October 13

Can a stranger change your life for the better?

Grocery Store

Most people know that a person can change your life. Think about how different your life might be if you were beaten as a child or instead maybe nurtured. Imagine if you married a person who constantly enriched your life, made everything better. These things seem obvious though. A stranger could certainly change your life for the worse. I’ve been stabbed, and I don’t take anything positive away from that. It was just three guys trying to rob my wife and me. I walked away with my wallet, everything inside it, and a hand hanging open. My wife left with no physical injuries, and I got stitched up without any lasting damage, other than a cool scar and some pretty weird trauma.

I had a cashier today with a cool arm tattoo at my local Metro (grocery store). She asked me: “how is your day going so far?” Never in my entire life has a stranger asked me that question in that way. You get the repetitive “how are you” or “how are you doing today?” It shook me up a little bit, made me smile, so I said: “it’s going good so far. How about you? How is your day going?”

The dialogue felt very honest and real. She might say that to everyone, but that’s OK too. She found a way to connect by pushing a very subtle boundary. A stranger got me to emotionally connect with her, and I really appreciate that. Those subtle little things that we can do to connect with someone we don’t know can have a ripple effect.

A few kind simple words made me smile and think in a different way, think about how I can connect better with others. She left me with: “I hope the rest of your day goes well.”

It’s all very subtle and simple, and I know that people have more impactful stories than this, but anything a person can do to make another person’s life better is just awesome.

Thank you to the woman with the cool tattoo and life changing words.

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May 6

Profound Fucking Sadness

Profound Sadness

What man needs to cry? Maybe all men need to cry. I’m going through couching right now, a type of couching that looks inward. It can be a bit like therapy at times. Other times, it can look like business coaching. My coach tore open an old wound. The years of stress and unexplained anxiety that I feel everyday was washed away with sadness and tears, just like that. Instead of being stressed and a little bit angry all of the time, I’m just very sad now. Maybe I’ve always been sad. Not maybe, definitely. I’ve always been sad. At least now I can deal with that sadness, instead of the unexplained stress.

I suffered from childhood trauma, and all of my life I just seemed like I was a little bit angry and maybe a little bit dead inside. I’m just as emotional as anyone around me. I have the soul of a poet, and I’ve finally realized that while I’m rough and strong on the outside, I’m still gooey and mushy emotionally.

I know I’ll come out the other side as a better more enlightened person, but this is really fucking difficult and strange. Luckily, the sadness makes me want to write more.

Has anyone else out there gone through emotional transformation?

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May 10

Killer Deadlines

An inexpensive trenchcoat of waterproof khaki ...
An inexpensive trenchcoat of waterproof khaki with a snap-out lining by VEB Leipziger Bekleidungswerks. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Deadlines happen, and they’re good at causing stress and crushing creativity. Deadlines are important, but your work is always more important. If you’re working towards a writing deadline, start early and finish early. I don’t recommend handing your work in early because it gives time for editors to ask for rewrites and other things that make you feel you’re being touched in your “no no places” by a creepy stranger in a trench coat.

The tricky part is that you need to meet your deadlines, but you never need to agree to tight deadlines in the first place. If someone asks you to deliver a project by May 31, but they don’t give you materials and a brief until May 30, you can say no, even if you previously agreed to do the project. If all of your time gets eaten up by someone else not getting their job done, it’s not your problem. The stress and pressure should not be downloaded to you. Do, always make it clear ahead of time how much time you need to do your work. If you said one week and someone gives you that project on May 30, you tell them that they’ll get it back on June 6, regardless of their deadlines.

Lots of people allow money to be the motivator, and money can mean a lot, especially if you’re having trouble paying the bills. I don’t recommend ever taking a project that doesn’t have enough time because it can negatively affect the quality of your work; however, if you absolutely need the money and fear that you’ll lose the job by not meeting an unreasonable deadline, you must charge extra for it. Although you might feel that you should help out a client in need, remember that they didn’t do anything to help you out when they stuck you with a ridiculous timeline in the first place. Your daytime hours are worth a different price than your nighttime and weekend hours. Many people have trouble seeing that, but it’s true. Your daytime hours are intentional work hours. Your nights and weekends are family, social, and general relaxation and wellness hours, and they’re worth more money, so if you absolutely must take the project with the tighter deadlines, let the client know ahead of time that if they can’t get you what you need on time, there will be additional costs. This will create a financial barrier to the client taking away your weekends, and if it doesn’t then at least you’ll be getting paid appropriately.

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March 16


English: Olympic-style weight lifting training.
English: Olympic-style weight lifting training. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My last post was about my no grain diet. It has been a bit over a month. Although I’ve eaten a few grains along the way, when no other option has been available, I’ve stuck to the diet whenever possible. Less than 1 out of every 20 meals has included grains.

