Sunday, September 30, 2012

The Time of My Life

Sometimes I have some very vivid dreams.  Last night was one of those times.  It was so real that when I woke up it took a few seconds to get my bearings and return to reality.

Part of my  dream were laced with reality as it took me back in time, to the days when I was a college student. It was just days before classes started and my roommates and I were settling into our apartment. I knew two of my roommates, and the third was a stranger whom quickly became a friend.

In reality, I did start a college year living with two friends and a stranger who became a friend. However, my dream moved use out of the dorms into an apartment.  The two friends, in my dream, are people I know today -- we were never college roommates.

It's funny now, as I recall the dream, how much my life today was weaved into my life back then to create a very vivid experience. So vivid, in fact, that I could feel the stress of rushing to class after waiting too long for a roommate to vacate the shower.

Last night's dream wasn't the first time I've dreamed about college life.  Probably because it was such an exciting and important part of my life.  I love learning new things and make new friends. And while I continue to learn and make friends today, the youthful intensity is missing.

Regardless, dreams often take me back in time to refresh and recall the memories of reality that are The Times of My Life.

Friday, September 28, 2012

No Argument From Me

I try not to argue with people.  Frankly, it's generally not worth the time.  Especially when they're wrong and I'm right.

Recently I was pulled into a discussion that turned into an argument.

It started when someone mentioned they played tennis in high school and their coach was named "Jody Smith."

I said, "His name is 'Joel.'"

We were off and running.  According to the three people who were part of the discussion, "Jody and Joel" are brothers.

"Really?"  I asked.  "Where does 'Jeff' come into the picture?"

There was a pause and the three geniuses agreed that the brothers were named "Jody and Jeff."

Mmmmm.  I tried to tell them that "Jeff and Joel" are bothers, but they scoffed at me. At least until I slapped my palm on the table and yelled "LISTEN!"

See, Jody is Joel.  Jody is a nickname given to him by his grandmother who wanted a granddaughter.  The nickname stuck with him until he was in his late 20s and came to work in the same office as I.

We started calling him Joel because that was his preference.

It was great to see the blank looks on their faces when I gave them that explanation.

Don't argue with me -- especially when I'm right!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Feast or Famine

Like most people, it seems like my life is either feast or famine.

Right now, at work, I'm up to my earlobes in a major project. That, along with some other major projects waiting in the wings, adds a little stress in my life.

I've always said that I work best with my head in a vise.  That's probably why I've worked in jobs that have deadlines as well as working in EMS, which the stress level can go from none to over the top!

But being busy isn't a bad thing.  It makes my work day go quickly and gives me a sense of accomplishment.   And while it may be mentally exhausting, I find I'm not as tired in the evening.  That allows me to do work around the house in the evenings.

Sometimes a little famine is a good thing.  My hope is for a little of that this weekend, but we'll see.

Regardless, I'll keep forging ahead, enjoying the feast while it lasts.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Top 10 Bible Verses

Sometimes Google searches turn up some really cool stuff. I found this website that listed the top 10 Bible verses ranked by how many times it is referenced anywhere on the web.

  1. John 3:16 - For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. (NIV)
  2. John 1:1 - In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. (NIV)
  3. John 14:6 - Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." (NIV)
  4. Matthew 28:19 - Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit (NIV)
  5. Romans 3:23 - For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (NIV)
  6. Ephesians 2:8 - For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – (NIV)
  7. Genesis 1:1 - In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. (NIV)
  8. Acts 1:8 - "But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth." (NIV)
  9. 2 Timothy 3:16 - All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness (NIV)
  10. Romans 10:9 - If you declare with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. (NIV)

One of my favorite Bible verses is actually the last half of Romans 8:31 ...If God is for us, who can be against us?

Monday, September 24, 2012

I'm an antique

A co-worker routinely reminds me that I'm old.  I believe you're as old as you feel. Some days I feel like I'm younger than they 51 years lived, other days, I feel much older.

Yesterday's trip to the Michigan Antique Festival in Midland, MI, reinforced my co-worker's implications: I am an antique!

That became clear as we made our way thru the various vendor's booths.

Who knew that rotary telephones, Matchbox cars and Tinkertoys were antiques?

Those, and many other items I saw, are all items from my childhood.  Matchbox cars are more collectible than antique. The rotary phone really hit home because it is something from my past that has become pretty much obsolete.

