Thursday, January 28, 2010

On My Way to Meet Me Again

We’ve all seen the Biggest Loser transformations on NBC and although those are a direct result of 8-hour-a-day work outs and restrictive meal plans, the truth is they’re trying to lose a lot more weight than what most of us are faced with dropping. My doctor appointment on Monday revealed my weight at 180 lbs and the truth is that it’s uncomfortably heavy for my frame. This Monday, February 1st, I will do to my weight what I did with my smoking – battle it. It isn’t about being thin; it’s about being healthy, flexible and feeling my best. The size 29 waist and washboard abs…well, they’re just gravy. So, as I look back at myself in my camo just 18 months ago - the body changes - I can say that it’s time to get it together and enjoy my forties. You have to step out and make your future happen…conquer it…head-on…because it’s not making any special trips to catch up with you.

On Blast
Lifelong issues…for some it’s their weight, for others it’s their complexion or maybe even their sense of style. We have a saying in Spanish that says, “El que no tiene dinga, tiene mandinga.” Simply put, if it isn’t one thing it’s another.
What is your dinga?

Keep passin’ the open windows…

Monday, January 25, 2010

Me Maintenance

Of all my friends, I'm the hypochondriac. The guy who sees a tumor when there's a pimple, pneumonia when there's a cold, a possibility for early death due to an aneurysm. Hey, I can't help it. I try to placate my fears by hitting the doctor every so often and pointing out everything that looks peculiar. Today, I've scheduled a dentist and doctor appointment in an effort to kill two birds with one stone. I'm asking about cosmetic dentistry possibilities. BD has already requested I not get the Mr. Ed package. I'm prepared for the miscellaneous wait and am prepared with my PSP and iPhone Kindle Reader. My fingers are crossed that any fears I have are again, unfounded.

Keep passin' the open windows...

- Mobile post from my iPhone

Thursday, January 21, 2010

As John Edwards Found, Time Will Reveal

It’s always easier to tell the truth – in retrospect. I was teaching the Minnie a lesson in honesty this week. After lying about his homework, we had a conversation where I mentioned that, “I am NOT angry when you don’t do something – I’m disappointed – but when you lie, I’m angry that you: 1) Lied to me 2) Think that I am somehow stupid enough to fall for it.” I ended the discussion with a simple statement, “I can respect you and work with you if you tell me the truth, but if you lie, you will receive my full wrath – you will be punished and you will have lost our trust. The conversation sank in and he stuck to the script for the first couple of days, but last night he played himself again – lying to me that he did his homework, only to ask for help from BD on the side. He got caught and I did the fiery, “See, you think you’re fooling somebody, but you’re not….” And on, and on, and on. On a bigger stage is John Edwards. He lied about having an affair, lied about having a baby and is now trying to run interference to a tell-all book set to release in the coming few weeks that show him the father of 2-year old Frances Hunter born to his, then videographer, in ’08. Edwards now says that he hopes his daughter will one day realize why he had to lie and forgive him. Alrighty then… First, it’s not our business – well, outside of that little Presidential-run-thing, but really, in the BIG scheme of things, this story is hurtful and disturbing to his wife and children who were lied-to and betrayed, more so than John Q Public who finds these juicy tidbits of gossip newsworthy. Time will reveal was the title of a beautiful song by a group called Debarge back in the ‘80s. As I mature, I’m less judgmental and recognize that the lesson of truth and honesty that I teach the Minnie are lessons I hope for in myself and those in my immediate circle. Honesty always wins. Even if the person you’re dealing with hates you at the moment, they will ultimately respect you for being honest and telling the truth. You can’t lose on that point. Unfortunately, when you’re in the midst of the issue, honesty sometimes doesn’t seem possible and as John Edwards will tell you, honesty is much easier….in retrospect.

On Blast
What lie have you told that IN RETROSPECT you wish you would’ve been honest about? How would the truth have changed the outcome?

