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Category: Health

Ninja Reflexes (or Just Lucky?)


So it was Mother’s Day, and we had a busy but good day. We decided to have a healthy dinner and went to Whole Foods to get some produce and seafood.

In the parking lot a car was parked in the main thoroughfare right in front of the entrance, impeding traffic flow. We went around the car parked in a real parking space. As we walked past the car we noticed there was no one in the driver’s seat but there was a woman in the passenger seat. We’re like, “What the hell?”

I’m walking forward, but looking back at the car while stooping a little to look at the woman to see if she’s okay. I trip on the curb in front of the store entrance. As the concrete rushed towards me, in my head I’m like, “Oh shit this is gonna hurt, “ but then instinct kicks in, and I go with the fall instead of trying to stop it. I tuck my right shoulder down as I fall, I roll across my back, my legs come up and over onto the pavement, and the momentum stands me up straight. Loly is there in a flash, “Werner, Werner are you okay?” I looked over at her, nodded and said, “I’m good.”

George Carlin once did a bit about cats and how they give the impression they’re always cool and in control. He describes how they can run smack into a glass door and be like, “Hey, I’m okay, I meant to do that.” They then go behind the couch where no one can see them and are like, “Fucking me-ow, that fucking hurt!”

That was me going into Whole Foods. I’m feeling pain, but not showing it. Loly’s saying, “I can’t believe you fell like that. It looked like you meant do it, like a Ninja or a stuntman.”

The long and short of it is, I’m okay. The extent of my injuries is a very small graze on my left elbow, and right hand, and a little soreness in my right shoulder. I was up the next morning on my 3 mile hike in the woods. The day after I was painting a facing board on our second story deck, and today I was pulling up old deck boards and installing new ones.

I gotta admit I’m impressed my old roughhousing ways kicked in automatically, and  moreover I’m thrilled and thankful I didn’t get seriously hurt.

No – End of Life Regrets

Don’t wait to live the life you want to live

I read an article written by Bronnie Ware, who worked in palliative care for many years, providing care and comfort for people at the end of their lives. Her message is important enough to spread around to everyone.

In talking with her many patients, she recognized a common thread when people talk about regrets and how they’d live their lives differently if given the chance. When questioned about regrets they had or if they’d do anything differently, some common themes surfaced. These were the five most common regrets:

1.     “I wish I had had the courage to live a life true to my nature instead of one others expected of me.”

This was reported to be the most common regret of all. When people realize their life is almost over and look back clearly on it, it’s easy to see what dreams went unfulfilled. Most people haven’t lived even half the dreams they had and died knowing that it all came down to the choices they’d made…or not made.

It’s important you try and live out your most important dreams. Don’t go to your grave with your best music left inside you. Leave this life used up. It’s too late once you lose your health. Health brings a freedom few realize, until it’s gone.

2.     “I wish I didn’t work so hard.”

Most of the men the caregiver spoke to were of an older generation – every one of them had this regret. They missed out on their children growing up, and the important events in their lives. They also regretted missing out on the closeness of their partner’s companionship. They traded quality time with their family for money. There were some women who also admitted having this regret as well. All of them deeply regretted spending so much of their lives on the treadmill of a work existence.

Simplify your lifestyle and make conscious choices about how you will live your life along the way. It is possible to scale back and live simpler. By creating more space and taking control of your personal time, you become happier and more open to new opportunities, ones more suited to your new lifestyle.

3.     “I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.”

Many people suppressed their feelings in order to keep peace with others. As a result, they settled for a mediocre existence and never became who they were truly capable of becoming. Many developed illnesses relating to the bitterness and resentment they carried as a result.

Be open and authentic. We can’t control the reactions of others. However, although people may initially react when you change the way you are by speaking honestly, in the end it raises the relationship to a whole new and healthier level. Either that or it releases the unhealthy relationship from your life. Either way, you win.

4.     “I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends”.

