For the one....two...all right, I'll be generous to myself, three that might have missed me, it's been a long absence from here. Unfortunately, I became the unwilling recipient of a nasty illness that took the better part of a year to overcome. One that wreaked complete havoc with me, both mentally and physically. There were many days where it took every ounce of energy I had, to complete the most basic of day to day tasks.
What first seemed to be a simple bout of illness in September 2008, quickly turned into a debilitating one by late November. What I didn't realize until much later, is that I was experiencing what I have termed "sick-cycling". I would become ill, get well, and then become sick again. However, the time that I would be well between each bout was continually decreasing. The day after Thanksgiving, my body finally crashed and burned.
When I went to bed that evening, I felt fine. Within an hour, my heart was pounding furiously, and I felt like I was two degrees from spontaneously combusting. It felt like all of my skin was on fire. This went on for several hours, as I fought to get some rest, having to get up at 4:30 a.m. for work. Finally, I fell asleep around 3 for a brief rest.
I figured that with a few good days of rest, I'd be back to normal. How wrong I would turn out to be. In the midst of my sick-cycling, I had become so weak that I had to stop working out. Weights that were once easily lifted now felt like they were 10x their actual weight. It felt like I was in a mental fog much of the time. I could not move quickly in any fashion, or I would become light-headed. More than a few times, there would be a mind-body disconnect. My mind would want to do something, yet there was a felt delay, before my body would respond to the requested action. Neat on one hand, frustrating on other. No energy, light-headedness and constant mental fog, coupled with a painfully hacking cough, and the inability to keep food down. Sounds like a wonderful recipe of ailments, huh? Not!
Being the stubborn New Englander that I am, I was in no rush to see the doctor. Don't get me wrong, I like my doctor. I just don't like going to the doctor's. However, I ended up having a little help in making my decision to go.
For quite some time, my Better Half had been suggesting that I go see the doctor. And each time, I would tell her that I would give it a couple of weeks, and see if I got better. After awhile, her daughter, Miss M., became involved. I was now being tag-teamed into submission. It didn't take long, trust me. When the two most important women in your life are almost forcefully telling you to "Go to the doctor!", your options become limited. I made the appointment. It was easier to make the appointment, than bear the burden of knowing that they were worrying about me. For some bizarre reason, they love me.
After being prescribed some heavy-duty cough medicine, antibiotics, and an inhaler, I started my way on the road to recovery. However, it was short-lived. By the end of February, I had a relapse, though not as bad. This one I decided to tough out. With this one though, I lost a good chunk of my hearing for several months. Considering that I wasn't throwing up anymore, and no longer had a hacking cough, I figured the trade-off was a good one.
By May, my hearing had slowly started to return, and my energy levels had begun to increase. Mentally, I was still having issues. Though some would say that that's been a life long thing for me. It wasn't until sometime in October that I actually felt "right" again.
Being sick for some 9 months, it was time to play catch up. My house was a mess, my yard was a mess, and I had gained a considerable amount of weight. I was back to the weight that I was when I first started ER4YT. As I told my Better Half after seeing pictures of myself at my niece's graduation, "The current version of me just won't do!". With that exclamation, I dusted off my workout routines, prepared a meal plan, and dove back into weightlifting. Since July, I've lost 15 lbs., and the total amount of weight lifted has slowly but steadily been increasing. For a wedding that my Better Half and I attended in September, she had to take in my shirt three inches. On EACH side! And I'm not done yet.
It's been a helluva year, and it's now time to get back into the game of life. For those that know of my mischievous ways, I've been told in no uncertain terms that I am never allowed to stay home alone again! But that story will have to wait for another time. Right now, it just feels good to be back.
For all of those that are celebrating Thanksgiving this Thursday, may you all have a safe trip, and a wonderful gathering of friends and family. May everyone have a wonderful week filled with great health, happiness, and harmony.
Added Note: Hmmm...I was wondering why I was getting some comments in my Inbox this past week. For whatever reason, my Gelotology entry shows a date of November 2009. Even though I wrote it a year ago! Go figure. Maybe the comments are the kick in the butt that I needed to get writing again. So thanks to all for the comments!
