Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Looking Back

If you want to get somewhere, you need look forward, keeping the course. Looking back can sometimes
I had never seen this photo until recently. On the back,
in my mother's handwriting, it says "Bill." I have to
assume this is the first picture of me. 
slow you down.

Today, I am looking back.

Back at the past 18,994 days and wondering, "where did they go?"

As a kid, we all wished time away when we "couldn't wait for [insert exciting event here]."

Then, as we grow older, somewhere after college, we realize that time has somehow sped up. Some days may seem to drag, but suddenly a month, a season, a year has past.

Sometimes time is going so fast I want to be Fred Flintstone and use my feet to put on the brakes.

But I can't slow it down, so I'll just enjoy the ride and smile at the highlights of the last 18,994 days.

What will the next 18,994 days bring me?  Most likely I won't see that many more.

But I will keep looking ahead and moving forward, because tomorrow is another day.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

NAKED AGAIN!

Here I am. Trying to be Naked Again.

You know, bearing my soul and writing from the heart.  It's going to be tough, because I have a lot of turmoil  going on in my head.

Several months ago, someone tried to use my writing against me.  It made me cover up and resist the exposure.

Kama sucks, cause their life isn't the happiest right now and their ability to do damage to me was greatly reduced.

But I was still afraid to open up.

Now, I'm on the edge of truly flinging off the coverings that hide my essence and get free and naked once again.

Stay tuned!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Scared

Today, many of us are scared.


For many of us, the terrorist bombing in Boston yesterday brought back memories of September 11, 2001.

This morning before I boarded an airplane, I had to remove my shoes and coat, put my laptop, Kindle and mobile phone into plastic tubs along with my quart-sized zip-lock bag that contained a minimal amount of liquids I need to carry with me on this trip.

That is the price we now pay to feel safe when flying.

But how can we as a society ever feel safe when we're out in the open?  How can we feel safe when we're inside a baseball park or wandering a shopping mall or standing on the street watching a marathon?

I don't know either.

But I do know, I refuse to be scared.  I refuse to live my life sheltered by threats from outside forces like crazy Korean Dictators or cowardly terrorist hiding in the shadows.

Today, I will not be scared!

BareNakedBill.blogspot.com

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Regret

Webster will tell you regret is a negative conscious and emotional reaction to personal past acts and behaviors, often expressed by the term "sorry."


Regret can describe not only the dislike for an action that has been committed, but also, importantly, regret of inaction. Many people find themselves wishing that they had done something in a past situation.

I have many regrets in my life.

I regret not doing a lot of things I should have done when I had the opportunity.  I regret some of the choices I have made in my life.

I regret my inability to convince others to learn from my mistakes and listen to my advice.

Regret is often a feeling of sadness, shame, embarrassment, depression, annoyance, or guilt.

Regret is also about living in a place that none of us belong -- the past.

So live everyday to the fullest, so you have no regrets.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

A Novel Idea

From time to time, I think about writing a book. A work of fiction, perhaps, with interesting characters.

It's in my head already. I just need to move it through my fingers into my computer.

But then, I realize that I'm not that kind of writer. Nor do I have a huge desire to be one.

I have found, however, that you can write a book about nearly any subject and sell it on Amazon.com.

If I could make money writing a book about how to sharpen pencils, I would do it.

Friday, February 22, 2013

I feel old

I had hair in the mid-1960s.
The other day I was looking through a box of old photos and ran across the one of the right.  I think it's my first or second grade school picture.

As I looked at it, I felt old.

Where has my life gone?

That young child in the photo had his whole life ahead of him.  There were so many things to be learned, so may new inventions to be discovered and utilized.  So many adventures to cherish forever.

This morning, as I looked in the mirror, shaving cream on my face, I felt old.

I noticed more wrinkles around by eyes and less hair on my head.

And it's no consolation that I have more hair in my ears.

I've always said that age is just a number.  I don't think I feel like I'm pushing 52 years old, mostly because I don't know what a 52 year old is suppose to feel like.

My age really isn't a factor in my feeling old.

Maybe it's a mid-life crisis.

But mid-life at 52 means living to 104 years old.

I think I would feel really old then.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Graffiti Art

Over the weekend I spotted these train cars on a railroad siding here in Pigeon. There isn't anything overwhelmingly special about the graffiti, yet I find it interesting.