Often the patients would not truly realize the full benefits of old friends until their dying days, and then it wasn’t always possible to track them down. These people had become so caught up in their own lives they had precious friendships whither over the years. There were many deep regrets about not giving friendships the time and effort they deserved. Everyone misses their friends when they are dying.

It is common for anyone in a busy lifestyle to let friendships slip. But when you are faced with your approaching death, the physical details of life fall away. People want to get their affairs in order if possible. But it is not money or status that holds the true importance for them. They want to get things in order more for the benefit of those they love. Usually though, they are too ill and weary to ever manage this task. It all comes down to love and relationships in the end. That is all that remains in the final weeks: love and relationships.

Your friends are the gold lining in life. You can’t pick your relatives, but you do pick your friends. Cultivate and care for your friends. Make time for them and for yourself.

5.     “I wish that I had let myself be happier.”

This is surprisingly common. Most of the patients didn’t realize until the end that happiness is a choice. They stayed stuck in old patterns and habits. The so-called “comfort”, the contentment of familiarity overflowed into their emotions, as well as their physical lives. Fear of change had them pretending to others, and to themselves, that they were content. What they truly desired deep down was a longing to laugh heartily and have silliness in their life again.

Along with their regrets she said each of the patients experienced emotions you’d expect: denial, fear, anger, remorse, more denial and eventually acceptance. The saving grace is that she also said every single patient found peace before departing. Every one of them.

When you are on your deathbed, what others think of you is a long way from your mind. It doesn’t matter at all.

How wonderful it is to be able to let go and smile again, long before you are dying.

Life is a choice. It is your life. Choose consciously, choose wisely and choose honestly. Choose happiness.

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What The Hell Have I Become?

There’s a very popular diner in my town called Mary Anne’s. It’s always busy, and on weekends you have to stand in line to get a table. The food, portions, prices and atmosphere are that good. Three weeks ago I was there with my kids and my folks when suddenly; a woman begins yelling excitedly, “BILL, BILL! Someone call 9-11, call 9-11”

At first everyone in the restaurant froze and then there was a commotion in the next room. I got up to see what was happening. A young woman was standing in the middle of the restaurant on her cell phone. In a booth on a low wall right next me were a man and woman in their 60’s. The stocky, red-headed woman had a look of horror on her face as she leaned over the bald, stocky form of her older husband slumped in the booth.

Just as I got there the man woke up to his wife patting him on the face and yelling his name. The man sat up and said in a calm voice, “what happened?” Once I saw the man was awake, I was relieved and returned to the table where my family still sat. I sat thinking that I was relieved the man woke up and that the ambulance was on its way. I was also relieved that I didn’t have to do anything, as I realized I didn’t really know what to do in case I had.


This past weekend, same restaurant and this time it was just my son Steve and I sitting in a front booth. At one point a man in his 50’s, dressed in a leisure suit entered the restaurant. He walked unsteadily with a cane in one hand and had a leash to a large Bernese Mountain Dog in the other.

The man approached the register and spoke with someone there for a couple of minutes. He then turned to leave. This action unbalanced the man and he fell onto the dog in slow motion all the while beckoning to the dog, “Take it easy Sam, easy Sam – take it easy.” He said this over and over. It appeared he was trying to blame the dog for his falling. The dog never moved other than to collapse onto his haunches and front paws as the man’s weight came down on him.

The well-dressed man now saw rumpled on the floor of the restaurant. To my horror, no one, not a person among the dozens standing and sitting in the area got up to lend the man a hand. To my utter horror and dismay, I was one of those people. As I looked on, my son said, “Dad, stop staring. It’s not cool.” My son never made a move to help either. That’s not how I was at his age.

The man got his cane up and used that and the dog’s body for leverage to struggle his way back to his feet. The man straightened his coat, adjusted his grip on the cane and the leash and then the dog led them out of the restaurant.

