The Whistler's Dream

Everybody needs a dream...
Mine is to go to Oklahoma and play whistles for The Pioneer Woman. (Having been invited, not in a "creepy stalker" kind of way, for the record.) Heck, I'd play in a pup tent in the backyard for the joy of the cows and critters. What can I say? I'm a fan.
Everybody needs a dream...

Random Fluffy Foto!

Random Fluffy Foto!
Writing in bed, and Beka editing by ear. Really. The ear typed some letters. Really.

Thursday, April 28, 2005

Vicki returneth!!! (weekly weigh-in)

It's been one of those weeks - just ridiculous as far as schedule. That's not always a bad thing - just a busy thing in this case. My food journal totally tanked this week - life was so unsettled that I just didn't get it done. And, I've been wandering around the fast, instead of having the total focus that is what I'm striving for.

I was relieved when I weighed in, to see that I had lost .2 lbs. Had a gain last week, and with the week I had I was expecting another gain. To not have lost ground is mercy indeed. Now, my focus can get back where it belongs.

Vicki flies in tonight at 9:45. And, I'll be there, eagerly waiting her return.

This weekend, we're making a flying trip up to my hometown, Oscoda. A couple from there are celebrating their 50th anniversary, and I'm going to be doing background music for their open house. They are a very special couple - I've always called them Mom & Dad. They have four daughters, but no sons. So, when the Father Son banquets would roll around at church, Dad Bundt would take me - the Dad without sons taking the boy without a dad. I've played at two of the four daughter's weddings, and their family has been a special part of our lives for as long as I can remember.

So, we drive 5 hours Saturday morning, play at the open house, and drive home that night. That's a tiny price to pay to pay tribute to people who have had a significant impact on our lives over the years.

Have a blessed weekend, dear friends!

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

A couple of goodies

Well, a couple of nice things happened in the course of this week. And, since Vicki's away, it's always good to have good stuff to fill in the gaps until she returns.

First, the new mask is up and running perfectly. So much so that I don't even get concerned when it's time to settle down for the night. It works, I know it works, and there we go. And, I'm using a wonderful mask - probably the nicest one I've ever tried. Email me if such things are of interest to you, and I'll gladly let you know all about it. It's a great mask!

(To those who have no issue with sleep apnea, and no need to understand the mysteries of CPAP, I salute you. Believe me, when you need to wear this mask night after night, in order to sleep, it is a big thing... :-)

Secondly, today was a strange day. I slept well, for 7 hours, which in CPAP years is about a month, and was on time for getting up, taking care of all those morning things that Vicki deals with and that I never thank her enough for (You rock, babe!!!), and ready to head out by 8:40am. We had an attendance-required awards chapel at the University today, so I needed to be there. The weird thing, is Vicki was using every avenue at her disposal (cell, house phone, I'm sure if she thought I'd hear her yelling all the way from Virginia, she'd have tried that too...) to make sure I was awake and on my way. Which I was. It just seemed a little odd that she was being really dedicated about it... Turns out she didn't know what was coming, only that my boss, Dodd, had texted her and wanted to make sure I was awake and moving. :-)

The chapel included some scholarship awards, and student recognitions, but the big part of it were staff awards, including the staff member of the year. Part of that was 40 or so Outstanding Achievment awards to various staff members. Several of my CU Radio brethren and sistern received awards, and it was fun to hear the radio staff hootin' and hollerin' for our teammates. (we've definitely earned our reputation as the loudest department at the University!)

And then, the surprize - hearing Dr. Rogers call "Captain" Cal Olson to the front for an award. Wow! The plaque mentions my work at His Kids Radio, and the successful launch of the first season of Toonz, of which I am the producer. I was truly delighted, and honored, and had my socks shocked off. As I was clambering down the bleachers toward the floor and the front, I was thinking "good deal this wasn't a year ago - I never would have made it down these steps!"

That thought was confirmed as several folks commented at how fast I seemed to be moving down the stairs, which is another great achievement that gives me a lot of joy!

You know what the thing was that really hit me, tho? The award is amazing, and to be recognized among your peers is an honor that I feel unworthy of. But the thing that really grabbed me and placed a tear or two in my eye was seeing my name - "Captain Cal" on that plaque. Being the PD of His Kids Radio, the producer of Toonz, and a proud member of CU Radio - those things have great significance, and are amazing. But, being "The Captain" - someone who through God's grace has the opportunity to influence young hearts and lives for the sake of Christ - well, that's my calling. That's my response to what was said to Esther - "for such a time as this you may have been called into this world." And that is what moves my heart and fuels my imagination and sparks my passion - the call to reach out through whatever medium - storytelling, music, radio, whatever - and touch lives. Not for my own glory. Not to feel like a big shot. But to give honor and glory to the One who deserves so much more than my meager offering can ever bring.