Creative "artwork" such as this often catches my eye.  I'm fascinated at how someone takes cans of spray paint and places their vision on a canvas.  Even when that canvas is a train car or side of a building.

If nothing else, it adds an interesting view as we wait for the train to make its way over the crossing in front of us.



Thursday, February 14, 2013

A Love Story

On Valentine's Day, it seems appropriate to share a love story. Read it like poetry. Enjoy!

She
Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth —
for your love is more delightful than wine.

Pleasing is the fragrance of your perfumes;
your name is like perfume poured out.
No wonder the young women love you!

Take me away with you — let us hurry!
Let the king bring me into his chambers.

Friends
We rejoice and delight in you;
we will praise your love more than wine.

She
How right they are to adore you!

Dark am I, yet lovely,
daughters of Jerusalem,
dark like the tents of Kedar,
like the tent curtains of Solomon.

Do not stare at me because I am dark,
because I am darkened by the sun.
My mother’s sons were angry with me
and made me take care of the vineyards;
my own vineyard I had to neglect.

Tell me, you whom I love,
where you graze your flock
and where you rest your sheep at midday.
Why should I be like a veiled woman
beside the flocks of your friends?

Friends
If you do not know, most beautiful of women,
follow the tracks of the sheep
and graze your young goats
by the tents of the shepherds.

He
I liken you, my darling, to a mare
among Pharaoh’s chariot horses.

Your cheeks are beautiful with earrings,
your neck with strings of jewels.

We will make you earrings of gold,
studded with silver.

She
While the king was at his table,
my perfume spread its fragrance.

My beloved is to me a sachet of myrrh
resting between my breasts.

My beloved is to me a cluster of henna blossoms
from the vineyards of En Gedi.

He
How beautiful you are, my darling!
Oh, how beautiful!
Your eyes are doves.

She
How handsome you are, my beloved!
Oh, how charming!
And our bed is verdant.

He
The beams of our house are cedars;
our rafters are firs.

She
I am a rose of Sharon,
a lily of the valleys.

He
Like a lily among thorns
is my darling among the young women.

She
Like an apple tree among the trees of the forest
is my beloved among the young men.
I delight to sit in his shade,
and his fruit is sweet to my taste.

Let him lead me to the banquet hall,
and let his banner over me be love.

Strengthen me with raisins,
refresh me with apples,
for I am faint with love.

His left arm is under my head,
and his right arm embraces me.

Daughters of Jerusalem, I charge you
by the gazelles and by the does of the field:
Do not arouse or awaken love
until it so desires.

Listen! My beloved!
Look! Here he comes,
leaping across the mountains,
bounding over the hills.

My beloved is like a gazelle or a young stag.
Look! There he stands behind our wall,
gazing through the windows,
peering through the lattice.

My beloved spoke and said to me,
“Arise, my darling,
my beautiful one, come with me.

See! The winter is past;
the rains are over and gone.

Flowers appear on the earth;
the season of singing has come,
the cooing of doves
is heard in our land.

The fig tree forms its early fruit;
the blossoming vines spread their fragrance.
Arise, come, my darling;
my beautiful one, come with me.”

He
My dove in the clefts of the rock,
in the hiding places on the mountainside,
show me your face,
let me hear your voice;
for your voice is sweet,
and your face is lovely.

Catch for us the foxes,
the little foxes
that ruin the vineyards,
our vineyards that are in bloom.

She
My beloved is mine and I am his;
he browses among the lilies.

Until the day breaks
and the shadows flee,
turn, my beloved,
and be like a gazelle
or like a young stag
on the rugged hills.

All night long on my bed
I looked for the one my heart loves;
I looked for him but did not find him.

I will get up now and go about the city,
through its streets and squares;
I will search for the one my heart loves.
So I looked for him but did not find him.

The watchmen found me
as they made their rounds in the city.
“Have you seen the one my heart loves?”

Scarcely had I passed them
when I found the one my heart loves.
I held him and would not let him go
till I had brought him to my mother’s house,
to the room of the one who conceived me.

Daughters of Jerusalem, I charge you
by the gazelles and by the does of the field:
Do not arouse or awaken love
until it so desires.

Who is this coming up from the wilderness
like a column of smoke,
perfumed with myrrh and incense
made from all the spices of the merchant?

Look! It is Solomon’s carriage,
escorted by sixty warriors,
the noblest of Israel,

all of them wearing the sword,
all experienced in battle,
each with his sword at his side,
prepared for the terrors of the night.

