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Saturday, February 27, 2016

I Kneed a New Knee..... so Here's the Plan!

The long anticipated ultimate demise of my left knee happened.....

At the first of the year.

This image of x-rays shows the "good" right knee on the left and 2 x-rays of the "bad" left knee on the right - one from June 2015.... one from January 2016.
















What was bad got worse.  Looks like the last little bit of cartilage is gone and the knee has displaced even more to the inside.

So, as alluded to in a previous post - http://willsonwheels.blogspot.com/2016/02/i-dont-know-about-this-whole-total-knee.html, I scheduled an appointment with Dr Gregory Stocks of the Fondren Orthopedic Group in Houston Texas - http://www.fondren.com/physician/physician_077  - flew into Houston and had a long discussion / evaluation on a TKR - Total Knee Replacement - for my left knee.

Without a whole lot of embellishment, here's the information and plan that was generated from that visit with Dr. Stocks:
  • The surgery is scheduled to be performed Monday, April 4th, at the Texas Orthopedic Hospital.
  • If everything goes as planned, I will be discharged from the hospital the afternoon / evening of Wednesday, April 6th.
  • Am awaiting pre-approval of the procedure by the insurance company so schedule is contingent on that.
  • As far as recovery / rehab goes, it goes in stages.
  • Immediately following wake-up from the surgery, they will have me up and on a walker.
  • It depends on the individual patient but it is reasonable to expect that I will be walking under my own power, i.e. without a walker, crutches, etc. within 2 - 4 weeks of the surgery.... and that will be my first goal.
  • External physical therapy / rehab begins the day after discharge from the hospital, so Thursday, April 7th.
  • The plan is to do it a Brazosport Rehabilitation and Wellness in Lake Jackson Tx - http://www.bzrehab.com/ - a place I have used for past knee and Achilles Tendon rehab.
  • Rehab will be 2 - 3 times per week.
  • I plan on staying with my daughter for a few days immediately following discharge from the hospital.
  • If the recovery goes as planned, I will stay in the Lake Jackson / Houston area for 3 - 4 weeks following the procedure, again, with the goal being to walk under my own power, go up and down stairs and be able to drive a car.  Then I will return to Santa Fe and finish my rehab there.
  • The structured physical therapy / rehab plan takes anywhere from 2 - 3 months following the surgery but the knee continues to progress / grow stronger over the course of a year or more.  As I have presented in several prior posts, there are 4 - 3 month cycles in the process of complete soft tissue repair.... so it's reasonable to assume that nerves and blood supply pathways will be continuing to reroute and reconnect for at least 12 months.
  • As far as the hardware, surgical procedure and techniques go, Dr. Stocks and I spent a lot of time on that so here's what we came up with.
  • The hardware will likely be a DePuy Attune Knee System.... https://www.depuysynthes.com/hcp/knee/products/qs/ATTUNE-Knee-System
  • Technology for the joint itself and the poly spacers has gotten a lot better over the last 10 years as the demographic / age for knee replacement patients has moved to a younger, more active population.  "Cross link" polypropylene has vastly increased the durability and life of the bottom shelf of the joint with the main failure element now still being the methyl methacrylate cement that glues all the hardware to the tibia and fibula.
  • We discussed rotating platform or not and Dr Stocks said there is no data to support that patients have greater mobility or knee rotational or torsional dexterity with a rotating platform and the failure rate for rotating platform is greater so it will be a fixed platform.
  • Dr Stocks does not use "computer navigation" in his surgery as was done in the 14 minute video link before.  Per Dr Stocks, it introduces a lot more hardware into the wound and the risk and documented rate of infection for this technique is much higher.... so all the cutting and sawing will be done manually by Dr. Stocks.
  • The next question on surgical procedure was "Posterior-stabilized vs Posterior Cruciate ligament - retaining".  The patient's ACL - Anterior Cruciate Ligament - is removed during the procedure but there is an option for Posterior Cruciate Ligament removal or retention.  About 80% of TKR procedures are done with removal of the PCL but after discussion with Dr. Stocks on my past and future planned activity level, i.e. hiking, biking, weightlifting, etc., he recommended a PCL retaining procedure because it accommodates a more natural movement of the knee, i.e. the artificial knee works more like the original knee.  I was actually kinda surprised that he went out on a limb because there are more risks to this type of procedure - it is more technically difficult - but done correctly - does have better performance results.
  • In connection with this, I asked Dr Stocks how many TKR's he had done.... pretty mind boggling.... about 5000 with about 1000 PCL retaining TKRs.
  • The incision starts at the top of the knee capsule and extends to the bottom of the knee capsule but does not cut the quad muscle above the knee.
  • He will install a plastic button on the back of the patella (kneecap).
  • As mentioned above, we discussed in detail what I could / should do with the new knee and again, I was surprised.  Dr. Stocks said "I tell people to go do what they want to do".  Again, pretty amazing coming from a guy who has a vested interest in having the knee last.  He provided some more details on high risk activities of which he named only 2 - long distance running and jumping.  He says he has patients that ski, play soccer, tennis, do aerobics, etc.  Unfortunately, there are no studies on the effect of weightlifting, or the amount of weight that can / should be lifted with a TKR.  He did say "I think it's unreasonable to assume you can or should do a 350# squat" which I agreed with.  I haven't squatted 350 for over 20 years and don't plan or didn't plan on doing it even if I had 2 good God given knees.
  • But I am interested and concerned with overall health, fitness, strength and body muscle mass so I asked him what was reasonable - can I squat up to 225# which at 170# bodyweight is all I need to be squatting anyway and about the most I had recently squatted with.  We agreed 185 - 225# was not unreasonable for a TKR.
  • Total flexion post procedure is typically what you had before the procedure.  I had full extension of my left leg but I have never been able to do butt to heel with my left leg, having about 120 degrees of flexion so that will be a reasonable goal / expectation post procedure.
  • Post operative pain management has progressed a lot in recent years and is critical to a speedy recovery.  They put you on 4 different medications immediately - Celebrex, a blood thinner (to minimize blood clots), antibiotic and an opioid pain killer.
  • The big risk for a TKR is infection.  If that happens, they have to go back in, remove all the hardware and replace it with a antibiotic saturated cement and keep the knee completely immobile until the infection is eliminated.... then they go back in and re-do the TKR.
  • If the TKR fails in the future, Dr Stocks will do a revision.
  • I will likely buy a stationary bike for my SF condo and have it in place before I leave for Houston for the procedure.  I will likely buy one for my 4 weeks in Lake Jackson also.
  • Goals post procedure are in the following chronology:
  1. Walk without crutch.
  2. Walk up / down stairs.
  3. Drive a car.
  4. Attend my daughter's nursing graduation ceremony on April 29th and walk without a limp or assistance.
  5. Ride a stationary bike.
  6. Complete standard / recommended physical therapy / rehab.
  7. Walk 1 mile.
  8. Begin body weight exercises such as squats, lunges, etc.
  9. Get back into stretching and non-impact group exercise classes such as PIYO.
  10. Ride a regular bike.
  11. Start hiking.
  12. Start light weightlifting.
  13. Resume a modified CrossFit style workout with no impact and reduced weight exercise.
  14. Do a "long distance" bicycle tour in the New Mexico / Colorado area - probably will likely do the "Enchanted Circle" loop - Taos, Red River, Eagle Nest, etc.
  15. If I can do long distance walking with a light load without pain, I want to plan to do some backpacking probably along the Continental Divide Trail - in 2017.
There's probably a lot more I could put in this post, but, as with all other things in my life, new information and data will come in and I will update and document the process as it becomes available.