I felt sick to my stomach and the look on my face prompted Steve to ask, “What’s wrong dad?”
“I feel like and ASS…no worse…I feel like shit for not helping that man.” I said.
“Nobody helped him either.” Steve said.
“I’m not like everybody else. I don’t want to be like everybody else. Everybody also else sucks for not helping.” I said “That’s not me. I never used to be like that. I was always the first to help. What the hell happened to me?”
Steve just looked at me. He never took ownership of the event either. He was content to let me own the guilt of inaction for myself.

I’ve always believed in the saying ‘A person never stands so tall as when they stoop to help another.’ I believe in it, but I wasn’t living it.

I said, “I’ll never just stand on the sidelines again when someone else is in trouble and needs help. Never again.”

I have a brother-in-law very good friend who owns an EMT/First Aid Training business.
It’s time I give him a call…or maybe I’ll just stop eating at that restaurant…

Surgery Successful

This is new. I’m trying to write this letter under the influence of a couple of hits of Percocet while listening to the brilliantly talented and young David Garrett’s unique mash-ups of classical music and rock. I’m an instant fan.

Anywho, I had the surgery to repair my umbilical hernia yesterday. Since, I’m home writing this, everything went well. I was supposed to have the surgery at 12:45, but due to one delay after another. I wasn’t wheeled in until 3:30 – yeah you know the fun of waiting in a hospital right?

The good thing is since Mary works for the hospital; I had a private pre-op room to myself and just watched Deadliest Catchwaiting for my turn to get sliced up – which is another thing that changed.

The original procedure was supposed to be laparoscopic, but once they got a better look at the hole from which my intestines were sticking out, they realized it was bigger than first thought. So, they needed to do a direct access procedure to add a mesh over the hole to keep my guts from popping out.

This meant that instead of three small incisions they did one long one starting a couple of inches above my navel, through the bellybutton and about three more inches below that. Essentially a deep slash wound.

The good part is that they didn’t use external stitches or staples. They used DermaBond ® which means they Crazy-Glued my stomach together. The scaring will be minimal, so I can once again unabashedly take my shirt of in public places as I always do…uh, yeah.

They originally told me it would be 45-minute procedure. It took an hour-and-a-half.
I began to come to as they wheeled me into post-op, in time to here one nurse ask another, “How’d it go?” The other nurse said, “Oh he got a little wild when he went under and we were putting in the tube, but once we strapped him down everything went fine.” I don’t know exactly what I did and I’m thankful to have no memory of it.

Since I was pretty doped up, I didn’t feel any pain on my stomach, but my throat was killing me from that damned tube. Considering I hadn’t eating in 24 hours, I wasn’t hungry, but I was thirsty as hell. They gave me a toasted English muffin and cranberry juice. I had a few nibbles of the toast, but craved drink more than anything – the colder the better.

Even when we finally got home at 8pm, I was more interested in drink than food. Mary got vanilla ice cream and that really helped my achy throat.

My throat is still sore as I write this, but the pain from the incision trumps it now. I tried to deal as much as I could but getting up and down was a real pain, and I could only walk stopped over like the 1,000 year old man. So I relented and doped up. There’s still pain and discomfort but I can at least stand erect and think of other things other than pain.

Since I’m supposed to sit around and be a lump and not allowed to lift more than 10 pounds, I’ve been leaning on Sarah and Steve to help out and so far they’ve been great.

All in all It’s All Guud.

It’s on for next Friday

I had my pre-op meeting for next week’s hernia procedure.

The news is mostly good. First the bad:

My total cholesterol is 259 (high)

HDL is 38 – (low) s/b at least 50

Triglycerides is 139 (good)

LDL is 190 (high)

The LDL realistically s/b at or below 100, however, I am a heart attack risk factor of 4 (low risk) and getting it below 160 would be good for my weight/age.

