned, many folks go to the library to do use computers and such. What a fantastic idea for the local library to offer a space for folks to do podcasts in a world were there are more and more podcasts being created and broadcast.

My brother has worked in a library for over 20 years. I’ve never asked if they have one of these, but he works in a major city and their library has many branches, so I suppose they do. What a great idea.

Anyone who says the world doesn’t needs a library really has no idea just how vital they are.

This Little Piggy Likes to Rock and Roll

When Sam and I started dating, my wardrobe consisted of many “band” shirts. I had shirts from the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, AC/DC, Pink Floyd, and many more. At one point she started wearing my shirts, so I made sure to get her a couple for her birthday. Band shirts has been an inside joke since almost the beginning of our relationship.

Last week, we went to the store to get some clothes for the kids. Ella and Andrew are outgrowing things SO fast. Sam has always been the one who buys clothes and outfits for the kids. She coordinates everything for family photos and more. However, as I was walking through the store, I found the coolest little outfit for Andrew. I held it up and said, “Come on! We have to buy this. It’s his first “band shirt!”

How cool is that?! A band shirt with matching pants!! He pulls it off pretty good.

***

Today, Sam asked me to run up to the store to grab a few things for dinner. Ella went with me. The list consisted of: chicken, potatoes, mac and cheese, and milk. I figured we’d be in and out pretty quickly. I am learning that this is not always the case with Ella.

As we walked through the small, she kept spying things that she wanted. I told her that we were going to do a big shopping trip tomorrow, so we could add the request to mommy’s list. With food items like cookies and fruit, it was no big deal. She was ok with that. Then she saw something at the end of one of the aisles.

There was a big basket of children’s hat/scarf combos that looked like animals. There were wolves, monkeys, bears, and more. She spotted a pig hat and said she wanted to put it on. I began to tell her no, and she looked me in the eyes with the “Oh, please, father. It would make me so very happy if you would purchase this hat that I really don’t need. You are the most wonderful man in the world and I know you wouldn’t want to break your daughter’s heart” look.

I said we couldn’t get it and the tears started. I had to avoid the 2 year old melt down as we hadn’t even gotten half of what we came in for. I let her wear the hat, thinking that I’d be able to get it off her and stash it on a shelf somewhere and she’d forget all about it. Nope. She wore it the rest of the time we were in the store and in the car all the way home.

I am adapting the nursery rhyme ….

This SPOILED little piggy went to market …

On the way out, some woman said, “I like your hat” to her. She responded, “I know! It’s just perfect!”

Not Feeling It

I don’t feel like blogging here today.

Even though I know I really should.

I certainly have a lot of things to say,

It’s just that there’s more bad than there is good.

___

I don’t feel like blogging here today.

There are lots of things that really got me down.

I’m trying to keep my feelings at bay.

Instead of smiles I’m wearing a frown.

___

I don’t feel like blogging here today.

Even though it’s best to get it out.

You’ve already made your mind up, no matter what I say.

Judgment is passed on me without a doubt.

___

I don’t feel like blogging here today.

I’m questioning just what I need to do.

Stare it in the face, or turn and walk away?

Some people believe that gossip is always true.

___

I don’t feel like blogging here today.

The headache comes the moment I get dressed..

I found it best to have nothing to say.

Then that way, I’m not so stressed.

___

I guess I felt like blogging here today.

The words I wrote are all over the place.

I’ll make it through, I’ve got to find a way.

I’m working hard to put a smile back on my face.

Stress Relief

I would not consider myself a “gamer.” I know plenty of them. They have special headphones with microphones so they can talk to other people in the game that they are playing. Sam’s brothers are often playing games and we can hear the other players talking to them often. My older sons also play a lot of games, and connect with players on them as well.

When I sit down in front of the Xbox One, I usually grab the golf game that I play. I can play a round of golf in like 20 minutes. I usually play a round after the kids are asleep. Sometimes, I will play two rounds. I have yet to be on a real course this year, and this in a way makes me feel like I am golfing.

