If It Tastes Good

Oh to be young again.

Has anyone found the Fountain of Youth? Because I’m running out of time here! And don’t give me that long-ass sales line about working out and eating a consistent healthy diet. I did that for 45-years being a very active young boy. Several athletic activities such as swimming, volleyball, baseball, and ultimately soccer/futebol that I pursued from secondary school, collegiate, and pro to semi-pro before retiring. During all of those years was that “strict healthy diet,” with occasionally light normal alcohol consumptions. It all worked rather well — complete physicals always ended with the doctor stating, An excellent bill of health for your age sir.

Then came the big 5 – 0.

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Injuries sustained over a lifetime soccer career — both knees, one shoulder, one ankle, and 2-3 concussions… that I can remember — began limiting my physical activities, or at least the particular sports I enjoyed playing. Time to adapt.

I quickly discovered, however, that it really, really helps if you HAVE the time TO adapt! And as I also soon learned at that point, it all comes down to shuffling around, tossing out, plugging in various “priorities” within a 24-hour day. No more, no less. Twenty. Four. This is a workout in itself!

By the time I perfect this time-management, advanced calculus equation, I am 55-years old. My hair, what’s remaining on my crown and has moved en masse to my ears, nose, and neck, has turned essentially all silver-white. My daughter says I am now ready to be accepted into a band of gorillas as a silver-back — not to be confused with THE silver-back, she clarifies. Apparently in the years it took me to become a near replica of Sean Connery, in 30-seconds my daughter became a Primatologist with an acute sense of reality-checks. I will spare everyone the long list of “medical checks” and prevention measures men over 40 should (sometimes must) be alert to and inevitably embrace. Several methods are quite humbling and challenge even the most sturdiest of dignities.

Then with a vengeance came varicella-zoster. But at the time I had no idea why I felt like my left side head, neck, left tonsil, and left inner-ear were about to explode. My friend tells me I kept mumbling over and over It hurts, it burns, I see Kate Beckinsale with Jessica Biel. This was rumour of course, and after all I was running a 103° temperature. An aging man cannot be held responsible for an unhinged subconscious!

After 3-days of total hell consciously and subconsciously, I had had enough. I was a defeated silver-back-n-top. Despite my long history of fainting at the sight of syringes, scalpels/lancets, needles, blood, and the occasional speech impediment around Nurse Goodbodee in librarian glasses, to the doctor I went. As I expected, this did not go as expected.

The nurse performed all the usual pre-diagnosis rituals, showed me my examination room and cushy table to place my buttocks to await the doctor. A few minutes pass, he enters, he corrects me 3-4 times about “Pugach,” pops the rubber gloves on, checks my head, stethoscope to the chest and back, then sits on his stool-with-rollers. Your shingles the doctor from Belarus or Ukraine with an impossible last name to pronounce explained, will go away in 4-6 weeks. But that’s not your biggest problem. I immediately start remembering the earlier pre-diagnosis checks:  weight scale? Ear thermometer? Prostate check? Whew! Didn’t do that one. Pulse check? Blood-pressure monitor? The constant popping of 1500-2000 MGs of Extra Strength Tylenol for the Kate Beckinsale/Jessica Biel ailment? Are there severe side-effects for that? I just wasn’t sure what could be worse than my damn head and pain.

Your blood-pressure is high; abnormally high. I was slightly relieved when he said that. I thought of many things much worse! We’ll need to put you he continued on some blood-pressure medications right away. I think cool, not a problem. You’re closely approaching stroke-risk status. Great, let’s do it — the meds that is. We’ll also need to do some lab work too… to check on enzyme levels and blood electrolytes, lipid profile, etc.

Now we have a problem. Well, if we don’t do lab work you’ll likely have bigger problems than the one in your head and on your head. He winked at me with a smirk. I thought, that’s not funny.