On the other hand, my fasting blood sugar was 91 (good) 

The EKG showed:

Resting Heart Rate – 51 (excellent)

They asked if I lift weights and run. RUN.

I said, “Do I look like I run – ever?”

They just laughed and said, “Normally we only see athletes with a resting heart rate this low.”

Blood Pressure – 121/72 (very good)

 During the interview, they told me other than my cholesterol, I’m in pretty good shape for a guy my size and age. They said most people as overweight as I am at this age are on a bucket of meds and have a long list of health issues.

They looked at the short list of supplements and doses I take on a daily basis and said that whatever I’m doing seems to be working for me and to continue on with it.

They suggest I see my doc about getting on a cholesterol drug, and I told them, I’d take care of it myself as I had in the past. So, I couldn’t have the breakfast buffet with corned beef hash, scrambled eggs, home fries and sausage patties at work today. It’s back to oatmeal for the next few months – it’s okay though, as I do really like it.

Anywho, I’m pretty pleased.

A Walk Through Life

—–Original Message—–
From: Werner
Sent: Thursday, February 05, 2009 7:54 AM
To: Mike
Subject: A Walk in the Woods

Lately, I have been listening to audiobooks during my commute time to
escape all the bad news and rhetoric on the radio.

For the first time in many years, I am listening to Bryson’s ‘A Walk in
the Woods’
. I’m pleasantly pleased that it’s as funny and entertaining
as I remembered. Every time I see the book on my shelf or listen to the
audio as I am doing now, I always think of you. Actually, I put us in
the place of Bill and Katz.

I wished that when we were in our early 20’s – when we used to read
Outside, Backpacker and National Geographic – and talk about hiking the
AT all of the time, that we actually followed through with our dream.

It is one of my life’s regrets that we didn’t at least try. To work and
save up as much as we could for a year, plan the trip, buy the
equipment, say f*k our jobs – and just go. To make the 5 month journey
while our responsibilities were few, while we were young, thinner, more
energetic and in much better shape. It would have been tough, but I
think if we made it through the first month, we’d have made it all the
way to Mt. Katahdin.


P.S.: I know today is a tough anniversary date for you. It’s time
for reflection and remembering the good times you had.

—–Original Message—–
From: Mike
Sent: Thursday, February 05, 2009 9:23 AM
To: Werner
Subject: RE: A Walk in the Woods

Hi Wern,

My regret too. When we were in shape, we could of done it, I am sure of

I guess we were too concerned about getting money and possessions.

Who would of played “Katz” ? :)

I am sure we would of missed the comforts of home and if we made it a
month, it would be the toughest thing we ever did.

When I think about the long hikes I’ve taken with you and Paul L.,
after about 3 days of dirt, sweat, stink, and the same food, same
clothes, I know it becomes more of a mental battle than a physical one.

Yeah, I woke up feeling very sad this morning. Thinking of him all
week. I can’t believe it’s been 3 years.

I think what still bothers me today is how quick it happened. In the
hospital 2 days and then dead. If I’d only known, I wouldn’t of left
him alone in the hospital. He died without anyone there.


—–Original Message—–
From: Werner
Sent: Thursday, February 05, 2009 9:51 AM
To: Mike
Subject: RE: A Walk in the Woods

It’s something you couldn’t have known. He may have been physically
alone when he passed, but I’ll bet he had a crowd of thoughts about you
when he made the final transition.

As for the hiking: I think that back then, I’d be more aligned with Katz
– at least at the beginning. In those days, you’d have been Bryson –
prepared. You were the one with the focus and determination on the hike
(not to mention the maps), you set the pace.

Despite the grimy grimness of the trail, I really do think we would have
what it took to persevere. As the days, weeks and months passed, we
would have lost all our excess fat and gained enormous stamina, muscular
legs, backs and shoulders – our mental facilities sharp and focused.
Inside and out we’d have fundamentally changed.