King Solomon made for himself the carriage;
he made it of wood from Lebanon.

Its posts he made of silver,
its base of gold.
Its seat was upholstered with purple,
its interior inlaid with love.
Daughters of Jerusalem, come out,
and look, you daughters of Zion.
Look on King Solomon wearing a crown,
the crown with which his mother crowned him
on the day of his wedding,
the day his heart rejoiced.

He
How beautiful you are, my darling!
Oh, how beautiful!
Your eyes behind your veil are doves.
Your hair is like a flock of goats
descending from the hills of Gilead.

Your teeth are like a flock of sheep just shorn,
coming up from the washing.
Each has its twin;
not one of them is alone.

Your lips are like a scarlet ribbon;
your mouth is lovely.
Your temples behind your veil
are like the halves of a pomegranate.

Your neck is like the tower of David,
built with courses of stone;
on it hang a thousand shields,
all of them shields of warriors.

Your breasts are like two fawns,
like twin fawns of a gazelle
that browse among the lilies.

Until the day breaks
and the shadows flee,
I will go to the mountain of myrrh
and to the hill of incense.

You are altogether beautiful, my darling;
there is no flaw in you.

Come with me from Lebanon, my bride,
come with me from Lebanon.
Descend from the crest of Amana,
from the top of Senir, the summit of Hermon,
from the lions’ dens
and the mountain haunts of leopards.

You have stolen my heart, my sister, my bride;
you have stolen my heart
with one glance of your eyes,
with one jewel of your necklace.

How delightful is your love, my sister, my bride!
How much more pleasing is your love than wine,
and the fragrance of your perfume
more than any spice!

Your lips drop sweetness as the honeycomb, my bride;
milk and honey are under your tongue.
The fragrance of your garments
is like the fragrance of Lebanon.

You are a garden locked up, my sister, my bride;
you are a spring enclosed, a sealed fountain.

Your plants are an orchard of pomegranates
with choice fruits,
with henna and nard,

nard and saffron,
calamus and cinnamon,
with every kind of incense tree,
with myrrh and aloes
and all the finest spices.

You are a garden fountain,
a well of flowing water
streaming down from Lebanon.

She
Awake, north wind,
and come, south wind!
Blow on my garden,
that its fragrance may spread everywhere.
Let my beloved come into his garden
and taste its choice fruits.

He
I have come into my garden, my sister, my bride;
I have gathered my myrrh with my spice.
I have eaten my honeycomb and my honey;
I have drunk my wine and my milk.
Friends
Eat, friends, and drink;
drink your fill of love.

She
I slept but my heart was awake.
Listen! My beloved is knocking:
“Open to me, my sister, my darling,
my dove, my flawless one.
My head is drenched with dew,
my hair with the dampness of the night.”

I have taken off my robe—
must I put it on again?
I have washed my feet—
must I soil them again?

My beloved thrust his hand through the latch-opening;
my heart began to pound for him.

I arose to open for my beloved,
and my hands dripped with myrrh,
my fingers with flowing myrrh,
on the handles of the bolt.

I opened for my beloved,
but my beloved had left; he was gone.
My heart sank at his departure.[a]
I looked for him but did not find him.
I called him but he did not answer.

The watchmen found me
as they made their rounds in the city.
They beat me, they bruised me;
they took away my cloak,
those watchmen of the walls!

Daughters of Jerusalem, I charge you—
if you find my beloved,
what will you tell him?
Tell him I am faint with love.

Friends
How is your beloved better than others,
most beautiful of women?
How is your beloved better than others,
that you so charge us?

She
My beloved is radiant and ruddy,
outstanding among ten thousand.

His head is purest gold;
his hair is wavy
and black as a raven.

His eyes are like doves
by the water streams,
washed in milk,
mounted like jewels.

His cheeks are like beds of spice
yielding perfume.
His lips are like lilies
dripping with myrrh.

His arms are rods of gold
set with topaz.
His body is like polished ivory
decorated with lapis lazuli.

His legs are pillars of marble
set on bases of pure gold.
His appearance is like Lebanon,
choice as its cedars.

His mouth is sweetness itself;
he is altogether lovely.
This is my beloved, this is my friend,
daughters of Jerusalem.

Friends
Where has your beloved gone,
most beautiful of women?
Which way did your beloved turn,
that we may look for him with you?