After talking with Dr. Stocks, I felt a lot better about the whole process and, frankly, it can't come too soon.

I'm tired of limping around in pain and dealing with all the negative aspects of this left knee and I'm ready for the challenge of the procedure, the rehab and life with a new knee.... whatever that life is.

As with all things, I will adapt, modify and overcome....

Because that's what I do.

And it's not like something a lot more complex than this hasn't been done before....



Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Be Your Own god!

Oh boy....

I can just hear the cries of outrage, disgust or the awe of silence from all my Christian friends and relatives when they read this title.

I've been thinking about this post for a while and have been silently talking (silently talking?  HTF do you do that? I think I'll trademark that phrase - that's the kind of vocabulary you use when you get up too early and have 4 cups of float a horseshoe coffee) to people and listening a lot and collecting anecdotes, data and just making observations.

So first things first on posts like this - which is the list of qualifications and conditions:
  • I am not renouncing my Christian faith (which is pretty easy to not do because I'm not sure I ever had any - see what I mean about the combo of sleep deprivation and coffee?)
  • This post will not be a study or endorsement of Man over God or any other Superior and Omniscient being (assuming there are any of those out there).
  • I didn't capitalize "god" in the post title which I think has some significance to the Bible Banging Christians because there's a big difference between "god" and "God".
  • I mean no disrespect or criticism to any religious faith, race, creed, ethnicity or sexual preference - Oh yeah, one more thing - I hope this doesn't hurt your dog's feelings.
  • There - that oughta cover it.
So, this whole blog is based on a path of Discovery.... Discovery of the World around You and....

Discovery of You.

I know - it sounds like one of those psychoanalysis, New Age phrases but when you look at all religions or self-awareness programs or approaches, they really center on understanding yourself and your personal relationship with the Deity of Choice - right?

And you know I'm smack dab in the Mecca for Self Awareness and Discovery  - Santa Fe NM.

This place is a melting pot for the World and with this swirling, bubbling cauldron of human experience and history, comes the blending of cultures and religions and all of the resulting knowledge, discussions, beliefs and practices that go with it.

Lately, I've been on a theme of questioning of self, life approach, decisions and basically just doing a backtest of the cycles of my Life to see if I could glean any feed forward predictions and guidance on the future.

For you Process Control people, I'm using historical data to tune my Life Controller.  Huh?  Never mind.... you wouldn't understand.

My recent posts have questioned my approach and experiences with people and I've even had a friend of mine suggest I might have some disease or condition based on my desire for solitude and social ineptness.

I dunno.... Could be but let me suggest another possibility.

As I have related many times in this blog, I have come into contact with a few people in my life that were highly influential on my life and that I respected and admired.

You can call them Mentors, Bad Ass MF'ers, Cool People.....doesn't really matter - they impressed me, motivated me and I learned from them and used the knowledge and experiences gained from them in my own life.

So here I am - 53 years old - and I look back on these people and try to see some commonality between them, shared characteristics, backgrounds, etc.....

And there really isn't any.

Except for one thing.

They were fierce individualists!  They didn't affiliate themselves with any movement, organization or belief. They were all highly moral and ethical people with great personal standards but they didn't get that way by following or adhering to any structured or established program.

They formed their own religion!

They worshiped at their own altar!

They are their own god!

And I know my friend, Serena, my devout Christian and incredible Bible scholar from my old stomping grounds back in Texas, is gonna comment on this post or maybe write me an email to cite how wrong this whole belief and approach is..... and I welcome that.... if she writes a full rebuttal, I'll even post it....

Discussions with a friend of mine from Santa Fe delve into this phenomenon much more deeply.

And it gets into a lot of beliefs and practices that, believe it or not, are not counter to a lot of religions including Christianity.

The concept of projecting positive energy to the world around you, good karma extended coming back to you, "passing it on" and having an energy field around you that resists the negative assaults of the World and that projects "Blue" waves vs "Red" waves.....  

Can you actually "manifest" or influence future events based on projection of energy through space and time?

Wow - are you really going there Wills?  You smoking too much Weed or What?  Nope.... I'm just saying...

When you listen to these kinds of discussions and you compare them with how Christians describe how the Holy Spirit works.....

Kinda sounds the same.

I know..... I know.... I'm completely distorting Christian theory and practice but Hey.... it's my blog and besides, I'm just trying to make sense of all this.

Like I said, I've met people who are their own Nuclear Reactor - my Son is one of them - I've often described him as having a "God Bubble" around him because he just can't be hurt by the World.... I used to think he was just one of those "lucky ones" that could fall off a Shit Wagon and land in a Rose Garden but more and more I've come to realize.....

He's got that thing.... He has that positive energy that guides and motivates every thought and action in his life and the world and people respond to that in a positive way....and the world and things go his way.

Oh - don't get me wrong - he works his ass off - but he has the energy to do that because he gets energy back well in excess of what he puts out....

It's almost a violation of the First Law of Thermodynamics which states that energy can be neither created nor destroyed - it can only be transferred.

These people have their own internal energy source and they project that positive energy on the world and get positive energy back far in excess of what they project.

That's why they become great and exceptional people - because they have so much more energy to work with than the average person.

If any of this is actually true, what can we do with this knowledge and how we can use it to better ourselves?

Well - it's not really an unreasonable thing to consider that, if you project a positive image to the world, that you will be rewarded.

It's also not unreasonable that this energy has to come from an internal source and that source is your own mind which controls everything in your life - your thoughts, perspectives, attitudes, body language, speech, everything - you are a customized, one of a kind energy source.

You are a Force for Good in this World.

Believe That, Project That, Live That....

Be Your Own Good....

Be Your Own God!

Monday, February 22, 2016

Turns out..... I'm not the Master of the Universe!

Shocking revelation - right?

Hell - it's no surprise to me.... I've always considered myself the Greatest Underachiever of All Time.

And let me say right up front none of this is self-loathing, self-pity or anything else resembling "Aaah Boo Hoo Poor me."

It's simply a straightforward, unbiased, objective Self-Assessment.

It has been an incredibly interesting, challenging step back in 2016 so far.

I've always considered the natural order of things including life progress to be a series of thrusts and resolutions or retracements.... think Fibonacci retracements.

Holy shit - WTF is a Fibonacci retracement?

Turns out a really smart Italian mathematician name of Leonardo of Pisa, aka Fibonacci....

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fibonacci

came up with a series of mathematical relationships.....

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fibonacci_number

that explains a lot of things including natural phenomenon such as the shape of a nautilus shell and most importantly, a numerical representation of patterns of human behavior.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fibonacci_retracement

You wanna know how the stock market works (which is the ultimate study in human behavior) and make some sense of rallies (bull markets) and retracements (bear markets), do some Fibonnaci extensions and retracements on any stock or index you want and VOILA - you will be amazed.

All of these algorithms and supercomputers that predict and model stock market movement have a huge dose of Fibonacci technology programmed into them.

So what does this have with the incessant challenge and relentless pursuit of Life, Liberty and Happiness?

Ever heard the saying "3 steps forward and 2 steps back"?

It's a simple statement of the concept of how you seek and perhaps succeed at making progress in life and then have setbacks that challenge your methods and approaches a la Fibonacci.

What - you have no methods and approaches for progressing in Life?  Ok - well maybe that's the problem.