But being an antique isn't such a bad thing.  Just look at the definition of the word:

an·tique  /anˈtēk/
A collectible object that has a high value because of its considerable age.

Being an antique makes you more valuable! So enjoy the honor like I do!

Sunday, September 23, 2012


Yesterday, as I checked out at the local convenience store, the clerk asked if I wanted an instant lottery ticket. Asking the question is part of a Michigan Lottery sales campaign.  I paused, looked up at the $174 million Powerball Jackpot and said, "no, they're a waste of money. I should just get a Powerball ticket."

Really, all lottery tickets are a waste of money.

Recently a man purchased the lone winning Powerball ticket at a convenience store in Lapeer, Michigan, about an hour away from my hometown.  That ticket was worth $337 million paid out over 20 years.  He opted for the $224.6 million lump sum payout.

When 44-year-old Donald Lawson met the public to claim his winnings, he was asked how he planned to spend it.

What would you do if you won a big jackpot? That's a pretty easy question for me.

Sure, I'd spend money on some cars -- I think I need a collection of Ford Mustangs. I'd like to travel extensively. I might even have some homes or condos in cities I want to enjoy on a regular basis. I'm pretty sure I would hire a fitness coach and maybe a housekeeper/cook to keep me fit and healthier.

But first and foremost, I would take care of my family and some close friends. Money to pay off debts and get ahead of the game.  Money for their children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren (and beyond) for educational purposes.

I would invest in my community by funding the arts and improving parks and recreation. I might open some businesses to create jobs -- but that seems like a hassle that would tie me down.

A foundation would be created for providing grants to groups and organizations that improve the quality of life in their communities.

That's about as far as my dreams go.  I don't think I've come close to spending the $224.6 million Mr. Lawson won.

I doubt this dream will come true, but it never hurts to plan ahead.

Friday, September 21, 2012


A preoccupation is defined as "The state or condition of being preoccupied or engrossed with something.
A subject or matter that engrosses someone."

I'm not sure if I'm preoccupied or just drifting in space.  I just can't wrap my head around writing a blog posting on a daily basis.  I'm lost at finding anything interesting to write and when I write, it seems pretty poor in structure and content.

There are somethings going on in my world that is on my mind as I drift off to sleep, and it's where when I awaken in the morning.

THAT is a preoccupation.  But it shouldn't be because it's really unimportant.

I'd like to be preoccupied with exercising, eating better and doing more thing for me.

I read somewhere that if you want something to be different, you need to make a change.  I have.  I've said no to helping with various projects and I really refuse to take on more right now.

I need to get preoccupied with more sleep too.  Some nights it's only four or five hours.  I've also had some weekends where I've been up for 30+ hours without sleep.

Yeah, I get a little nuts without sleep.

So dear readers, I'll try to once again become more preoccupied with writing the nonsense that is BareNakedBill.


Wednesday, September 19, 2012


Is it possible to run out of ideas?  I mean, as a "professional-writer-in-another-life" I always had ideas for stories landing in my lap.  Things of interest, at least to some.

This blog allows me to save stories, or posts as their called, and hold them in draft form.

I have 29 drafts, some with notes, some with just a headline. None of them seem interesting enough to share with my blog followers.

That's why I haven't posted in the past few days.  I needed to recharge and get inspired by something... anything.

A couple of those drafts are a bit gut-wrenching and need to be finished, even if I never post them.

So, for now, I'll write about not writing.

See you tomorrow, hopefully.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Tuesday Tally: Weight Loss Tricks

I've managed to pack on about 20 lbs. that need to go.  I didn't go through gastric-bypass surgery nine-and-a-half years ago to start adding weight.  Time to nip this one in the bud before 20 turns into 30.

I know one major problem is that I like to eat.  Another is that I order a "daily special" at one of the local restaurants at lunch time and eat every morsel.  That will change!

I will also:

1. Weigh myself daily.  I have a weight-balance scale like a doctor uses.  I slide the weight down as I lose weight.  If I gained weight, I don't slide the weight back up.  It doesn't matter -- I gained weight!

2. Plan my meals. This is a trick. However, I have a good supply of lower calorie, frozen meals in the freezer.  One of those, along with a salad or cottage cheese and I should be good to go.  But I do need to be careful to not under-eat as well.  That leads to nibbling.

