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HEALTH, TECHNOLOGY (permalink) 11.03.2016
literal losers
odds are you are not going to like this.

a lot of science has come out in the last few years about the power of posture, namely on our mood. the classic example being smiling helps your mood in a number of ways, in fact it is impossible for smiling to not improve your mood (TED the hidden power of smiling). then there was this reasonably popular treatise about how you can change your complete emotional state by simply altering your posture (TED: your body language shapes who you are). i'm mildly embarrassed to admit to trying this before a few important encounters i had a few years back and can report there are definitely some merits to the claims which i will also report surprised me more than a little.

a friend recently turned me onto the newish tim ferriss podcast. he is the 4-hour workweek/body guy. his shows are long and he talks more than he maybe should (i assume his interviewing and editing skills will improve as he does it longer) but there have been a couple of affirming and revelatory bits of info pass through thus far, which for those who are familiar with ferris is surely what one would expect to happen given his dense and intense way of approaching things.

i won't bore you with the affirming parts as no one cares about that except me. but one of the revelatory snippets talked about people and their cellphones. it turns out that any person engaged with their phone screen is in a classic "losers" position. think of someone who just lost a tennis match. head down. shoulders slumped. disengaged from what is around them. and if you give any credit to the body position and framing studies above, this is doing you no kinda favors. and now when we see older folks grousing about all of these losers and their smartphones, it turns out they are a little more on point than we may have first given them credit for.

and lots of science has also verified that people's connection to social media is a fraught and losing psychological endeavor--put differently you will never win the psychological health award by playing a game that never ends and hosts an endless stream of players. now, not only are people losing emotionally, they are also losing physically.

this will give me a new game to play as i wait on people sitting through green lights, blocking sidewalks, and holding up checkout lines because i know, based on the above ted talk, smirking is better than scowling.

HEALTH (permalink) 09.23.2015
check it out
in february of 2014 i said,
it is easy to wreck a strong exercise regimen with a bad diet.

and, it is impossible to wreck a good diet with a bad exercise regimen.
and in september of 2015 some really smart people said,
The diet vs. exercise debate has been in the spotlight since an editorial in the British Journal of Sports Medicine earlier this year caused a stir with its authors' blunt message: Physical activity does not promote weight loss.

"You cannot outrun a bad diet," they wrote. "Many still wrongly believe that obesity is entirely due to lack of exercise."
those brits should have just called me. i could have saved them oodles of time.

HEALTH (permalink) 06.11.2015
we just look like we were in a knife fight a few days ago.
here's a recent lesson on aging marty and i just bumped into. scars on older people stick around much longer and in an uglier, darker form than when you're young. i commented on how two cuts i recently got were acting like they weren't in any rush to go away. she flashed me her own battle wound and it looked almost exactly like mine. to add to it she told me to keep an eye on anthony, a kid who seems to get a minimum of one cut/bruise a day, as you can almost watch his skin heal back to perfection before your eyes.

if you are storming up on this lovely physical milestone as well, the good news is while our external mars don't go away so easily, the internal cuts that used to take weeks and months (or longer) to heal in our teens and twenties, barely break our thicker, tougher emotional skin these days. so aging, as people sometimes like to claim, isn't just broken eggs and spilt milk—there is a fluffy, cheese-filled omelet (or two) sitting within arms reach as well. you just have to look on that side of the table.

LIFE, HEALTH (permalink) 02.19.2014
more wheaties. more piss.
another question my friend, the same from yesterday, asked me about in our last outing was why i worked so hard to lose weight and get in shape. his question, obvious as it was, took me a little off-guard and without much thought i told him, generically, so i could make sure i'm able to keep playing with my kids as i get older and don't have to be the dad that sits on the park bench reading the paper, shooing them back to play on their own when they call me in to share in their climbing and chasing games. later in the week, my sub-conscious, certainly un-enamored with my wanting response, pushed forth the real answer by replaying one of lester burnham's many great lines from american beauty. this particular exchange came when he caught up with the male couple from next door during one of their morning runs.
Lester: I figured you guys might be able to give me some pointers. I need to shape up. Fast.
Jogger: Are you just looking to lose weight, or do you want increased strength and flexibility as well?
Lester: I want to look good naked!
if i were honest with my friend, and myself, this is the core reason i'm working as hard as i am. first and foremost i believe that if i achieve that goal, of looking good naked, many other pertinent and meaningful dominoes will fall, like looking good at the pool, having clothes fit me better, feeling energetic, avoiding doctors/hospitals (!!!), walking into speaking engagements with greater confidence, sleeping more soundly, biking a hundred miles with my daughter, getting out of a chair or off the floor without accompanying groans and moans, and yes, all that and being able to rawk the park with my youngins.

the biggest and most unanticipated benefit of getting my body back more like my college days was surprisingly not on my list: making my wife more interested in me. she had never discerningly reduced her affection for me over the decades as i added better than a pound a year to my frame but once the weight left my mid-section, there was a perceptible uptick in the attention i received from her. for instance, as i passed her in the hallway where before we'd politely skirt by one another without any antics, she might now hold a hand out as i passed and rake her fingers across my flat-ish stomach or she might come up behind me as i did dishes and send a slow hand down my side, leaving a tantalizing comment in my ear before peeling away. again, while this sorta stuff never fully went away, this sorta stuff wasn't happening with the same frequency when i was having to up-size my pants every other year. and even though this perk wasn't on my radar of benefits when i began the trek, i can whole-heartedly say it stands out (and up) as the best part of the view now that i've crested the hill.

LIFE, HEALTH (permalink) 02.05.2014
work smart, not hard
the most important health lesson i've learned in my near decade long pursuit of a healthy body.

it is easy to wreck a strong exercise regimen with a bad diet.

and, it is impossible to wreck a good diet with a bad exercise regimen.

this bit of knowledge has been the difference between me running like mad and making no ground and me nearing my health goals while barely breaking a sweat.

HEALTH (permalink) 09.12.2013
something i've learned over the last year twenty years.
a smart exercise strategy can be sabotaged, quite easily, by poor dietary choices.

it's far harder for a smart dietary strategy to be sabotaged by poor exercise choices.

in the end, it seems to be more about what (and when!) you eat than how often you move.

this has been my experience at least, an experience that took me an embarrassingly long time to interpret.

KIDS, SPORTS, HEALTH, PHOTO (permalink) 09.10.2013
ms150 2013 photo recap

day 1 start

middle game


end of day 1 smile

end of day 1 selfie

end of day 1 stats

end of day 2 smiles

KIDS, SPORTS, HEALTH (permalink) 09.09.2013
she did it!
on saturday, bella rode 44 miles in the first day of the MS charity ride.

on sunday, bella rode 43 miles in the second day of the MS charity ride.

if you recall, a week ago sunday bella completed a 28 mile training ride and followed that up on the monday holiday with a 30 mile training ride.

this puts her grand total over the last eight days on the bike at 145 miles. sprinkle in the usual getting around she does during the school week and she easily logged more than 150 miles for the week.

i should add that miles 2 through 9 of yesterday's ride were completed in a downpour. this was a rain so complete that when you drove your leg downward in the pedal stroke, bursts of water shot up between your toes given how water-logged your sock and shoe were. about five miles into this rain, a rain that didn't look to be relenting anytime soon, i pulled up next to bella and asked how she was doing. without looking my way she said, "i'm in hell ... but i'm not quitting." and as noted, above, she did not, completing the day's full 40 mile route.

and that's my sweet 12-year old girl who continues to amaze and astonish her father anew year after year. thanks to all of those who supported her/us on the ride.

HEALTH (permalink) 09.03.2013
we are a go. and a go. and a go. and a go.
last weekend bella and i completed our last two training rides in preparation of next weeks ms-150. on sunday we rode 28 miles following that up monday, on bella's insistence, with a 30 miler. we planned on thirty each day but a sudden cloudburst had us call the first day's ride short as biking in rain isn't ever really fun. this upcoming weekend, we'll complete the two forty mile options for bella's first organized distance ride.

for reasons i can't explain i never envisioned the part of parenthood where you get to do things you, and not solely your children, enjoy doing. i'm equally unable to express how impressed i am with my twelve-year old daughter's athleticism, commitment, persistence and agreeability even in the face of daunting endeavors (e.g. a surprisingly long hill twenty miles into a ride) which are surely pushing her beyond what she thought capable just a short few months back.

some of my latest, favorite observations i've most enjoyed about riding with bella:
  • how when i pull up next to her and start talking about something she might say, "just so ya know dad i can't hear a word you're saying because there's a good song on i'm pretty sure is better than whatever it is you're talking about".
  • how she refers to the homes in rich neighborhoods as "drama houses".
  • how she asks me, on virtually every ride, if her biking calves are coming in yet.
  • how she occasionally compliments me by saying stuff like, "you're not doughy compared to that guy who just went by".
  • how after i asked if she wanted to replace the side view mirror that broke in an spill she took, she replied, "nah, i think i like going old school and just looking over my shoulder."
  • how bella reacts when we catch guys overtly checking her out from cars, bikes and sidewalks. one poor kid looked so dumb-struck i thought his gum was going to fall out of his mouth. as bella was expressing surprise at this change in her life, i told her the bad side of the story is some people will wonder if she and i are a couple. to this, she looked as dumb-struck as the poor kid who almost lost his gum in the front seat of the family car. yes, every bright tale does have a dark-side it seems.
and there's still room on both of our pledge cards (granted there's way less room on hers than mine) should you be interested in supporting our ride and/or the ms organization.

HEALTH (permalink) 08.15.2013
entering a new chapter of parenthood
bella and i are biking the ms150 charity ride next month. although the event formally stages two 75 mile days, they began offering other distance options to increase interest and participation. currently we plan to ride two forty mile days, although if bella continues to improve at her current rate, we may do 75 miles the first day and 40 miles the second day (to get her over 100 miles for the weekend).

my interest in this distance ride, one i've done four or five times in the past, is biking-related. in typical fashion, i thought this was true for all riders. but as she has done so many times already in her twelve short years, bella has exposed how little i really know about the world around me for she is ravenously interested in this ride but not for the ride itself but instead for the opportunity to raise money for folks in need.

when the topic first arose i told her that such a ride was a reasonably serious affair and something that would require training. without pause, she said no problem. in the last few months she has gone from a girl who struggled through a reasonably tame seven mile park track to a girl who last weekend completed a twenty-five mile road ride without issue (and even bleeding the last ten miles after a reasonably nasty skin-abrading spill). fact is she has improved so much my concerns about the ride no longer focus on her ability to complete the miles as much as my ability to keep up with her as there have been a few times i've gotten distracted by something, like my bike computer, only to find she pulled away from me and it took a surprising amount of effort to catch back up to her.

and i really can't enumerate all the ways training with bella over the summer has been wickedly cool but it definitely marks an evolution in our relationship. it also indicates a shift in my parental role (marty too) as we are now be able to do stuff with the kids that isn't just geared towards the kid's level or likes but are things that marty and i enjoy doing just as much. a few of my more favorite moments during our training:

1. after passing a ripped woman in a sports bra, bella called over her shoulder, "boy, she sure earned that skimpy top." ever since then whenever we see a shirtless male or the naked mid-riffed female, a quick call by one or both of us, and sometimes simultaneously, of "earned it" or the less desirable "didn't earn it" gets called out.

2. while biking through a fancy rich neighborhood, bella said, again over her shoulder, "boy, someone sure loves their kids". when i asked what she meant, she pointed at the enormous corner lot and said, "look. they built their kid an entire, full-sized soccer field ? with goals". this comment made me smile wide and long for both its curious wit and that i now have a relationship that includes such comments with a child of mine.

so that's the plan. and if you are someone who supports the MS organization, bella and i (bella less than i -- cute kid and all) are still taking pledges for our ride. you can email me if you'd be interested/willing to pledge a few bucks.

WIFE, HEALTH (permalink) 06.24.2013
help wanted
you remember how marty jacked up her toe some weeks back. well, now she jacked up her hand, gashing two fingers open while unloading a table from the van. when she called me at work to say she was headed to the emergency room, she described the cuts as "gaping".

as the doctor put the last of the five stitches in, marty joked that now her husband couldn't look at her nailless toe or stitched-up fingers.

in learning of this, i joked i should be allowed to bring in an interim wife i can actually stomach looking at, let alone doing anything else with, until marty is not so disfigured. i mean there's gotta be such a stipulation somewhere in all that marital fine print, no?

anyway, resumes, cv's and simple pleas for attention will be considered in the weeks ahead.

and if it helps, i've lost twenty pounds since august.

HEALTH (permalink) 05.23.2013
thought you were having a bad day?
the brother of a girl i know was in a car accident. his injuries proved quite severe, namely below the waist damaging a hip and mangling one of his feet. after a few days observation his doctors presented his options in regard to his pulverized foot:
  1. replace the heel and rebuild the foot as best as able. this would be followed by a year, and probably more, of intense therapy. in the end, the procedures and subsequent therapies might prove a failure.
  2. or, amputate the foot and learn how to use a prosthetic device. end to end this would take less than a year and almost certainly have a more positive outcome.
what would you choose?