But, assuming you do, you have to face the facts that for every meteoric rise or triumph in life, there will be those times when all you're doing is working your ass off just to keep your head above water or, worse yet, you find yourself backsliding down the slippery slope of life, fighting tooth and nail just to keep from giving it all back.

Maybe circumstances change and your methods and approaches don't or a new unforeseen challenge or problem pops up and it throws you back or into an earthward tailspin.

These usually occur when you venture into uncharted territory, make big changes in your life or seek escape from the quicksand or quagmire of a stagnant Life, Location or Lifestyle.... in another words, you try to better yourself.

Life has a way of saying.... "What? You think you're gonna try to slip past me and skip along all happy and carefree.... I got something for yo ass!"

Such has been my experience over the last year or so.

I've moved from the Texas Gulf Coast where I lived my entire life to the city of Santa Fe New Mexico and adopted and adapted to a different lifestyle.

I moved here to take my Life and Lifestyle to a new level of elevation, activity, awareness and experience.

While the premise and the potential of the effort was valid, there were other elements in life that have conspired to cause a retracement in all the desired outcomes.

It turns out I dragged along the life long problem of an arthritically degenerated left knee that simply couldn't keep up with my mind's desire to pursue my passions of activity in the great outdoors and the torrid and intense pace of physical activity I asked it to support.

So my active lifestyle became a less active one..... until I get a Left Knee Total Knee Replacement.... which is already scheduled for April 4th.  The plan, logistics and schedule for this will be detailed in another blog post.

Suffice it to say, I am fighting tenaciously to defend my progress in this move to Santa Fe, but will likely undergo a 61.8% Fibonacci retracement before the whole TKR deed is done.

Fair enough - I'm down for that.... and then I'll be up for that.

Because that's what I do..... I get knocked down and I get up again.

And I write about it.... on this blog.

Which brings me to another interesting anecdote that occurred recently.

I received an email from a USC PhD student that was doing a study of blogs where people talked about their personal lives and experiences on their blog.

Here are a couple of excerpts from the Blog Study email I received.....

"I’m interested in how the thoughts and experiences written by people like you on weblogs and other social media can be used to make conclusions about society as a whole. I am contacting you because I am trying to collect reliable data about bloggers’ opinions, experiences, and characteristics in order to refine and evaluate my analyses."

"In the course of this study, we will also be analyzing the public posts on your weblog using natural language processing technology. The goal of this analysis is to correlate your responses to this survey with what you write about your life on your weblog."

One of the questions in the survey that was provided was....

"Why do you relate experiences and information from your personal life on your blog?"

My answer was that I wanted to provide information that I thought might be helpful to people and also that writing about myself and my life was a way of better understanding and improving myself.

I mean let's face it.... anybody that writes about their life on a public blog probably has some issues.... right?

I have taken the time and the life approach over the last few years to deal with a lot of issues... and to try to improve, to get better, not necessarily to fix what's broken but to at least evolve to a kindler, gentler, more balanced version of my former self.

Yeah.... when I was 20 years old, the World was my Oyster, I was 9 foot tall and bulletproof, had a big "S" on my chest and leaped tall buildings in a single bound.

At 53, I'm limping, can't walk a block, am a whole lot less smart than I was when I was 20 and have realized I am not and never was....

The Master of the Universe....























I've been listening to the Sick Puppies quite a bit lately and have been really enjoying their upbeat melodies, positive and hopeful lyrics and just the general good feeling that I got when I listened to their songs.

And then this song came up and when I heard the initial bass riff introduction, I knew.....

This song was different.

The title is kinda dichotomous cause I was thinking this was gonna be another positive, I can conquer the World kinda song.

But I was wrong.

I looked at the lyrics while it was playing on iHeart and I thought....

Holy Shit - this song was written about me (which is probably what another 500000 dysfunctional people thought when they listened to it!)

But as I like to say.....

Let 'er Rip Tater Chip!

So if you've done your best in Life and ended up on the bottom looking up or

if you've "met your potential and fulfilled the worst" or

"in the race for disaster you came in first"

Then you might find some solace in this song....

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JsJS8edFb0A

"Master Of The Universe"

If you want to know how far to go to hell
Just ask me
If you want to see the view from your knees
Come down and join me
I'm the final straw
The nail in the coffin
Just by being who I am
Is so Goddamned

I'm not the master of the Universe
I walk the Earth the wrong way
Met my potential and fulfilled the worst
My best is cursed the wrong way

Your glass is half, his glass is full
My glass is empty
You're running short of not enough
Well I got plenty
I've come a long way
I went the wrong way
And who I am
Is so Goddamned

I'm not the master of the Universe
I walk the Earth the wrong way
Met my potential and fulfilled the worst
My best is cursed the wrong way

And when I die I'm gonna fly and come and get you
And when you try and run I'll be the curse above you
It's gonna end
It's gonna end

In the race for disaster I will come in first
That's what I've learned
The hard way

What?!

If you want to know how far to go to hell
Just ask me
If you want to see the view from your knees
Come down and join me

I've come a long way
I went the wrong way
I've come a long way
I went the wrong way
I've come a long way
I went the wrong way

Being a belching man myself, I fucking love the burping at the end....

Perfect ending to a Life that gave you a Belly Ache.

But hey - let's end this kinda downbeat post on a positive note.

This fucking Life Rally ain't over yet.... all this retracement is about is a little Breather to get you better positioned for the Breakout that is yet to come.

So take your licks, but make your plans and then get to work.

Cause while you may not be the Master of the Universe - 

Believe it or not.....

You are the Master of Your Life!

Saturday, February 20, 2016

A Beautiful Day in Santa Fe!


Started this beautiful day with a plate of grits and eggs and ground turkey breast patty.

Had a discussion with my son who marveled at the similarities of philosophies and blog content with a famous Paleo guy named Mark Sisson.... who just happened to write a book, actually several books, on the whole Paleo thing.





















And it's pretty obvious, this guy walks the Paleo talk....

At age 63!




Decided I'd take the Stang for a run to the top of the mountain.


The body has slowed down for a pit stop but the mind and the attitude is till doing 100 in a 55!






It's 18 miles up NM 475 from Santa Fe to the Santa Fe Ski Basin.....

And it was a beautiful day for a drive!





















Had to have a little Pork fried rice and coffee and apple tart at the top!






























And finally an Ahi Tuna steak with 2 minutes on each side in a cast iron skillet and a colorful salad with a little grilled Poblano on the side.



Think I'll limber up the gimp leg, take a pain pill and go dancing tonight.

I really don't want this day to end!

Doing Everything Right has its Risks

Was thinking about this subject on my flight from ABQ to HOU after a recent phone discussion with my son and following several negative interactions I had with different individuals in recent days.

I thought I had made some pretty significant progress in my efforts to become a more social and positive person but these recent setbacks had me doing some significant soul searching and self evaluation.

Perhaps coincidentally, perhaps not - the string of communication failures has come in the midst of a new age of pain and immobility with my left knee - taking away my ability to exercise intensely and leaving me wandering what's next.  In addition, my part-time retainer contract for employment, has expired.

Between the vastly reduced workout schedule and the extra time available because I'm not working - maybe I just have too much time on my hands.

My delicate balance in life has definitely become unbalanced.

But as with all things in Life, you can only take in all that Life throws at you, assess the situation, create a Plan and then start executing the Plan.

So here I am on a flight to Houston to have my left knee evaluated for a Total Knee Replacement.  That's the next step in restoring a normal Walk of Life - literally and figuratively.

I will likely spend the rest of 2016 dealing with the plans, schedule, events and post-surgery rehab of a Total Knee Replacement - which is OK, because it's something that has to be done.