3. Keep some healthy snacks on hand.  I love bananas, yogurt and popcorn! I keep them on hand for filler meals.

4. Eat slower, drink more.  One of the things I can't do is drink anything while I'm eating. Of sure, I can have a sip of liquid, but drinking large quantities of liquids is nearly impossible with the way my digestive tract is now routed.  But I can drink more water, during the day. Few people know that when you think you're hungry, you're probably really thirsty!

5. Look down the road.  That cookie today will lead to not losing weight tomorrow. If I aim for just one pound a week, I can be easily be 20 (or more) pounds lighter by Spring.

6. Don't drink calories. I'm glad that I don't really drink much soda, but when I do, it's diet. However,  I do drink coffee with cream and sugar.  Added calories which I need to watch!

7. Exercise for just 5 minutes a day.  I gotta get moving again.  If I try to start out at 30 or 60 minutes, I'll fail.  I have at least 5 minutes a day to walk somewhere.  Then, week by week I can add 5 minutes until I get to that hour a day.

8. Do it a day, or a hour, at a time.  If I can just manage to make all the stuff I've listed part of my day, for several days, they can become habits again.  And that will lead to some weight loss.

Here's to being lighter by Spring!

Friday, September 14, 2012

( 8-P


That's how I feel, hand have felt for the past few weeks.  I think it's the sun's ever-decreasing presence in my life.  I need light to feel good.

It's called SAD: Seasonal Affective Disorder.

Clinically classified as depression, SAD is also known as winter blues, summer blues, or seasonal depression. It's a mood disorder in which people who have normal mental health throughout most of the year experience depressive symptoms in the winter or summer, spring or autumn year after year.

I want to put extra emphasis on the words normal mental health, lest my cousins or so-called friends would think differently.

So what do I do for SAD?  Try to spend more time in the daylight, don't sit in dark rooms and get plenty of rest.

I also don't beat myself up when I don't write a blog to be posted by 6:30 am each day.


Maybe some creamy milk-chocolate will help.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Riding the rails

I have always been fascinated with trains and railroads in general.

Perhaps it was because I grew up in a town that had two railroads pass through our tiny community. One line traveled north and south, the other traveled east and west.

Back in the day, as they say, you could pretty much set your watch by the train's schedule.

As I've grown older, much older, I've become fascinated with train travel.  While it's not the fastest mode to choose, it certainly offers highlights you can't get from the air or in your own car.

Last year, it's reported, Amtrak carried 30 million passengers. Earlier this week, record monthly ridership records were announced for the past 11 months.  The increased ridership shouldn't come as a surprise with gas prices hovering around $4.00/gallon.

A ticket from Lapeer, MI to Chicago, IL is a mere $29.  That nearly 300 mile trip would take less time by car, but even at the 30 mpg in my Ford Fusion, the cost would be $40, plus parking! And I wouldn't be able to sit back and read an ebook or just stare out the traincar window and enjoy the scenery.

But I'm torn by some alarming numbers Amtrak isn't so quick to share.

Last year, Amtrak lost move the $450 million and the federal government allocated $562 million just to keep the operations side of the company rolling.

While I support public transportation over individual vehicles polluting the environment, I have issues getting behind my good tax dollars being thrown after bad.

On top of it all, Amtrak has lost nearly $1 billion since 2002 on their food and drink services, mostly due to fraud and theft.

Both Democrats and Republicans have mentioned Amtrak recently. Some are trying to make it a campaign issue, but both parties seem to be on the same track (pun intended) with continued funding.

Regardless of the outcome, I hope to see Amtrak around for a long time. Mostly because I plan on making several trips, via rail, in the coming years.

Maybe one day the U.S. will have have high-speed bullet-trains capable of speeds up to 200 mph like they do in Europe. Then, perhaps, people will choose rail travel rather than the highway.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Challenge Yourself!

I recently ran across an article which spoke about 30 challenges in 30 days. That's a lofty goal and, frankly, one I'm not quite up to even attempting to meet.

However, there were some very easily achiveable challenges on the list, including:

Write a I-Like-This-About-You note/text/email each day for someone (Easy)
Pretty simple to just let someone know you care.

Take a 30 minute walk each day (Easy) Okay, I shouldn't put this on the easy list.  I find it difficult to motivate my lazy arse out the door at any point during the day or night.  I'm too rushed in the morning and too tired in the evening.  Excuses, excuses?  Yes, yes they are!