She
My beloved has gone down to his garden,
to the beds of spices,
to browse in the gardens
and to gather lilies.

I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine;
he browses among the lilies.

He
You are as beautiful as Tirzah, my darling,
as lovely as Jerusalem,
as majestic as troops with banners.

Turn your eyes from me;
they overwhelm me.
Your hair is like a flock of goats
descending from Gilead.

Your teeth are like a flock of sheep
coming up from the washing.
Each has its twin,
not one of them is missing.

Your temples behind your veil
are like the halves of a pomegranate.

Sixty queens there may be,
and eighty concubines,
and virgins beyond number;

but my dove, my perfect one, is unique,
the only daughter of her mother,
the favorite of the one who bore her.
The young women saw her and called her blessed;
the queens and concubines praised her.

Friends
Who is this that appears like the dawn,
fair as the moon, bright as the sun,
majestic as the stars in procession?

He
I went down to the grove of nut trees
to look at the new growth in the valley,
to see if the vines had budded
or the pomegranates were in bloom.

Before I realized it,
my desire set me among the royal chariots of my people.

Friends
Come back, come back, O Shulammite;
come back, come back, that we may gaze on you!

He
Why would you gaze on the Shulammite
as on the dance of Mahanaim?

How beautiful your sandaled feet,
O prince’s daughter!
Your graceful legs are like jewels,
the work of an artist’s hands.

Your navel is a rounded goblet
that never lacks blended wine.
Your waist is a mound of wheat
encircled by lilies.

Your breasts are like two fawns,
like twin fawns of a gazelle.

Your neck is like an ivory tower.
Your eyes are the pools of Heshbon
by the gate of Bath Rabbim.
Your nose is like the tower of Lebanon
looking toward Damascus.

Your head crowns you like Mount Carmel.
Your hair is like royal tapestry;
the king is held captive by its tresses.

How beautiful you are and how pleasing,
my love, with your delights!

Your stature is like that of the palm,
and your breasts like clusters of fruit.

I said, “I will climb the palm tree;
I will take hold of its fruit.”
May your breasts be like clusters of grapes on the vine,
the fragrance of your breath like apples,
and your mouth like the best wine.

She
May the wine go straight to my beloved,
flowing gently over lips and teeth.

I belong to my beloved,
and his desire is for me.

Come, my beloved, let us go to the countryside,
let us spend the night in the villages.

Let us go early to the vineyards
to see if the vines have budded,
if their blossoms have opened,
and if the pomegranates are in bloom—
there I will give you my love.

The mandrakes send out their fragrance,
and at our door is every delicacy,
both new and old,
that I have stored up for you, my beloved.

If only you were to me like a brother,
who was nursed at my mother’s breasts!
Then, if I found you outside,
I would kiss you,
and no one would despise me.
I would lead you
and bring you to my mother’s house—
she who has taught me.
I would give you spiced wine to drink,
the nectar of my pomegranates.
His left arm is under my head
and his right arm embraces me.
Daughters of Jerusalem, I charge you:
Do not arouse or awaken love
until it so desires.

Friends
Who is this coming up from the wilderness
leaning on her beloved?

She
Under the apple tree I roused you;
there your mother conceived you,
there she who was in labor gave you birth.
Place me like a seal over your heart,
like a seal on your arm;
for love is as strong as death,
its jealousy[a] unyielding as the grave.
It burns like blazing fire,
like a mighty flame.
Many waters cannot quench love;
rivers cannot sweep it away.
If one were to give
all the wealth of one’s house for love,
it  would be utterly scorned.

Friends
We have a little sister,
and her breasts are not yet grown.
What shall we do for our sister
on the day she is spoken for?
If she is a wall,
we will build towers of silver on her.
If she is a door,
we will enclose her with panels of cedar.

She
I am a wall,
and my breasts are like towers.
Thus I have become in his eyes
like one bringing contentment.
Solomon had a vineyard in Baal Hamon;
he let out his vineyard to tenants.
Each was to bring for its fruit
a thousand shekels of silver.
But my own vineyard is mine to give;
the thousand shekels are for you, Solomon,
and two hundred are for those who tend its fruit.

He
You who dwell in the gardens
with friends in attendance,
let me hear your voice!

She
Come away, my beloved,
and be like a gazelle
or like a young stag
on the spice-laden mountains.