No, Ladies and Gentlemen, Gelotology is not the study of gelatin. By a show of hands, how many had that as their first thought? Yeah, I thought so. For those of you that did, here's your quick study for the day. Gelatin is an avoid for A's, B's, and AB's. For us O's, it's a neutral. Now, who remembers the Jell-O jingle, "Watch it wiggle, see it jiggle"? All right, everyone out of Mr. Peabody's WABAC Machine, and back to the present.
Gelotology is the study of laughter, and humor. and their effect on the human body. Laughter has also been studied from both a psychological, and physiological perspective. What I'd like to know is who first presented the idea of doing research on laughter, and who first gave money for the study? That must have made for an interesting study proposal!
With all that has taken place in recent weeks, folks could definitely use a healthy dose of laughter. Political campaigns, the Wall Street meltdown, the mortgage meltdown, hijackings off the African coast, rising food prices, and a whole slew of other happenings.
How we react to the events that go on in, and around our lives, are critical to our physical, and emotional well-being. When we allow the people, objects, or situations around us to dictate our thoughts, emotions, and physical behaviors, we are giving them our energy, our power. Why would we want to waste our energy on someone, or something, that we don't like, or that is out of our control? As Florence Scovel-Shinn noted many years ago, "All stress is self-imposed". We are only affected by that which we allow to affect us. If we are going to allow ourselves to be affected, let it be by laughter, and happiness, not anger, jealousy, or hostility.
As more studies about laughter come to light, the physical and emotional benefits of laughter become evident. With laughter, stress hormones such as cortisol, epinephrine, and adrenaline are reduced. At the same time, healthy hormones such as endorphins, and neurotransmitters are increased. Laughter also provides a physical workout for the abs, diaphragm, and even the heart. So which is more beneficial, having a good laugh, or flipping the guy off that just cut you off in traffic? It's far easier, and better, to laugh at him, than to risk a road-rage incident.
Back in February, I had pretty much given up on the radio, and televised news. Most televised news is doom and gloom. Every once in awhile, they offer an uplifting story, but not nearly often enough. My 700+ album collection just wasn't cutting it on my hour long commute to work anymore, either.
So instead, I started listening to comedy music. Years ago, I used to listen to the Dr. Demento show every Sunday night. It was on past my bedtime, but I would put my head right up against my clock radio, and listen to it at a very low volume. The hard part was stifling my laughter when one of the more funny songs would come on. Imagine my surprise, when I found out that the Dr. Demento show was still on the air. Unfortunately, no one in my area carries the show anymore. However, I did find a radio station in California, KEGR, http://www.kegr.org/ that still plays older shows, and streams them online. So once again, every Sunday night from 10 p.m. to midnight, I'm tuned in to the Dr. Demento show. I'm just not cuddling with the clock radio anymore
I had also found an internet radio station that plays comedy music, called DementiaRadio; http://www.dementiaradio.org This has become my go to station when I'm working twelve hour shifts on the weekends. There are D.J.'s with their own shows, but there are also large blocks of time where songs in their playlist are played randomly. You can even access the playlist, and request songs through their automated d.j.!
Another place that I've begun to hang around is The Mad Music Archive; http://www.themadmusicarchive.com/ One needs to register to listen to their shows, but it is free. After spending some time listening, I've found a whole bunch of new songs to laugh to, and a lot of old songs to laugh to again.
So here's a few YouTube links to some comedy songs, to start you on your way to laughter. Some of the videos are of the artists themselves, and others are videos that people have put together to go with a particular song. Laugh, be happy, and smile. The smile that you share may go a long way in helping to brighten someone elses day.
For all of us 80's children, Buckner & Garcia's Pac-Man Fever; http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kIhrrk-dmQE
A definite food related video; http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KmK0bZl4ILM
Redneck love; http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qiNoUbe7aHo
Another by Kacey Jones; the video is a little off the wall, but the lyrics make up for it. This one's for the women http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tW1BDiWMvrc
The Husband Song; http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vcPMKD8GFkI&feature=related
And, to save the best for last, The Colorectal Surgeon, by Bowser & Blue; http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_N0w2rORwSc
Ahhhhh.....finally! A chance to actually sit, and relax. My first real day in almost two months, where I haven't had a list of things to try and plow through each day. After my electronics mayhem in May, all but the tv has been repaired. Unfortunately, that was not to be all of my mayhem. But at least now we know how the word mayhem came to be, and it certainly wasn't because it was a month of catastrophic sewing mishaps. Before the month was over, I managed to FUBAR my computer as well. For those that aren't familiar with the acronym, the polite version stands for, "Fouled Up Beyond All Recognition". However, during the moment of crisis, the first word is usually replaced with a much more direct F word. I am just now getting a handle on that whole issue as well.