How could a journey of that length, intensity and accomplishment not
change you? (Our cross-country drive changed me) Our friends and family
would have taken notice that we were now fit, confident young men with a
sense of direction and definite purpose.

I can only imagine how it would have changed us, what life paths we
would have chosen after that accomplishment, and where would we be
today? That was a time in our lives we did not take the road “less
traveled by
” – it would have “made all the difference.”


—–Original Message—–
From: Mike
Sent: Thursday, February 05, 2009 10:13 AM
To: Werner
Subject: RE: A Walk in the Woods

When I got the word that terrible afternoon, I was in deep shock.

I didn’t know what to do and fell to the floor.

I got up, Susan knew right away something was terribly wrong. I don’t
remember but I think I said ” I have to get to the hospital, somethings
wrong with Ken
” and then ran down the stairs to the car and got it.

My heart was pounding and I could feel every heartbeat in my head.

I started the car and tore out of the lot at a fast speed, not caring
about anyone or anything.

And, in my most honest words I can convey, and a truth that I’ve come
to know, that there is something more beyond this place, I heard Ken’s
voice like he was sitting next to me:

“Slow DOWN!” he admonished. I yelled back to the voice I know I must
of heard in my head, “Alright Damn it!”

It was his voice.

I raced at over 80 to Concord Hospital.

When I got there, I must of shown every emotion of pain and loss on my
face. A kind nurse showed me to his room.

I didn’t know what to expect. A bad scene, tubes everywhere, blood
..something bad.

What I saw surprised me.

The room lights were dimmed. On the bed, was Ken. Like he was just
taking a nap. Calm, and with a look of peace on his face.

I began to cry.

I can’t write anymore right now.

—–Original Message—–
From: Werner
Sent: Thursday, February 05, 2009 10:24 AM
To: Mike
Subject: RE: A Walk in the Woods

Wow – astoundingly written – straight from the heart. You’ve got me
choking up.

“And, in my most honest words I can convey, and a truth that I’ve come
to know, that there is something more beyond this place…”

I agree totally – and know it more than you can imagine.

[I heard Ken’s voice like he was sitting next to me…”Slow DOWN!” he
admonished. I yelled back to the voice I know I must of heard in my
head, “Alright Damn it!”…It was his voice.

Like I said, he may have been alone physically, but not mentally – you
dominated his thoughts…

—–Original Message—–
From: Mike
Sent: Thursday, February 05, 2009 10:54 AM
To: Werner
Subject: RE: A Walk in the Woods

Thanks Wern.

I would so like to get drunk tonight but can’t because I have to work

Perhaps over the weekend.


Looking for Hope in the New Year

Besides things in the world at large being very challenging right now, there are issues closer to home that are of a deeper, more immediate concern.

First, a day after my Mom’s birthday on December 16th, my Dad had a stroke. Although he’s in his 70’s it’s maddening this happened to him as he takes care of himself really well. He walks 3 miles a day – every day – and does weight training with dumbbells three times a week. He listens to his doctors, takes his meds regularly as well as a regimen of vitamins. Yet, he had a stroke that left him paralyzed on his left side.

It turns out it was his meds that led to the stroke. Dad has an inherited heart condition – his own mom died from it – where his heart beats too fast and the meds are supposed to keep his heart rate in the 60-70/bpm range. On the day of his stroke his heart rate was down to the high 30’s – low 40’s – not good at all. What happened is his heart rate was so low for a long enough time to where the blood pooled in his heart and formed a clot. When the clot traveled to his brain, he blew a small embolism and had a stroke.

When I was finally able to speak to him on my birthday, a few days later, he was not in a good mood. It was the most depressed and despondent I have ever heard him. In fact, throughout my entire life, I don’t recall my father being depressed – ever. He was on the phone with me only for a minute – long enough to say (in an unaccustomed, heavily slurred voice), “Happy birthday. They tell me I’m going to get better…I think they’re full of shit…here, talk to your mother.”