Keep passin’ the open windows…

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Just a Few Moments

In those few quiet moments as I hustled to get out the door, I paused and thought to myself how I should take in these precious minutes and thank God for many blessings and how fragile our lives really are. An earthquake, a tsunami, a terrorist attack or something as simple as an artery or vein faltering under pressure, can be our end. Have we looked around? Do we see our blessings or are they lost on eyes looking for the next great thing? Does making the next dollar prevent us from seeing what we bought with the last dollar? After getting dressed I walked back to the bed and pulled the covers back to kiss my baby goodbye. I fed the dog and glanced at a picture of BD, the Minnie and I on a visit to Disney. We had such a great time. In those few moments I embraced my life; for all it is; for all its blessings. In those few moments I understood that all of it is not guaranteed, just a few moments.

Keep passin' the open windows...

- Mobile post from my iPhone

Friday, January 15, 2010

My Mommy; Happy Birthday Negra

Some would find it odd, but I speak to my mom two-maybe-three times a day. Millie and I are not just mother and son, she is one of my best friends. When I'm tired, weary or unable to cope with a difficult day, I need to just consider all that my mom has done - does really - and all seems attainable. As she celebrates another birthday, I am grateful for every moment I have her and relish each conversation, every visit and every day God grants me my mommy. Happy birthday Negra. You are everything a mom should be. The umbilical chord between you and I went from a physical to a spiritual one the day I was born.

Keep passin' the open windows...

- Mobile post from my iPhone

Thursday, January 14, 2010

All Smoked Out

This week I celebrated one year of being cigarette free! It’s an enormous accomplishment. I smoked for 25 years. Normally folks tell you how some amazing product helped them reach their goal, but my experience is that no drug will help you quit if you’re not ready to give cigarettes up. Once your mind is set, the body may be weak, but the mind is so much stronger. One year into my decision to quit, I still have daily temptations and cravings – yes, it’s that serious – but today I recognize that smoking is not an option. Part of my recovery is accepting that I can never believe that I’ve beat my addiction. You don’t beat addictions; you simply fight them – daily.

Here are my suggestions for folks who are trying to quit smoking:

** Set a specific date/time
Understand that you have the power to set yourself up to succeed or fail. The first step in succeeding is insisting that you hold yourself accountable for when you will stop smoking. Know the date/time in advance and do not deviate from this time for any reason. The first days are critical to your success so do not schedule to quit smoking on the weekend that you’re hanging with your buddies OR the morning of your BIG year-end review. Keep it real and set your quit date/time around the beginning of an average week.

**Rid Yourself of Temptation
Cigarettes, ash trays and matches must be disposed of the night before, if not the morning of, your scheduled quit time. At your scheduled quit date/time you should not light up one last cigarette or permit yourself to indulge in a final “good-bye” drag. It’s over. Your smoking cessation has begun. All cigarettes must be disposed of in a place where they cannot be retrieved. Cigarettes should be flushed down a toilet, sent down a trash compactor or tossed into a public trash can. This is especially important because an addict in withdrawal will retrieve their disposed cigarettes out of a baboons ass if need be.

**First Couple of Weeks Are Crucial
If you’re serious about quitting, understand that the first couple of weeks are crucial. You should refrain from hanging out in public bars or clubs to avoid your free access to smoking paraphernalia. Friends who smoke should be avoided in the first two weeks and if they can’t be avoided they must understand that they cannot smoke in your home or your car. You will be on edge the first couple of weeks and are at your weakest point – physically and mentally. Do not set yourself up to fail by believing you can interact with smokers and refrain from smoking. STAY CLEAR OF ALL POTENTIAL FRIENDS, FAMILY OR SITUATIONS THAT MAY FACILITATE SMOKING.

**You Can Never Have a Social Puff
Accept that you are a recovering addict. The smoking addiction is considered more powerful than an addiction to heroin. You can NEVER partake in a casual/social puff from a cigarette. You will undermine your efforts and trigger a tidal wave of defeat and relapse if you indulge yourself. You don’t have to be judgmental toward your smoking pals, but you also don’t have to be the punk that gets smoke blown in their face or are disrespected when you ask that folks don’t smoke in your home or car. Luckily, laws in most states are on your side and your smoking buddies will be forced to smoke outside of any club/bar environment you go to.