WIFE, HEALTH (permalink) 05.10.2013
i didn't know "in sickness" meant mangled toes
marty's toe continues to be a foul and wretched mess. that is i think it does as i'm still unable to look at it. i do want to still love her when this is all over in thirty six months after she's shed the busted toenail, has grown a new one and her toe returns to a proper shade of human color.

if you're wondering if i knew when my well of empathy ran dry, i did. it occurred the day after when we were eating dinner on the porch and she propped the throbbing nub up on the railing, sans sock, while she ate. i kept shifting in my chair looking for a position where the thrashed toe wasn't in my sight-line, but human peripheral vision rocks and you can kinda see everywhere that's not behind you and i'm not a big enough ass to, like, turn away completely. and like they say about car wrecks and our flawed human nature, my eye kept being drawn to her deformed digit. i tried not to say anything but without checking with my mature side, a runner got by the checkpoint and blurted out, "so, does it hurt to wear a sock?"

and that, for the record, is the moment my well of empathy ran dry.

and for any worrying about marty's delicate disposition, she's plenty numb to her husband's squeamish insensitivity which can be seen in her reply, "no, i don't need a sock. i'm good. but thanks."

p.s. x-ray's showed the toe thankfully wasn't broken.

p.s.s. the athletic director at marty's school drained the toe on the second day with some medieval sounding contraption that burned a hole in the nail so the blood (and stuff) could be released, taking the pressure off the nail. he told her if she'd come sooner, he might have been able to save the nail. her description of the procedure for-sure tested my thirty-plus year puke-free streak.

WIFE, HEALTH (permalink) 04.30.2013
she's going to look funny at the pool this summer
our refrigerator is on the fritz (running too cold) and a milk bottle exploded in the night last week. sunday night, after i had gone to bed, marty emptied the fridge to finish cleaning out the spilled remnants. when done, and putting everything back she dropped a glass shelf on her left big toe which was, at the moment, as naked and vulnerable as a soft nubbin of human flesh could possibly be.

her writhings and moanings woke me sometime in the four o'clock hour. as i learned of what happened and got up to help, she first asked for a sock knowing enough to not let me see the carnage else i'd pass out, fall into our dresser and gash my temple open and then we'd have double the problems. while she wrestled with the sock, i readied a fresh ice pack for her. after getting her foot elevated and settled, i went to my office and returned with two of the pain pills i'd recently been given for my separated shoulder and placed them in her hand. when she asked what they were, i replied, "they're for pain. they work really well but you should know you probably won't be able to get an erection while you're on them."

would you believe, she seemed far less wary of that side-effect that i was?

HEALTH (permalink) 02.18.2013
the ugly side of snow
on a saturday night a few weeks back, we had a beautiful snow fall through the night.

on sunday, i built an igloo with anthony (one big enough for him to climb into) and then went sledding with alex (where we'd race down the hills and crash into each other if able).

on monday, i consumed an inordinate amount of ibuprofen.

i really wish they'd work on a drip mechanism i could clip into at work so i wouldn't have to groan each time i got up to get more pills.

HEALTH (permalink) 02.11.2013
worms aren't the only things early birds have in surplus
a few years ago i made the switch from being a stay-up-late guy to a get-up-early guy. i lucked into this being a really fortunate life-change because when marty went back to work, my days, quite abruptly, needed to begin at 6:30 am. surprisingly, one of the hardest facets of this hours transition dealt with my exercise. for about twenty years, i've done distance biking and more than ninety five percent of those rides, rides that were between twenty and forty miles, happened in the night, anywhere between ten p.m. and 2 a.m. there are many reasons i prefer biking at night but obviously i couldn't roll in from a bike ride at one in the morning, wash up, wind down, sack out and get enough sleep in before a six thirty alarm chimed. so, no more night rides which means i have to do my sweating in the morning.

because i've always exercised at night, a well published bit of medical knowledge never concerned me. i've read multiple times that more heart attacks happen in the morning hours than in the after lunch window. now, as i would pump and strain on my stationary trainer in the basement twenty minutes out of bed (no time for distance rides before work), this medical tidbit would appear and take a leisurely stroll around my mind while i logged my intervals. this repeated finding proved so convincing in fact, that there were times i'd back off my level of effort now and again out of fear of over-taxing my pre-coffee ticker.

one morning after one of these haunted workouts, i stood in the kitchen still shiny with sweat and in my biking bibs while the boys ate breakfast. i found myself imagining the scene of alex or anthony coming upon me collapsed by my bike. i wondered what they'd do, how they'd respond. so, while they ate their muffins and yogurt i asked them what they would do if they found me downstairs in the morning and i looked to be sleeping but they couldn't wake me up. i asked anthony to answer first.

well, i'd tell you to wake up and if that didn't work i'd jump on your head.

jump on my head???

yes. jump on your head. you said you wanted me to get you up didn't you? and if that didn't wake you up i'd call the hospital.

how would you call the hospital. what numbers would you push.


and what would you tell them?

i'd say you are sleeping and i jumped on your head but you still didn't wake up.

and where would you tell them to come?

i'd tell them to come to my house.

do you know where you live? what street?

yes. (says street).

what about the house numbers?

uhhhm. (thinks for a moment). i would go out the front door and look at the numbers on the front of the house.

nice anthony. good answer. i think i'd have a sportin chance if you did all that. now how about you alex? what would you do?

ALEX (9)
i'd try to wake you up. if i couldn't i'd slap you. if i still couldn't get you awake then i'd do VCR on you. and if that didn't work i'd call 911.

wow. very nice answer. although i might suggest calling 911 before starting your VCR on me.

i must say i was oddly relieved to hear how my fellas would react. that said, let us hope that's the last time they ever have to visit the matter.

HEALTH, SWIM (permalink) 09.18.2012
giddy, giddy, giddy
the first time i swam 2,000 yards without stopping, it took me 55 minutes.

that day, i set a goal of swimming that distance in under 30 minutes.

it took four months to knock five minutes off my time to be under 50 minutes.

the next five mintues took me a bit longer, like a full twelve months longer. BUT as of last friday i can claim an under-45 minute pool mile.

and, in answer to your next question, yes, of course i have the blow by blow for you to enjoy. click through to see every swim i've swum over the last twenty months.

click to enlarge

the big swings you see in the times of the last few swims are due to me trying different stroke styles out that i've dabbled in over the summer. keep in mind i've never taken a class or received a lesson. even though virtually everyone has told me to do so, i prefer finding a method that feels comfortable and natural for me. thus, i have a high-cadence fast stroke, a long, methodical stroke, and a few in between. usually in a swim i alternate between styles, trying to improve my technique for each. for my first few indoor swims this year, i stuck with one stroke through the whole swim to see if i could see a discernible time difference, and as you see, i did. so the plan is to focus on the technique that earned me this time drop and see if i can perfect it even further so the next time i'm talking about this with you, i'm clocking times in the 3X:XX range. as the subject line reads: giddy, giddy, giddy.

HEALTH (permalink) 05.02.2012
a relative recently experienced a cardiac event which resulted in a stint being installed near his heart and an honest talking to from a doctor about his lifestyle. at rehab, he asked about success rates for this particular procedure and recovery. the candid answer: over half the people who sat in his chair with his diagnosis were dead within a year. in the subsequent weeks he quit smoking, dramatically changed his diet (losing 25 pounds in less than two months), and exercised with a religious dedication. marty asked how hard it was to make so many lifestyle changes at once, he replied that it wasn't hard at all. in fact every decision proved quite simple, "if i eat pizza, i die. if i don't exercise, i die. if i do any of the things i did before, i die. so no it's not hard. it's not hard at all. it's most easy."

KIDS, HEALTH (permalink) 04.13.2012
i can't wait until he starts hitting me with reverse psychology
i have a spring cold. i caught this one from anthony. upon getting up in the morning and realizing i was fully sick, i said bye to the kids and then let my office know i'd be out for the day. i then fell back into bed and didn't wake until 2pm when marty and anthony came home. it was a beautiful day so i moved out to the porch to get some fresh air. in time, marty had to go get bella and alex from school. anthony didn't want to go so stayed with me. as soon as marty biked away anthony came up to me and asked if i would read to him. i said not today. he asked if i would play with him. i said no again. he asked why not. i told him it was because i wasn't feeling well and needed to rest. i said he'd have to go find something he could do by himself like play in the backyard or ride his bike. he proceeded to make a booby trap for robbers in front of our house with a ball of twine while i sat on the front porch with my eyes closed, occasionally coughing. after one of the rounds of coughing, anthony came up on the porch.

i just heard you cough and then suck snot in your nose. that is what i do so do we have the same kind of sick?

yes. i think we do. i think i caught my cold from you.

then i don't understand why we can't play together if we have the same kind of sick.

because i still don't feel well.

but i'm still sick.
(here he makes a fake cough followed by a tiny snort of his nose)
see. and i'm playin'.

i have a couple of friends who give me nudges like this to coerce me into things i'm not up for. i'm far from thrilled to see my children (esp my five year old) prodding me similarly. i now don't know if the problem lies with me or them.

HEALTH (permalink) 03.09.2012
ah, hell!
i'm sick. i'm convinced this and half of my illnesses 1 can be tied back to a hand-shake i made with a person who i heard say, to someone else, moments later that they were finally coming over something. thanks.

while i love the cordial and storied tradition of the handshake, i think i've decided i'm done with them. as for how i'll dodge an outstretched hand i'll simply confess that one of my children is home sick and they don't want anything to do with the microbes that have pitched tents in my little humans. i figure that's like two slots below circling my office in a red CONTAGION tape.

oddly, i think hugs are still ok so don't by surprised if you suddenly find me all up in your business.

1 the other half can surely be tied to surprise, wet, sloppy zerburts from kids with mucus plugs filling their nostrils or them taking pulls off my drink before i realize i'm sharing my cup with a plague victim.

HEALTH (permalink) 02.23.2012
already researching next decade's ailment.
to continue health week here at dearmitt dot com, i have another morsel to share. i'm always listening out for people who have personal experience and insights about prostate matters. this is a dark tunnel all men who live long enough will one day be ushered into, and there seems to be a bit of flux in the knowledge at hand.

after telling my new hair guy, jerry, about my pending knee work i asked if he ever had any surgeries. dismissively he said, "nah. i just had my prostate out a few years back." as the word 'prostate' got floated out there, the guy in my head responsible for watching for things i care about gave my brain a hard nudge and told it, sharply, to get off its ass. i was ravenous. how old was he when it started? how was it detected? how hard were the decisions? what was the aftermath? i'm most interested in that last question as i hear conflicting things about periods and levels of recovery.

many of jerry's (and yes, i've noted that my new hair guy's name is a rhymer (how anfer would say it) with the infamous and ever-missed larry) stories begin, "well, i have this customer who is a fill in the needed occupation so i asked him...". when his prostate journey began, one of his customers told him to go check out this new facility in the county. the customer described it as not much more than a prostate chop shop. it's all they did, and per jerry, they did a lot of it. from the crack of dawn to the dip of dusk, this well-oiled, or perhaps vaselined, operation worked until their buckets spilled over with the fouled or suspect organs. what was special about this place was they used these fancy new machines, called a da vinci machine, designed to do nothing but cull prostates from paying customers. the machine looks like a five legged spider, hovers over a sleeping patient and is controlled by a doc sitting twenty feet away. when people who have used this new system compare notes with people who used old-school methods, it is a hands down drubbing (in favor of the inventor's namesake).

the mechanized procedure is more officially termed a da vinci prostatectomy (more). when i told marty about it, she explained the reason it may do better than than conventional means is that when a human works on you, they have to make room for their hands to manuever so end up disrupting and thus damaging a lot more healthy tissue than the robotic arms which could burrow through the sensitive tissue, excise the organ and back out leaving nary a trace of its adventure. as my hair guy said, he had friends who were hospitalized for ten days and still ginger after six weeks from the traditional method, and he, my hair guy, was in and out in thirty six hours and back cutting hair in two weeks (albeit with the occasional break).

i asked jerry for any final advice he'd give to someone with this in their future. at this question he lowered his scissors, moved into my view, and with animated hand gestures told of another patient who asked the same question weeks before getting the procedure. jerry said, "i told him one thing ... get a bucket." he elaborated that after the procedure they catheterize you (serious bitch he adds) and give you this bag to carry around. he said he tried using the velco calf connectors and even wearing cargo-pocketed pants but in the end just ended up going into the basement and grabbing a bucket, throwing the always getting fuller bag in and just plodded around the house carrying his handled-bucket with him. unless he had to go out in public, which he wasn't in much mood for, he didn't mess with any of those ill-conceived antics. regarding what his buddy thought of his advice. since then any of his friends who say they're getting the prostate business, shortly before their procedure he appears before their door and gives them a gift: a shiny new bucket with a christmas bow on it.