In the room ladened with every sort of life-threatening utensils and signs warning not to touch, discard here, and In Case of Emergency Do… I managed to get through the whole slapping the inside of the elbow, sterilization rub, needle enters, blood gushes out, fills the vile, undo the rubber strap off the arm, and then band-aid with a candy-lollipop. I walked out of that office a proud survivor and veteran of many floor deployments!

glasses-neededA day or two later the lab calls with my results. Everything looks normal the kind lady informs me but your liver enzymes are elevated. Okay, elevated is not all bad with a man’s body, right? You need to cut-down on your carbohydrates, go on a low-carb diet, and probably cut way down on your alcohol consumption. I felt my body sink when she said the last part. Like… ALL alcohol, I asked her. Wine, preferably reds, in moderation — say two or three glasses per week or one 8 oz glass per day — should be fine. However, she pretty much said no liquors in excess or heavy moderation. When I researched the low-carb diet, it wasn’t too bad, although several foods I’ve loved all my life — cheeses, breads, whole milk, coffee with gourmet creamers — had to go.

This felt as if I was loosing my closest dearest friends and even the ones that get you into untold troubles and complications of particular day-after regrets. Bye-bye. Gone. Send a postcard.

Then my follow-up doctor visit happened.

Same routines as previously with the marvelous exception of items designed to poke, puncture, probe, or cause general discomfort such as fainting and peeing (in a cup or in your pants) all remained out of eyesight and out of my body. I was thrilled! The soft knock-knock on the door and my doc with the impossible last name enters. All my problems and ailments are in decline — the fun news. We then begin discussing the low-carb diet and what it encompasses. He covers the “Okays to eat/drink” first, perhaps wanting to make me feel better… as most doctors are supposed to do. He names off a dozen or so and all of them I enjoy eating. It’s quite a tasty list of options. Do you have our Low-Carb Diet pamphlet? No I replied. He walks over to the wall of pamphlets next to the big laminated poster entitled “Causes of Hypertension to the Human Body,” grabs my future meal plan and hands it to me.

There in green-ink I see the side of “Okay to eat/drink” list. Yep, check. Then on the other side of the page is the “Avoid – Do Not Eat/Drink.” In a most drabby voice I share my assessment of the diet, Umm, the red Avoid side is noticeably longer. He acknowledges my keen observation; apparently he has heard this tone before. Yes, a big reason for that are the enormous choices shoppers have at grocery stores and restaurants. Yeah, that’s true I say to myself, still mopey. I try to finagle some exceptions, or certain conservative amounts, frequencies, and volumes, but my doctor with the impossible last name is having none of it. He goes into a more extensive spill as to what exactly is best and what is iffy, wrong, and call the undertaker. I try one last attempt to skirt by, just on the edge, and he interrupts me. I guess he’s on a schedule?

Basically, if it tastes good, spit it out!

I look at him astonished with eyes bulging, mouth frozen. I’m unsure what to say. Then he begins chuckling, and explains he wanted to get me refocused on what is important. He then modified his hammering gavel to a softer If it tastes sweet, spit it out.”

Well there, I felt much better. My doctor (and I suppose my body) put me on top of the geriatric world, only after one-hour… a bit older listening to my exhilarating new lifestyle! Strike up the marching band, but leave off the flutes, clarinets, saxophones, trumpets, trombones, the entire percussion section, and the tubas.

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Live Well — Love Much — Laugh Often — Learn Always — But Don’t Over Do It 😶

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This work by Professor Taboo is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
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Aging and the Aged

Mom&Tori_May 2016-graduation

My daughter & Mom – college graduation 2016

As some of you may have noticed, I have not been around WordPress and my blog as much as before. Lately, finding time to imagine, consider, research, ponder, gather images, then type away in a format and style that is minimally interesting for you and acceptable quality for me has been near non-existent. Well, not true exactly. I could do it late in the evening when I’m fatigued and must nevertheless wake just before sunrise or daybreak whether my mind and body want to or not. And since my last blog-post was June 9th you can see how well that is working. What is going on you ask as you all are banging down my front door? (sarcasm) What has changed?

Answer:  Life.

Life apart from the world-wide-web. Life beyond the internet and technology. Organic life of which sometimes/often affords us little time of our own. The epilogue of one life, the pre-epilogue of another life (my life) and the prime of lives for others, loved ones. This is what has changed.