But I still have to function in other aspects of my Life while that's going on.

Which leads me back to the discussion I had with my son.  Basically, I asked him for constructive criticism, analysis and advice on developing better social skills and personal interaction.

You have to understand my son comes from a generation that has had access to all kinds of information, lists, procedures, techniques and self-help guides for being or at least seeking to be what I call "the Perfect Person" - the Best..... Communicator, Worker, NetWorker, Father, Son, Brother, Hunter, Cook - with the Best Disposition and the Best Body and Mind with every minute of every day working at becoming better at all these things and more.

And Hey - there's nothing wrong with all that....

Or is there?  I'll get back with you on that.

So let's go down the list of social topics and advice my World-Wise Son threw out to his dysfunctional Old Man!
  • Space - When you're talking with someone, don't get too close to them.  Don't invade their Space. You'll know you violated the Inner Sanctum when they draw back from you.  I probably have a problem with this but for a totally unrelated reason.  I have a high frequency hearing loss since I was 20 as a result of shooting thousands of rounds of a 12 gauge shotgun without hearing protection - which was "unheard" of - Oh that's funny - back when I was 15 - 20 years old.  As a result, I unconsciously lean toward people when they're talking to me, especially in a personal conversation, to better hear them.  Guess I'll have to work in a different Audio -  Space continuum.... Next.
  • Gesturing / Physical Expression - I talk a lot and I talk pretty expressively with hand gestures and this turns most people off according to my son.  I'm probably more guilty of this in the morning when I'm amped up on caffeine cause I'm definitely a morning person.  But point well taken.
  • Giving People Complements - especially Women.  My son gave me this dissertation on the fact that you're never supposed to give personal complements like you should never tell a woman she has pretty hair or nice eyes or whatever to which I asked the question - "Why give a complement if it's not personal?" I mean that's the whole point - right?  So we went round and round about this for a while and agreed to disagree.  Let me put it this way - I've probably given out 100 personal complements to men and women over the last year and I've never gotten one negative or adverse reaction so I must be doing something right.  Moving on.
  • Touching people - Now this is one where everybody has to be careful.  It's definitely a function of how well you know someone which will tell you how comfortable they are with being touched.  Enough said.
  • Texting and follow-up - This is one where I really don't do very well.  Not that I don't text well because I think I do probably too much.  Where I fail is I expect everybody else to take the time to text and to text as much as I do and follow up as quickly as I do.... and that's just not realistic because people's texting style and inclination and time to text is as different and varied as the people are.  So just because you text someone, don't expect a reply back.... today..... and if they don't reply that probably tells you something.  Duly noted.... or texted.
  • Cussing - This issue is as old as I am... because I grew up with cussing.  My dad cussed, people in high school cussed; I worked in an environment for 25 years - the chemical industry - where cussing was rampant.  It was just part of the language... and frankly, that's how I view cussing.  I personally don't see it as a personal deficiency or bad habit... just a manner of speaking.  I typically cuss to provide added emphasis or effect to what I'm saying and / or to express joy or frustration or anger. For example - I could say "Man - that was a hard workout" or I could say "Man - that was a hard fucking workout".  Which workout do you think was harder?  Some people might say "Well - you're just a crude person that's making an excuse for a bad habit".  To which I would reply...... "Fuck off!".
  • Personal Hygiene - I actually got high marks from my son on this one - Personal grooming was good, breath was good, clothes was good, hair was good.  Don't know what to say - guess I'm glad I passed the appearance and smell test.
This was like a 4 minute presentation and I figured most of the advice was selected and presented based on his personal observations of some of my social deficiencies.

Which is fine - that's what I asked for and that's what I got.

And quite honestly, I acknowledged and agreed with all the facts and figures, approaches and techniques he presented.

Kinda reminds me of one of my favorite scenes from my favorite movie series from one of my favorite actors.... Tom Selleck as Jesse Stone in "Stone Cold" - he and his girlfriend are sitting at dinner and she's counseling him on dealing with an unhealthy obsession with an ex-wife and his excessive drinking that results.

After her reasonable and heartfelt counseling he looks at her with appreciation and says.....

"Your advice is good.... it's just not good for me".

If I learned and practiced all of the recommended renovations to my Rambling Wreck of a Life Estate, no doubt I would probably be a better person.... Well at least I would be doing more things right....

Which leads to a Better and Happier Life - right?

Hmmm.... Not so fast there.

Do I really wanna be like everybody else, i.e. the "normal" people of the world?

Do I seek Social Rightness at the cost of the "Snowflake - ness" that makes me the Weird and Unique Creature I am?

I dunno - that's a Tough One.

On one hand, you are a more accepted and functional member of  society apt to do the right things, say the right things, and surely advance in Social, Relational and Financial status - Who wouldn't want that?

On the other hand, you don't break any laws, don't hurt anybody or yourself - physically at least - you ruffle a few feathers, sometimes make a spectacle of your yourself, but are always true to your natural bent - seeking and following the Life Line that is true to your nature and unique perspectives and approaches to dealing with People and Life in general.

I guess over the years I have encountered and been a victim of this "Cookie Cutter" approach to people... and frankly, I don't like it.

Mainly, I don't like how it excludes perfectly good people that have their imperfections.

I have seen brilliant and productive people kicked out of work environments at the short and long term detriment of them and their employer, all because they were different and they didn't follow or practice all the social graces.

Some of the most interesting, fascinating and inspiring people and frankly, the people I looked up to the most, were very unique, eclectic and stubborn individualists - they were extreme in one or many aspects of their social or relational approach to life.  They might even be classified as dysfunctional, weird, OCD, outcasts.... and if interviewed by a psychiatrist - be plastered with a number of labels in this "If you can Name it, you can Tame it" society we live in.

But dammit - they were interesting.... and entertaining... and fun to be around.... and maybe part of their appeal was that they were so....























Maybe I am drawn to people like this, identify with them and feel comfortable with them because....

I can identify and empathize with all their failures, foibles and idiosyncrasies.

Because I am the same way.

And because I accept them.... maybe... they will accept me.

Should you seek to be a Good Person, to be a contributing member of society, to be nice and follow all the social etiquette and develop and practice the virtues of Social Rightness?

Sure you should.....

Just make sure you don't lose yourself doing it.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

A friend of mine asked me what I want and need....

And my first thought was What I Want and What I Need....

Are 2 different things.

What I Want is a subject that could take a while so I'll get back with you that.

What I Need..... Hmmm.... Let me sleep on that.

So I did and got up this morning and did my usual routine of strong Coffee - this one a German mix - and my usual music video viewing on VH1 and Palladia....

And as the Caffeine combed the cobwebs from my sleep deprived mind.... I began to think about what I want.

And then this video popped up on Palladia....