Later that night, Mom called me back when she was home. She was worried and sad. Dad said he didn’t want to live, that half of him was already in the grave. He even spoke about ending his own life. To tell the truth, I empathize with that mind set. I’d be much the same way if I took care of my health the way he has, walked three miles and lifted weights one day and the very next you can’t do that any more. I’d be pissed and depressed and not want to live if I couldn’t do for myself any longer. Some birthday. Over the long run though, I knew he’d get through this – Dad’s no quitter.

On Christmas, Mom said his temperament wasn’t much better. I decided to give him a call. I wasn’t going to give him pity or sympathy – Dad doesn’t like that – neither do I. Instead I was going to give him support and encouragement and I did. I asked about his therapy and he perked up when he talked about how tough it was and how tired he’d get afterward. It made him feel like he was doing something, making progress.

I didn’t want to tell him to fight – I was afraid he’d say he didn’t want to fight and struggle. Instead, I told Dad he’s always been a hard worker and this is just another job, another project to work on. That he’s always had great self-discipline to get things done and to work with what he had available to him. I told him he’s the same guy that could make an engine gasket out of cardboard, or a kid’s sled out of scrap aluminum. He always finds a way over, around or through a problem or obstacle. I told him I have complete confidence that he is going to approach his therapy and recovery with the same discipline, creativity and work ethic that he does everything else.

Mom and Renee later said that the calls my sisters and I made to him on Christmas gave him a lift and turned his attitude around. He was motivated and determined to do the best he can…and I know he will.

When I spoke to Dad a few days later his speech already improved to the point where I was no longer aware of any slurring. His attitude was great and he’s working hard – what else. At almost an hour, it was the longest phone conversation I ever had with my father. It was great. We started off talking about his therapy and then ended up talking about family, weather, cars, etc. – like we do when I go down to visit. It was all very encouraging. He may have to use a walker to get around – for now – I have no doubt he’ll be able to get by with a cane by summer. I got him a nicely carved chestnut cane from Germany, and having it sent to the house for his birthday. It will give him something to work toward, and eventually retire it.

The second issue has to do with my older brother, David. He has contracted hepatitis-C and is very ill. He moved back east from Rancho Mirage, California. He has a friend in Connecticut he is staying with. He is in a program through Yale University Hospital, waiting for a liver transplant. Without it he will die. He told me the way the list works is not ‘first-come-first-served’, but whoever is sickest is highest on the list, and I guess he’s pretty high up on the list for the transplant. I heard from him a couple of times in early December, but Mom said David’s been going through a bad stretch at the moment and is too ill to communicate with anyone right now.

All I can do for now is hope and intend that Dad and David’s health improves markedly and that everyone else in the extended family find their ways to better health and living in 2009.

Coulda bin a Contender

—–Original Message—–
From: Werner
Sent: Friday, November 14, 2008 12:16 PM
To: Mike
Subject: Doin OK?

Hey Dude,

Things still relatively busy your way?

I have a real concern for you and your company. If things get real bad,
perhaps they can go to the gov’t for a bailout too.

Why not, it seems everyone else is doing it…


—–Original Message—–
From: Mike
Sent: Friday, November 14, 2008 12:28 PM
To: Werner
Subject: RE: Doin OK?

Moderate to busy – things are definitely slowing down though.

Been sick as a dog the last week due to a frickin flu shot I got last
week. Every time it gets me sick. Not doing it next year. No way.

How r things there?

NO, the government won’t bail out the little guy – only Wall Street, big
banks and the auto companies…

—–Original Message—–
From: Werner
Sent: Friday, November 14, 2008 12:43 PM
To: Mike
Subject: RE: Doin OK?

Glad to hear you’re keeping busy.

I remember when Shelia and Maureen got flu shots, back in the
old Lexington office IDC days, – they both got sick from the shot!

