Sunday, October 27, 2013

Losing Those Who Influence You...

I like to tell everyone that where I got my eclectic music tastes started on a trip from Tulsa, OK to Boston, MA.  My father's company sent him to Boston for a 3 month set of courses and the company paid for the family to stay in an "apartment" in Framingham.  We traveled for 3 to 4 days.  I just remembered it was a long time. 

It is the very early '70s and my father's Ford truck had an 8-track tape player.  We all know, there are those areas where you cannot get any radio reception.  My parents had Sam the Sham and the Pharohs, Patsy Cline's Greatest Hits, The Doors - LA Woman, and some others.  Also, my mother was a huge rock and blues fan while my father was into country music.  I was never fond of country, but I loved music.

One of the songs that made an influence on me was Lou Reed's "Walk on the Wild Side."  At that age, I did not understand the lyrics, but love the song.  The song had a really catchy beat and I loved to hear it when it was on the radio. 

I did not get that much into Lou Reed or the Velvet Underground until recent years.  I knew the influence that Lou's work had on artists like David Bowie, Iggy Pop, Duran Duran, Simple Minds, and so many others.  I had a great respect - he rated up there with the Rolling Stones and Elvis.

Today, Lou Reed passed away.  It is such a very sad day, but I am sure he is enjoying that walk on the other side. 

If you have never heard it, here is the song that would stay with me all of these years:

RIP Lou Reed:

Saturday, October 26, 2013

The Rollercoaster Life - The Ups and Downs of It All...

The past couple of weeks have been full of ups and downs.  On the work-side, I had hopes to switch to a group that would have a lot less stress involved with it.  That seems to be on hold.  Also, there are some other issues brewing that make me worried, but I am just trying to handle them the best way I know how.

I have missed two Dallas Stars hockey games, which was a real bummer for me.  I am going to the game tonight!  The team won Thursday night's game.  I was so happy for them and I know that seems odd for me to say.  I guess I am truly a Dallas Stars hockey fan.  I feel for them when the lose; I cheer them on when they win; I hate it when one of them gets injured.  I stick to it no matter what.

I look forward to going to the games.  I get a thrill out of riding on the DART to the American Airlines Center.  Having season tickets this year, I see familiar faces on the train ride.  I feel I am part of a community.  I also get the immense joy of being able to just GO.  Go and be out with people.  I love it!

I had a visit with my endocrinologist on Tuesday.  My weight was down 8 lbs.  That made me feel good, but my blood pressure was 130/100 - not so good.  I had just been doing some stuff for work before going to the doctor, so that might have had some affect on that. 

Since I was sick with what I like to call "The Crud" - not sure exactly what it is, but there is no fever - and on the downside of that monthly deal, my blood sugar levels were really high.  So, I was told that during the times I am sick or that monthly business, raise my insulin dosages to help handle the blood sugar rise.

I am going through my rounds of misplacing things.  Last week, I knew I had come home with my glasses on, but that night, I could not find them. That Saturday, I drove back to work, but nothing was there.  On Sunday, during a break from the issues on the version release, I found them under a sofa cushion.  Similar issue with my car key happened on Friday.  It is getting ridiculous.  Luckily, I am finding these items, but it bothers me.

My parents' friend wants me to drive to Arkansas for Thanksgiving this year.  Bottom line, I do not have the money to do it.  The money I do have, I need to get some new glasses and a crown for a tooth.  What I really want to do for Thanksgiving is just stay home.  I do not even want to drive over to my father's house.  I just want to stay home, rest, and clean up the place. 

I feel that the clutter has a lot to do with my misplacing items.  I realize, I have been the Queen of Misplaced Items all my life.  Heck, I had a moment of it while I was at the State Fair this year.  I did not have my work phone in the pants pocket and nearly freaked out.  Finally, I found it in the Choctaw bag I had won.

Today, outside of going to the game, I have to discover the chirping smoke alarm.  Last Friday, the apartment maintenance came and changed out the batteries in the living room smoke alarms.  Last night, as I was going to bed - *CHIRP!*  Being worn down from all of the work stuff and "crud" that had returned, I turned up the heat to 74 degrees in the apartment and worked on settling down the dogs.  That took awhile, then we all went to sleep.  However, now, I need to find out which one is chirping and it better not be one of the ones on the living room ceiling.

Yesterday afternoon, I made the decision that it was time to get a new iPhone.  I bought my iPhone 3GS in November 2009.  I had a Blackberry and was finally ready to get an iPhone.  Of course, I fell in love with it and all of the cool things I could do with it.  Now, it is incredibly slow and causing me some heart burn.

I went to the store to get the phone because I did not want to order over the internet.  I know that sounds odd coming from me, but I have an unlimited data plan and I wanted that grandfathered into my new contract.  I know that there have been issues with that, so I wanted to avoid any confusion.