"Me, Myself & I"
(feat. Bebe Rexha)

[Bebe Rexha (G-Eazy):]
Oh, it's just me, myself and I
Solo ride until I die
'Cause I got me for life
(Got me for life, yeah)
Oh I don't need a hand to hold
Even when the night is cold
I got that fire in my soul

[G-Eazy:]
And as far as I can see I just need privacy
Plus a whole lot of tree, fuck all this modesty
I just need space to do me get a world that they're tryna see
A Stella Maxwell right beside of me
A Ferrari I'm buyin' three
A closet of Saint Laurent, get what I want when I want
'Cause this hunger is driving me, yeah
I just need to be alone, I just need to be at home
Understand what I'm speaking on if time is money I need a loan
But regardless I'll always keep keepin' on
Fuck fake friends, we don't take L's we just make M's
While y'all follow, we just make trends
I'm right back to work when that break ends

[Bebe Rexha (G-Eazy):]
Oh, it's just me, myself and I
Solo ride until I die
'Cause I got me for life
(Got me for life, yeah)
Oh I don't need a hand to hold
Even when the night is cold
I got that fire in my soul

[Bebe Rexha (G-Eazy):]
I don't need anything to get me through the night
Except the beat that's in my heart
Yeah, it's keeping me alive
(Keeps me alive)
I don't need anything to make me satisfied (you know)
'Cause the music does me good and it gets me every time

[G-Eazy:]
Yeah, and I don't like talking to strangers
So get the fuck off me I'm anxious
I'm tryna be cool but I may just go ape shit
Say "fuck y'all" to all of y'all faces
It changes though now that I'm famous
Everyone knows how this lifestyle is dangerous
But I love it the rush is amazing
Celebrate nightly and everyone rages
I found how to cope with my anger
I'm swimming in money
Swimming in liquor my liver is muddy
But it's all good I'm still sippin' this bubbly
This shit is lovely, this shit ain't random, I didn't get lucky
Made it right here 'cause I'm sick with it Cudi
They all take the money for granted
But don't want to work for it tell me now, isn't it funny? Nah

[Bebe Rexha (G-Eazy):]
Oh, it's just me, myself and I
Solo ride until I die
'Cause I got me for life
(Got me for life, yeah)
Oh I don't need a hand to hold
Even when the night is cold
I got that fire in my soul

[Bebe Rexha (G-Eazy):]
I don't need anything to get me through the night
Except the beat that's in my heart
Yeah, it's keeping me alive
(Keeps me alive)
I don't need anything to make me satisfied (you know)
'Cause the music does me good and it gets me every time

[Bebe Rexha (G-Eazy):]
Like ba-ba-ba-ba-da-ba
Ba-ba-ba-da-ba (Yee!)
Ba-ba-ba-ba-da-ba
Ba-ba-ba-da-ba
Ba-ba-ba-ba-da-ba
Ba-ba-ba-da-ba
'Cause the music does me good and it gets me every time

[G-Eazy:]
Yeah, lonely nights I laid awake
Pray to lord, my soul to take
My heart's become too cold to break
Know I'm great but I'm broke as hell
Having dreams that I'm folding cake
All my life I've been told to wait
But I'mma get it now, yeah it's no debate
Yeah

[Bebe Rexha (G-Eazy):]
Oh, it's just me, myself and I
Solo ride until I die
'Cause I got me for life
(Got me for life, yeah)
Oh I don't need a hand to hold
Even when the night is cold
I got that fire in my soul

[Bebe Rexha (G-Eazy):]
I don't need anything to get me through the night
Except the beat that's in my heart
Yeah, it's keeping me alive
(Keeps me alive)
I don't need anything to make me satisfied (you know)
'Cause the music does me good and it gets me every time

[Bebe Rexha:]
Like ba-ba-ba-ba-da-ba
Ba-ba-ba-da-ba
Ba-ba-ba-ba-da-ba
Ba-ba-ba-da-ba
Ba-ba-ba-ba-da-ba
Ba-ba-ba-da-ba
'Cause the music does me good and it gets me every time

And I thought.... Damn.... that song pretty much pegs it.

Oh, it's just me, myself and I
Solo ride until I die
'Cause I got me for life
(Got me for life, yeah)
Oh I don't need a hand to hold
Even when the night is cold
I got that fire in my soul

I've just never been a person who wants to rely on anyone or owe anyone anything.

I never borrowed tools or anyone else's time or asked for favors..... 

I realize my future Total Knee Replacement surgery is gonna leave me dependent on others at least for a week or so and honestly....

That's the part of that whole terrible process I dread the most.

Being dependent on someone else is definitely not something I want or need.

So there you have it, friend, all I really NEED is 3 things......

Me, Myself and I.

P.S.  Love that he's driving an old Mustang Fastback in the video!

Santa Fe Breakfast.... Done Texas Style!

Decided to change things up this morning.

I usually do a 16 hour fast every day.... meaning I don't eat anything in the morning until 16 hours after my previous evening's meal.

But I had some stomach pains yesterday and figured it might be because I was taking  my NSAID and other supplements on an empty stomach.

Well - I can fix that.

Cue up a 1 quart pot with a 1/3 cup of dried grits, 1-1/4 cups of water and a sprinkle of salt on low heat for 10 minutes.  Stir continuously to prevent clumping and create that silky, smooth texture you need for grits.

Diagonal from the grits is a 16 oz ribeye that's been sitting in the fridge for 2 days with a dry rub of Adolph's Seasoned Meat Tenderizer, Salt, Pepper, Garam Masala, Cumin, Turmeric and Allspice.  As usual, I forked the steak pretty vigorously on each side to manually tenderize the meat and drive the spices into the inside.

Taste, Baby, Taste..... It's all about making food taste good.



So I put 4 minutes on the first side of the ribeye and flipped it and put the timer on for 3-1/2 minutes on the 2nd side cause the steak was about 3/4" thick and I wanted it medium.

Meanwhile back at the ranch or la casa - depending on which state you're in - I put 2 eggs into the non-stick pan and made up a slurry of 2 teaspoons of flour, salt, pepper, cayenne and water.  Yep - that's it - simplest and lowest calorie gravy mix in the world.

The flavoring for the gravy will come from what remains in the skillet when I take the steak out.















Turn the heat way down on the skillet for at least 3 - 4 minutes before you pour in the gravy mix and then stir it slowly with a spatula to keep it from clumping or sticking.

It reduces quickly so add warm water as necessary to get the thickness you want.















Plate the grits with a sprinkle of pepper, 1/2 pat of real butter and slide the over medium eggs straight out of the skillet and onto the grits.

Let the steak rest for at least 5 minutes.















Finish the plating with some avocado and diced tomatoes with the grits and eggs and a little gravy on the side.

Side the Ribeye with a cantaloupe, mango, apple, red onion, jalapeno, cilantro salsa and spoon some of the skillet gravy on top.

Black Coffee completes the ensemble.















Now some might look at this layout and say "Man - if you ate like that everyday, you'd weigh 400 lbs in a year!"

To which I say - "Maybe... Maybe not."

Let's break it down and look at the data.

First off, I didn't eat the whole steak - don't need to - it's too much - I ate about 1/3.  This was a bone-in 16 oz ribeye so I probably ate about 5 oz.

So here's the calorie count for this meal:

  • 5 oz of grilled ribeye = 77 calories / oz * 5 oz = 385 calories
  • 2 eggs prep'd with NO OIL = 2 * 60 = 120 calories
  • 1/3 cup dry grits = 160 calories
  • 2 teaspoons of flour = 56 calories; I only ate 1/2 the gravy but will count all the calories that went in.
  • 1/2 oz butter = 60 calories
  • 1/2 small avocado = 120 calories
  • 2 tablespoons of fresh fruit salsa = 100 calories
  • TOTAL CALORIES = 1001 calories..... Perfect.... about 1/2 my calories for the day.
So for 1000 calories, I got a wonderful meal that will hold me up through a 2 hour bike ride this morning which will burn at least 1000 calories.

So the next time you want Steak, Eggs, Grits and Gravy for breakfast, don't think you're blowing the diet.

Cook lean with no oil in a cast iron skillet and watch your portion on the ribeye and....