**One Day at a Time
If you’re really an addict (you smoked every day) you’ll notice that even after a few weeks, months, etc. you still desire a cigarette. Don’t dismay. You have to take it one day at a time. Build on each day by recognizing that you have overcome so far and will overcome again. Keep count of how long you have been smoke free to provide self-encouragement of what you will lose if you fail.

** Tackle Other Issues Only After You Have Smoking Cessation Under Control
There is a potential to gain 10-40 lbs when you quit smoking simply from replacing cigarettes with food/snack items. Understand that no matter how bad your temporary food/snack smoke replacements are, they can NEVER be as bad as the cigarettes you were smoking. Once you’ve managed the desire to smoke, you can begin to attack any issues that you may have developed with replacing your cigarettes with food items.

If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. Start at the beginning if you try and fail.

It isn’t easy, but it is rewarding to quit smoking. My desire to smoke is still there – ONE YEAR LATER – but the satisfaction at knowing that I have control over my behavior helps me to live healthier; smoke free.

Keep passin’ the open windows…

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Haiti; Do You Hear Me Now?

Haiti is no stranger to devastation. Long heralded as the poorest country in the Americas, the IMF (International Monetary Fund) now believes Nicaragua holds that title; making Haiti the 2nd poorest country in the Americas. Some would say, they can’t even win at being the worst. Floods, deforestation and a non-existent economy have rendered Haiti a wasteland; need that goes beyond humanitarian relief and looks more like a global intervention is needed. Yesterday, after a earthquake measuring 7.0 splintered the already ravaged country, the world now turns their attention to a country that has long begged for help. Today, more than 80% of the population lives in poverty with close to 40% of the national budget funded by foreign aid. For Haitians the earthquake may very well be the dark before dawn. Maybe now Americans realize that less than 500 miles off our shores, Haiti sits starving in despair. Diseased, hungry and hopeless they are returned to Haiti when they risk their lives at sea and arrive on U.S. soil. Hopefully the earthquake has shaken our moral foundation and we will show some compassion to our Haitian neighbors.

On Blast
Cubans are granted asylum once they set foot on U.S. soil. Do you believe Haitians should be granted the same opportunity? If so, how does the U.S. control illegal immigration?

Keep passin’ the open windows…

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Bringin’ Home the Bacon

BD and I do a great job of running an efficient home. With less than two weeks since our move, we’re still adjusting, but we have already set the wheels in motion for a successful partnership. The morning belongs to BD. He walks the dog, takes the Minnie to school and is our late guy at the office. My only job in the morning is to get out the door and on the train by 7am. Now this sounds like I have the pie gig, until the evening shift hits. I dash out of the office at 5pm sharp, pick up the Minnie at the aftercare, run to the grocery store for any necessary food items, get him settled in, walk the dog and get the Minnie cranking on homework before I cook dinner for the family. BD arrives and we sit to dinner – FAMILY FIRST - before he checks homework and we simmer down for the night. It sounds pretty smooth, but it can get hectic. With our routine in place we’re bringin’ home the bacon, frying it up in a pan and still feeling like we’re both the man.

On Blast
I congratulate my single-parent friends. It is an exhausting undertaking to work outside the home and maintain a healthy home life. What ideas do you have for keeping a busy household functioning as a loving family?

Keep passin’ the open windows…

Monday, January 11, 2010

Settling; Rolls Royce vs. Chevy

Contrary to popular belief, I wasn’t as promiscuous as people assumed. Yes, I had my fair share of fun follies, but my order to have a revolving door installed was declined for lack of traffic. That said, an associate recently asked me how it felt to ‘settle’ on one man and not have the fun that comes from a variety of pieces. Let’s keep it real here, most folks will rant-and-rave about how variety is the spice of life. It’s quite simple, if you own a Rolls Royce, why would you insist on giving it up for the opportunity to drive a different Chevy Malibu every day of the week? Variety doesn’t mean anything if the quality is lacking. Sometimes in our quest to prove our virility or maintain the lion-at-the-head-of-the-pride shit-show, we let true quality slip through our fingers. It’s a sad sight when the Animal Planet Channel features a National Geographic depicting the winded, crippled, mauled older lion chased out of his domain by the new, young leader on the block. Too bad lions don’t have the opportunity to settle down with one quality partner that can live out their years with happiness and dignity; turns out you do.