This is the book of Solomon from the Bible... one of the greatest love stories written.


Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Time

Time flies when you're having fun.

Time stands still.

It was the time of our lives.

Time. We measure time with a clock and, obviously, a second is a second.

But doesn't it sometimes seem like time moves at different speeds?  How often have you been working on a project and suddenly wonder "where did the day go?"  Or you wake up on the last day of your vacation and think, "Really?  This is the end of this great time away?"

Time slips through our fingers quickly. The older I get, the quicker is seems to go.

As kids, we would say, "I can't wait until..."

Sometimes I wish we could, as a collective, grab onto something and slow our world down.  If even for a few minutes.

Time. While we all get an equal daily dose, there is really never enough.



Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Happy Paczki Day!

Around here, today is Pączki Day!

A pączki is a delicious fried 'Polish doughnut' filled with a wide variety of fruit or custard choices. Any other day they might be called a Bismarck.

But a true pączki-lover will tell you that a Bismarck could never be a pączki. Pączki are made with a much richer dough.

In Poland, pączki are eaten on Fat Thursday or Tłusty Czwartek. The last six days of carnival season from Tłusty Cwartek to Shrove Tuesday -- are known as zapusty.

Shrove Tuesday, which the French call Mardi Gras (meaning Fat Tuesday) is the last day to party hearty before Lent begins.

In the old days, meat and meat byproducts, like butter and eggs, couldn't be eaten during Lent. So ingenious cooks used up all their dairy and eggs during Fat Week, from Shrove Thursday to Shrove Tuesday, by making crepe-like pancakes, called nalysnyky in Ukraine, and doughnuts called spurgos in Lithuania, krofne in Serbia, and pączki (POHNCH-kee) in Poland.

Until the 16th century, pączki were made with bread dough, filled with pork fat and fried in lard. Later, they evolved into a sweet pastry. Self-respecting bakeries never make their pączki in advance, nor do they use preservatives. The dough is made in the wee hours of the morning and are sold hot from the frying grease as soon as the doors open. Some home bakers fill a few pączki with almond paste instead of marmalade and encountering this filling is said to bring good luck.

An old Polish proverb states, "If you don't eat at least one doughnut on Shrove Thursday, you will no longer be successful in life."

One fact that might deflate your pączki-eating experience: each one rings up at a hefty 500 calories.

You'll have to dance a few polkas to work these babies off, but why not cast caution to the wind and make them anyway.

Everybody's Polish on Pączki Day!

Monday, February 11, 2013

Blogging Can Be Work

Sometimes when I sit down with my laptop to write a blog post, I just draw a blank.

Maybe my head is empty. Maybe I have too many other things swirling around inside my skull.

For the past 10 days, I haven't even logged into the Blogger dashboard (that's the control panel for these blogs), let alone actually write something.

I need to get back in to my routine. But the routine sometimes leads to a rut that gets deeper and deeper as the days go by.

I know I need to eliminate the things that create chaos in my routine as well as conflict in scheduling my life events. The chaos adds to my block because I'm distracted.

As I am writing this blog, I am sitting 130 miles from home, enjoying some freshly brewed green tea with honey, listening to some obscure music off the internet.

It's truly a break from my routine that has be feeling relaxed and able to let the words flow from my fingers.

This is what I need to bring into my daily life, so I can regularly blog once again.

Friday, February 1, 2013

The Essence Of Life

The cold weather play havoc on me.

It's not so much the temperature as the dryness of the air.  It sucks the moisture right out of my body.  My hands are chapped, my lips are cracking, and my nose feels like it's going to break off.

The past month I've been trying to increase my intake of water and the increased trips to the bathroom proves I've got the intake levels up.

But I'm still dry.  When I wake up in the morning, my mouth is parched and I could spit dust.

Oddly, this dryness has cause some other health issues which are not so healthy.

I won't go into all the gory details, but being dry seems to make my heart to backflips.

Yes, yes, I'm seeing the doctor about it. We've concluded that I need to stay over-hydrated for now.

So, I drink drink drink lots of water and decaffeinated tea along with nasty tasting Gatorade.

The backflips seems to be at bay for now.

Water truly is the essence of life.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Blank Canvas

Artists are said to look at a blank canvas as they begin to create a masterpiece.  With a flick on the brush they add color with flare as the painting comes together.