I’m no longer taking any supplements or protein shakes. My weight has increased by five pounds, but I’m weight lifting, and my lifting increases have been substantial. Most importantly my waist size has not increased.

The diet has been and will continue to be of huge importance for me. I’m healing faster, making gains faster, and I feel way more energetic. I’m not a “body builder.” I just looking to stay healthy and be strong. Most of my weight lifting goals are nearing completion, and my next goals will be focused on running.

Just to be clear, this is not a low carb diet. I eat a lot of fruit, quinoa, potatoes, buckwheat, arrowroot, and squash.

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February 6

No Grains?

A diet rich in soy and whey protein, found in ...

I hit a significant three-month plateau in my exercise regimen. A couple of months back, I started taking protein shakes to get past the bad situation I was in, muscles getting weaker and constantly getting sick. The protein shakes worked well. I was restored to my healthy self, but I had no progress.

Lately, within a few days without grains, I’ve already noticed a fair bit of progress in my workouts. Without grains, I’ve been eating more dairy, fruit, vegetables, and meat. This is high nutrient food, and I suspect that the change in nutrients is mostly responsible for the gain in strength and energy.

The challenge is getting enough carbohydrates. With 100 minutes of cardio and about 200 minutes of strength training per week, I’m not about to try a low carb version of this diet, so I’ve eaten quinoa (not an actual grain), potatoes, and a lot of fruit (especially bananas).

Now, I just have to make sure that I eat enough and I eat often. Hunger is will be the thing that can stop me from continuing down this path. I’m certainly not militant about the way I eat though. Certainly, if I’m with people who are eating pizza, I’ll eat pizza. Still, most of my meals are at home, and I’ll continue to benefit from eating this way.

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January 24

Eat More

Chips (BE), French fries (AE), French fried po...
Chips (BE), French fries (AE), French fried potatoes (AE) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There was a candy bar that my Dad used to eat, when I was a kid, called “Eat More.” I gave it the less than fond alias of “Eat Less.” This candy bar is by far the worst tasting thing I’ve ever put in my mouth, even with how many times I’ve “been around the block.”

The point of it is that the more palatable something is the more a person will want to eat it. I enjoy eating healthy foods, and I like the taste, but I also like french fries, perogies, chips, cake, pie, and anything with a lot of melted cheese on it. In my journey of healthy eating and six days a week of exercise, month after month, I keep forgetting that it’s easier to get calories from these bad foods. Yes, I’m eating healthy, and yes I like healthy food, but I eat less of it, and it’s lower in calories. This is becoming a problem for me. With massive energy dives, I’m getting moody, tired, and angry.

I have to keep reminding myself to eat more, which is tough, as the portion sizes for healthy food are very large when exercising six days a week.

I’m a bit full right now, but I feel good, and it’s sunny outside, not a cloud in the sky.

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November 19

@SHO_Dexter, I’m quitting #TV, but not until your season is over

Dexter (TV series)
Dexter (TV series) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’m usually watching TV at this time, but instead I decided to write an entry, and I’ll probably go to bed early – well, early for me, anyway.

I’m quitting TV. Yes, it really is like quitting smoking or maybe even heroin. OK, I went too far there; it’s nothing like quitting heroin, but I’m not taking the smoking remark back. I remember when I quit smoking several years ago. I probably quit more than 20 times, and I only smoked for about 5 years.

I’ve tried to quit TV a bunch of times over the last few years, never successfully. Right now I’m weaning myself off TV. I’m only watching Dexter at the moment. That’s a difficult show to give up. Giving up smoking comes with a lot of benefits and so does giving up TV. I’m not overweight to begin with, but when I stop watching TV, I go from average looking to lean. The idea when giving up TV is to replace it with worthwhile endeavors. There are many people who don’t watch TV, but nothing is gained if they are spending their days and nights playing computer/video games.

I plan on replacing my TV time with writing, a bit of meditation, more house work, better quality time with my kids, time with friends, and more time outdoors. The writing, housework, and meditation come in to play around the later hours when my entire family is asleep. I know more housework sounds like a terrible endeavor, and I don’t really enjoy housework; however, a clean house means that I’m not mentally distracted. It actually helps a lot with my writing.

I don’t think there’s anything wrong with spending an hour a day watching TV. In fact, I did that yesterday. Ideally, for me, I would like to spend no hours a day watching TV. I watch it as a way to relax and unwind. It doesn’t do a very good job of either, but it’s a great distraction from what’s actually on my mind. I’m at the point where I’m willing to make big changes in my life. This is the time to nix TV and regain hours of my week.

Stay tuned to see how this ends.

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