Enough of the depressing stuff, let's get to the good stuff. After round one of my mayhem, I was determined to salvage my month of May. And what better way to do that, than to wreak havoc.....umm...mischief in someone's world?
Earlier in the year, my Better Half's daughter had expressed interest in wanting to paint her bedroom. So I told her that if she helped me paint one of the other rooms at their house this summer, then I would try to get her room painted by the end of this year. She readily agreed.
Well, as luck would have it, her school class was headed to an environmental camp in Maine in May for four days. Once I found out that she was going, the wheels in my mind started spinning. Under protest, mind you, but they started spinning. Miss M was going to be in for one big surprise when she got home!
In order to be a good mischief maker, one must possess three elements. Planning, planning, and s-i-l-e-n-c-e. Well, and the appropriate maniacal hand-wringing, and the occasional Mwahahahahahaha. One must also learn to be careful in how they converse with others, and use the proper tenses, so as to not give away anything before your mischief has been unleashed.
As soon as I found out that Miss M. was indeed heading to camp, I put in for a day off at work. The other days that I would need for the project were my regular days off, so I was covered there. My Better Half knew nothing about me asking for a day off, or the impending mischief. If you're going to make mischief, get as many people as you can!
Miss M. hadn't decided on a color yet, so I had to help her along. I told her that I had a number of projects to complete this summer (I do), and the sooner I had a color, the sooner I could get all of the supplies together. That way, when I could fit it into my schedule, I'd have everything ready. She fell for it, hook, line, and sinker. She had decided on a color, and I was off!
Being that this was the longest that she had ever spent away from home, I knew that there was a good chance that she would get homesick. Since the camp encouraged parents to write to their kids, I jotted down the address when no one was around. I then bought two cards, and sent them to the camp shortly before she was to go. (Planning, people, planning!) Again, my Better Half knew nothing of my actions.
As the first day of mischief arrived, I was itching to work. I waited until I knew that my Better Half had left to drop Miss M. off at school, and then I headed to the house. Throughout the day, while I took breaks to wait for the paint to dry, I would e-mail my Better Half from her house. However, I never let on that I was AT her house. And unbeknownst to her, before the first day was over, she had already derailed some of my mischievous undertakings. *sigh*
As my Better Half's son arrived home from school that day, he found me in his sister's room, painting away. And when he found out that he was the FIRST to know about my evil plans, if the grin on his face had grown any wider, his lower jaw would have popped right off! (Get as many as you can!)
As the afternoon was drawing to a close, I knew that it wouldn't be too long before my Better Half would arrive home from work. Unfortunately, I wasn't fast enough in cleaning up for the day. As I was scraping paint off my hands in the bathroom, she walked by the bathroom, stopped in the doorway, and asked, "What are you doing?". With head hung low, and trying to stifle a grin, I replied, "Trying to hide the evidence!" She noticed my painting pants, and shot back, "You've been painting Miss M.'s room, haven't you?". Ummmmm....yeah. *snicker*
Due to a meeting that my Better Half had forgotten about, and that I had noticed on the calendar, I had to divulge that I had taken the next day off. She had her meeting, and her son had baseball practice during the same time. I told her that I would pick him up from practice, and to stop ruining my mischievous plans. She then asked, "And when were you going to tell me that you had the day off? When I got home?". Well...yeah.
Before my Better Half found out about my plans, she had offered to let me pick up Miss M. when she arrived back from camp. While this put a damper on one plan, it opened up the opportunity for another. Plus I do thoroughly enjoy my time with the kids, and I missed Miss M.'s telling me about her days.