HEALTH (permalink) 02.22.2012
i think my reason for talking so much about health the last few days (mon, tue) is i had knee surgery yesterday. same knee as before but a far less intense procedure. i tweaked it playing tennis about a month back. the swelling and discomfort were enough to send me back to my knee guy. after an exam, x-ray, and mri, they discovered a sizable loose-body of cartilage floating around. this whimsical shard was the source of much of my discomfort as it repeatedly parked itself in places the rest of my knee did not expect such a particle to be double-parked (inconsiderate ass that it, the floater, is).

during the pre-op prep and before they allowed marty back to wait with me, the nurse said, "i'm required by law to ask you this: do you have a safe place to go home to after you are discharged?" a crazed array of images—some of bella, some of anthony, some of marty, and NONE of aleo—ran through my head. this was the only answer i paused on. in fact i paused so long, the woman looked away from the computer screen to glance at me, mildly annoyed. i smiled and said, no i had a lovely and colorful home to return to.

later, after marty joined me, the anaesthesia guy explained the "cocktail" he had planned. one of the courses included what he called an "animal-grade amnesia" solution which would make me forget anything that happened after he administered it and before he knocked me out. after he left, marty and i debated if he really used the term animal-grade or if he said something else that just sounded like "animal-grade".

when they announced it was time, marty gave me a kiss, said she loved me and asked me not to die. as my bed made its wheeled journey towards the operating room, i had the following conversation with the anaesthesia guy who was pushing the bed and positioned just behind me, out of sight:

they knocked me out sooner last time and i didn't remember going down this hall.

nah, it's the same. you will forget this little trip when you wake up.

i won't forget. i'm remembering it right now.

it's smart to not believe the professional who does this everyday.

wait. earlier did you say you were going to give me an animal grade amnesiac?

i did.

and that's why i won't remember?


my wife didn't believe that's what you said.

i seem to be batting a thousand in your house.

for the record, i believed you about the animal grade amnesia-juice.

but not the memory stuff.

uhh. yeah.

i'd recommend trusting the guy with his fingers on the plungers.

while i do want to believe him, i obviously remembered this exchange down the hallway as it is eight hours later and i'm typing it up for your enjoyment. although i will say the guy put me out moments after that exchange. now talk about your cherry job perks, being able to silence anyone you find irksome due to their disagreeing personalities.

as i write this, the jaggy bit of flotsam is no longer flitting about my knee joint. and after a bit of rest i'm back to rehab then off to be fitted for a fancy new-age leg brace meant to reduce friction-based injuries from impact or cut-based activities. you'll note, the super-doc nabbed the floater out but didn't do anything about the hole it had occupied. we're going to try the brace but are possibly in for something a touch more intense down the line (e.g. cartilage grafts or, get this, a fitted cadaver plug).

another detail for the record, leading up to my procedure three years ago, my biggest worry was dying during the procedure. as i hadn't been under full anaesthesia for twenty years, i feared i may prove allergic to what are surely new medications or possibly i would learn some part of my body (e.g. heart, lungs) was not what it once was and one of them might go sideways in some unexpected manner. obviously, none of the scenarios occurred. i didn't even suffer from the threat of post-operative puking which they warned us about (and as you would expect, i warned them that they were toying with a thirty year vomit-free run). this time, my largest anxiety before they put my down was peeing during the procedure ... or worse. while some folks look to replace disproven irrational/paranoid arguments with healthier notions, i view the irrational medium as something to be specialized in, surprising any still willing to listen with my unprecedented ability to swap paranoid and silly beliefs with even more confused and sad ones. call it a hobby of sorts.

i'd be remiss to not name the largest victim of this injury. and it is surprisingly not marty. while she obviously shoulders a tremendous uptick in work and hassle, the biggest loser this time is my ski mancation with bookguy. and the most scandalous part of it all is weeks before last year's outing, bookguy took a tumble on his bike (surely doing something ill-advised) and nixed our 2011 boondoogle. this means we're now in a two year funk due to our weekend-warrior mentalities. after this year's news broke, we made a gentleman's agreement to embargo ourselves from taxing physical endeavors in the months leading up to our ski date. because while age may not make for more resilient bodies, it should at least produce minds that are, if nothing else, significantly wiser. if we can't learn to pick that meat from the bone, aging is sure to be an arduous and unforgiving bitch.

( please note, this post was crafted under the influence of the miracle drug vicodan to which any spikes in mis-spellings, confusion or creativity may be attributed. )

HEALTH (permalink) 02.21.2012
and speaking of men and of health
a couple times a year i try out a few new magazines. while i enjoy reading the content and studying their pixel perfect layouts, what i enjoy most about magazines is the newsstand experience (good newsstands at least), with its rows and columns of shiny and new. it's clear lots have people have been busy.

initially, i had started writing a gripe about how i find the letter from the editor in most magazines to be boorish and less thoughtful than it seemed like it maybe should be, but i just deleted it. i decided that instead of being critical of most—and who the hell am i to say anyway—i'd compliment the one i enjoy most: David Zinczenko of men's health. he has a style and approach that i find unassuming and real. i imagine him obsessively toiling over his next topic, searching for that one story or experience from his past that will best illuminate the spirit of the pending issue. i imagine these final epiphanies come while he's shiny with exertion from one of his many activities. while i appreciate some might not deem him inspiring, i think we could agree he takes his space seriously and works hard to fill it with relevant reflections from his life. and in the end, that's all any of us can conscientiously ask.

a few of his introductions i most enjoyed.

LIFE, PERSONAL, HEALTH (permalink) 02.20.2012
on the good side, this one is totally in my hands.
there was a time i coveted and envied people's girlfriends and relationships, then i met marty.

there was a time i coveted and envied people's jobs/careers, then i landed my current position.

my current covet and envy is fitness and health. it is my present white whale but unlike most whales, mine is slender and toned and plays with its kids easily and ably.

i hope in ten years time i'm listing that covet/envy in the past tense and pining for something new (and sexy and cool and fun and, most of all, something worth chasing).

HEALTH, SWIM (permalink) 02.09.2012
if only i could watch my finances with an equal interest
i've noticed a curious thing about my swimming endeavor. of all the annual learns i've ever taken on, never before have more people encouraged me to get a coach or proper lessons than with swimming. some after watching me and some after just hearing of what i'd been doing. they say it would do wonders for me. i've always resisted (without really knowing why). even after reading ben franklin's poor richard quip He that teaches himself, hath a fool for his master, i still resisted. over the year i've figured out my reluctance and it is this: i believe in the slow, methodical drip of ability that comes from contemplation, self-study, persistence, and doing. so while my stroke is still sloppy and not what it could be, it is better than it was a year ago. and it will be that much better next year and each year i keep focusing on it.

the above point admitted, i have allowed one person to offer me instruction. my unusual mentor is an always smiling, slightly chubby, ten year old asian boy. i get the sense his mom makes him come to the pool to swim laps, probably because of his weight. i've seen him at my indoor place a couple times as we appear to be on similar schedules. his face lights up when he sees me and he waves his arm to the space next to him inviting me to share his lane. it seems his stay is governed more by time than by laps as he is more interested in talking than swimming. when i pause between techniques he compliments parts of my stroke (your rotation is good) and makes suggestions of how it might improve (try to reach out farther in front of you). occasionally i'll ask him about something (should i be looking forward) and he'll casually say, "nah, that doesn't matter, look where you want." it must be his jovial ease that makes me drawn to his counsel. in part because when you're with someone as happy as he seems to be, you can't help but be a gram happier too.

for those wondering how i've been progressing, click through the below image for your answer.

click to enlarge

HEALTH, QUOTES (permalink) 09.20.2011
you're not going out in that are you?
i walked into my room for a pair of socks at 9pm. bella sat upright in the bed reading by the light of a lamp on the nightstand. i was basement-bound to do my night's biking/spinning. she glanced at me in the dim light. i stood by my dresser shirtless and wearing only my bib-style biking shorts. she placed her open hand flat on the page of her book and asked:

what are you wearing?

oh. these are my biking shorts. this kind is called a biking bib and they're kinda like overalls to help keep them up and in place.

well ... i'm going to have nightmares from your biking shorts.

yeah, they do look a little funny before i get my shirt on. after i get a shirt on they look pretty normal.

i gotta say it is definitely not eye-candy.

and i gotta say bella's dress-down of me standing there in nothing but a pair of bib-style biking shorts planted several flags into my gelatinous esteem as i found myself pushing a little harder than usual that night on the trainer. in fact, so good was the workout, i'm considering letting bella verbally abuse me before every aerobic endeavor. if she gets good enough at it, she could possibly become a new sort of fitness trainer that does nothing but berate her clients into action.

WIFE, HEALTH (permalink) 07.06.2011
the boxers clung to my sweaty body like an undersized turtleneck.
marty and i were breaking the tent down after a weekend of camping. she was on one end of our large eight-man behemoth and i on the other. we were making halving folds until it was compact enough for one of us to handle. i crouched down to flatten out my side of nylon. as i lowered myself there was a loud ripping noise. i immediately reached behind me but it wasn't my manpris that tore (thankfully!!!). it was the boxers i was wearing under my manpris. this was the surrounding conversation.

did you just rip your pants?

uhhh, no, just my underwear.

hah! what an old man.

it's not an old man thing, it's an old boxers-thing.

believe what you want.

i think i just may do that, especially since 87% of my happiness comes from believing what i want. it's a magical skill and one i have savant like powers for. and how dare she call me old. i spent the previous two days riding the water chutes of the johnson shut-ins, and keeping my two youngest children alive in the process, and i even made a record-setting cliff-jump, breaking my previous cliff-jumping record. ok, so it doesn't take a lot to break a record that didn't previously exist, but it was still broken. that's how this old man strolls ... i mean rolls ... ok, no, i did mean strolls.

but regardless of any delusions or illusions of confidence i may have fostered during my weekend in the woods, they were quickly dashed on the morning i was to return to work when i went to clean my glasses and it physically hurt my thumb, hand and arm to depress the pumper that sprays the lens goo out. my (delusional) theory was that the pumper mechanism got corroded while not being used while we were away and i had to break through days and hours of calcifying and chemical-based buildup. no small or lightweight matter. i'm sure it was that. totally sure. and i'm totally sure it wasn't an old man thing. no way it could be that.

LIFE, HEALTH, SWIM (permalink) 05.05.2011
never has five minutes seemed so long
here's a swimming update. for those who may not have been following along or don't care or can't remember, a brief re-cap. i spent three years trying to swim a mile (starting from not swimming at all). on december 12, 2010 i made it, swimming 2000 yards (a pool mile) in fifty-five minutes. upon reaching that milestone i set a new long, long, long-term goal of swimming those 2000 yards in under thirty minutes. in pursuit of this goal i plan on swimming 2000 yards once a week for the rest of my life. as a first sensible step towards the thirty minute mile i set out to get my time under fifty minutes. after a mere five months (!!!) of effort i made it last week with a time of 49:24.

a funny thing about the time is that i've been feeling stronger and faster each week. a few weeks back i felt so good while swimming i half expected to blow by the goal coming in at forty-seven or even forty-six minutes. on that swim it turned out i dropped two and a half minutes logging my worst time in weeks and ending at almost fifty-three minutes. then last week walking to the pool i felt terrible. i felt so fatigued and dull i almost turned and went home. i decided to go though the paces and assume a low time for the workout. instead of just limping through the forty laps it turns out i got my best time ever. as nike sagely and often suggests; just do it.

so i don't get called out again and have someone send me a chart, i thought i'd better go ahead and chart my progress ahead of time.

and if anyone besides me thinks me ever getting to a thirty minute mile sounds ludicrous, i figured out that if i can just improve my time by five seconds every month, i'll hit my mark by the spry age of sixty-two. if that sounds like a ridiculously long time away, i have an inkling we'll all be there before we know it.

also, the more accurate times starting in january are thanks to a super jazzy lap-counting watch i got for christmas.

next stop ... forty-five minutes.

KIDS, HEALTH (permalink) 04.22.2011
how long it took for aleo and i to ride our bikes to the cub scout bike rodeo: 9 minutes.

how long it took before a fast moving aleo collided with another fast riding bike rodeo goer: 40 seconds.

how long it took for me to run to the nearby firehouse with a crying and bloodied aleo in my arms : 3 minutes.

how long it took for the paramedics to conclude there was no bodily harm but significant oral damage : 8 minutes.

how long it took me to explain to marty over the phone what happened : 1 minute.

how long it took marty to convince our family dentist to leave the restaurant he was eating in to meet us at his office : 38 seconds.

how long it took for marty to arrive at the firehouse : 4 minutes.

how long it took for us to drive to the dentist office : 7 minutes.

how long it took for the dentist to assess the damage : 5 minutes.

how long it took for the dentist to remove the damaged tooth : 12 minutes.

how long before alex recovered from the ordeal : 3 minutes.

how long before marty and i recovered : unknown as the clock is still running on this one.

in the end he lost one tooth on the playground and another in the dentist chair. he also has a gum injury which i will spare you from hearing more about (honestly, though, this is more for my sake than yours). fortunately, both of the lost teeth were baby teeth and will soon be naturally replaced by their adult counterparts. i don't know if the same can be said for the nerves marty and i lost in the wake of the night.

on the drive home, a spent marty dedicated her daily thankful to dentists.

i dedicated my thankful to our particular dentist, dr. chris who by every count and measure is a complete rock star and extraordinary individual. if we had more like him in our professional and familial ranks i'm certain our society would be an all-around better place. i thank whatever fortune put us in his path.