“The Earlier Revision Needs Revising”

Around 1997 shortly after marrying, Mom and her second older (and quite wealthy) husband found a luscious 2,850-ish sq. ft. Ranchita-home on 10.5 acres on top a big hill overlooking the Guadalupe River. The vistas from inside the house through 34 windows or outside on the large back-patio shaded or semi-shaded, with daily or every other day or evening southerly breezes… are the stuff of epic tranquility and living. For two hard-working retirees, it was a dream come true.

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And then as they say, Nothing stays the same.

Mom has been widowed since 2006. For a few years after her late husband’s crippling heart-attack which put him in a wheelchair and months later his decline and death, she took the time to enjoy her life more, travel, and spend more time with good friends and family. She absolutely deserved it! She bought a newly used 32-foot RV or mobile home to travel the U.S. However, while doing these five years of domestic and world touring the home and property they loved so much became increasingly neglected. Meanwhile, one of those good male friends became a “very good friend.” They traveled together everywhere. Very good at first, but whose title gradually changed over the last four years to infrequent companion given later developments. Circumstances for romance and the altar which seemed unimportant then, became very important. Nine years later it can be deduced that Cupid’s Arrow — with attached gold ring — had in the end missed its mark.

Another development of which I have shared and posted about here a number of times is that of my sister and her 35+ years of drug addiction, rehab, relapse, law-enforcement, incarceration, repeat ad nauseam. Over the last six years this has really taken a toll on Mom’s mental and physical health. While I was up in the Dallas-Ft. Worth area teaching Special Ed, the plan for Mom, my sister (who moved to the Texas Hill Country very soon after Mom and her husband moved here), and Mom’s “very good man-friend” was to begin serious preparations from the inside of the house to the outside and all over the property to sell the house soon. Of course, the very good man-friend (living over 2-hours away) was not going to be capable of helping more than 2-times a month or less — he had to maintain his cattle ranch of 1,500 acres that he does all by himself! Therefore, in reality it was up to my perpetually recovering sister and my 76-year old Mom. HAH!

Five years later and after finishing the 2014-2015 school year in DFW, I make my summer return to help out. In complete shock I find my sister has moved in with Mom! Anyone who has dealt with acute drug-alcohol addiction of over 3-decades knows that addicts MUST BE at the very least in a daily and weekly program, routine, and support group! Mom’s hilltop retirement resort is the very last place any addict needs to be living — there has been no consistent structure and set schedule for Mom since, hell… 1995! Furthermore, she is not even close to being a qualified licensed A&D counselor! Simply put my Mom not only cannot handle my sister’s addictive pathology, manipulation, and regular relapses, she’s not mentally or emotionally strong enough or cunning enough to manage an addict! On top of this defective lousy living situation, not hardly anything is getting accomplished toward the sale of the house and property.

I become infuriated.

What soon follows about two months later is my sister’s gradual ump-teenth relapse. Due to the pressing overwhelming work and tasks that must get done first in order to sell the house and property, Mom’s inability to PUSH my sister to stay consistent and accountable to an AA/NA and MHMR (mental health rehabs) program, and her hilltop retirement resort being 4-miles outside of town making Mom her only real transportation anywhere… my sister was doomed to relapse anyway! I find out a few weeks into my return that my sister actually moved-in the previous December!  By February 2016 sister has relapsed badly, again, and this time the county sheriff’s department and TDCJ (Texas Dept of Criminal Justice) are done being merciful. She is sentenced to 9-months in their penal drug-rehab program — now the only and last hope for her.

I am now BEYOND infuriated! No wonder the house and property have not been significantly maintained or prepped! I was never told because they both knew how I would react. Funny how we manifest our repeated thoughts and fears.

At the end of June 2016 while at a wine-n-snack get-together with good local friends, Mom unloads to everyone the precise timeline of her absolute move-out:  April 2017 or sooner. How did we lose 5-years when she told me in December 2015 — relative to her retirement funds and trust-fund — it would last through 2021? Everything, except Social Security and her small monthly Mobile Oil pension, runs out next April. I thought my entire upper body just dropped into my stomach when she announced her deadline. This was not good at all given how much needed to be done to and inside the house. I’m thinking to myself trying not to appear distraught to everyone… What if the house doesn’t sell for what it’s worth these next 9-10 months!?