The boy did good, when we picked up his sister from school. He didn't let on that anything was amiss. He acted like it was just another regular day after school. As the time approached for their Mother to arrive home from work, Miss M. still hadn't gone upstairs to her room. I think I was twitching more than the boy was by this point! So I asked her to take her stuff upstairs to unpack. That way, Mom wouldn't have to do it when she got home, and she could listen to all of Miss M.'s stories without having to do anything else. Again, hook, line, and sinker. As she passed her brother on the couch with bags in hand, he looked back at me with a BIG grin on his face.
We listened to her as she walked up the stairs, and heard the doorknob turn as she opened her bedroom door. Then, there was silence. No scream, no thud on the floor (thank goodness!), nothing. Then we heard her slowly walk down the stairs, and enter the living room with a muted grin on her face, as she came over to give me a hug, and say 'thank you'. It is moments like those that make it worth all of the work, and the pain.
Yes, I said pain. After finishing her room that Thursday night, my neck and upper shoulder muscles had all tightened up on me. Bad. I couldn't sleep on my back, nor could I sleep on my sides for any length of time. I could only sleep on my chest, with my chin tucked into my chest, in order to keep my neck muscles stretched. And even then, I couldn't stay comfortable for long. It made for a miserable night, but the look on Miss M.'s face, and her happiness made it all worth it. As my Better Half later told me, "I'm going to have to call your work, and tell them to give you more work. You have too much time on your hands!" My body may lie at rest, but my mind is always active.
If I hadn't found Eat Right 4 Your Type a few years back, I would probably still be the overweight, lethargic, and mentally-fogged person that I used to be. I certainly wouldn't have had the energy, or the creativity, to pull off my mischief in May. So I guess some of the credit (and blame ) should rightly go to Dr. D'Adamo himself.
So the next time you're having a bad day/month/week, redirect that negative energy. Wreak havoc....ummm...mischief into someone elses world. The temporary bumps on your life's highway will be forgotten about before you know it, and you'll bring a smile into someone elses world.
Now go make mischief!
Odd things that you never thought you'd hear; "There should be a matchmaking service for electrical devices". Sounds bizarre, doesn't it? Well, maybe my recent happenings will help to explain the statement.
Some time ago, my home theatre receiver had died. Not as a result of age, but of poor airflow design. So when I got my tax refund, I figured that it was finally time to find a replacement.
I hadn't planned on buying a receiver on this particular day. One of the stops on my errand list was to a local music store, in search of some comedy cd's. While browsing the store, I happened to find one of the receivers that I had been researching online. Hemming and hawing, I walked out of the store without it. However, after running some more errands, I went back, and bought it. Little did I know at the time what "fun" would soon ensue.
As I happily headed home with my new purchase, I noticed that my car's outdoor temperature sensor was acting up. Even though it was around 70 degrees that day, my display was saying that it was only 41 degrees. I just figured the car was having a mental moment, and would clear itself the next day.
After getting home, I unpacked my new toy, and went about hooking up my various components to the receiver. Cassette deck, check. CD player, check. The VCR, well, that took a little time. Once I finally got a picture, I threw in a VCR tape, to make sure that it worked. There was a picture, but the tracking was off. As I'm trying to adjust the tracking, there is suddenly the sound of a loud "Pop!", and grey smoke comes rolling out of my VCR.
Part of me wants to laugh at the visual before me, but the saner side (and you thought that I didn't have one!) of me is telling me to quickly disconnect everything from the back of the VCR, and get it the heck out of the house! Fast-fingering the disconnects, I head past the kitchen with smoker in hand, only to notice that the clock on my stove is flashing 6:08. Thing was, it was 3 in the afternoon. Once my VCR ceased smoking outside, I headed back inside to reset the clock. Little did I know that the real fun was about to begin.
I found that my dishwasher had decided to act up as well. It would get down to a minute, but would never complete the last cycle. And now, instead of starting at 91 minutes, it would start at 2 hours. It's a conspiracy, I tell ya'! *chuckle* My electronics don't like the newcomer, and are giving me grief!