HEALTH, SPORTS, LIFE, SWIM (permalink) 01.19.2011
a good quarter for dearmitt stock
when i talked about swimming a mile and shared the schedule, i commented that it looked less impressive on paper than it felt achieving the goal. a surprising number of people commented on my choice of words and said i was wrong and it did look impressive. but yesterday one fellow in particular, a friend i used to work with, took it a giant step farther than the other folks by vividly proving me wrong.

fact of the matter is, he was a bit astonished that i didn't graph it myself and instead used a pedestrian and mockable table to showcase the data. i have no defense but his email charting my effort put a big and excited smile across my face. thank you ryan b.

and he named his chart tdawesome.

more smiles.

HEALTH, SPORTS, LIFE, SWIM (permalink) 01.05.2011
the road to 40 laps
some more to yesterday's post about swimming the mile. below you will find what is essentially my buildup to a mile after i learned how to decently swim a single lap (without looking completely embarrassing). the telling thing about the below data is that once you get to ten laps, the world starts opening up because if you can swim ten laps, you can almost surely swim twenty. and then if you can swim twenty, thirty is just around the corner. and after swimming thirty, forty ain't much more than a drip in an already full bucket.

swim date
total laps swam
max consecutive laps in a row
09/08 15 2
09/12 20 3
09/15 20 3
09/19 22 3
09/22 23 4
09/25 20 2
10/13 22 5
10/17 26 6
10/23 27 7
10/27 30 8
11/03 35 10
11/14 22 20
12/04 35 30
12/12 42 40

sadly, it looks far less impressive on paper than experiencing it did. and i imagine the same will hold true for my twenty year effort to get my time from 54:27 to 29:59.

HEALTH, SPORTS, LIFE, SWIM (permalink) 01.04.2011
for any wondering
you may remember my earlier declaration to swim a mile. on december 12, 2010 @ 2:20 pm, i joined the club of humans who can swim one mile.

transcript of a fictitious interview of myself by myself in the head of myself as i pulled myself out of the pool just after.

for those not familiar, how many laps do you have to swim to swim a mile?
well, there are two schools of thought here. some people quibble over the exact distance and claim anywhere from 33 to 36 laps is the number, but non-tourist divined something called the pool-mile which is simply 2,000 meters and in a 25-meter pool is an even 40 laps, or 80 lengths. this is what i swam, a pool-mile.

and how long did it take?
the first time i swam it, it took me 54 minutes.

how did you feel when you were done?
giddy, great and grand.

how long did it take you to be able to swim the mile?
technically, three years, but i started not knowing how to swim. the first year was learning the stroke, the freestyle, which some folks call the crawl. the second year was spent learning how to breathe, while swimming the crawl of course. and the third year was mostly about conditioning and bringing it all together.

now that you've achieved this goal, what will you do next?
well, regarding swimming, i plan on swimming one mile, once a week for the rest of my life with the hope of getting my time to under 30 minutes. regarding the next thing i'm going to learn to do, i've named knitting as the thing i will focus on in 2011.

well, it was going to be drawing, but i was convinced (or rather cajoled and coerced) by a new friend to switch to knitting. actually she won me over with a cogent and spirited argument which i'm now glad and excited about.

and is there a knitting goal akin to the mile?
yes. to knit a sweater like the two jCrew ones i've been wearing for the last fourteen years.

and do you think a year is enough time to learn how to do this?
i'm told it is.

and if it isn't?
i guess i'll just have to then knit me a thong to wear while swimming my laps. this should properly incentivize my teacher to see that i make my sweater goal.

KIDS, HEALTH (permalink) 09.28.2010
we're not odd, just our kids are.
we went camping over the weekend. when we came home anthony started complaining that his eye hurt. marty looked at it but couldn't see anything. he continued to get more agitated until finally holding his eye closed with his hand for the rest of the evening. both marty and i would check on him after he'd been alone for a bit wondering if he was exaggerating his state but every time we looked in on him, he was playing with one hand and holding his eye closed with the other.

in the morning marty took him to our eye doctor. after examining him the doctor confirmed that his eyeball had been scratched. he leaned into anthony and asked him if he knew what had happened to his eye. anthony said that an invisible baby dolphin jumped at his face and scratched his eye with its invisible tail. fortunately there seems to be an antibiotic for that.

HEALTH, PERSONAL, LIFE, SWIM (permalink) 09.03.2010
swimming update
one month ago i talked about how after three years of working at it i finally swam my first official 50m pool length. three weeks later, august 22, i swam that same 50m freestyle length but this time when i reached the wall, i did a flip-turn and swam a return 50m length back. had you seen me after i completed this circuit you would have thought i was just accepted into the space program.

last weekend i swam fifteen full laps with flip turns in each (resting after each lap), and this weekend, the last weekend the outdoor pools are open, i hope to swim twenty laps, still with a rest after each, which would represent my new distance goal of a nautical pool mile (2,000 meters). the last step is to remove the need to rest after each lap. the only sad part to this story is i'm going to have to do this in shorter (25m), indoor pools during the winter months.

HEALTH, PERSONAL, KIDS, LIFE (permalink) 08.25.2010
PART 3 : a powerful alchemy
if you haven't read PART 1 or PART 2, you should do so before reading this.

there is a reason i thought to share my personal values at this time. two fridays ago bella and i were to spend the day together. this father-daughter event was to celebrate her successful completion of another year of school. in the past, this ritual took place on the last day of classes but now that she and alex attend the same school i couldn't take them both out individually. bella was kind enough to give the day to alex as it was his first full school year.

before i knew it there were just a few weeks left of summer and bella and i hadn't gone out for her day. marty and i scrambled to find a date. we squeaked it out on the last weekday of summer. bella requested to go to six flags (again) followed by a steak dinner. knowing it was going to be a long day, i went to bed early the night before. when i awoke, i checked the day's weather. 96 degrees. and i was to be out in it all day. add to this i was to spend the day with bella who for the prior week hadn't exactly been a model citizen. marty chalked her vinegar up to the fast approaching school year. i pointed at the late-summer weeks of going to bed after 10pm. whatever the source, times with the girl had been unpredictable and tumultuous, and i was about to navigate those erratic waters on my own, all day long, and in an inhumane heat.

after groaning at weather dot com i pulled up my values document and began my daily review. personal growth - check. value my time - check. care for myself - on it. care for my marriage - check. enjoy my children - uhhh, yeah, sure. equip my children for life - trying as always. professional excellence - got a pass today. be grateful - uhhhm, yes, gratitude, could use more effort here.

i then drifted down to the images, glancing at them in order. i take in the visual. depending on my troubles and/or the day ahead the various images wash over me differently. as i move through them, the first one to give me pause is the bride and her father. this picture always emotes something from me but especially when bella is on my mind and as noted, bella was on my mind today. every time i take this picture in i project to a day in the future when i will be in this man's position. and i'm sure it will seem like just yesterday when i was doing things like dreading taking my nine year old daughter to six flags. and i know whether i show it outwardly or not, i know, i know already, that this is how i will feel on the inside the day bella dedicates her life to someone else, someone else our family doesn't even know at the moment.

i then moved forward. my eyes next paused on the image of randy pausch. if you don't recall, randy pausch was the last lecture guy. the forty-something year old who went to his doctor with flu-like symptoms and was told he had six months to live. and he had three children all under the age of six. he died last year as his doctors predicted. so this is the image i find myself studying in the pre-dawn hours while thinking i don't want to go out for a dedicated day with my daughter because of the heat and because she hasn't been as pleasant as she's capable of in her last week of summer break. i stared at this image, this simple, low-res image of a smiling father holding his three children ... this father holding his three children shortly before he passed away with a cruelly inadequate warning. as i took this image in, i wondered what randy pausch would do to spend another day, a single day, with his daughter. i then wondered what randy pausch's daughter would do to spend one more day with her father.

bella and i went on to have an amazing, friction-free day that included hand-holding and smiling and stories and laughing and closeness and very little worry about the heat.

and this is why i chose, at this time, to share my private ritual with you.

HEALTH, PERSONAL, LIFE (permalink) 08.24.2010
PART 2 : yesterday i left my socks on. today i'm going full monty
if you haven't read PART 1 yet, i'd consider doing so before continuing as this will seem incomplete without it.

yesterday i shared my personal values. something i didn't share was that in addition to the written definition of my values, i also have a set of images that go with them. i'm a visual guy and somewhere along the way i learned that these images had a power to reach me in a different way and added a depth my written words alone lacked which is how the addition of photos to my simple written values came to be.

again, before the share, a few things about the pictures:
  • i use one image per value.
  • like the words, these sometimes change. but i've been pretty happy with the current set for awhile.
  • how it works is these images reside just under the written portion, so every morning i first read through the text posted yesterday and then i take a moment to glance at these photos, reflecting on each as i move through them.
  • aside from two of the images, the actual people in the photos are not the significant part of the story. it is the emotion the image elicits that makes them powerful for me.
  • i don't know who sgt joe hall is. it just seemed like a quintessential photo all family scrapbooks might have. oddly, it is the name in its elderly scrawl across the top that makes this picture not so pedestrian for me, or perhaps it is that it makes it perfectly pedestrian.
  • i reckon some folks might like an explanation for my selection for the professional value. i'm not going to explain. it's not important. it's the picture i have chosen and i have my reasons. were you to do something similar, you'd pick a picture that speaks to you.
  • the equip my children for life one could also possibly use some explanation too. that is one i might one day speak to but i'm not going to today.

unbuttons shirt ... again ...

personal growth
value my time
care for myself
care for my marriage
enjoy my children
equip my children for life
professional excellence
be grateful

now i'm naked, really.

Goto PART 3

HEALTH, PERSONAL, LIFE (permalink) 08.23.2010
PART 1 : please allow me to undress before you
for the last few years, i've been posting my daily and weekly regiment. this is the schedule i created to help me meet my personal goals. to be truthful, there have only been a handful of times where i've come close to a perfect week. but to be truthful again, hitting my marks or not, my weeks prove far more fruitful trying to adhere to this plan than if i entered life's fray without it.

it occurred to me very recently that i have never shared the counterpart to that schedule. this would be a list of the things that i, in long periods of contemplation, have come to know are important to me. some folks would call them my values. without this list also in hand, the schedule would be rather pointless and the same would be true the other way around.

before i share, a few things about my list:
  • i've been working on this document for about thirteen years. that would be three years longer than i've spent producing all of the content for this website.
  • there is no other block of text that i have ever spent anything near this amount of time and effort on.
  • the list does see edits but changes at this late point are usually fairly minor and have more of a nuanced effect rather than massive shifts in thought.
  • without this list, it is very possible my life would be in a complete shambles.
  • i read this document just about every morning.
  • i sometimes read this document twice in a day.
  • the most i've ever looked at this document in one day is five times. and it wasn't the day that was trying, it was me trying not to wreck something i'd later regret.
  • the red text is what i read if i only have a minute or two for my morning review.
  • i would liken this text to a daily chiropractic adjustment for my mind and soul.
unbuttons shirt ... the list:

personal growth
employ the collegiate spirit of continued growth, expansion, and improvement. live introspectively but do not compare myself to others. only compare myself to how i was last week, last month, last year. recognize and eliminate the bad. recognize and nurture the positive.

value my time
there are limited minutes in our lives. the clock is ticking. use each day to achieve things that matter. ritualize the things deemed vital. leave a mark. avoid the typical and unnecessary regrets.

care for myself
do not deprive myself of life experiences through poor, selfish and gluttonous behaviors. stay healthy. stay fit. stay away from doctors and hospitals through wise living. do not go down behind something i can control.

care for my marriage
always remember my luck in finding marty. she is the one. cherish her. make her feel special. work to make her dreams come true.

this relationship is the only up-close, intimate partnership my children will see first-hand so marty and i are teaching them, the primary ones teaching them, how to be part of a loving, respectful and healthy relationship built from friendship, adoration, and love.

marty is who i will be eating breakfast with and sharing porch-time with long after the children have moved on. it is vital i never stop nurturing and caring for the relationship thus keeping the friendship not only in tact but vibrant.

enjoy my children
this experience is tragically temporary. they will be gone soon. too soon. do not take my time with my children for granted. when i spend time with my children, actively BE WITH my children. do not squander these moments, i can never get them back and will forever regret not doing more with the relationships.

create an environment my children want to be part of so they cherish the memories of their father, family, home, and childhood.

equip my children for life
treat my children as i would treat another adult i respect. be even-tempered. be consistent. be patient. be just. don't spoil them to the point of ill-preparing them for the world they will one day enter. remember, you're raising adults, not children.

professional excellence
make my professional contributions be thoughtful and of consequence. never let my role be questioned or compromised. control my experience. remember my fortune in being employed and show my employers and clients this respect and gratitude daily. be consistent. be timely. be reliable. be conscientious.

be grateful
be grateful for the quiet fortunes in my life that i did nothing to create, earn or attain but benefit from daily (e.g. birth, health, family, locale).

pants dropped...