Days later I ask Mom if she’s got any better idea and plan as to where she will move and live. She is no closer to those decisions than she was a year ago. Given everything she’s had to deal with concerning my god-damn sister, it’s understandable.

The original revised plan has to be revised again.

My original plans for a continued life up in the DFW area will have to be put on hold. My regular routine to blog, consider, research, write, and comment must also be reduced or postponed.

Aging and the Aged

The end of this life is inevitable. Everyone is approaching it the day we are born and take our first breath. The average American lifespan is around 78-years old; 76 (I believe) for a man, 81-83 for a woman. Therefore, somewhere around our 40’s is the halfway point. In the better scenarios the late 40’s. As those older dear ones and loved ones begin to pass away around you, one cannot help but reevaluate, reflect, and remember what makes us truly alive so that death isn’t so painfully unwelcomed. What should our final decade of life be? Of what should it consist?

Mom_July 2014

Mom, July 2014

These last four years I have noticed how much more my Mom has aged. If this rate continues, she is in her last 5-7 years — and that might be optimistic. And that reality forces me to pause and prepare. It forces me to reevaluate, reflect, and remember what, on a soulful level, is TRULY important. For that single reason… death should not be such a total stranger.

Over the last six years I have gotten to know my Mom in ways and to levels I likely would not have been able living 5-hours and 320-miles away 300-days a year. Many of those days have been fun and hilarious — her senility can be quite entertaining along with her sense of humor that has enjoyably not waned as a result. Though I am increasingly managing and helping her with her weekly and monthly responsibilities, these last couple years have noticeably aged me. For all intents and purposes, I am becoming a one-man team if not already there. And this will probably not change anytime soon, or it could change tomorrow… all things considered.
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Do you have aging or aged parents? What have been or what are your experiences? How does it effect your own life? Why do family members these days live so far apart? I may not be able to quickly reply to your thoughts and comments, but I am curious to read them if you’re inclined to share!

Live Well — Love Much — Laugh Often — Learn Always

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This work by Professor Taboo is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
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Of Time and Love

van-gogh-santa-lighs-night-umbrellaEvery so often I stumble across or revisit some exceptional writing, verse and prose, that latches itself to heart and soul here and again, reminding me how perfectly life, time, and uncommon love can reassure. These two I share are favorites when heart is full, or heavy, or alone.

Isn’t it true
however far we’ve wandered
into our provinces of persecution,
where our regrets accuse,
we keep returning
back to the common faith
from which we’ve all dissented,
back to the hands, the feet, the faces?

Children are always there
and take the hands,
even when they are most terrified.
Those in love
cannot make up their minds
to go or stay.
Artist and doctor return most often.
Only the mad will never, never come back.

For doctors keep on worrying while away,
in case their skill is suffering or deserted.
Lovers have lived so long with giants and elves,
they want belief again in their own size.
And the artist prays ever so gently,
let me find pure all that can happen.

Only uniqueness is success.
For instance let me perceive
the images of history.
All that I push away
with doubt and travel,
today’s and yesterdays alike, like bodies.
—- Letters from Iceland, W.H. Auden

 

Looking up at the stars, I know quite well
That, for all they care, I can go to hell,
But on earth indifference is the least
We have to dread from man or beast.

How should we like it were stars to burn
With a passion for us we could not return?
If equal affection cannot be,
Let the more loving one be me.

Admirer as I think I am
Of stars that do not give a damn,
I cannot, now I see them, say
I missed one terribly all day.

Were all stars to disappear or die,
I should learn to look at an empty sky
And feel its total dark sublime,
Though this might take me a little time.
—- The More Loving One, W.H. Auden

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Do you have a favorite Auden piece? Share them below. It isn’t enough to just gaze. Let’s taste and savor up the emotions Auden stirs. Please.

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Live Well — Love Much — Laugh Often — Learn Always

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