I decided right then and there I’d never get a flu shot, and never have.
I hate puking almost more than anything in the world. I haven’t had the
flu in over ten years. I get a cold once in a long while – but not the
flu. I guess that’s largely a result of my taking daily doses of vitamin
C throughout the years.

Oh man, it just dawned on me that this coming February, I will have been
out of IDC for 10 years already! Holy crap that went fast.

Things here are going well. It’s a sad day though. This is the last day
here for all the people who were RIF’d earlier this week. I know 3 of
them. One of them’s been here 15 years.


—–Original Message—–
From: Mike
Sent: Friday, November 14, 2008 12:58 PM
To: Werner
Subject: RE: Doin OK?

I think the key to our salvation is getting our work published. You are
an excellent writer (what you’ve allowed me to ready anyway…) and
even more a brilliant editor.

We need to put something together and get it published.

I keep saying this – we pidder and putter for a few weeks then it dies
off. I need a kick in the ass to get my act together and start writing
something, anything.

I’ve had this huge “The Standesque” tome in my brain, cooking for about
a year about the earth being populated by 3 races of human beings. I
need to get it down on paper.

It’s there. Stewing, bubbling and frothing but has not reached the top
of the pot. ( I know my metaphors are too much sometimes).

—–Original Message—–
From: Werner
Sent: Friday, November 14, 2008 2:02 PM
To: Mike
Subject: RE: Doin OK?

…And you are an excellent story teller.

Many of us have a book inside of us – the difference is the vast
majority of us never put it down on the page. For most it’s a lack of
confidence – thinking their stuff isn’t any good and nobody would want
to read it. For others they get scared off when they realize just how
much work it really is.

In order to write any manuscript of any length – you need to have a
passion for writing. I also think you need to write for yourself and not
worry about anyone else. Harlan Ellison said it best, “I couldn’t find
anything to read that appealed to me, so I wrote stories I wanted to
read”. This has worked well for him so far.

For this year’s National Novel Writing Month (currently going), I was
going to write another thriller that I thought people might like to read
– but I wasn’t enthusiastic about it. I wrote about why I changed tracks.

I’m actually doing pretty good right now. I have about 23,000 words down
so far and no longer feel like I did a week ago.

If you really, truly want to write – you’ll write. It’s about self-motivation.
You sit there in front of a blank Word document until the words bubble
up in your head and boil over into your conscious mind so vividly that
you need to write them down on the page just to get them out of there
to let the new words boil over…and you keep going until the pot is boiled

The next day you fill up the pot with the cold water of initial thought,
sit in front of the page and keep the heat of thought on it until it
begins to boil over again…


—–Original Message—–
From: Mike
Sent: Friday, November 14, 2008 2:46 PM
To: Werner
Subject: RE: Doin OK?

Thanks Wern.

Waiting for the bastard pot to boil over onto my computer keyboard. I
have no excuse.

Don’t want to end up a stew bum in the bowery that could of made
something of himself – but…. didn’t.

—–Original Message—–
From: Werner
Sent: Friday, November 14, 2008 2:50 PM
To: Mike
Subject: RE: Doin OK?

Turn up the heat then…or you’ll end up like Marlon Brando’s character, Terry Malloy, in On The Waterfront

Halloween Weekend

Halloween sucked. Typically, this is one of my all-time favorite holidays, but it was the worst I ever had. Mary was working, Sarah and Stephen were at two different parties and I was alone (again). Last year I had 30 kids come to the house and almost ran out of candy. This year I bought extra candy and was prepared. I had all the laterns and carved pumpkins lit, and the lights turned on to signal I was home. Trick-o’-Treat time here runs from about 6pm to 8pm. In all that time I had only one (1) kid come to the door – that’s it!