Enjoy.

That's what a Life of Discovery is all about!

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Attitude and Timing.... 2 Basic Building Blocks of a Life worth Living

Have entered a new and different phase in Life recently.

God, the Powers that Be or My Counterpart in an Alternate Universe, has slowed me down for a reason.

Not quite sure what that is yet, but am embracing it with the understanding and expectation that I must learn and change to take advantage of it.

No use pushing on a string.

You have a choice when Life presents you with difficult circumstances.

You can recede, resign and recline....

Or.

You can embrace the Setbacks in Life.
They might be trying to tell you something.
And if you have the courage and the humility...
And take time to listen.
You might learn something about Yourself.
And become better for it.

Was watching "Later... with Jools Holland" this morning - one of my favorite shows offered on the Palladia channel on Comcast.

Love this musical extravaganza because it showcases and highlights an incredible menagerie of past, current and new musical talent.

This particular show had an eclectic combination of talent.... Adele, R Kelly, Lizz Wright and a combo of Charlie Wilson and John Newman.

So I opened my ears and my mind to its offerings.

And I wasn't disappointed.

Heard 2 incredible presentations from Adele and then R Kelly cued up and sang this gorgeous song that left the audience, Adele and everyone in the Jools Holland studio in a standing ovation and me in near tears....

https://youtu.be/GIQn8pab8Vc

On the surface, some might look at me and my life and say "Man - what have you got to bitch about - you have a great Life".

And they would be absolutely right.

But it doesn't mean that I haven't had my fair share of challenges and setbacks....

From a first marriage that left me betrayed and empty to Life as a Single Parent where I dealt with the guilt and tragedy of a broken home and family.

To trying to hang on to and continue to develop a relationship with a Son that I basically raised but had no biological or relational right to.

And a daughter that is my Life passion.

So I embraced the grind of a New Life and a New Direction...

That led me into a second marriage....

Which was probably right at the Time but that Time and my Own Failures led to...

Failure.

Life seemed to be just a....

Tiring Game....

https://youtu.be/DI7k3GX8KI

In retrospect, it was all about....

Attitude and Timing.

You have to be able to recognize if something is right for you and right for the other person and perhaps realize that it's not right for who you are and where you are in the Walk of Life.

I've come to realize that I'm just a Life Wanderer and Wonderer.

It's easier to look at relationships as Life Paths coming together..... some for a short time... some for a Life Time.

I can't waste time and effort on those people who view me as an anomaly or an oddity.

My enthusiastic, expressive, extroverted, open-minded and open-hearted Way of Living is a Turn Off to most.

My Son and I have this running debate on my approach to Life with him advising me to present a more conservative, hold something back, less revealing, less amped up view of myself to the World and I argue for the "Here I am, Full Disclosure, this is Me - Take it or Leave it" approach.

He and I are about as different as 2 people can be, but the underlying respect and love that we have for each other provides a foundation for a relationship that grows and changes with Time.

My Game is nothing new....

It's kinda the way I've always been and always will be.

Been leaning to the Jazz / R&B side of music lately with the help of a friend who looks and sounds a lot like Lizz Wright -

https://youtu.be/uqJevfXy0oY

So with the help of a new day, new hope and my ever present and never failing love, Ms. Caffeine.... which is my true Soul and Sole mate!















I cruise into this beautiful Saturday morning with the cool sounds of Kandace Springs...

Realizing that while Love has sometimes gotten in the Way of Life...

https://youtu.be/KVffQh5W2vg

I have no regrets.

Don't know how I stumbled onto this one but Holy Shit.... if ever there was a Wonder Woman...

https://youtu.be/cypK8nDxR9E

Come on Alabama, Mississippi, New Mexico, Texas.... or wherever you call home.

Let's cop an attitude of Hope and Expectation...

That Today is gonna be the Best Day of....

The Rest of Our Lives.

Friday, February 12, 2016

Sometimes all we have is the Hope for Morning to get us Through the Darkness

No big secret I spend a lot of time listening to music even while working.

So I was working on a job procedure this morning and had my iPhone going at a subdued volume on an iHeart Flyleaf station and as the songs cued up I was hearing some songs I had heard before while listening to this station and then this song came up and it took me about halfway through it before the running melody and lyrics started to enter my conscious brain.

I stopped my work for 30 seconds, snapped a screenshot of the song and band just as the song was concluding vowing to go back and listen to it again...

And I did....

And I'm glad I did because it just floors me how these musicians come up with these lyrics and then mate them to music and they become...

Magic.

There was no "produced" video for this song on YouTube but a nicely done "Lyrics" version which I thought was even better because it forced me to focus on the lyrics which had a lot of "hit me where it hurts" meaning.

I have had a lot of trouble sleeping  lately partly because of my incessant knee pain and that gives me time to lie awake at night and ponder the mysteries of the universe and the masteries and maladies of my life.

Not sure if that's oh so healthy or not but it does give me time to reflect on where I've been, where I'm at and where I'm going.

As a friend of mine continuously reminds me, Life is all about self-awareness.

Recognizing who you are, what your strengths and weaknesses are and striving everyday to come to grips with your foibles and failures and becoming better despite them.

A better person, A better member of society, A better friend, A better spouse, A better parent....

This song has elements of self-doubt, seeking self-awareness, the old self-help tactic of "Fake it till you Make it" and the incredible imagery of hope in waiting for the Darkness to fade into Dawn.

I think you'll like it..... I know I did.



















https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5e_cbtp4Yo0

"Hope Of Morning"

My mind's a kaleidoscope, it thinks too fast
Blurs all the colors 'til I can't see past
The last mistake, the choice I made
Staring in the mirror with myself to blame
Sometimes I'm afraid of the thoughts inside
Nowhere to hide inside my mind
I'm scared that you'll compare and I'll look a lifetime past repair
I second guess myself to death, I re-solicit every step
What if my words are meaningless? What if my heart's misleading this?
I try to capture every moment as it comes to me
Bottle up the memories and let them keep me company

When the hope of morning starts to fade in me
I don't dare let darkness have its way with me
And the hope of morning makes me worth the fight
I will not be giving in tonight

When I'm old and grey, or thirty, or whatever happens first,
I'll need you to reassure me I didn't waste a verse
Or worse, what if my life's work is reduced to just myself
Like never let you get a word in, while I dissect my mental health
Or lack thereof, whatever, there's too many things to track
I really can't remember if I'm insane or insomniac
Now days, all the kids want crazy, wanna diagnose themselves
Trade up made up epidemics, pass around prescription pills
But my disorder can't be cured by a bottle, blade, or dose
Self-disgust and selfishness tend to hold me awfully close
But I don't wanna let you see that, I don't want my friends to know
Self-disgust and selfishness take me everywhere I go

When the hope of morning starts to fade in me
I don't dare let darkness have its way with me
And the hope of morning makes me worth the fight
I will not be giving in tonight

Try as I might to keep it together
Why is recovery taking forever
Fool the whole world, just until I get better
I'm terrified I'll be faking forever
On and on I wonder what went wrong inside my head
I don't have to have the answers, but tonight I wish I did
All the pain I can't explain away won't fade
All the the secrets silenced by the shame
Don't make me say it [x7]

When the hope of morning starts to fade in me
I don't dare let darkness have its way with me
And the hope of morning makes me worth the fight
I will not be giving in tonight

My Life of Discovery is often led by my Discovery of Music.

Just like in Life, I keep trying new things, learning and listening to new things and new people and being inspired, motivated and amazed by the Magic of Music.

