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.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

In dreams...

Ever have one of those mornings where you woke early from a dream, and realized that you needed to write it down, because it could have some importance in the waking world, and could shed light on issues you’re trying to work through?

Or is it just me?...

So, I’m going to try and document what woke me up at 5:15 this morning. (Which, for the record, should be considered a criminal offense on a Saturday morning.) And then I’ll consider what it might say about where I’m at.

(This would be the lull in the conversation where you politely say, “ooh... look at the time. Those pickles aren’t going to can themselves! See you. Hope that whole dream thing works out for you...” And the sound of mouse clicking was nigh unto deafening... )

So, I was directing a program at a senior center. (Not likely to happen in the waking world, btw. Play music there, sure. Actually be in charge? I don’t think so...) We had some sort of activity, and then were serving dinner. And I was helping with the food, making sure that Edna had exactly what she wanted, and telling Walter to deal with it - beef is what’s for dinner. These alone are good reasons that being a program director for seniors is not on my list of stuff I’ll ever do. :-D

We had everyone fed and happy (yes, Vicki was helping also - no surprise there...), and had time to eat ourselves. I was just spooning some potatoes onto my plate, when my grandmother (who might have been there the whole time - I don’t know) said, “Callie - are you really going to eat all that??”

(Note - “Callie” is what I was called as a youngster. As I approach my 50th birthday, I believe I’ve earned the right to NEVER be called that again. Kapish?)

And I remember becoming embarrassed, frustrated, and ANGRY. I think I even yelled at her, “LEAVE ME ALONE!” Then I woke up.

So, Dr. Freud, any observations?

Didn’t think so. But, allow me to take a run at it.

My counselor has mentioned that when one has grown up in a strict upbringing, that there is often a spoiled little brat within one, grabbing opportunities to say, “NO! I don’t WANT to!” I do realize that there was more than a little of that brat in me growing up, and that it wasn’t just inside, but quite evident outside as well.

It should be noted that I’m not flinging stones at the way I was raised, btw. Mom was raising two boys on her own, so keeping command of the ship was necessary for survival...

As I thought about that dream, I realized that the scene was one that had played out throughout my life - filling my plate at dinner, and either having mom stare in HORROR at what was there, or grams saying “you shouldn’t take that much!” Mom saying that fat people shouldn’t take so much on their plate, because people are always watching and making comments about “how much that fat pig over there is eating.” And I recalled something else...

Sometimes, when mom was busy, I’d spend time at my grandmother’s restaurant - actually, in her apartment above the restaurant. And grams would say, “when you get hungry, just tell the cook what you want and they’ll make it for you.” And I’d ask for HUGE things, because nobody was watching me - I was all by myself upstairs, and could eat as much as I wanted.

Pretty obvious how that ends up in a food addiction, eh? I’m at my most dangerous when I’m by myself, because when no one is watching, I can eat whatever I want, as much as I want. And as an adult, I get to the point where I say, “who cares if people are watching what I put on my plate? I deserve this!” Vicki tries to help me with quantity, and I respond just like I did as a child - embarrassment, frustration, and anger. The spoiled brat inside of me stomps his foot and says “NO!”

So why write this all down? Because, as it is written, “the first step in avoiding a trap is knowing of its existence.” Perhaps, armed with knowledge, and strengthened with God’s grace, I can recognize these feelings and thoughts, sort through them, and change the behavior that results from them.

One step at a time, the brat is being taken off the throne. What a great thought - giving the throne to the only One who should be on it. That’s real freedom. And every little step brings me closer to it. Self control and perseverance - they unbind the hands and free the spirit.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

MacJournal ROCKS!!!!!!

I have been evaluating some journaling software called MacJournal. Tonight, we bought it. :-D

(Oh, and windows peeps - stay tuned. This isn’t just for MacHeadz...)

I LOVE MacJournal - allows me to write offline, then in one push of a button send it to the web. It’s not expensive, just really really good software.


I was nosing around in the software, and found something called “Download Entries From Blog.” That sounded interesting, so I did...


The entire contents of The W’s W’s, all the way back to 2005, are now on my computer. Stories that might one day be part of a book or an article. Stuff that I need to re-read. All on my computer.

I LOVE MacJournal!

Windows Peeps - this is YOUR moment...

There’s also WinJournal, for the Windows person in all of us... of you. I’m a Mac person, now. Really. Totally.

Check it out at Mariner Software. They have a 15 day trial, so might be worth playing with.

And, I found that they offer their other products at a nice discount when you purchase one. I picked up StoryMill - a great program for writing stories, a novel, or who knows?