Unfortunately, while the store had iPhone 5S in stock, the store did not have the 64Gb that I wanted.  I was hesitant to order it, but the store representative assured me that they would make sure that my unlimited data plan would stay intact.  She got a store salesman to help me place the order.  Oh - My -God!  He was tall, quite handsome, and very pleasant.  He helped me get the phone ordered and I was on my way out the door.  Still, I had gotten myself hung up over this guy.

I hate it when that happens to me.  On one hand, it reassures me that I am not dead.  (LOL)  The downside is that I have to go through that whole "Now, stop it!  He was only helping you order the phone you wanted.  He would not be interested in you.  Besides that - you could be old enough to be his mother!"  Then, comes the whole discussion with God regarding what is the "plan" for me. 

So, time to go figure out the rest of this weekend and how to get through the next week...

Today, we believe God wants you to know that ...

greatness is your birthright.

Who are You to shine brighter than others? Who are You to take a step forward when others are shrinking back? Who are You to make others feel insecure with your greatness? You are a child of God. Take a step forward, shine bright, - inspire others with your light to their own greatness.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Major Relief...

Despite knowing that I was not having any issues, I worried about what my colonoscopy screening would find.  I prayed not to find anything - not even polyps.  I know my mom was watching over me because she would tell me how sorry she was to have possibly passed along the chance of getting cancer.  No one really knows who gets what.  It just is what it is and you have to have faith that all will go well.

There is no good way to deal with the preparation for the procedure.  The bottom line (pun intended) is to "clean you out!"  The medication given does exactly that.  My preparation medication was called "Su-Prep".  There were two bottles of some sort of concentration and a 16 oz measuring cup.  At 4 PM, I poured one bottle in the cup, then diluted the concentration with cold water until the level reached the 16 oz mark.  I gulped that down, then had to drink two more 16 oz cups of water within the hour.

Depending on your system, the medication will begin working within 10 minutes to an hour.  I walked around feeling really bloated for about an hour.  Once it started working, I just dealt with it.  Around 7:30 PM, I had to do the same thing again with the second bottle.  The second dose made me feel a bit worse, but I needed to get through this.  It was important.

The one thing I really do not like about the whole mess is the amount of distrust one has their own system at this point.  For me, that is the stressful part.  I had no accidents, but any sort of exertion was a bit tough, so sitting in a recliner for me was out of the question.  I would lie on the bed, then roll off when I needed to make that trip back to the bathroom.

By 10:30 PM, my system started slowing down and allowed me to rest for a bit.  I was just thankful for that.  Since my appointment was at 9 AM, I got up at 6 AM and got ready for my father to take me to the endoscopy center.

So many things were running through my mind.  I was worried about the nurses putting the catheter in my hand.  I asked my father if he would take care of the dogs should something happen.  Someone had offered to take Bo and Chloe, but I would rather have my father take care of them.  My father kept assuring me that all would be fine.  It was something that had crossed my mind.

We arrived at the endoscopy center early - 8:30 AM.  I signed in and figured I would need to wait until 9 AM.  By the time I had removed my earrings, I got called by the nurse.  I was asked a bunch of questions, then taken to a changing area with the bed used for the procedure.  Once I was undressed and wearing the gown, the doctor, anesthetist, and two nurses enter.  Everyone was very nice and the doctor joked with me about not being in there earlier - I had gotten sick last month and it was decided to hold off on the procedure.

Soon, I was wheeled into the room.  Anesthetist gave me some instructions on moving my body close to one side of the bed and he made a joke about he got my good side while the doctor got my bad side.  Pretty soon, the room started to spin a bit, when I fell asleep.

Once medication began to wear off, I woke up thinking that Bo was climbing all over my butt to wake me up.  LOL  I think that made everyone laugh.  The doctor told me that all was clear and no polyps!  I was happy, but still loopy and fell back to sleep a bit.  I was wheeled back to a recovery room, and my father was there.  He was excited that all was clear and no polyps.  The doctor came by when I was fully awake and showed me the pictures of everything.  He told me that I was clear for another 5 years, then I have to come back for another screening.  I admit - not looking forward to that  again.  I will say, that part of the procedure was not bad.

The nurse wheeled me out to my father's car and we headed over to Galligaskins' in Fort Worth on Camp Bowie.  While eating breakfast/lunch, we talked about wanting to know more about what happened with my mom.  I still have a lot of questions.  I feel that there are some things I need to know, so that I can be aware for myself.

I feel very blessed and thankful that my screening went really well.  I would like to think my mom was very happy for me - she would have never wanted me to go through what she went through.  I know when everyone allow me privacy to put my clothes back on, I thanked God and my mom.  The nurse who checked me in asked me why I was so nervous.  I told her my fear and what she said made me feel a little better:

You cannot worry over something you do not know is even there.  You have come in for the doctor to check you out and that is important.  At this point, put all of that worrying in God's hands and let him handle it for you.