P.S.  Hope for Morning is beautiful and then I watched the next video by Icon for Hire cued up on YouTube - "The Grey"

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nQtzSmv_9D4

And I was blown away.....

Again.

Always Stay Humble and Kind...

Got up early this morning looking for some inspiration to start my day.

Was having my morning cup of wake-up and watching music videos on VH1 as I am apt to do.

Every once in a while, I'll switch it over to the CMT channel to check out a few country videos.

And.... there it was....

My Day.... No check that.... My Life Inspiration.

Listened to this song by one of my favorite country artists - Tim McGraw - and just got lost in the message.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=awzNHuGqoMc

"Humble And Kind"

You know there's a light that glows by the front door
Don't forget the key's under the mat
Childhood stars shine, always stay humble and kind
Go to church 'cause your momma says to
Visit grandpa every chance that you can
It won't be wasted time
Always stay humble and kind

Hold the door, say please, say thank you
Don't steal, don't cheat, and don't lie
I know you got mountains to climb but
Always stay humble and kind
When the dreams you're dreamin' come to you
When the work you put in is realized
Let yourself feel the pride but
Always stay humble and kind

Don't expect a free ride from no one
Don't hold a grudge or a chip and here's why
Bitterness keeps you from flyin'
Always stay humble and kind
Know the difference between sleeping with someone
And sleeping with someone you love
"I love you" ain't no pick up line so
Always stay humble and kind

Hold the door, say please, say thank you
Don't steal, don't cheat, and don't lie
I know you got mountains to climb but
Always stay humble and kind
When those dreams you're dreamin' come to you
When the work you put in is realized
Let yourself feel the pride but
Always stay humble and kind

When it's hot, eat a root beer popsicle
Shut off the AC and roll the windows down
Let that summer sun shine
Always stay humble and kind
Don't take for granted the love this life gives you
When you get where you're goin
Don't forget to turn back around
And help the next one in line
Always stay humble and kind

I mean, come on.....

How many times have you ever got up in the morning and said....

"My goal for today is to be Humble and Kind".

I'm the world's worst at this always focusing on myself and my daily activities.

You wanna know why it's so hard to be Humble and Kind?

Because it requires us to focus on someone else other than ourselves.

It requires us to step back and put someone else first..... to walk behind.... to support and to nurture...

And, most importantly, it opens us up to the possibility and the potential that.....

We will be hurt or disappointed or betrayed.

I gotta say that every time in my life that I have become too focused on my accomplishments and on my own sense of importance -

Life has had a way of taking all that away from me...

And reminding me to always stay....

Humble and Kind.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

There's No Going Back!

Another past hang up of  mine was....

Being hung up on the past.

I used to say, "Man - if I just hadn't done this.... or that.... I would've been so much better off".

In retrospect, it was just plain stupid.  I spent... no.... wasted too much time dwelling on the past.

Yeah - you do have to spend a little time reflecting on your past - long enough to realize what you did wrong and learn from your mistakes.

The learnings may help you in the present or they may not.

A lot of the mistakes I made were a product of being a different person than I am now so while we must accept and embrace the fact that our Past makes us Who We Are Today, there may be limited benefit in spending too much time contemplating and applying it.

And here's the biggest problem with Living in the Past....

It keeps you from Living in the Present.

Pretty simple concept but it has an incredible impact on the most important thing for you today....

Which is Today.

Let me make it even simpler.

You create your Past with every thought and action you are engaging in RIGHT NOW.

Consider that the next time you start to say something negative, critical or derisive to someone....

As usual, this little dissertation in dissidence was inspired by a piece of music I was listening to....



















So when you go to sleep tonight and you spend that last few minutes of wakefulness reflecting on the day, just remember, there are no Rewinds in Life, No Instant Replays and No Challenge Flags you can throw on the field in protest.....

There's No Going Back!

https://youtu.be/wLvHws3wzi0

"There's No Going Back"

I had a plan and it made God laugh
It didn't work, should've checked the math
I hit the wall 'cause I live too fast
I didn't know it could hurt that bad

I clung to hope when there was none
I should've known that was so dumb

(Whoa oh oh oh)
(Whoa oh oh oh)

I was a dick when I was seventeen,
I thought the world owed me everything
But who I am and who I'll never be
Is all the shit that happens in between

(Whoa oh oh oh)
(Whoa oh oh oh)

There's no going back,
When life's a loaded gun, you pull the trigger, trigger
There's no going back
The past is in the past
Thank God it doesn't last forever

There's no going back
Fuck that going back
There's no going back
Fuck that going back

Yesterday was another life
Turning left didn't turn out right
Stuck in hell when I was twenty-five
You can't regret what you don't decide

I should have stayed, should have let go
Should've, could've means you'll never know

(Whoa oh oh oh)
(Whoa oh oh oh)

There's no going back
When life's a loaded gun, you pull the trigger, trigger
There's no going back
The past is in the past
Thank God it doesn't last forever

There's no going back
Fuck that going back
There's no going back
Fuck that going back

The future I'm living now
Is not what I'd thought it'd be
The person I was before
Is nothing like me
The future I'm living now
Is the way that I want it to be
The minute I walk through the door
I slam it behind me

There's no going back
When life's a loaded gun, you pull the trigger, trigger
There's no going back
The past is in the past
Thank God it doesn't last forever

There's no going back
Fuck that going back
There's no going back
Fuck that going back

Are you showing your Best Colors?

You know... as I've gotten older and realized that I've gotten older, I've realized that you really have to make each day count.

You can't afford to waste time or days on bad feelings or bad anything.

I look at each day as an investment.... I have to put something into it to get something out of it.

There's a lot of shit I can't control but I am not one of them.

Used to, I would get up in the morning and I hadn't slept well or I ate or drank too much the night before or I was worried about this or that or whatever excuse I wanted to put on it and I would go face the day with a bad face and a bad attitude.

Now life problems and stress and money problems and bad relationships in marriage or with your kids can put a swammy on anybody's outlook but at some point you just have to break that vicious cycle.

You have to take responsibility for yourself and how you portray yourself to the world.

It's kinda like my 2nd wife used to say..... "It's your attitude that you need to work on William".

I would just argue and say "My attitude is the product of my environment.... my Life is shitty so my attitude is shitty".

But you know.... for the most part we create our own environment.... and we create it with our attitude and all that comes from  it.

So several years ago, I started the transition of changing my attitude.

One thing people don't realize is how much your general health affects your outlook on life and how big a role a good diet, regular exercise and a decent sleep schedule affects that outlook.

Put all those things on the top of your priority list and watch how much easier Life gets.

Do I have as many stresses and daily demands as I used to?  No.  Part of that is because my kids are grown, my wife is gone and I am alone.  Frankly, it makes Life a whole lot easier. But even now I am frequently visited by a different set of challenges and each day the opportunity is there for me to be pissed off at the World.

But I have refused to let it work its way into my day.

I get up in the morning, have my coffee and spend a few minutes thinking about all the positives in my life - all the things I've got to be thankful for.

Yeah, my fucking left knee is killing me most of the time, but I'm walking.

My financial future is uncertain but I still have a sharp mind and the willingness and ability to work.

I am blessed to live in one of the premier destinations in the World.

So now - when I leave the confines of my comfy little condo and venture out into the world of uncertainty, I do so with a smile on my face and a song in my heart..... or at least blaring through my earbuds!

I wave at people while riding my bike, I smile and greet people at the gym, I exude strength, happiness and self-confidence.  I look for and present positive things to say.  I look for opportunities to complement people and to meet new people every day.