On Blast
Do you believe folks opt to play the field for variety OR is the inability to find a quality partner leading folks to promiscuity in the search for companionship?

Keep passin the open windows…

Friday, January 08, 2010

Cocoa's Next Top Puppy

Puppies are hard work, but if you do a great job you're rewarded with a magnificent addition to your family. As I mentioned before, Busta has been a respected member of my family for 10 years now. I've started looking for a puppy that fits our family and have now narrowed our choices to a splendid Chow-Chow or a regal Doberman pup. Both are equally beautiful and healthy pups. Now, the conversation with the breeders may break down after some negotiation, but the breeder business is like the auto industry, they need us more than we need them. I don't subscribe to the notion that you're going to hold me over the fire AND take my money. I'll keep you posted - even with pics - on our family's very own Next Top Puppy.

Attached is today's front runner to be Cocoa's Next Top Puppy

Keep passin' the open windows...

- Mobile post from my iPhone

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Living My Best Life

Quite honestly, living your best life is all relative to what you like and what you do to surround yourself with who and what you like on a daily basis. As active and outgoing as I appear to folks, I actually enjoy a pretty low key life. This year I've stretched my interpretation of living my best life to include minimizing my interaction with people and situations that go against my goal to live my best life. You don't have to be a 'yes' man in my life, but you won't be a thorn in my side. It isn't so hard to just blend the bad away until it's no longer part of your pictured future. Tomorrow really isn't promised, so I'll go ahead and live my best life today.

Keep passin' the open windows...

- Mobile post from my iPhone

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Age Winning Over Determination

Busta – my Miniature Schnauzer – has been with me since he was eight weeks old. In May, Busta will be 11-years old. Outside of one medical emergency that rendered Busta a temporary paraplegic, Busta has been a healthy guy. Since our move one week ago, Busta is now forced to navigate two, pretty steep, flights of steps. This morning, after having to call him to come downstairs to eat several times, Busta stumbled down the stairs and had to be fed by hand. Quite honestly he looked in pain at having to come down the stairs. After having to encourage him to eat, I ran back upstairs to begin getting ready for the work day when I heard Busta struggling and scratching trying to come up the flight of stairs to join me. I ran back down, scooped him up and placed him in his bed. He licked my hand – as if to say, ‘THANK YOU’ for the help. The realization hit me that my loyal best friend was showing real signs of aging. His pain and age are winning over his determination to be by my side at every moment. We often see what we want to see and I couldn’t see my pal growing old and struggling to still serve as my faithful protector. Busta can count on me being there to lift him up those stairs and carry him down those stairs to help him maintain his dignity as his body begins the process of betrayal…age winning over determination. It’s a sad sight.

On Blast
Canine companions will put your needs ahead of their own every time. They will tackle anything – no matter how big or threatening, comfort you when you’re down and even snuggle by you when you have nothing but a nasty word after a long day. There is no loyalty like that of a dog. Have you ever experienced that type of commitment and selfless abandon from a human being?

Keep passin’ the open windows…

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

For Better or For Worse

You don't know what a relationship will REALLY be like until you live together. Add a child to the mix and you have a trial by fire style merging. Today's family is as varied as flavors of ice cream. Traditional parents are now outnumbered by single family households and same gender parents don't even raise an eyebrow in major metropolitan cities. Yet each family celebrates their milestones, endure their own defeats and face their own hardships differently. It doesn't matter what your social status is or even your sexual orientation when you're making decisions affecting your family's future. As BD, the Minnie and I adjust to our new home we are hopeful that we continue to enhance each other's lives. That's what family really is about. Knowing that for-better-or-for-worse is just a way of saying that I love you enough to hang with you when everything is golden and when stuff ain't lookin' too hot. It isn't a deafeatist mentality, it is a concept exercised by loyalists from all walks of life.

Keep passin' the open windows...

- Mobile post from my iPhone