Goto PART 2

HEALTH, SCIENCE (permalink) 07.28.2010
let's get crackin' folks.
yesterday i had a dental cleaning at 9am and my annual physical at 11am. i was for sure poked and prodded enough for two tuesday mornings.

for those wondering if the one-way sign staked by my rectum is still standing, it is. the streak survives, assuredly thanks to an uber-low psa count in my last blood work. although, my doc hinted that i should prepare myself because the sign's days are numbered. he even had the audacity to say the c-word ... colonoscopy ... which definitely makes a gloved pointer finger seem quite innocuous. and once you get into colonoscopy country i think the DO NOT ENTER sign gets replaced with a VISITORS WELCOME sign and tour bus parking lines painted around the entrance.

so ... rectal researchers (e.g. invaders, divers, sightseers, medical enthusiasts) of the world, i implore you to get your collective act together because it looks like you've got two, maybe three years to improve your diagnostic weapons to achieve my dream of you being able to tell me the state of my prostrate and rectal cavity (nice!) from the other side of the room ... and while i still have my pants on. as for the colonoscopy, well they use big drugs for that. they might just need to tackle me at work and start the drip there.

i'd be willing to pay extra for that.

KIDS, HEALTH (permalink) 05.24.2010
fire in the hole
if you ever wondered how skittish marty is about letting one get by the goalie allowing for an accidental/unexpected pregnancy, your curiosity would have been well satisfied when alex mistook her birth control patch for a big-ass band-aid* and motioned towards it, offering to take it off for her. the way marty jumped and twisted away you would have thought alex was about to mistakingly pull the pin from a live grenade, which when you consider spending all day, every day keeping anthony alive, a pin-less hand grenade may be an astute and reasonable comparison.

* since the patch is larger than a conventional band-aid and was placed on her ass, calling it a big-ass band-aid was quite perfectly perfect. but please don't mistake this as me saying it was a band-aid on a big-ass which i think would be written as a big ass band-aid. perhaps grammar dave can set me straight because if i botch that and people misinterpret my message, the need for birth control in my home could become a moot point.

KIDS, HEALTH (permalink) 05.05.2010
the school nurse stopped calling back in the first quarter
marty's stay home from school policy is this:

if you can't produce blood or puke, you are going to school. if you just think you're going to puke, it doesn't count and you are going to school. if you puke while at school, then you can come home.

as for the blood, i'm pretty sure you only get to stay home while you're bleeding. once it is cauterized or the hemorrhaging relents, grab your backpack. you'll be met at the door.

i seem to recall the rule used to state that if there wasn't blood, puke, or poop (ed. like involuntary poop), you were going to school. i also recall bella looking a little too reflective about the poop option one day and that is how it got dropped from the rotation. hell, i know grown men who'd crap their pants for a day off work. and i got five bucks that says if bella did gravy her drawers to stay home, she'd be so excited, taking a shower wouldn't even be the first thing on her list of things to do with the free day.

HEALTH (permalink) 04.27.2010
it's quite amazing any of us are any sort of normal or sane.
after bella asked me about girls and bras a few weeks back and i had to confess ignorance, i emailed a girl i knew in my elementary school days who has a son around the same age as bella. it read:
hey carrie,
if you help me answer my daughter's questions (link), i promise to help you with any curve balls your son may throw your way.

reliable as always, carrie responded, and in great detail, with the following:
The short answer is YES! And the long answer starts way back at Bauder Elementary school in the 5th grade! My guess is 5th grade is closer to 3rd grade in this day and age. It all started with one girl, who shall remain nameless to protect the innocent, who matured, filled out, developed long before the rest of us! Once she got a bra, it started the bra rolling (I mean ball rolling). Then each day someone new came with one, this had nothing to do with whether or not they actually needed one. Let me just say, some of us may not have ever needed one until child birth, but that is another whole story of how children change your life forever! So yes many of the girls followed suit and got bras. The crazy thing is that the girl who started it finished her growth spurt by 6th grade and never got any taller. The rest of the girls who were further behind still grew taller and taller. So what may have seemed like an advantage (1st one to get a bra) turned out to not be such a advantage at all.
then days ago marty was telling me about a friend of ours whose daughter just got a breast bud and how that phase of maturity would be starting for us soon. i first asked marty to describe what a breast bud was. she did. i next asked marty if she meant to say that the girl got just one, and if she still had one budless side. marty said that yes, that is what she said and that is how it tends to happen. marty went on to tell the story of when her first breast bud popped, she was sure it was cancer and remembered specifically thinking about how sad her mom was going to be that one of her daughters was dying.

the blank, lifeless stare i gave marty during my breast bud tutorial was not due to a lack of understanding. it was due to an exaggerated sense of understanding and an immense gratitude that when it all began for me one of the two face-down cards i was dealt had a giant Y on its face.

HEALTH (permalink) 04.13.2010
troy augmented
a friend made a great observation/addition to my natural gift theory. first, a refresher:
i believe all people get dealt one natural gift and one demon. the natural gift is something they can do better than 99% of people without even trying. the demon is some non-positive trait they will struggle with even when exerting great will against the vice. through these i believe one's satisfaction, success, and fulfillment in life comes from one's ability to (1) identify and leverage their gift and (2) tame and control their demon.
to this my friend added that the very most effective, and successful people are those who not only identify and check their personal foe, but also turn it to their favor, using it as fuel for some productive or competitive element. in example, an athlete using a rage issue in their sport or a compulsive person using their obsessions for detailed labors such as art, coding or other creative outlets.

in thinking on this for a moment, it seems this fella is a natural to point this out because when he was in his twenties he swam the english channel and two summers ago, while in his early-forties, he ran an unsupported fifty mile foot-race on the spine of a mountain range. i believe the race was called the devil's backbone. i also believe that in addition to carrying his own water filtration system, he also had to carry a can of bear mace. i guess once you've put your personal demons behind you, a bear on the weekend is nothing but child's play.

HEALTH (permalink) 02.17.2010
after having been a parent for weeks shy of nine years, my first piece of paternal advice, not that you're asking, would be to respect sleep. get sleep. give sleep. mandate sleep. enforce sleep. people are just not properly performing or interacting or experiencing life or one another when they don't have enough sleep.

please note that i'm writing this at 2:30am. i just arrived home from work which might be why sleep is so on my mind. (note: i did take a break in the evening to eat dinner with the family, play a round of ogre and help put the kids to bed.)

now i'm going to take my own sage and wise advice and go get some sleep.

FAMILY, HEALTH (permalink) 10.23.2009
birds and the bees are attacking
marty expressed to her older sister that she was surprised to already be fielding puberty-related questions from bella. marty thought she had a few more years of girlish innocence in her oldest child. to this, marty's sister said her own daughter, at thirteen, had bigger breasts than she, the mother, did so girlish innocence becomes girlish curiosity real quick.

the mom went onto share a detail from when her husband gave the talk to their son when he was around eleven. after explaining the hows, the whats and the whys of it all the boy sat there stupefied at this new intelligence. after a few moments of silence he turned to his dad and mustered the eyes-down courage to ask a single question, "so, just how long do you have to do that for?"

when marty recounted this to some girlfriends, she laughingly added that the only right answer is, at least four minutes. i told marty if she keeps bragging about my sexual prowess to the neighborhood ladies, one of them might swoop in and steal me away. through her belly-laughing marty was able to tell me she's willing to take her chances on that one.

KIDS, HEALTH (permalink) 10.06.2009
and, yes, i did wash the sheets
rough housing and tickle fights end in one of two ways in our house; when someone gets hurt or someone pukes (from laughing too hard).

this is no lie and i'm not embellishing for effect. last thursday marty went to a girl scout meeting leaving me to put the kids to bed. after baths and before i started reading to the boys a huge tickle fight broke out on my bed. it was me against bella and alex and anthony. about five minutes into the affair, i was tickling bella and she started coughing. i stopped. she turned her head and vomited a dark swill onto the comforter and floor. you'd think she would spin on me in anger or disgust at this turn but instead her face brightened and she said, "hey, i just threw up! does that mean i don't have to go to school tomorrow?" i had the parental duty of telling her that throwing up only gets you out of school if you can wretch without anyone touching, tickling, or gagging you. i was dismayed, but not surprised, to see the wheels in her head processing this new piece of knowledge. i'm sure if it's possible to will yourself to vomit, bella is about to become one of its most ardent practitioners.

KIDS, HEALTH (permalink) 09.30.2009
better. better. better.
i don't experience gradations of illness. meaning, i don't go from being healthy to not so well to under the weather to sick to deathly ill. i go from fine to not fine. those are my two settings. what? you expect me to be beautiful and hearty? that's a rare combination my friend.

this latest illness lasted almost exactly 48-hours. i know because i sat down at my desk sunday night at 9pm to check my mail for the day and felt fine. at 10pm when i rose, i should have gone to my bike to exercise but instead i fell into bed where marty was reading. i was fast asleep within five minutes (aided by a super-awesome marty back-scratch). in the morning i was wrecked. then tuesday night, i sat at my desk at 9pm feeling dismal. at 10pm instead of moving to my bed as i feared i would need to, i passed it up and went to my bike and had my 10pm spin. put me back in coach.

below i'm posting the picture i planned on posting sunday night. but it's better here because i can give you a larger version of the photo. this was from a few weekends back when the family went paddle-boating. this is one of the several neat city features that is within biking distance of our home. although this particular activity is slightly brutal given the fact that you bike a couple miles to the place, then you paddle a bunch of humans around a couple of miles around a network of ponds, then you're back on the bike peddling the couple of miles back home. on this particular day bella and alex were saying they wanted to get two boats instead of one. marty thought it was an ok idea. something told me i was going to get hosed in the deal. i told the kids we could get two boats but they each had to peddle their share and if they didn't, we were turning around. they agreed. as you can see by this photo, marty scored both of our peddle-abled children and i got stuck with the guy who shoves his mucus coated finger up my nose when i'm sleeping. you don't have to spend much time with three year olds to know they intentionally build them this adorable. none would survive otherwise.

that said, it turns out my troy-getting-hosed spidey sense is working just fine.

HEALTH (permalink) 09.29.2009
sick. sick. sick.
before having children i was a master of avoiding sick people. back then you most often had to skirt those who felt their role to their company was so vital that they had to come into the office even if grotesquely ill. the result was always the same. the self-important person pushed their unimportant widgets around the corporate warehouse infecting four people through their efforts. it was against these folks that i was masterful in avoiding the funk. first off i was known for casting a super-awesome scowl at bloodshot-eyed, blotchy-skinned, red-nosed people as they stumbled into my world looking like they should be in a housecoat and slippers and confined to quarters. one sneeze in my space and i would announce the meeting/visit/cube-call over.

there was incentive. at this company, every six months you went without missing a day of work, you earned a free vacation day. on the good side, this kept people from erroneously burning through their sick days. on the bad side, it encouraged people to come in sick so they wouldn't lose their free day. my fix to this minor problem would have been posting someone at the door who doesn't let any sick-looking people in. if it were my company, i'd also turn away dour looking people. this is a healthy and happy place. if you aren't those, you aren't welcome.

all of this is to say that all of the tricks and ploys and defenses i learned against adults are entirely useless against children who live with you. here you may wake up with a three year old on your chest. they're smiling. the have gelatinous plug of mucus blocking their nose and are pushing a slime covered finger into your own nose wondering why it is so clean and dry and beautiful unlike their own. little do they know that now it will soon be like theirs and when it is their funk has passed and they just want to play and read and rough-house making the reversal of fortunes all the more unjust.

KIDS, HEALTH (permalink) 09.23.2009
the tooth fairy doesn't do adult teeth
the loss of a child's first tooth is a remarkable and special milestone to be celebrated. each and every tooth after that first one is a medieval and grotesque affair. alex went to school two days ago without a loose tooth in his head. he came home with one rattling around a tiny plastic treasure chest the school nurse gives to kids for lost teeth.

long ago, many years before marty and i had kids, she and i hosted a sleepover for some nieces and nephews. one of the girls complained of a loose tooth at the dinner table. i looked at it and told her i thought it looked fine. she kept saying it was terribly loose. i went as far as pushing on it with my own pointer finger and reported that the tooth was fine, solid and healthy. before dinner was over the girl, with great effort and conviction, had extracted this targeted tooth. she bled out of her mouth for better than an hour and we just kept stuffing replacement paper towels in there after she'd spit a blood soaked one into the kitchen garbage can. i was starting to fear that the girl was going to bleed to death in the night and i told her if it didn't stop hemorrhaging before we went to bed, i was making her father come pick her up. the gaping hole, with no new tooth anywhere in sight, somehow stopped bleeding on its own. the next day, for all i know i was sending the child home with an adult tooth in the linty front pocket of her blue jeans.

again, it's a medieval matter.