I put on my best happy face and show my best colors!

And I am rewarded with 10 times the good karma I project.

What goes around comes around applies to a positive attitude too.

Was listening to this song recently and it made me think about this whole concept of positive projection.....

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PYw0mg8RPKA

"Colors"
Can you feel it crush you? Does it seem to bring the worst in you out?
There's no running away from these things that hold you down
Do they complicate you because they make you feel like this?
Of all the colors that you've shined this is surely not your best

But you should know these colors that you're shining are...

[Chorus x2:]
Surely not the best colors that you shine

I know you feel alone, yeah, and no one else can figure you out
But don't you ever turn away from the ones that help you down?
Well they'd love to save you. Don't you know they love to see you smile?
But these colors that you've shined are surely not your style

[Chorus x2]

I know you're feeling like you're lost
But you should know these colors that you're shinin are
I know you're feeling like you're lost,
You feel you've drifted way too far
Did you know these colors that you're shinin' are

[Chorus x2]

Surely not the best..
(I know you're feeling like you're lost)
Colors that you shine..
(but you should know these colors that you're shining are)
Surely not the best..
(I know you're feeling like you're lost you feel you`ve drifted way too far)
Did you know these colors that you're shinin' are..


Let me ask you this.....

Everyday - when you greet your significant other, your kids, your co-workers, that stranger on the street....

Are you showing your Best Colors?

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

I don't know about this whole Total Knee Replacement shit....

Anybody that knows me knows I don't go into anything consequential, especially something I don't know about, without doing my research, my due diligence.

So with a recent downturn in my left knee market, I decided it was time to start shopping for a.....

New Knee.

Which in the world of medicine is known as a TKR - Total Knee Replacement.

So I visited the quintessential visual encyclopedia, YouTube and found this 14 minute video of an actual knee replacement surgery, which I have to tell you up front, if you tend to be a little queasy about these sorts of things, you probably don't want to watch this.  Put it this way, I had to pause it 3 times and walk away, drink some strong coffee and try it again:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bGOspdD25Dw

I called my son and talked to him about the absolute gruesome nature of this surgery based on this video and his comment was "You know - if everybody viewed a video of a surgery they were considering before they had the surgery, it's likely there would be a lot fewer surgeries".

Amen to that.

Then I got up this morning and googled "Knee Replacement Rehab" and went through these links....

Recovery Timeline: Rehabilitation Stages and Physical Therapy

Arthritis: Knee Replacement Surgery

http://www.aahks.org/care-for-hips-and-knees/do-i-need-a-joint-replacement/total-knee-replacement/

Total Knee Replacement: the First Year

Knee Replacement Recovery Time Guide

After reading through these and some of the stories related by people as far as how their recovery went, the level of pain they were in throughout the rehab process and even after full recovery and their level of mobility and range of movement, I kinda started rethinking the whole TKR thing.

In addition, the left knee, while still being somewhat painful in normal activities and obviously being bone to bone,  has improved somewhat over the last 5 - 6 days.

I am walking around the house and short distances without too much pain and have actually started doing body weight lunges of 20 - 40 reps for a few sets at the gym.

I've also been putting at least 45 minutes to an hour and a half per day on my bicycle.  The cold and icy Santa Fe weather has let up a little bit and allowed me that luxury.

In addition, and I hesitate to reveal this, but have to stay true to my policy of full disclosure, I have taken the next step in supplements and have ventured into the realm of PEDs starting a Testosterone supplement about 5 days ago.

And ironically, that's when the knee started improving dramatically - I'm not making this shit up.

I started rubbing in the dime size portion of Test on my left shoulder on Thursday, 02/05/16, and 5 days later the knee is dramatically better.

Now, it could be that the bicycle riding is helping which I'm sure it is... and I'm taking a lot of other natural supplements and I am 5 weeks into the "recovery" from the knee blowout on 01/04/16, but still, I think it is too much of a coincidence that I start the Test supplement and Voila, the knee pain is reduced 50 - 75% and the knee is stronger and I have more mobility and flexibility with less pain.....

Just saying.

And this morning, I made a climb on my heavy Trek 3700 mountain bike with 2 racks and an Ortlieb pannier on it, 5 miles up NM 475 which is the route to the Santa Fe Ski Basin.

It's a decent 5 mile climb and I was bearing down on the pedals pretty hard intentionally at a slow < 60 cadence and the left knee did good.

I had to turn around where the ice started on the first series of S's after the hill past the 10000 Waves spa, and I did a pretty good descent hitting 35 mph top speed on the way down.  I averaged 10 mph for the 10 mile ride which is not bad for a 1 legged old man on a heavy mountain bike going up and down 1/2 a mountain.

Incidentally, I did this same ride except all the way to the top and back down again back in May, 2010 on my Trek 1500 Road Bike with a Canon PowerShot on a handlebar bracket recording the fast ride down.
It's not particularly good footage because of the vibration with the handlebar mount of the camera but this 11 minute video gives you some idea about how fast and fun this descent was.  I think I hit 48 mph top speed on the stretch passing Hyde State Park and averaged 38 mph on this 11 minute run.

So, if you're so inclined, take a Dramamine and sit back and enjoy this 11 minute joy ride.... when I was a younger, more adventurous soul with 2 good knees and no fear!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G14dCmASC3w

Watching this video again for the first time in a long time, I am amazed at how fast I was going through the turns, how far over I was leaning and how I dodged the many potholes, road cracks, guardrails, vehicles and other road obstacles.

Would I do it again?

Hell Yeah!

And God willing and the creek don't rise, I will do it again this May!

I told you I don't plan on living forever nor do I want to and I think you have to do Things of Significance in order to Give Your Life Significance.

Let me say that again.....

You Have to do Things of Significance to Give Your Life Significance.

Making the climb from Santa Fe to the Santa Fe Ski Basin and back down again at full speed is a Thing of Significance.

So, in summary, after doing quite a bit of research on total knee replacement surgery and the year long recovery from it, I'm still gonna fly into Houston in a couple of weeks and have the evaluation with Dr. Gregory Stocks of the Fondren Orthopedic Group and get a lot more information on the whole process but suffice it to say....

I'm going to do everything I can to keep the knee I have as long as I can.

And if I can get back to a reasonable level of activity with light weights and can walk at least half a mile without a limp, I'm not gonna have the TKR until the ability to do those activities are taken away from me.

It's all about Risk and Reward.

At this point, I'm not sure the knee is bad enough to justify the Risks that a TKR represents.

And I still have some options left to help with the knee.

I don't think I'll get back to where I was before the beginning of year blowout but I think I can get back to a reasonable level of activities.

I know the bicycle riding is helping, the Testosterone supplements are helping and I still have a few more cards on the table including Human Growth Hormone (HGH) supplementation.  Based on my research and the anecdotal evidence provided in several discussions with people who have used HGH, this shit can work miracles in restoration and regeneration of damaged muscle tissue, bones and joints.

It's expensive but I'm willing to give it a try in lieu of a surgical procedure as body devastating as a TKR appears to be.

Yeah - there are risks to this sort of aggressive supplementation, but there's risks to TKR to and there's no guarantee you will even get back to where you were before the surgery.

At least that's the way I view it now based on what I know.

I am always open to new data and new information and will change my perspective and plans based on that.

But for now.....

I'm rethinking this whole Total Knee Replacement thing.

There's just something about having your fucking leg cut in 2 and reattached with metal and plastic components that doesn't set well with me.