Refrain from alcohol and other drugs for 30 days in a row! (Depends) I found this an interesting item on the list.  For me, it's super easy. For others it may be difficult.  Business people often entertain over dinner and socialize with wine or other types of alcohol.  But in this day, there are few people who would say, "Hey, how comes you're NOT drinking with us?"

Read a chapter each day (Easy) Again, I question how easy this item might be.  My mind wanders when I'm reading and then I fall asleep.  I haven't found the right reading materials I guess.

Inspire yourself each day (Easy) I try to read inspirational quotes and sayings quite regularly.  I also find inspiration in music. Being inspired warms my soul.

Practice a random skill everyday (Easy) This could be typing, knitting, playing with a yo-yo or building a house of cards.  Whatever the skill, practice it everyday!

Take the stairs every chance you get (Easy) As lazy and I can be, this one is a no-brainer for me.  I often take the stairs UP when I'm in a building where I can locate the stairs.  It's great exercise!

Keep a journal (Intermediate) This (silly) blog is a bit of a journal for me.  I've tried writing a diary/journal about my life's events, but I often find I document that crap I don't really want to remember.  Good memories stick around!

Don’t complain for an entire day (Hard) This should be easy, right?  Yet it is difficult for even the most positive person to NOT say one negative word for 24 hours.  But practice makes perfect and I'm up for a challenge.  I just need to take my anti-cynical pills.

Practice (at least) one completely selfless act each day (Easy) Open/Hold the door for someone, let another driver get into traffic ahead of you, pay for the order behind you in a drive thru.  It's fun and will make you feel good!

All 30 challenges can be reviewed at:

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

4019 days later...

The families and friends of those who died on September 11, 2001 cannot forget. Neither should we.

New York City: September 11, 2001

Friday, September 7, 2012

Weather or not

Mother Nature hate me!

It has become increasingly obvious over the past three or four months.

My garden is a total disaster where the weeds have taken a strong hold following a couple light showers while the tomatoes and pepper plants look like they're just about dead.

My lawn, which I mowed for the first time since about June (okay, I had the landscaper here once since then), is dead is spot.  I don't mean brown, I mean DEAD.  Dry rot or something.

Sleeping at night in my non-air conditioned house is a struggle.  On the worst of the nights I do turn on the window A/C in the living room and sleep on the couch.  But the backache makes that an option only when I feel like I'm in the flames of hell.

And now the her latest attack on my sanity.

RAIN when I'm yet again planning to go camping.

Canada's versions of The Weather Channel, forecasting rain in areas where I camp!

I'm sorry I don't recycle and haven't really reduced my carbon footprint.  I don't have a compost pile and, yes, I kill three bats which were flying around my living room.

I'M SORRY!  Please! Can't you send the rains during a week night when I'm sitting in the house watching TV?

Maybe I need to stand up to her and just take my already packed Ford Fusion off to the campground?

Weather or not, here I (might) come!

Other fun stuff at

Thursday, September 6, 2012

It's still summer!

So who had the bright idea of limiting summer to the few short days between Memorial Day at the end of May and Labor Day at the beginning of September?

Seriously!  They need to be shipped off to the north (or south) pole where they can gain some appreciation for summer weather!

I was pretty amazed earlier this week, Tuesday evening to be specific, when I took a short seven-mile drive to the neighboring resort community of Caseville to grab an ice cream cone at the Dairy Queen.  I planned to enjoy that cone as I took a walk along the breakwall which protects the harbor there.

Now I know this DQ is a seasonal business, as are many in this area. But I was stunned when I saw the "THANK YOU! Closed for the Season" message on the sign.

Really?  Are you kidding me? Oh, I get it, no white (ice cream) after labor day.

Personally I refuse to believe that summer is over.  I still have far too many summery plans before I'm willing to give in and declare the season has past.

If people need to use holidays as reference for our seasons, then I propose we move Labor Day to the first Monday in October!

Just think, summer would have an extra 30 days and maybe, just maybe, we wouldn't see Christmas decorations in the stores quite so soon.

Still enjoying summer at

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

It seems like forever

Today, September 5, is a day when I look back and reflect.

I try not to spend time looking backwards. That's the wrong direction to be moving in life.  Yet on this day, I become immersed in thought and flooded with recollections of what was. The good as well as the not-so-good.

Significant events, important conversations, and minute moments unnoticed by others.

Ah, precious memories.

Sometimes thoughts of what might have been creep into my head and can bring sadness. But I quickly wipe a tear from my eye and think of happier times. I don't do sadness. Being sad simply wouldn't be right.