This is my blank canvas:


It's the interface for Blogger.  This is where I put this blog together in preparation to publish it to the internet for you to read.

It's blank when I log in, and like the artist, I must flick the keys to create my artwork.

More and more I'm struggling with the creative process. It takes time and I need to be in the mood.  Early morning is my best writing time zone.

It's 5:05 am, I've been up for over an hour and here I am at the keyboard, filling the canvas to create my masterpiece.






Saturday, January 26, 2013

Politics Everywhere

I'm immersed in political craziness this weekend.

Inaugural hysteria is over and I thought, that at least for a few years, I wouldn't have to put up with the chaos of politics.

A weekend away in Toronto has found me smack dab in the middle of the Ontario Liberal Party's Leadership Convention.

These people are nuts.

Think of it as U.S. Democrats/Republicans holding a convention to elect their party leader. Or as they call the position, Premier.

This is an important decision, from what I can gather, since the Liberal Party is in power in Ontario.  That means that the choice this group makes this weekend, will have a position in Canada's government to represent the Liberal Party.

I used to do the party convention thing as a Republican Delegate for Huron County Michigan.  That was n the day before the party lost their minds and allowed the far right to run the show.

But I digress.

I'm trying to find a way inside the convention to watch the madness as it unfolds.  I'm always interested in how other countries run their show.  I'm told I need to be a voting member or alternate to get inside.  Maybe I can pass myself off as a media man writing a lowly blog about international politics.

Nah, I don't care that much about the Ontario Liberal Party.

Party is the key word here.  There was plenty of that going on last night into the wee hours of the morning.

Maybe I can join them for to celebrate tonight.


Friday, January 25, 2013

Another Adventure!

From the movie,
Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventury
As you read this, I hope I am fast asleep in a warm and cozy bed on another adventure!

Life is never dull.

More to come.

Peace!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Key to Keeping Warm

It's cold.

That's really an understatement.  Yesterday the bank clock down the street from my workplace read -1F when I was arriving just before 7 am.

Add in the "wind chill factor," and it was more like -20.

That's cold.

Key to warmth.
I could feel the wind freezing my legs through my thin polyester pants during my short stroll from car to the office back door.

Brrr. It's cold in my bedroom too.  When I checked the last two mornings, it was 62 degrees up on the second floor.  That's another reason I find myself warm and cozy, wrapped in a handmade blanket, on the couch.

My house is heated by a hot water boiler that circulates the warmth through radiators scattered around the house.

I've noticed the bedroom radiator was pretty much cold as ice.  I figured the circulating pump wasn't doing it's job.  Just another of the many necessary, but sometime unaffordable, repairs my nearly 110 year old home needs.

As I made my way up the stairs this morning, my modern techno world jumped into old world common sense.

I remembered when I bought the house that the previous owner had given me several keys and other things necessary to, according to him, maintain the house.

One of those things was a radiator key.

It's a little wrench type key that opens a small valve on the top of a radiator to bleed out any air trapped in the lines.  I've bled the lines in years past and only got water in return.

Today was different.

I opened the value on my bedroom radiator with a whoosh of air that continued for several minutes.  As this air was flowing out of the radiator, I placed my hand near the bottom and could feel the heat of the boiler's water entering to share it's warmth with the room.

A simple metal key.

The key to keeping warm in an old house.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Tie that Binds

One day last week, while at the grocery store, I ran into a woman I've known for sometime, but don't see very often. She looked great and I told her so.  We chatted a bit about diets and eating and our "new lives."

She, too, had gastic bypass surgery several years ago. I got to know her when she called me at the urging of her family doctor.  She was struggling with the adjustments to a new way of eating. Her doctor knew I had been successful with the surgery asked me if she could call.

Gastric bypass surgery is how I know this woman.  It's what we have in common.  The tie that binds us together.  It's one of those things that comes to mind when I see her.

We all have those ties to people. That connection that gives us common ground upon which we live.

Think about all the ties to others. School and church. Clubs and organizations. Being left-handed or having blue eyes. There is something that ties you to others.

Of course, we're all human. The first groups, tied together, are male and female. Then young and old.

As you read this, you're tied to others who read blogs.

I could makes list that go on and on.  But you get the idea.

We're all bound together, one way or another, with the tie that binds.

Monday, January 21, 2013

I want to be THE BIGGEST LOSER!