GOOD STUFF! Cal’s gonna be blogging more, I think.

Goin' good... for the most part

So, a great weigh-in today. Down 6.2 lbs. for a grand total of 44.3 pounds lost. I’m setting my sights on 50 lbs - it’d be great to have lost 50 lbs before my 50th birthday... :-D

Still things to get better at... journaling, and especially adding the numbers in. It’s easy to put down what food I’ve eaten, but measuring quantity and looking up calories? Not so great. I know there are a number of resources on the web for that, but it’s about making the time to exercise active self-control and do it!

Need to be better at my time - using my time effectively. There are SO many things I want to do, but I’m SO bad at getting them done. Our house is one example. We have a 3 floor (2 and a basement...) house, but we only live in the rooms on the main floor. The basement is just JAMMED with crapola, and the upstairs is no better. Instead of checking out the new listings at Craigslist and dreaming of a new house, why don’t I just get my butt in gear and make the best of the house we DO have. And guess what? I’ll probably remember why we bought the thing in the first place - the open floor plan, the fact that it’s smack in the middle of the places we need to go, close to downtown, and in a decent neighborhood. And, since I can actually do stairs (a little) now, I could actually go to the other floors and use them!

I know what is needed - eliminate what is no longer useful, and we’d have room for what we are using. Make space to put the important stuff in a proper place. Give Vicki a place to do the bills and keep the records. Move the studio to a place where it doesn’t end up as a catchall for various schlock, so that when inspiration hits, I can just sit down and create. Same for the jewelry bench, and even make room for a kiln so that we can start making fused glass.

But to even start on it just overwhelms me. To even move one thing freezes me, and I end up shuffling this pile over here, and put this pile here, and on and on...

Lord, help me set aside the things that so easily weigh me down - the weight, the clutter, the distractions - and bring everything to You. You are the only order in the chaos of life.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

UPs and downs...

Gained. 3.1 pounds back on. No longer 40 total lost - but more like 36.9.

Defeat and depression? Nope. Because: 1) this was not unexpected - it was a crazy weekend, and things were nowhere near controlled. (not an excuse - just a fact.); 2) I’m in transition - adding veggies and very lean meat to my food intake, while still staying between 900 and 1000 calories, so some tweaking is expected; and 3) Did I mention it was a crazy weekend? :-D

So, where are we at? Met with Jill, our dietician today, and got my ground rules for the next few weeks - how much of what, what product to add/subtract to make it work, etc. I headed out to the car, stopped and grabbed the RIGHT stuff for lunch, and am off and running. No setbacks, no frustration - just a determination to see this thing continue on.

Self-control. (“Not gonna do that”) Perseverance. (“Not gonna quit.”) This is the place where they start to move to ACTIVE expressions of obedience. Now the real work begins. In the midst of another busy week - finishing DGL season 11, and two nights of WCSG’s Father/Daughter banquet to toodle my little flutes at.

So, if you’re someone I owe an email to (Liz, among others...), rest assured that I’ll be getting to it. Soon. Really. :-D And if you happen to be bound for the banquet either on Thursday night or Friday night, do stop by and say hello.

Self-Control. Perseverance. Very lean meats. Veggies. These are a few of my favorite things...

Monday, March 09, 2009

Trying something new...

I’m NOT a writer. I want that out there right at the outset.

And yet, little hints along the path keep indicating that writing is in my future. I don’t intend to take this gracefully. I’m going to fight it kicking and screaming. I’m a storyteller, NOT a writer. My mom was the writer, not me. I’m not smart enough, don’t possess the grammar skills or gift of putting thought to paper. I don’t have profound things to say. I’m not a Jeremy Grinnell, who has a brainpan the size of Kansas (with various other states thrown in for good measure) and has profound things to say, nor am I a Barrie Campbell, who God has gifted in the ability to bring His words to the written page. I’m just a storyteller. Of other people’s stories, I might add. I take their words and interpret them and bring them to folks via the spoken word.

I’m NOT a writer. There.

So why does God keep hammering at me about the whole writing thing? He surely knows by now that I’m not a writer. After all, He installed my operating system, and knows what modules He included in it:

He knows that the Storyteller module is in place, maybe missing some crucial updates, but still a valid version. The Musician module is there, although He forgot the manual to make it clear which way to point the thing, so I’ve ended up with a lot of firepower, but missing a good targeting system. It needs focus.

Jewelry Maker is there, missing some of the basic pieces of code that brings refinement and finesse to what is made, but it’s still there. At least it produces something that can vaguely be called jewelry, if one squints and doesn’t look to hard at the details.