I did.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

My Upcoming Changes...

Starting next week, I begin transitioning off a lot of my responsibilities and knowledge over to other team members.  I do not have a "release date", but as soon as I complete my knowledge transfer, then I will be free to start working with another group.  Of course, now, I have to put everything I know into perspective and try to organize it.  I have documented a lot of stuff, but I am sure all of that needs to be re-evaluated and examined.

As I told someone yesterday, I am excited to "start over again."  While there were and still are some aspects of my current position I love, it just came time to go.  There is not a path forward for me in this current position.  So, one must change in order to grow.  I may grow a bit differently in this new position, but it will allow me some breathing space.

My co-worker friends are curious to know if I will be able to keep my cubicle where I am or will I be working from home.  My soon-to-be co-workers and boss are located in Memphis, TN.  At this time, I will get to stay Texas.  Chances are, I will have to move everything home.  That is not so bad and I could still have lunch with my group of current co-workers each week. 

My biggest hope is that this change will help with my stress levels.  Yes, there will be stress with changing jobs, but maybe, getting to a normal schedule will help me health wise.  I went to the opening night for the Dallas Stars on Thursday night.  While riding the DART train, I could see myself in the opposite window.  I was not happy with how I looked.  Small wonder I feel so dragged down all of the time - carrying around so much weight.  I do realize losing the weight overnight is NEVER going to happen and furthermore, losing it quickly never turns out well.

No amount of make-up, nail polish, new hair style, or clothes is going to change what I saw that night.  I was huge.  Part of me never wants to eat again, but that is so senseless.  One must eat to sustain and thrive.  I need to quit making excuses for eating more than I should.  More importantly, make it my duty to exercise.  Try to get back to what I did back in late 2006/early 2007 when I first found out I had Type 2 diabetes.  I had lost 50 lbs and my A1C had dropped down to in the 6 range.

I am going to place more emphasis on movement.  I know how to eat right.  I just need to make myself do it.  It is not a difficult task.  I would like to see myself 50 lbs slimmer by April 2014.  I go back to the doctor on 10/23 for a month check up on how I am doing.  I would like to be at least 5 lbs lighter when I see him.  So, right now, my minor goal is to reach 5 lbs.  That is all - lose 5 lbs and keep it off.  Next month, another 5 lbs.

Perhaps, I should go to the casino more often.  I spent more time walking around than sitting at the machines.  LOL  When I went to WinStar last week, I really did spend more time walking around that huge casino.  Main reason why I did not lose all of my money - I was not sitting there the entire time feeding the machines $20.  LOL

What God Wants Me To Know:

Today, we believe God wants you to know that ...

only full acceptance can bring you true peace.

Acceptance does not mean resignation. Accept to befriend and transform, instead of trying to fight and destroy.

Signs of Changing Times...

I moved to my current apartment complex June 2005.  The complex was still in the process of being built when I got my apartment.  Through the years, I have seen people come and go.  Some people I barely knew, while others, I got to know by just walking my dogs.  I admit, having a dog in an apartment complex turns you into a truly social person.  You are out there walking your little buddies and you get to know and relate to others with similar little buddies.

I have seen people move in and out of here for many years.  I had a next door neighbor who loved when Bo would appear on the balcony for what I call "Bark-a-polooza".  He would call Bo "Wolfie". 

Then, there was the gentleman who lived across from my apartment home.  He was such a sweet man.  His wife had passed away and he was living with his son.  If I was walking the dogs, he would slow down in his truck, roll down the window, and start barking at Bo and Chloe.  Once he got those two stirred up, he would laugh and wish me a nice day.

I never met this man, but had the coolest "man cave" set up in his garage.  If he was downstairs when I drove by his apartment, he would have the garage door open and you could see everything.  He had an old fashioned Coke machine, a 40" flat screen TV, a couple of computers, dart board, and other things.  It was always fun to drive by because with any sports event, he was down in his "man cave" doing it all.

The other day, I noticed that his garage was cleaned out.  That was a definite sign he was gone.  It makes me a little sad to see people leave.  Each person adds to the community in some way.  It is not something you pick up on unless you are really out and about in the community. 

Back in 1996, I had gone back to my weight doctor to get started back on phen-phen (before all of the bad effects were discovered).  As part of that, I made myself go and walk my parents' neighborhood every night after work.  After about a month, I had a real sense of the various people in the neighborhood.  My mom saw my weight loss and began on the meds shortly after I did.  She would start walking as well and noticed the same things.  We both knew which home had domestic issues, which home where there were the most parties, which home's yard was the best kept, and so forth.  It never ceases to amaze me how much you pick up on while just being out in your neighborhood.