HEALTH (permalink) 07.17.2009
i'm considering trying out for the pom squad
i must apologize for not being more involved or entertaining since returning from my sabbatical but i've been distracted. as for what has caught my eye it would be my new knee. this would be the knee which received reconstructive surgery in april of 2008. while the full rehab took better than a year to complete, the restoration of my knee was in a word complete, completely beautiful. completely restorative. simply complete.

when i first met with my super-surgeon and he recommended the reconstructive course of action, i asked him to guess my rate of performance after going through with the procedure, and would my knee perform at, say, 50%, 80% or better. he looked at my like i had asked him if we would be sleeping together before or after the surgery. after shaking the ludicrousness of my question off he said, without pause, "your recovery will be 100%. it will be like your knee was never injured. your rehabilitated knee will out-perform your knee that was never injured." i then asked him what other parts of my body he could augment similarly.

before my surgery if i played 1 hour of tennis, while wearing a brace, it would be three days before i could climb a flight of stairs or get out of a chair without wincing. and i would have to wait at least a week before even considering going out on the tennis court again. this ongoing debilitation was largely what sent me shopping for a doctor in the first place. now with my fully rehabilitated knee my weeks look much different. tuesday night i did an intense, thirty-minute, interval routine on my bike trainer. wednesday night i played two break-free (and brace-free!) hours of tennis with e-love. and last night, thursday, i biked 25 hilly miles maintaining a 14mph average speed. and in the last few weeks, i'm down more than a full belt-loop.

so, i'm sure you can appreciate this infatuation with my new body. i mean it's not like i sit up at night rubbing on my knee and cooing at it softly. i can do that during the day at work, i'm too busy having fun with my knee out and about at night.

thanks in advance for your understanding.

HEALTH (permalink) 07.07.2009
i even showered before leaving
i went to my doctor yesterday. it was my first post 40 visit. i told marty i'd go. i told myself i'd go. i made the appointment in a moment of conviction. i steeled myself for the day. i promised myself i wouldn't balk. or argue. my doctor of sixteen years walked in and sat down. he asked lots of questions about the last three plus years since he'd seen me. he reviewed my bloodwork in detail. he had me take my shirt off and lie back on the waxy paper. he poked and prodded me above the waist for a bit. he then handed me my shirt back, said everything looked good and to keep doing what i was doing. then he shook my hand and left.

i think it's fair to say that worrying about a digital prostate exam has probably taken more days off my life than an unhealthy prostate ever would. it looks like i can breathe easy for one more year. i'm sure you're as relieved as i am.

HEALTH (permalink) 04.24.2009
at any cost
traversing life successfully usually means doing what needs to be done when it needs to be done. living in saint louis, there is extra truth in this statement twice a year. the first is doing what needs to be done to stay cool in august and the second is doing what needs to be done to get through allergy season.

HEALTH (permalink) 03.04.2009
from the mailbag
in response to yesterday's line:
i'm noticing i suddenly have a lazy nipple. did you even know such a thing was possible? one droopy nipple! i gotta admit, it wasn't anywhere on my radar.

one reader wrote:
Consider yourself lucky that you don't have DD breasts. My nipples are now closer to my belly button than they are to my chin...

i quickly filed that message in the 'no sympathy for troy' folder which between my prostate gripes, circumcision woes and decade-turning whimpers has been getting quite full in recent months.

and to you mrs DD, if it's any consolation, i'm told that i have something that in time will be headed south for the winter as well, only mine will be getting closer to me knees rather than my belly button. i bet there are few people who can't wait for me to start documenting that phase of my life.

and in the name of full disclosure, i've often considered myself lucky i don't have DD breasts. i'd look funny at the pool.

HEALTH (permalink) 03.03.2009
nipple symmetry is more important than you think
between the ages of 25 and 35 i was a full-on hypochondriac. any persistent discomfiture would send me to my doctor complaining of shortness of breath, bloated lymph nodes or persistent fatigue. my doc was a patient and kind listener to my woes until one day, visibly frustrated at my ongoing-angst, he told me that the human body is an amazing structure, the most amazing thing any of us will ever see, and it can shoulder the most ridiculous sorts of abuse for many years before it begins to show signs of wear. he said at my rate of malfeasance i wouldn't experience overt signs of physical debilitation until i was forty and that before turning forty all my pieces and parts would continue to operate as advertised. you know what ... he was right. and seeing what has happened in just the last few months, i've constructed the below model for your own benefit and edification.

i would liken a pre-thirty year old body to silly putty. you can do the stupidest of things to that flesh colored nubbin and it bounces back each and every time proving just as resilient as the day you first took it out of its two-tone egg.

i would like a thirties body to play-doh. still lots of fun and able to do plenty of neat tricks but not quite the gamer the silly putty was. play-doh isn't going to recover from being run over by mom's car tire in the driveway nearly as well as its near cousin, putty, is.

now a forties body, and i'm quite new at this, but a forties body i would liken to day-old play-doh. you know the play-doh that got left on the kitchen table overnight, taken for granted, forgotten. we all know, too well, no matter how much you re-work it in the palms of your hands or how many drops of water you secret into its folds, the stiff cudgel of doh is never as pliable, moist or sweet smelling as it was before the trespass.

the moral of the story is, take care of your play-doh today because you do reach a point where there's no getting it back tomorrow. and if that hasn't got your attention, i'm noticing i suddenly have a lazy nipple. did you even know such a thing was possible? one droopy nipple! i gotta admit, it wasn't anywhere on my radar.

HEALTH (permalink) 01.28.2009
for our next patient
monday night i became sick quite suddenly. because of a meeting i briefly went to work tuesday morning. i then came home, went directly to my room, got in bed and went to sleep.

the kids had a snow day and were home from school on tuesday. marty invited a bunch of ladies and their kids over to play. i would occasionally get pulled from sleep because of screaming or laughing or loud running down the hallway. one time i stirred from sleep because of talking, close-by talking. i opened my eyes and lifted my head. standing around my bed were ten to twelve kids all eight years old or younger. they were all staring at me intently like i were a classmate's curious show and tell bauble. bella was standing next to my head talking to all the children like she was leading a group of medical interns on rounds. she was saying:

this is my father. he got diarrhea last night and it kept him up most of the night. diarrhea makes you have to use the restroom a lot. so today he is tired. this is why he is sleeping now and not at work.

of course when she said the word diarrhea, a few of the kids standing around the bed screwed up their faces and said "eeewww" and took a step back. if i were them i would have found my mom and asked to go home.

HEALTH (permalink) 01.09.2009
dinner, a movie and a digital rectal exam for dessert
from the time i was 27 to 37 i went to the doctor once to twice a year. usually it was for a sinus infection or chest congestion that wasn't going away fast enough. the last time i went to the doctor it was for a ruptured bursa (sp) sack in my knee, an injury i obtained while chasing my kids on the skater ramps at city museum. i waited six weeks before seeing my doctor. i thought the knee would have cleared up given that much time and when it didn't i went in. my doc quickly diagnosed the problem and said that sort of injury takes 6-8 weeks to heal. after serving this diagnosis he started flipping through my chart and asked how old i was. i could tell by the tenor of his voice that he had bad things in mind and i quickly and sternly replied that i was not yet that old. sensing my tone he said i was coming due. next time i said. next time he said. yes, next time i repeated. what i knew and what he did not know was that there would not be a next time.

i've talked about this topic before but i bring it up for two reasons. first, and something i didn't realize until recently, since my doctor threatened me with a gloved and Vaselined playdate i haven't had a day of illness that has required the help of special medicine or professional care. and it's not that i've needed it but have just avoided going in. it just hasn't come to that. and secondly, a doctor i know recently confided to me that there is currently a debate among the medical community on the need or efficacy of this procedure. i happen to know a little bit about another such debate and feel that it is only prudent of me to conduct some research into this matter before allowing additional psychological damage be done to my body or person. i mean, now that i have brought two beautifully uncircumcised boys into this razor-happy society, i've been in the market for a new social-ill to give time to. i think we may have a player.

and when marty asks what i'm waiting for i tell her i'm waiting for technology that will tell them what they need to know while sitting on the other side of the room. when she says that that ain't gonna happen quick enough i tell her i'm then waiting for the spousal training program where she can be trained on what to look for. i'd surely be willing to conduct her breast exams in return. much more than just preventative health care would come from such an insightful and empathetic program.

HEALTH (permalink) 12.08.2008
suck sick
today i begin my fifth decade of life on this planet.

and i do so in illness. i hope this isn't representative of the decades to follow.

HEALTH (permalink) 05.22.2008
the caveat
tuesday was the six week mark of my surgery. this is when my doctor said i'd be able to start walking. last week i called his office to verify this point and see if there were any preliminary things i needed to do beforehand. my doctor's assistant called back and said:

i spoke to the doctor and yes, you may begin walking next week ... as tolerated.

as tolerated. how many of you think they know something i don't? because in my mind, as reward for my diligent month and a half of exacting execution of doctor's orders i felt i held inalienable claim to cast my crutches aside and dance like dick van dyke in mary poppins or even chitty, chitty, bang, bang. when i offered this notion to the doctor's assistant she said i was certainly free to do that ... as tolerated.

after returning home from my first walking-eligible therapy session, i was showing off my new, albeit still with crutches, walking skills to marty and a neighbor lady. as i tentatively shuffled down the sidewalk in front of our house marty called out behind me, "you look like an 87 year old stroke victim."

and my great love for my wife continues ... as tolerated.

HEALTH (permalink) 05.13.2008
still convalescing

SCIENCE, HEALTH (permalink) 05.09.2008
sharing my inner-most being
upon learning that i had photographs of my surgery, a good and dear friend of mine succintly told me that he was boycotting my site until i made them available for viewing. this does seem to be my week for getting slapped about content wise. i've been planning on sharing them but have only recently become mobile enough to work at my desk and reach my scanner. but i am now able and ready to freak you all out. actually, aside from one pic, they're more awe-inspiring than gag-reflex inducing. but, to be kind, i'm hiding them and you have to click to expose each one. additionally, i'm including a gore-meter with each set so you can control your experience, seeing as much or as little of my insides as you'd like. something interesting to note is all of these pictures were taken underwater because that's just how they roll these days. to achieve this they put a turniquit above and below my knee, and then pump it full of water. i guess, this helps them get around a bit easier. it also explains why the images are so crisp.

click on the below headings to display the corresponding image.

i have no idea what this is. it more resembles one of the creatures from jeff smith's graphical novel BONE than anything i'd expect to find in my leg.

if the first shot was of my uterus i think these might be my fallopian tubes. i believe the doc said this was what was left of my original acl.

not sure what's up with the top, left image but the other two are my new acl which was bolted and screwed into my leg bones. they cut this section of ligament from my hamstring which is why it looks all sinewy and raw. in time, it should get nice rounded edges and look more like a piece of corded rope.

while bobbing for apples in my knee the surgeon noticed this gash in the cartilage covering the bone of my upper leg. to fix it he had to go in and cut/chip away at the damaged area in that it was loose, like flaking paint. in doing so, you'll notice he's got some of the most ominous looking scissors ever made. the resultant hole he made is about the size of a quarter.

the saying you have to break some eggs to make an omelete applies here. after the surgery, marty refused to let me see this particular picture. it wasn't until i went back for my post-op visit that the super-doc showed it to me. he was keen to point out that the reason there is no blood in the top, left image is that he had the water pressure turned way up, so the blood would not get in the way of him hammering holes in my bone with an ice pick. after he wreaked his mayhem he reduced the water pressure so the bone could do the last thing i ever thought a bone would do, bleed. i think he may have rubbed some magic salve on there to stimulate the development of scar tissue which is meant to create a layer between my bone and the female reproductive organs that seem reside in my knee.

HEALTH (permalink) 04.25.2008
if that's the case, i'm surprised we've even heard of it
did you see the recent report claiming masturbation prevents prostate cancer. if this is true, i think i'm more likely to get ovarian cancer before prostate. it's nice to know there's at least one malady out there i'm entirely immune to.