Off I headed to the computer, the click-clacking sound of keys a steady rhythm, as I roamed the Internet, looking for an answer to my newest problem. I finally found the answer to my problem, but wasn't too thrilled for the process involved in getting my dishwasher back up and running. It appears that some Bosch dishwashers have a bad heater relay joint, and the soldering lets go. However, it was either the process, or shell out $140 for a new circuit board, and a technician to install it, on top of the $140. Ryan's going to be learning how to solder!
With no disassembly instructions, nor soldering skills, I was off to roam the Internet again. After doing some reading about soldering, and watching a couple of short soldering videos, I began the task of figuring out how to disassemble the dishwasher. It took some time, but I finally managed to get to the circuit board, resolder the heater relay joint, and put the dishwasher back together. All well and good, but would it actually work? With crossed fingers, I ran the dishwasher, and watched it as it ticked down its final minutes. Success! It finished, and shut itself off.
So here I am, thinking that everything comes in threes, so I should be all set. Nope. Apparently, three things have to BREAK, before things return to normal. That Sunday morning, the pipe underneath my bathroom sink broke. *sigh*
If by chance you've been having a streak of good luck, that's because I've been getting all the bad luck lately. But I also know that once it's done, it's done for awhile. Better to get everything out of the way at once, than little by little.
I think that from now on, before I bring any electrical devices into the house again, I'm going to unplug everything that I have, and arrange it in a semi-circle on the living room floor. Then I'll bring the new device into the house, and everyone can have a little meet and greet. Maybe that way, I won't be subjected to so many breakages all at once. Your day doesn't sound so bad now, does it? *chuckle*
18 May 2008- I have now disproven the theory that things happen in threes. The television blew up on Tuesday. One of the capacitors had a meltdown, but with my new found soldering skills, I think I can fix it.
Can you just feel the love, when that is how you are described by your Better Half, to her Mother? Well, that is how I was described not too long ago. But honestly, it was all her Mother's fault. Honest!
Because of scheduling conflicts, my Better Half's family aren't able to get together until after Christmas. And as one of my Christmas gifts, her mother gave me a genealogy listing of my side of the family. A long time ago, my step-mother had at one time done a genealogy chart, some time back in the late '70's, early '80's. Where the chart is nowadays, I have no idea.
Little did my Better Half's mother realize the firestorm that would be created by her one little spark. Within three weeks, I had completely burnt myself out, by the sheer amount of research that I had done in that short time span. For that time, my eyes were glued to the computer screen at almost every available moment, fingers flying across the keyboard, with the clickety-clacking of keys, a pause to write down notes, and the resumption of clickety-clacks. I was half expecting the keyboard to raise a little white flag, and squeak, “I give”.
In the beginning, I started out with the names of 22 ancestors. Within that three week time span until meltdown, I had added another 140 names. Births, deaths, marriages, professions. Farmers, teachers, clerks, a locomotive engineer, participants in both the Civil, and Revolutionary wars, and others. And even a shotgun wedding. LOL The date that the couple was married, and the date that their first child was born, was just a little too close. The more information that I found, the more information that I wanted to find. My research was taking on a life of its own. It was becoming all consuming, and that's just not healthy. I finally had to step back, put everything down, and walk away.
There are still many gaps in my ancestral history, as I have it charted now. In the not too near future, I'm sure that I'll pick up my charts one day, the fire will be re-lit, and I'll be off and running, until I burn out again.
All of my initial research was done with the information that my Better Half's mother had given me, and hours spent online. Much of my time was spent at www.familysearch.org This website is a great start for finding out about your ancestors. However, the information provided is only as good as the source of the information, and the person who submitted it to the website. Cross-referencing submissions took some time at first, but once I started to become familiar with names, and dates, I was able to cross-reference quite quickly.
I've done about as much as I can online for now. This spring, it will be time to visit the historical societies of the towns where my ancestors were known to reside, in order to learn more about them. I can only imagine what kind of trouble I can get myself into, as I try to delve deeper into my family's history.
With all of the snow that we have had in my area this year (109 inches so far), working on this project was a great way to keep cabin fever at bay.
So the next time that you want to learn more about your ancestors, or just have a morbid curiousity as to what kind of skeletons are hanging in your family's closet, click your way over to www.familysearch.org, and let the fun begin.