As I look back and reflect, some of the oddest memories return.  That's a blessing from God, because those memories bring peace to my heart.

So today, September 5, isn't the day my mother died.  It's the day that I look back and remember who she was and the huge part she played in my life.

While her physical absence in my world is greatly missed, her spirit -- her influence on my life -- will always be with me.

That hasn't changed in seven years. It won't change in seventy-seven years.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Tuesday Tally: Honey-Do List

I keep hearing that summer has ended.  It has NOT.  It officially ends September 21 and I plan on nice summer-like weather for several more weeks.

I need that nice weather for several weeks to complete my "Honey-Do List," which includes:
  • Pull tomato and pepper plants from garden.  They didn't grow and produced very poorly this summer.
  • Remove, replace and paint trim around garage door.
  • Scrape and paint around windows.
  • Replace the side door into the house.
  • Find someone to work on lifting the kitchen floor.  (This 108+ year old house has a two-inch sag from one wall to the other.)
  • Clean out the garage.  Two-and-a-half-car capacity, currently at one-car.
  • Run a gas line and add a heater to the back entry area.
Of course a Honey-Do list never really ends.  These items are my highest priority and need to be done before the weather gets cold.

Wish me luck (stop by and help if you like).

Monday, September 3, 2012

Labor Day 2012

Today is Labor Day, the American holiday observed on the first Monday in September celebrating the contributions of workers throughout the land.

In 1882, Matthew Maguire, a machinist, proposed the holiday while serving as secretary of the CLU (Central Labor Union) of New York. Others argue that it was first proposed by Peter J. McGuire of the American Federation of Labor in May 1882, after witnessing the annual labor festival held in Toronto, Canada.

Whatever the case, it's a day to celebrate laborers everywhere.

It's also a day off work.

So I'm not working on the blog any longer.  ;-)

Happy Labor Day friends!

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Broken Clock

So today is Day 2 of the Labor Day weekend and Day 4 of the I'm suppose to be in New Orleans on vacation. (Yes, I'm still whining about the screwed up vacation!)

I've managed to to have a couple get-aways and I found my internal clock is broken.

Usually I have a plan and a bit of a schedule.  Not really a hard and fast you-gotta-be-here-at-this-time schedule, but a general do this and this and this and by this time you'll be ready for this.

I've thrown caution to the wind.  I find my self lingering when I would usually be rushed.  I find I'm just being laid back and trying to relax.

I think that's how last night got away from me. I was hanging out in the Detroit Metro area and before I realized it, it was 3:45... in the morning.

"How come I'm not tired," I asked myself.  I think it was the two hour power-nap I had before I left home.

At any rate, I managed to crawl into bed around 4:30 am.  When I woke up about nine, I realized I hadn't written a blog yet.

My usual deadline-panic didn't even hit me.  I wandered down to the hotel's breakfast area and had a cup of coffee and a small plate of scrambled eggs.

Now, at nearly 10 am, I have a lunch date with a friend.  That's my schedule for today.

Otherwise, I don't have to be anywhere until Tuesday morning and I like it!

Something new nearly everyday at

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Everything as it should be

des·ti·ny  /ˈdestinē/
    1. The events that will necessarily happen to a particular person or thing in the future.
    2. The hidden power* believed to control what will happen in the future; fate.

I spent the better part of this past week frustrated by the demise of my New Orleans vacation.  The frustration was compounded when as I began hearing from others I was planning to meet there, detailing their arrival.

This trip was three-months in the planning.

My frustration was compounded by my lack of action in preparing my camping gear for a weekend away.  Tuesday night I decided to spend the night in the Grand Blanc area hotel I had to pay for or simply lose the money that was already paid. Wednesday was a trip north for work.  My Thursday I was so exhausted from all the road time, I just didn't do anything.

I wasn't sure I wanted to go camping.  The decision was made for me when I found out my favorite campground was booked solid by Thursday night.

So Friday afternoon I packed my bag and set our for a destination unknown.

I shopped. I wandered.  I ate a chicken Cuban sandwich at Panera Bread.

Then there was a turn of events that changed everyone.  I was suppose to be here, in Michigan, at this moment in time.

It was then that I remembered that I need to stop trying to make my life happen and just let it happen.

Everything as it should be.

(*I believe that "hidden power" of destiny is Devine.)