Speaking of Toonz - it's time to get back to it. We're on show 245, with two left for the first season. Give glory to God, for He alone does marvelous things!

Friday, April 22, 2005

Tough day, good night (weekly weigh-in)

Well, after singing the praises of my new mask last time, I proceeded to have a sleepless night Wedesday night. Got to the point that every little thing was bugging me, and causing despair. Gave it up around 4:30am, and came out to do some production in my studio.

The tough part about when I have a night like that is that we've learned that I can't take a nap or anything to catch up. When I've been up all night, I have to stay awake for most of the day in order to sleep that night. So, I was up fo 30 hours or so. The good thing is that I fell asleep around 11pm, and the mask worked like a charm. I'm learning how to adjust it, and how to be patient with it rather than getting frustrated. Learning, mind you, not learned. Still working on it.

Gained .8 lbs at the weigh-in, but that's probably fluid in my legs. When I don't sleep for a good 8 hours or so, my legs don't reduce in size. And, when I'm actually awake, they swell a bit. I did think to put on my compression stockings so the damage was minimal, but enough to put some poundage on the scale.

When my Mom was in the last months of her life, as her body was shutting down, she had fluid build up in her legs - kind of like what I live with. We had to lift her legs into the car for her, etc. It was really frustrating for her, since she felt like her legs were made out of lead. (The doctor told her that the fluid probably added about 10 pounds to each leg...) Once, as she settled into her chair, weary, she said to me, "If I had known how tough it must be for you, I would have done more things for you and not made you get up so much." I assured her that my legs are stronger than hers, and that it wasn't a big thing, but it shows us how much we don't understand about what others go through. And so, I too need to learn that lesson - don't be so quick to judge, or even express an opinion, because I don't truly understand, even though my self-righteous attitude assures me that I do.

Isn't it great that God really does understand how we feel? In all aspects of our existence, He knows everything of how and what we feel! That cuts a pity party off at the knees - He knows, He understands, and He cares. What a wonderful thing to ponder...

"Oh yes, He cares. I know He cares. His heart is touched by my grief. When the days are dreary, the longs night weary, I know my Saviour cares..."

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

A new mask!!!

I think I've mentioned that one of the things I deal with is sleep apnea. When I was tested a long time ago, the results were that I stop breathing in my sleep about 106 times an hour. (Approx every 45 seconds) Having been a user of CPAP for at least 12 years to treat this, I've had only one difficulty with the whole thing...

There have been great advances in the whole treatment thing - better CPAP machines, BiPAP and AutoPAP, humidification (which I use, and is great!), and new mask designs to make the whole thing more comfortable. The only issue is, I couldn't EVER get used to a different mask. Each year, I'd check out something else, only to get home and have it fail once again. The whole thing would give me fits - both in not being able to get into a better mask, and at the cost of trying all these types of mask, most of which came out of our pocket. Why not stay with my old style of mask? Well, it gives me sores on the bridge of my nose, so Vicki has to cut band-aids to put on my nose each night, and the newer masks are easier on the skin overall.

Well, having lost some weight, I was hopeful that I might be able to get into a different mask. We found one that is very cool - has a flexible cell that alows me to shift a bit and still maintain a seal - but I expected as always that once I got the thing home, it would fail. Even stayed awake until 4:30am Tuesday morning because I was too afraid to even try the mask, anticipating that I would have another failure.

Well, with a smaller face, and newer technology, I now have a GREAT new mask! It works like a charm, and I actually slept almost 8 hours last night with it! Yee Haw!!!

So, I look toward another weigh-in tomorrow, full of hope, and glad for the path the Lord is taking me on.

One more note, since I know Topher will probably ask this: Although some folks find that after getting to their goal weights, they are able to stop using the CPAP because the apnea no longer is an issue for them, I don't believe I'll be one of them. I've always had a very constricted throat and airway, and have always snored loud enough to rattle windows, so I'm guessing that using the machine will be one thing that doesn't change, although when all is said and done, I'm guessing they'll re-test me, to see if I can use a lower pressure setting. Besides, I really don't mind the machine, and it makes Vicki's sleep a whole lot more peaceful!