HEALTH (permalink) 04.23.2008
pollyanna rawks!
i stopped taking vicodan on saturday. i'd been on them for a week an a half and they certainly handled their business. after leaving the hospital, i never experienced discomfort except once when i got lazy about my pill schedule. reason i had to quit them is they were clouding my thoughts and to my great pleasure i have a job that requires unclouded thought. what i didn't account for was the lingering effects of the narcotic.

when i arrived to work on monday i was still a touch foggy. in my addled and unproductive state, i somehow stumbled upon this guy randy pausch. mid last year randy, a college professor, was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and given 3-6 months to live. he has three kids, his oldest being one year younger than bella. the stir about him stems from how he has shouldered this tragic development. how everyone found about him was through his Last Lecture. last lectures are a university-ritual and occur when a long-standing prof finally steps down and delivers their final official lecture. randy's last talk, titled Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams, focuses not on his field of study, virtual reality, but instead on his life experience. my favorite bit in there was something a female colleague told him about dating:

when it comes to men that are romantically interested in you, it's really simple. just ignore everything they say and only pay attention to what they do.

the hour long talk was worth those twenty-seven words alone. intrigued i dug a little deeper and found another, subsequent talk randy gave at another university on time management (he does get to claim a bit of authority on the topic after all). also very informational and inspiring. and if you're still jonsin' for more randy, as was i, there's a diane sawyer interview that is not great, but ok.

his experience is surely adding some perspective to my current state which in comparison would barely rate as a head cold, or maybe even a festering whitehead.

HEALTH (permalink) 04.18.2008
week in review, day 5 (troy)
i didn't take my first shower for six days. the only reason i bathed on the sixth day was i had to leave my bed and my house for a follow-up with the surgeon. the nurses had told marty that the incisions couldn't get wet. they suggested she use saran-wrap to cover the stitches to bathe. so while i was still in bed marty wrapped my leg liberally with the clear sticky plastic. when done, i crutched my way to the bathroom and started the water.

getting into the bathtub proved tricky since i couldn't put any weight on my right leg. after studying the tub obstacle i realized i could sit on the side of the tub and lift one leg over the rim and then the other. once both were inside, i just had to stand up and balance on one leg. the tub was slick which made pivoting on one foot for soap and shampoo precarious. also, closing my eyes and washing my hair also challenged my ability to stay upright. seeing me wobble marty reached a hand in and held me under the shoulder to help keep me from tipping one way or another. while she gripped my armpit and i washed my parts she noticed the saran-wrap mummy-job began collecting water so with her free hand she pushed the water free and pressed the wrap flat trying to keep new water from getting in. with great and coordinated effort we got through this initial cleansing.

four days later i was slated for shower number two in that i was going into the office. this was a trial run of sorts to see how much labor would go into getting out the door for work since marty will be delivering me to work after dropping the kids at school. marty and i discussed the failings of shower one. i told her we should call my mom to see if she still had any of the shower seats my grandparents used while living my parents. marty said we'd be fine.

this time i encased the knee more securely adding layers or saran-wrap and stretching them tighter. i hobbled to the tub and pulled the curtain back. in the bath was an igloo cooler we use for camping. my bathing seat. grinning, i disrobed, started the water and did my funny sit on the tub ledge and teased my legs over the side trick. now this time instead of trying my one-footed balancing act, i just had to move from the edge of the tub to the top of the cooler. i grabbed onto the washcloth holder and lifted myself high enough to make the switch. marty was there again with her hand under my armpit helping me get situated. as i started lowering myself on the cooler i looked at the dirty white lid and commented to marty that i didn't know what was dirtier at this moment, my ass or the top of the cooler. laughing, marty said she just spent twenty minutes cleaning it (you must consider that this plastic box has spent many a night sitting outside in the woods). but i got seated and then i got clean. and with much less fuss than last time.

when i was done and began exiting the tub i realized i would be going into work with a deep and concise impression of the IGLOO logo stamped into my right buttock and a ruler, of all things, stamped on my left. at first i was mystified what the purpose of having a ruler molded into the top of a cooler was but as i stood in front of the sink running my fingers over the small hashmarks and numbers indented on my buttcheek i surmised it was probably for measuring fish. i imagine i was the first igloo cooler customer to ever solve that puzzle in that exact way, but i bet i'm NOT the first customer who could have measured fish with their ass.

HEALTH (permalink) 04.11.2008
i'm starting to itch, everywhere.
i haven't showered in three days. aside from a cumulative twenty minutes spent on crutches going to and coming from the bathroom, i haven't even been out of bed for the better part of three days. and now, on the fourth day after surgery comes the great unveiling of the bandages. bella has asked to be there when it happens. she also said that i may need to close my eyes because she fears i may not be able to handle what i see. sad thing is she's right. sadder thing is she knows she is right.

so enjoy your clean bodies and able joints for me today, and possibly tomorrow as well.

and, yesterday was my two year anniversary at the new job. i spent the vast majority of it sleeping. how inauspicious.

HEALTH (permalink) 04.09.2008
you can't touch this - hammertime
for those wondering, my puke-free streak remains in tact.

multiple people warned this was in jeopardy, medical professionals and citizens alike. so far i haven't has as much as a single tremor in my tummy. regarding the operation, it was a success. i have one brand-spanking new, taught and tight ACL ligament on loan from the hamstring of the same leg. two downers did arise though. one is not only was my meniscus not salvageable, the damage was more extensive than the MRI revealed so i ended up losing more of it than was initially thought to be in jeopardy. secondly, because of the failing meniscus, a quarter-sized hole developed in the cartilage supporting my upper leg bone. from the OR, the surgeon called marty who was in the waiting room and explained this last point. he said he could attempt to repair it but the extra work would prolong my recovery period (which was initially at six months), and right from the start, the leg would not be able to bear weight for six weeks (from an initial projection of 2-3 weeks).

for as mixed as all this news is, i'm so elated someone, a great someone, finally got in there and looked about. this problem has plagued me for twenty years. i won't get into how our healthcare system exacerbated my condition. if you're personally curious about that, you can ask me directly. but i do see that a good side to having waited is that the technology has immensely improved over the years. i received exceptional care from a pleasant, knowledgeable and empathetic staff at the Washington University Orthopedic Center. truly top-notch, exceeding just about every expectation and hope i had.

the last time i had knee surgery when the anesthesiologist put me under he prepped his needle, told me to count backwards from ten. i made it to seven. this time a very pleasant and lovely lady, erlene, came and said it was time.

so, am i going to stay on this bed or do i have to get in another one?

you have to get on another one.

are you all going to lift me onto the new one like in the ER show?

this isn't television and i don't get paid to lift grown men.

ahhh come on. i was looking forward to that.

sorry sugar. you're on your own.

it seems erlene was jocking me because i tapped out about six seconds after her last comment.

and upon arriving home, the kids have been great. bella reads to me in bed while scratching my head and alex lays close to me talking at great length so i don't get bored. tonight, we chatted about his up and coming birthday party. he asked if i'd be able to play ogre with all the kids. i said i was afraid not. in seeing how much this saddened him, i told him that i would instead tell all of his guests a big and long ogre story. the excited smile across his face told me this would be a worthy replacement. he told me in return that regarding all the kids in the house he would tell them, "this is my dad. you can look at him, but don't touch him." if this isn't a sign that you've arrived, i don't know what is.

for those who called and sent notes. thank you. i'm appreciative.

HEALTH (permalink) 04.08.2008
i'm not allowed to sweat for six weeks
here's a riddle. what is it that you walk into and crawl out of?

give up?

the answer is an orthopedic clinic. and i'll be visiting one today. i've had knee surgery before but never as extensive as what i'm in store for here (acl reconstruction & meniscus repair). people have been mostly kind in sparing me some of the more concrete details but in the last few months i've heard phrases like, "repurpose a portion of hamstring" and "only need to drill two holes". and, given that for two hours tomorrow parts of my body are going to be drilled through and repurposed, i think i'm going to take the rest of the week off.

unless i say funny things while drugged in which case i may make an appearance.

HEALTH (permalink) 03.25.2008
i don't think i should go to school today
our home's sick policy:

if i can't see it, you can't sell it.

obviously, this is marty's sick policy because mine is a little more like:

if i can smell it, hear it or sense it you're staying home, and far enough from me that you can't touch me. if i can actually see your illness, you're going to the emergency room ... in a car that is not mine.

HEALTH, SCIENCE (permalink) 03.05.2008
i can't imagine where the mood swings are coming from
my doctor wants to stick his finger in my butt. i used to think he just wanted to a little. now i think he wants to a lot because he's taken to calling my house and telling me i really need to come in because he hasn't seen me since 2006. what he's forgetting is it was that 2006 appointment that he first suggested taking our relationship to the next level. i told him we'd do it the next time and he agreed. he just didn't totally understand what he was agreeing to. truth is, my spleen would have to be spilling out my bellybutton for me to even consider another visit.

it's kind of unfortunate that they had to come calling on this day because this day was beautiful. starting at 9am the sky opened up and vomited seven inches of fluffy, swirling snow on the city. it was a spectacular scene, observed from my fourth story office window at least. and when it was time to leave, i leisurely walked through the 150 year-old, freshly blanketed campus with amelie softly serenading me. and had it not been for the returning notion of my bunghole-inbounds appointment, the walk home may have been perfect. but it wasn't because in time it made me think of another mind-soiling moment i had in the last twenty-four hours. the day before the snow came i found a tattered strip of stationary blowing around my yard.

in case the hand-writing's giving you fits, it reads in full:
burning left thigh
sore right ankle/foot
dec - saw podiatrist
viagra rx or other
diarrhea - abdominal pains
backache - old brace
mood swing
i blurt out stuff
I aggravates

did i mention that the stationary was personalized. tragic that. i'll never be able to look at, or stand within ten feet of, this neighbor again. fact of the matter is, i'm considering moving. some people would think this laundry list of game-ending afflictions would center me, giving me the strength to go forward with my own routine maintenance. those people would be right. it does make me want to see my doctor. hell, that list makes me want to get a pap smear to boot. but i still ain't going. i'm holding out until they can see whatever it is they want to see while standing on the other side of the room or while i'm totally knocked out. sticking something up my ass is, in the least, an out-patient procedure requiring table straps and a licensed anesthesiologist. perhaps my doctor should hook up with my knee surgeon and they can kill two birds with one drop of a narcotic-loaded plunger.

KIDS, HEALTH, HYGIENE (permalink) 02.19.2008
genetics only take you so far
monday morning i popped the top to my deodorant and found a gash through the typically smooth, glisteny surface. upon inspecting it closer the mar appeared to have been made by two small teeth. it would seem anthony is broadening his culinary horizons.

anthony has proven to be a bit of a problem for marty and i. with the first two children we just let them put into their mouths whatever they felt compelled to and let them learn first hand the reasons not all things are meant to be eaten. the first time i saw anthony play with a bar of wet soap in the tub, it wasn't long before he raised it to his mouth and took a bite off the corner. i quietly watched his face wrench up waited for the waxy chunk to drop out of his opened mouth. but instead of pushing the morsel out he lifted the bar back to his mouth and took another bite. i hope he's not a cusser because it looks like the classic punishment ain't going to have much teeth with him.

SCIENCE, HEALTH (permalink) 01.18.2008
your leg shouldn't do this when i do this
when i was a senior in high school i blew my right knee out while playing flag football in gym. when it happened i had a sense for what occurred but my gym coach told me i simply twisted my knee and to walk it off. that's just what i did, finishing out the school day and then working a night shift schlepping yogurt on CSU's Campus West. when i woke in the morning i was unable to move my leg at all and the knee joint was the size of a grapefruit. at the time i was living alone in my parents house, my folks having already relocated to saint louis. using the cord, i pulled the phone to my bed and called the neighbor lady who was charged with helping me in the event of trouble. she was a nurse. she was attractive. and i was naked. but she came over, let herself in and with averted eyes helped get me to the hospital.

my dad flew in for the surgery which was deemed a success but my knee never worked the same again. in the fifteen years since i've had a number of minor traumas to it and have seen many doctors many times. they all did the same thing, flex my leg this way and that and tell me some rehab and muscle work would fix my woes. being the one experiencing the failing joint, i've long known this could not be the case. this last summer the debilitation reached new heights and for every hour of tennis i would play, my knee required three days of rest. so i did some research into sports medicine orthopedist in the area and found one who does work for the saint louis rams and blues. i had my appointment yesterday.

first they took several x-rays of my knee. next, two resident interns came into the room for a preliminary examination. the lead guy asked me a few questions before putting me through the paces every internist before him had. in the end he clapped his chart shut and said he was confident some rehab would do the trick. they excused themselves saying the doctor would be in momentarily. i sat up dour. my mind churned frustrated thoughts.

the door opened again. a large, handsome man walked in giving me a firm handshake, the two toadies trailing him. he asked me about ten minutes worth of questions then had me lay back. he had a bunch of extra motion-tricks in his bag and after a few minutes said, "i think i know why your having so many problems, you have a torn ACL." i looked at the resident in time to see the blood rush from his face. the doctor seeing this, turned to him and jovially asked, "you saw this right? i mean look at this thing." the pale-faced youth managed a choked, "well yeah ... i mean no ... i mean he didn't say all that stuff about the buckling." dude, why the hell do you think i'm at an orthopedic surgeon!?!? and please note the bonus eight minutes your elder took to ask the guy he's never met about a fifteen year problem. trying to put his miss on me ... arrogant prick. the doctor turned the dropped ball into a teaching moment, showing them what a failed ACL looks like. the three of them took turns manipulating my two legs. the doc was smiling. i was smiling. and why wouldn't i be, this was my first group action ever. i could have kissed that tall, nordic god square on the mouth.

to the cutting board i go, delirious with joy!