Sound Designer and Audio Editor are on the list, but Sound Designer is a fairly new addition, and has a lot of revision to go before it can really be called a fully functional module. Audio Editor is high on enthusiasm, but lacks Technical Ability 7.0, so it works just well enough to do something with, but the results often trigger a system crash (usually from Perfectionist 49.10 - the oldest and most annoying module in the system). And reading any support materials for Audio Editor doesn’t help, since the Visual Learner module overrides the Read The Friggin’ Manual module, and makes most written documentation useless.

And there are huge glitches in the Common Sense sub-routines, the Focus and Get Things Done code, and don’t even get me started about the whole Organization, Clean the Dang House, and Tasks and Goals modules. However the Self-Criticism, Impatience, Mood Swings, and Frustration modules are all operating at full force, unfortunately. So is the Memory Recall of All Stupid Things Done and Failures module. Runs like a Swiss... car. (the Movie Quote module is also fine, albeit a little outdated)

But Writer 1.0 ain’t on the list. I’ve checked - click Finder, then Applications, and Writer isn’t there.

Obviously, my system isn’t a Mac. :-D (Just had to say that...) For the record, it isn’t Windows either. I think the processor is left over from an old Commodore 64, or my old Radio Shack laptop. (laptop? More like two laps, and a couple of consenting strangers - it’s one BIG computer...)

So with all this overwhelming evidence, you’d think that God would realize what is obvious to me... I’m not a writer. And, confronted with this undeniable fact, He’d back off, and help me make sense of those things that are already fighting for space in my overloaded hard drive. But no - He keeps making those subtle little hints and suggestions - someone says, “you really should write a book,” or a speaker mentions "continue to create art," and the first thing He pops into your head is “writing, for example.” Did I say subtle? Yeah - lead pipe or huge concrete block dropped from 20 feet subtle.


And then I realize that by going on this way, writing this entry, I’m just proving His point. Nice. Thanks, really.

I’m NOT a writer.

I’m NOT. Period.

OK - must walk away from keyboard now. Go mangle some silver wire or mangle some music... anything that doesn’t have words...

(the title of this post refers to a new program I’m trying out - MacJournal - to make it easier to write... Ironic, eh?)

Thursday, March 05, 2009

On being an inspiration...

The encouragement I've been recieving during this medical fast has been astonishing - my Facebook peeps have been watching the news of my losses with great anticipation, and lots of rejoicing as the numbers lost go higher and my total weight goes lower. And a number of folks (another number - this one keeps increasing...) have mentioned that my journey is an inspiration to them.

*SCREECH! PLOP! SQUISH!* (that would be the sound of Cal's brain, trying to wrap itself around the concept of being an inspiration to anybody...)

My first reaction? "Me? An inspiration? No no no... This is Mr. Three-Times-Through-A-Fast-And-Still-Wearing-The-Same-Size-As-The-Goodyear-Blimp here. The only things I inspire are feelings of confusion and a vague sense of incipient insanity."

So, after pausing to visualize all the verbal (and some physical) slaps to the head that statement "inspired," let's regroup...

I am frail, weak, and fail so many times that I can't list them all. (Sightblinder* knows them all - every one, and he takes every opportunity to throw them in my face.) After all the times I've tried to do something about my weight, I'm still huge, with so much distance to go that 40 pounds is just a drop in the bucket. An inspiration? You've gotta be kidding me, right? I'm fortunate just to figure out which shoe goes on which foot in the morning...

OK, hold on - I saw a lot of hands being raised into slapping position, and I'd like to avoid another one of those... Those thoughts are the truth, as far as it goes. But there is another truth, one that trumps everything else.

God goes before me. He set my feet on this path once again. He has things for me to learn, opportunities for me to learn to walk with Him and trust Him fully, and stories to tell of His enduring faithfulness and love. If the stories were all about me, well, it'd be slapping time once again. But they're not - the stories about this journey are all about Him and His people having surrounded Vicki and me with so much love and encouragement that Sightblinder is bound, gagged and shoved under the sofa with the killer dust bunnies.

The inspiration in this story? That the Holy One is at work, teaching me to follow without question. That He wants me to grow as His dear son, to learn self-control and perseverance even this late in my life. That anywhere along the path, we can all find grace and mercy and be renewed in Him.

Now THAT'S inspiration. And that's my story - and I'm stickin' to it. Amen and amen. :-D

*Sightblinder is a name used in Robert Jordan's Wheel Of Time books, refering to The Dark One. I find it a fitting name for the one who wants to blind my eyes to everything my Father would have me see...