One more note of God's goodness: I am one of the small number of folks who took to the CPAP the very first time I used it. The majority of people take quite a bit of time and effort to finally be able to tolerate the mask and machine, but I took to it imediately. Didn't realize that until a couple of years ago, reading comments from so many people about the difficulties of using the machine. One more thing the Lord took care of without me even knowing about it. There's a Ken Medema songs that I want played at my funeral, that contains this line:

"I stood on the edge of danger, more times than I ever knew, and now I see that You were always there beside me, nudging, turning,
nudging, turning..." (Ken Medema, In My Life)

Praise the Lord, who watches over us and protects from so much that we never even are aware of!

Friday, April 15, 2005

Quick thoughts

I've noticed that I seem to be walking a lot faster these days. Granted, I'm not schlepping around an extra 120 pounds anymore, but still it's faster than Vicki's seen me move in many years. And, my knees are keeping up - we're over a week since the injections, and they still feel good. The water aerobics have something to do with that, I would guess...

I finally hit on a phrase to describe how I'm feeling these days: "I'm finally able to go as fast on the outside as my inside always wanted to." Pretty cool.

The other thing that occurred to me today - I've always assumed that Vicki would live longer than me. After all, her grandparents are 96 and 99. (whoa) Her mom, in her 70's, doesn't move a whole lot slower than she did in her 40's. Or her 30's for that matter. My family, on the other hand, doesn't have a great track record for being around long. My grandma lived into her 80's, Mom died at 69, my Dad in his 50's, and there's a bunch of stuff on my dad's side that lends to ending life earlier.

Then, a thought came to me - I'm making some pretty drastic health changes in my life, earlier than anyone else in my family. I mean, I'm taking some pretty big steps toward fitness in my mid 40's. (46 next month, to be specific) One can only wonder what kind of impact that will have on the years to come.

Granted, the whole thing lies in the Father's hands. He holds the number of our days, and I thank Him for each one that comes. But, what Vicki said at her grandparent's 75th anniversary about "wanting to give them a run for their money" doesn't seem quite as absurd as it did a year ago. :-)

As my friend Hannah says often, "Good times." :-D

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Way too much perkyness... (weekly weigh-in)

Another 2.2 lbs lost, taking me down to 365.6. I just realized today that I'm now less than 100 lbs away from my goal of 270. When I started this thing at 486, that was about as far away as Mars, but on this side of it, 95 lbs doesn't seem to be that big of a deal. I know it's all a matter of perspective, but these days my perspective seems to have taken a 180 and is headed toward positive.

I've always been a pessimist. (Or a "Realist" as I would say) Not too upbeat, not too perky, lest life notice what a great time I'm having and decide to throw some "stuff" my way just to even out the scales. Isn't that a great attitude for someone who professes to be a follower of Jesus?... But, it's always been in my personality to see the negative, and to respond with sarcasm and anger to most things. Especially sarcasm - it's always been my main weapon. I can push people away so quickly with just a couple of comments, and that's how I protected myself. Rather than giving anyone a chance to take a swipe at the fat man, fire the first shot. That's how you keep vicious playmates in check at recess in the dog-eat-dog world of elementary school.

The wit God has graced me with (and which my mom had in abundance) can be a gift - it can bring laughter in all sorts of situations, and can be a blessing to brighten people's days. But the other side of that sword is that it can be turned into an offensive weapon very quickly, and can tear someone down before I'm even aware of it. And, I certainly know how to turn it inward, to tear myself down. Ask Vicki sometime about my self-image... Not pretty, let me tell you.

And yet, it's changing. When I look at where I was just a year ago, walking through this fast for the first time, seeing these little victories, it's amazing what kind of impact that has made. It changes everything! Going though some of the classes at MMPC, and comparing my thoughts and feelings now to where I was a year ago - amazing!

So, am I suddenly turning into "Mr. Perky Person?" Not likely. :-) But, the world does seem brighter these days. And, that's all we really need, isn't it? A little morning - a little light on the path, and it can change everything.

"Lead, Kindly Light, amid the encircling gloom. Lead Thou me on. The night is dark, and I am far from home. Lead Thou me on. Guide Thou my feet - I do not ask to see the distant scene. One step enough, enough for me." (if you've never heard Ken Medema sing this amazing hymn, it's worth finding. Really. :-)

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

What a GREAT way to start the day!

Vicki and I are taking a 5 week water aerobics class through GR Parks & Recreation. Today was the first one, but won't be the last! What an amazing time!

Now, doctors have been telling me all along that I should go to some sort of a water therapy class, because it's the best for dealing with arthritis, and is non-weight bearing stuff that I can do... I had no idea it would be this much fun, tho! It was amazing to move like that without having to sit down after 30 seconds, gasping for air. The water made SUCH a difference. This 5 week class won't be the end of it - we'll look around for another place to get hooked up with classes, because we both love it!