I rarely get more than 20-45 minutes before I am ready to head to bed. This week, however, the stress of things mentioned in previous blogs had me to the point where I was not tired enough to go to sleep. The golf game was not going to be something that eased the stress, so I looked through the games the boys have at my house. I found one that would certainly allow me to release some stress.

Forza Horizon 5 is a racing game. My sons have 3, 4 and 5 at my house. In the game, you can challenge other drivers to head to head races, you can participate in racing events, find old cars in barns located throughout the country (FH5 takes place in Mexico), and test your driving skills in various road conditions.

What I love about it is that you can crash up your car in hundreds of ways and it still runs! You can side swipe cars, hit them head on, flip your car, fall of bridges, and more – and the car will always go when you accelerate. Even better, no matter how many accidents you have, your insurance doesn’t go up (rimshot)!

Throughout the game you can win new cars, find old cars and fix them up, people can gift you new cars, and your garage continuously grows. There are plenty of opportunities to win money with the events you race in, and by earning spins on a prize wheel. Since I started fresh, I only have a few cars. My favorite is an old Ford Bronco which is great for driving off road.

The weather can change throughout the game as well. One of the events is driving through this ridiculous huge storm. Lightning can strike trees as you drive by and more. Obviously, the cars handle differently on wet roads, too. Since this game takes place in Mexico, there are also races through sand storms!

As silly as it sounds, this dumb game is a fantastic stress reliever. It is fun to just drive around with the various cars and see how each one handles. Most of the time, I really suck at driving. I swerve and fishtail A LOT! I’ve gotten pretty good at doing 180’s and 360’s, and at times I feel like I’m one of the Duke boys driving the General Lee!

As much as it relieves stress, it also makes me laugh. Recently I watched as I accidently drove off a cliff and the car rolled and flipped downward. That car must have hit every boulder on the side of the cliff on the way down. Yet, when it hit the ground, I just kept on driving. With each flip I found myself chuckling louder and louder. It was so crazy!

Sometimes, there is a rare occasion where your car will get stuck. Ever find yourself saying, “I wish life had a rewind button?” Guess what. This game has one. You can actually rewind the action to avoid an accident or your speed. That is usually how I get out of those “stuck” moments.

There are various “skill” points you can earn throughout the game, too. They have Speed Traps, where the idea is to get to the highest speed you can between two points. My favorite thing is called “Danger Signs.” These are usually where you have a point where you jump off a ramp or a cliff. I think you get points for how high you jump and how long you are in the air. Again, it’s like the Dukes of Hazzard!

Am I a gamer? No. I just use them for stress relief…..

The only thing missing is the “Yeeeeeeeee- hawwww!”

Friday Photo Flashback

It’s another Friday Photo Flashback! Here is today’s photo:

I am unsure of the year on this photo, but I’m going to guess I am 6 and my brother is 4. We are in pajamas, so I am guessing that we are at our house, possibly in our kitchen. I guess that because of the flooring. I know we had paneling in our basement, but before they painted I thought there was paneling in the kitchen, too.

Outside of the terrible paneling, the first thing that jumps out at me is the extremely cheesy smile on my brother’s face. As a matter of fact, that’s why I chose this picture. I chuckled out loud when I saw it. The laughter was brought on partly by his grin and partly by the fact that we are dressed as cowboys in PJ’s!

I love that my brother is wearing sleeper “footie” pajamas! It seems to me that I am wearing some socks that don’t match as part of my ensemble. I’m truly a hodgepodge of whatever was available to wear it seems. I would think that my brother’s hat would match my outfit better, but it must have been too small.

I am almost 100% sure that the guns we are holding were made of metal. These would have been smaller than the ones I would play with when I was 11 or 12, but metal none the less. I have to crack up at the ridiculous looking belts with holsters. I am sure that they made of cheap plastic and probably ripped from the belt after a few times of placing the guns in them.

I don’t recall if these were a Christmas or Easter gift, but I’m sure that they were received on one of the two holidays. I wish I knew more of the story surrounding this photo.