HEALTH (permalink) 10.18.2007
i'm looking for a pup tent for my groin.
on October 8th, awareness of scrotal lift technology hit the mainstream. being google's number two hit for the term my logs spiked in response to peoples' sudden curiosity. unfortunately my dissertation on the topic does not seem to be hitting the mark with these information seekers because such visitors only stay for an average of 15 seconds, which is not nearly long enough to take in my enlightened commentary on the subject.

based on other google offerings, my guess would be they're actually after the site discussing the related Scrotal Drape and Support product page. i made them one click stronger at least.

HEALTH (permalink) 10.17.2007
full house
yesterday upon waking up the first thing i heard was marty walking down the hallway calling the following out to the house:

nobody is going to school today. everybody is going to school tomorrow. if anybody disobeys me or acts disrespectful in this house, i'm getting them dressed and taking them to school, because if you are well enough to give me trouble, you are well enough to go to school.

this is alex's fourth day home, bella's second and my first. i think marty is feeling the pinch of having so many cantankerous and inflicted humans milling about her home. especially since when bella cuts class she conducts her own school in our ping-pong room. while in teacher mode she expects to be called Mrs. Fun. however, if you cross her or make light of a provided assignment a more apt name would be Mrs. Pissed-Off-And-Surly, although no one is brave enough to say that to her face.

HEALTH (permalink) 10.16.2007
the dad in the plastic bubble
the people i live with are sick. the whole lot of them. it started weeks ago and has been evolving through the ranks with great alacrity. when this happens i possess great skill at avoiding the funk my people carry. i wash my hands with greater frequency, interact with people using more care, pop echinacea like tic-tacs and sleep in remote parts of the house. last night while slumbering on my futon/couch something stirred me from sleep. i opened my eyes to find alex's awake face inches from my own. he had curled up next to me on the small futon space.

hey aleo.

hi dad.

what's up?

i had a bad dream.

i'm sorry to hear that.

then he quick-sneezed, dotting my face with phlegmy shrapnel. and just like that i joined the infected masses. in the future i'm going to start sleeping in the car ... and with it parked in a neighboring zip code.

PERSONAL, HEALTH (permalink) 09.21.2007
the sweetest sort of debauchery
i fell asleep while putting alex down. that was about 8:20pm. i woke up three minutes ago. that was about 7:16am. so the only thing i have to offer you on this friday morning is an assurance that i am a better rested soul than usual.

HEALTH, SCIENCE (permalink) 09.11.2007
rest assured
for the past ten years i've been reading of scientific studies contradicting long-standing health beliefs. after analyzing the breadth of data, i've concluded that by taking all my past and present vices (i.e. fast food, drinking, smoking, masturbation) and weighing them against my positive practices (i.e. dietary moderation, sobriety, cardio-vascular exercise, masturbation) i should live to be as old as if i had never done any bad or good things in the first place.

HEALTH (permalink) 04.20.2007
some highly unqualified and unsupported troy math
i believe everyone born into this world is given one gift. that is, one thing they can do better than the vast majority of folks with little to no effort.

i also believe everyone born into this world is given one neurosis. that is, one thing that plagues them in life and is hard for them to resist and overcome.

i also believe one's satisfaction with life greatly comes from their ability to identify these two traits and subsequently embrace and wrangle them accordingly.

HEALTH, HYGIENE (permalink) 03.07.2007
HEY RON! call me once you've van der putten your damn clothes back on.

what the associated press had to say about this happening:
The first clothing-free workout session at a Dutch gym went ahead as planned in Heteren, eastern Netherlands, Sunday March 4, 2007, and participants and observers said it met expectations. Around a dozen middle-aged and elderly men braved the glare of nearly twice that number of journalists, including reporters, photographers and at least five television teams, to fulfill their dream of exercising naked. 'There are things that you like to do, and for a nudist, it just feels better to do them with your clothes off,' said Ron van der Putten, left, who drove for more than an hour to take part in the first session, dubbed 'Nudifit'. 'You feel more free.' (AP Photo/Peter Dejong)
and what troy had to say:
i'd watch titantic, shop at walgreens and hang a poster of keanu in my office before i'd follow that guy on the exer-bike.

SCIENCE, HEALTH (permalink) 01.09.2007
no one needs an industrial-grade fan for moist feet
marty told me of a news report she heard discussing open-flatulence policies. as we know in america, public and especially audible dispersal of one's bowel-air is collectively frowned upon. but, china, marty tells me, is a country that believes holding one's gas in is an unhealthy practice and they have, as a society, agreed that any pent up air is to be loosed on the room without reservation.

first off, i agree it is unhealthy for one to sit on a giant ball of methane for a workday, but can one not argue that it is also unhealthy for others to breath what was just in someone else's colon? i reckon the studies have not been done, but i gotta think too much second-hand ass has some real down-sides. why is something so unfit for your rectum so ok for my nasal passages and lungs. a part of this logic is escaping me. furthermore, i'd like to say it is clear that none of these folks in china have ever worked with some of the system administrators i have because i know a couple of fellas who could single-sphincterly change a nation's politics and do so in short order.

lastly, let me share a friendly life-lesson i've picked up in my travels; if you meet a guy with an oscillating fan beneath his desk, pointing outward, get the hell out of there because trouble is a brewing. this warning goes double after lunch.

HEALTH (permalink) 01.02.2007
christmas recap (part 1 of 4)
the last two weeks of the year are my low-tech, high-slumber days. in this time, i try not to look at, think about, touch or dream of my computer. another thing i do during this block is to actually go to sleep when i'm tired. marty calls this listening to your body. i don't listen to my body too much the other fifty weeks of the year. over the last fourteen days, i went to bed anywhere from 8pm and 4am. additionally, i slept anywhere from two to thirteen hours a night. this is another way of saying, i'm quite screwed up right now and have about seven hours to get my game face back on since i'm expected back to work in the morning.

sleep-aside 1: in the days leading up to christmas, bella and alex drug anthony's crib mattress (as of yet unused by anthony) from our room and dropped it at the foot of their beds. i wasn't sure how this smaller makeshift cot was superior to their already touching beds but they both seemed quite certain of the change. after getting some covers in place, they crawled under the sheets and snuggled close, facing one another. you could hear them talking quietly of the pending christmas morn. they were quite bristling. as sleep approached, their voices got softer and then their words started getting elongated and unrecognizable until there was the beautiful sound of children being good body listeners.

sleep aside 2: marty and i have real different notions on sleep. since having kids, it is something we 'chat on' quite extensively. one of the suck parts about it is in just watching my kids, i believe one's sleep proclivities are greatly genetic. no matter what time alex goes to bed, he naturally wakes up at 8:37 each morning. no matter what time bella goes to bed, she sleeps exactly eleven hours. and excepting four occasions, anthony refuses to sleep more than two hours at a time which means that excepting four occasions marty has not slept more than two hours in a row over the last four and a half months which makes her a much less friendly debate opponent because if she does not get a consistent and continuous eight hours, her demeanor gets all sideways and hostile. personally, i think she just gets surly with me to demonstrate the import of sleep. fortunately for me, i'm too fatigued to make the connection.

HEALTH (permalink) 12.14.2006
better than colon-hydra-therapy. and free!
right now it is thursday morning, 6am. the last meal i had was monday night, 5pm. since then i've consumed less than 500 calories. and i feel great. i think nicole richie used a diet like this. i say this not because i'm losing weight like nicole richie but because i'm starting to look like nicole richie. and just in time for the holidays! lucky break.

i gotta tell ya. whatever this funk i have is, it's weird. not only can you not eat, you don't even want to eat. and (once you clear out your digestive tract) you feel and function fine. someone ought to look into canning this bad-boy. and speaking of cannable-goods. alexander naturally has about 5% body fat (3% since getting this illness) and can wear nothing but underwear in a freezing-cold room and feel like a white-hot charcoal briquet. it's bizarre. and it's spooky. and, it's wonderfully marvelous, especially in the night when he is close and one of the house-comforters is not.

HEALTH (permalink) 12.13.2006
there's a feet-shuffling line at our bathroom door.
"A sphincter is a circular muscle which normally maintains constriction of a natural body passage or orifice and which relaxes as required by normal physiological functioning." - wikipedia

a body has many sphincters but at the end of the day you only care if one of them is working as advertised; the anal sphincter. this is one of those hyper-smart organs that can discern what's what with great alacrity and precision. right now, three of the five sphincters in my home are malfunctioning at the hands of some twisted and humorless virus. mine is one of them. bella's is another. and alex, well poor alex has all sorts of evil stuff going on.

as a parent of a school-age bella, the stakes of having an unpredictable digestive illness such as this are much greater, because she greatly delights in sharing everything about our home with her classmates (i mean does the child have no sense of propriety). so if my sphincter were to deceive or fail me while, say, sleeping on the couch and bella came to learn of this misfortune, she would be sure to regale her wide-eyed, floor-sitting schoolmates with the story about how everyone in her house is potty-trained except her baby brother and father. please wish me luck in holding the line.

and for those keeping score at home, i still haven't puked.

HEALTH (permalink) 12.12.2006
like a semester-end frat house, only with messy diapers too.
alex puked at 11pm. then again at 12:30am. bella woke up coughing at 12:45. marty rushed to her side, choke-up bowl in hand. she asked bella if she was ok. she said she was but just had a dream she was about to throw-up.

this does not bode well for my night's sleep or my 30-year record of a puke-free troy.

QUOTES, HEALTH (permalink) 12.06.2006
a book that is slowly becoming my scripture
No set of discipline techniques will give you a good relationship with your children.

Discipline techniques are only fine-tuning mechanisms. As on a television set, the fine-tuning knob will only work when the signal is strong enough. The feeling is the signal.

The feeling is what we feel in our hearts, and the relationships we build ... If the right feeling is not present, our discipline will not work. At best we will get temporary, begrudging compliance.

In essence, two understandings lie at the heart of parenting:
  1. Our children always carry within them all the mental health and well-being, wisdom and common sense they will ever need. It only needs to be drawn out and nurtured in the kind of loving environment that will help it flourish.
  2. Our children can access this innate health and wisdom by understanding that they have it, by seeing how they think in ways that keep them from realizing it, and by quieting or clearing their minds of such thinking so their health and wisdom are unveiled and available to guide their lives.
The same is true for parents. We can access our health, well-being and wisdom at any time to guide our parenting.

As trees in a forest naturally gravitate towards the light, when we create the kind of environment that draws out this natural health and wisdom, we naturally guide our children in healthy ways and away from unproductive feelings and disruptive behaviors.
excerpt from Parenting from the Heart by Jack Pransky

FAMILY, HEALTH (permalink) 11.09.2006
this idea has legs, just like our blankets
on very cold nights, our home has one less blanket than it needs. which bed comes up light is about as predictable as who will be resting in any of the various sleeping spots our house has to offer.

obviously, you'd think the adults would carry the advantage being bigger and smarter and all. but, little people move quietly and have more to fear if caught. so blankets get tugged back and forth across a bed and even drug from room to room in the night's silent hours. but that's not all that gets transported. i once saw alex pushing a miniature baby stroller down the hallway at 3am. i looked just long enough to verify my blanket wasn't in it before flopping my head back on the pillow, tightening my grip on the corner of my linen and going back to sleep.

three nights ago i drew the short straw. while sleeping in alex's bed (which is pushed up against bella's bed), i got bested by bella who wound herself up so tight in my comforter, my fatigued arm couldn't work her out of it. so i spent the night in and out of sleep, curled up and shivering. i gave up on sleep around 5am and headed towards the bath for a steamy shower. in passing my nemesis, i cast a scornful look at the blissfully warm and sleeping girl. i swear i saw a contented smile form on her rosy face as i stumbled by tightly hugging my naked chest. while i stood waiting for the shower's water to get hot, i noticed something about my body; it felt lean and my skin was super-taut. it was almost as though my body's futile attempt to generate warmth caused me to loose three pounds in the night. then my mind recalled a suggestion from a health magazine where it said drinking ice cold water, instead of tepid, burns forty extra calories per glass because your body has to heat the liquid once in the stomach.

it seemed to make sense. at least to my un-rested and slightly bella-jealous mind. instead of gyms having saunas they should have seat-lined deep-freezes where old rich guys could go in with their buddies and sit around naked debating last weekend's games while chattering and rubbing the tops of their thighs for warmth. granted if these did exist, i wouldn't actually get a membership, because between having a wife who doesn't like to turn the heat up past 60 degrees and a daughter who outfoxes me with frustrating regularity, i'm already paying a mortgage on my very own seat-lined, bed-scattered deep freeze.

and as clarifying note, marty is the exception to this rule. she (a) always sleeps in the same spot and (b) never goes without covers. everyone living here knows not to lie on mom's clean patch of sheets and to never slide a blanket off her sleeping frame. even bella won't tangle with that sleeping lioness. and that's saying something.

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