Last Monday, 27 of my roughly 130 coworkers started a weight loss competition. We're calling it The Biggest Loser: Agri-Valley Edition.

Original name huh?

At any rate, today is our first weigh in and I just got off the scale.

By simply cutting out snacking between meals; eating smaller, more sensible portions for my meals; drinking more water; and making wise food choices, I've manged to drop 5.4 lbs. the first week!

Now, before I get too excited, I have to tell myself that men lose much more easily than women and first week weigh loss is always decent if you're doing the right things.

For now, I'll be happy that my shirts and pants already fit a little better and be thankful if I drop about two or three pounds by this time next week.

An added incentive is the Biggest Loser in our group wins $185!

That will buy a lot of chocolate cheesecake!

Friday, January 18, 2013

The Death of Common Sense Advice

Several years ago I read a book entitled: "The Death of Common Sense." It focus on how laws are killing our county.

It was the title of the book that caught my eye and drove me to read it.

Common sense is dead.  Long live common sense!

Yesterday, Pauline Friedman Phillips passed away at age 94.  She was known to many for handing out witty, common sense advice to millions of people worldwide.

You would know her as Abigail Van Buren -- Dear Abby.

For years she wrote a syndicated newspaper advice column that often had some bite. She seemed like the kind of woman who didn't put up with non-sense.  Her advice wasn't that "make you feel all warm and fuzzy even when you're wrong" advice of today's politically correct world.

I didn't grow up reading Dear Abby. The newspapers I read carried another advice column written by Esther Friedman Lederer, more commonly known as Ann Landers.

She, too, offered pointed and sensible advice very similar to that of Abby's. Perhaps that's because Pauline and Esther -- Abby and Ann -- were twin sisters who grew up in Sioux City, Iowa.

Esther/Ann died in 2002.

Back in 1981, a reader wrote to Abby about two men had recently bought a house together in San Francisco, and the neighbors were annoyed. The men were entertaining "a very suspicious mixture of people," the neighbors wrote, asking: "How can we improve the neighborhood?"

Short and to the point, Dear Abby replied: "You could move."

Yeah, common sense advice died yesterday. But the legacy left by these two woman will last forever.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Lists

Since the first of the year, I've been trying to make lists.  Especially at work.

I have my list of "Things To Do." Mostly projects that I'm working on. Some ongoing, others that need my input at some point in time.

Making lists has become a necessary part of my life.  I just have too many things to remember.

There are several lists in my life. One for work, another for weekends. I make a list for shopping, mostly for the essentials I can't forget to pick up.

From time to time I've written about my list of Must See movies.

I even have a short list of blog topics. That list needs a sub-list with content for those topics.

Lists are good.

They let me clear my mind of information that needs to be remembered.

Now, if I could just remember where I left my lists.

Monday, January 14, 2013

I can't win

I see a horse and buggy in my future.
I'm not sure if I mentioned the bent rim on my Ford Fusion.

An icy intersection, turning the steering wheel right when I should have turned left, the unyielding curb on the other side of the street all lead to the rim being bent just a few feet from my home.

That was three weeks ago.

Finding a rim at a decent price was a trick, but I finally found one last week at a junkyard in Detroit.

Thankfully a friend who lives in the Metro Detroit area was working in Saginaw so he picked it up and dropped it off at my nephew's house in Bay City.

By Saturday, the rim was in the back of my truck and I continued my travels to West Michigan to hang out with a friend.

Sunday, as I was traveling back home, I noticed the battery light was glowing bright on the dashboard of my truck.  The alternator gauge showed the battery was charging, so I continued on. I hoped to make it as far as I could (hopefully home).

As life would have it, I lost the alternator about 20 miles west of Bay City... But I continued on, turning off all non-essential power draws and praying all the way.

By the time I was about two-miles west of Bay City, I pretty much had no lights (it was dark) and an angel in a large truck followed me, illuminating the road ahead and protecting me from traffic behind.

I made it to the Walgreen store parking lot and, just as I was pulling into a parking spot, the engine died.

The battery was dead.

Thankfully I have AAA road service that will haul a vehicle 100 without a charge to me.  I was about 50 miles from home.

So, the flatbed truck arrived and the pickup was loaded.

Today, between my work commitments, I will be making a phone call to my mechanic to be both the car and truck repaired.

I'm worried the car has more damage than the bent rim.  This could get costly.

Perhaps I'll look into a horse and buggy too.