It was a boy of about 11 dressed as a hockey player. I never saw just one kid trick-or-treating by himself before. Surprised at this I asked, “Are you alone?” The kid gave me a nervous look and said, “No, my mom’s standing right there by the car.” I replied “Good.” As soon as the kid turned to go, I realized what I had said and thought ‘Great! The kids’ gonna go back to his mom and say, “That big scary man asked if I was alone”’ and could only guess what his mother must have thought. I’m sure it wasn’t ‘Oh, what a nice man.’

From now on I’m going to George and Tammy’s to help out with the Haunted House.

On Sunday, Al called from the road just before 10am. He was 15 minutes out and wanted to know if we could all meet at Mary Anne’s. We quickly got ready and left. The line was very long. We stood outside for a good 20-25 minutes in the frikkin cold waiting to get in, and another 15 minutes of standing once we were inside before we got a seat.

Sarah and Stephen sat together and started on one another as usual, but thankfully it didn’t get too bad. Al and I sat across from each other so we would talk. I was hungry so ordered the Kitchen Sink omelet, but Al was even hungrier and got a steak breakfast. Mary asked Al about his mom, and he said that he’s worried as she’s getting forgetful and they think she’s had a series of TIA’s (mini strokes). When he said that, I remembered how his grandmother was when Alzheimer’s took hold.

We got back to the house around 12-ish. We talked and watched the Jets beat Buffalo. He had to get going around 4pm, as he was taking Marty out for a 50th birthday dinner and to celebrate Marty’s move to Florida in January. After that he had to catch a 9pm flight to Pittsburgh for a client meeting today. His stay was very short, but it was good seeing him.

He looked pretty good. He noticeably lost some weight. He said he really has to as he’s now concerned how badly all the extra weight is affecting his quality of life. I didn’t encourage him with the old “keep going” platitude as I find that it often has an opposite effect. Instead I told him his efforts inspire me to do better – which it does.

“How old would you be…

…if you didn’t know how old you are?”

This quote from Satchel Paige really got my attention.

Recently, among family and friends, there has been an interesting set of perceptions on age and aging.

On one side there’s someone who is always saying how old they are, and their “poor old bones” and “I’m getting old” and “I am old”. This has been this person’s mantra since turning 30.

On the other end, someone else just turned 40. They have the belief that they don’t at all feel 40. They say emphatically that they think and feel like they’re still in their 20’s.

I also know an 86 year-old-man who has told me on several occasions, “The image in the mirror doesn’t match the image I have of myself. Mentally, I still feel like I’m in my late 20’s or early 30’s, but my damn body isn’t keeping pace with how I feel in my mind.”

In relative terms, the person that’s always talking about how old they’re getting is in worse shape physically and health-wise than the 86-year-old-man, and this person is forty years younger!

The person who just turned 40, grew up in a family genetically pre-disposed to premature graying, typically beginning in the late 20’s. However, this person has almost zero gray and does not color her hair. Her husband is a few years older, but he too is young at heart and it shows. They act, think and live as they did when they were in their 20’s. As a result they are youthful at the level of their souls and outwardly in their lives. It’s a great place to be.

They haven’t let an old person move into their heads like the other person I mentioned has. If anything that other person seems to welcome getting old and even embraces it.

It is true that your dominating thoughts become your reality.

I feel like the 86-year-old man in that the image I see in the mirror does not match how I feel inside. Outwardly I look my age, but I definitely don’t feel like I’m supposed to be 47.

So, how old would I be if I didn’t know how old I was? Specifically, I feel like I’m 33. Yeah…that feels right. I don’t feel like a kid, but I haven’t forgotten what it’s like and I definitely don’t feel like what I used think middle-aged would feel like. I don’t even feel close to that. I’m not old – I feel young and I am young.

For future birthday’s I no longer want mention of what year of age people think I am. As a perception shift, I want birthdays to be an age-less celebration – the focus now being the celebration of life itself, with the intention of good health, youthful living and looking forward to future experiences and adventures.

Everyone’s on notice: No more cards relating to age, and no cakes with forests of blazing candles.

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