The hour flew by, and the only negative was getting out of the pool at the end, and remembering just how heavy I feel on land. :-)

Oh, and for those of you who know what a total night person I am - I absolutely LOVED the class, even though it's at 8:30AM! :-) I'd gladly get up early to go do that! So, we'll see what kind of an impact that has on the rest of my day - I already feel a bit more alert, but we'll see if that wears off as the day goes on.

Our exercise balls get here Thursday. So, between water aerobics on Tuesday and Thursday, and working with weights and the ball the other days, we should start to see a BIG change in how the weight loss is going. Yee Haw! God is good all the time, and ALL the time, God is good!!!

Thursday, April 07, 2005

Back on track and considering things (weekly weigh-in)

Good day - down to 367.8! That's about 11.8 pounds this week, which makes up for gaining a couple last week.

It's becoming more and more obvious that I've got to consider some form of either counseling, life coaching, or somesuch to get a few things straightened out. Such as identifying the reasons I run to things like food for comfort, stress relief, etc. Problem is, I've got a little baggage in my past that makes it a difficult concept for me to buy into.

First, being a fundamental Baptist boy, counseling says that I just must not be trusting the Lord enough. After all, if Christ is sufficient for every need in my life, then I just must be this week piece of work that is so spiritually inmature that I just can't see that there is no need for anything outside of Jesus. And, while I do believe that there are truths in that line of thinking, I also think that our minds are very complex - we often simply can't see the reasons for the behaviors that we do. So, perhaps God can use an outside voice to help me see what is going on inside.

Second, like many of us, I have a lot of junk in my trunk - lots of things that I'd rather not have brought out and examined in the light. The Lord knows what those things are, and I'd rather keep them between Him and me. But, perhaps some of those issues will explain the eating thing.

Finally, the hardest one... When I was around 8 or 9 years old, the folks at my school simply didn't know what to make of me. They didn't know if I had mental impairment, was just totally psycho, or just a little fruity. Remember, this was 1968-1969, so children who didn't fit into the standard mold of what children ought to be, think, and do were considered defective in some area or another. So, I got to spend time at the Psycho Ed clinic at CMU, where each week a well-meaning man would ask me questions on end, and never really accomplish anything. Looking back, we now guess that today I would have been classified "gifted" and channeled into directions to work with my natural inclinations, rather than wondering if my elevator went all the way to the penthouse. (My 5th grade teacher was totally convinced that I was retarded, until they gave me an IQ test. I don't remember what number they stopped counting at - just that afterward I was transferred to another class with a teacher whom I LOVED and who helped me more in that year than in all my school days previous.) So, counseling means to me endless hours of meaningless questions which accomplish nothing. Again, that was a long time ago, but it's hard to erase some childhood concepts.

So, I'm pondering this. A lot. In the meantime, things are going along. My knees, after the injections, feel great, so it's been fun taking stairs at a good pace and finding excuses to walk around. And, we now know the target for knee replacement - 100 more pounds. That's worth focusing on, so I shall. :-)

Thanks for your patience. I try not to make this a "Cal lets fly with all kinds of personal and disgusting information" too often, but once in a while, you just gotta let it happen. Looking forward to worship on Sunday, and for those of you reading from First Cov, we might wanna put the extra-heavy staging under the bass player this week, 'cause if my knees are still feeling good Sunday, I'll be movin' and groovin'! :-)

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

The countdown to new knees

Had an appointment with Dr. Hoekman, the orthopedic surgeon, this morning. When I asked him how things look, his reply was "bad knees." :-) He's a man of few words, but I like him! So, we did a cortisone injection - always a happy time... Last one was in 11/03, and while it took care of the pain for a while, it lasted only a week. Granted, it was a great week, but the treatments can only be done every 6 months. So, 105 lbs lighter, we'll see how it goes this time. Warning - the next sentence is not for the faint-of-heart: And, he was able to use a normal needle this time - last time, to get it in there far enough, he had to use a spinal needle. Told you...

The biggie is, we now have a goal for the knee replacement: lose 100 more pounds, and he feels I'd be a canidate for knee replacement at that time. :-) So, my target weight of 270 is right about on track for my goal of new knees. Sweet!

The only down side to the injections is, without the pain in my knees, I'm now aware of the pain in the ankles, feet, etc. Sheesh. :-) All in all, a good thing. Now, off to walk around just for the joy of not hurting. :-)