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, November 28, 2013

Throwback TH / Funny FR / Thanksgiving Something!!!


Written on a weekday morning, in homage to a chicken. Reposted today, in homage to a turkey. And stuffing. And other assorted holiday stuff. Nom... 

Dear Chicken,

My. That seems so cold and formal... do you mind if I call you Chicky? No? Thanks much...

Dear Chicky,

You are gone, dispatched, shipped, cooked, packaged and now removed from my fridge for the final indignity - deboned. I truly hope that your brief life was pleasant, and that your departure from this world was humane and kind, but since I didn't know you then or have any control of that, let's move on...

As I... um... remove your non-tasty bits and place your um... tasty bits into a storage bag, I wanted to express my appreciation. I'm a post-surgical patient who depends on creatures like you and some of your feathered relatives to supply me with lots and lots of protein, so without your contribution to my life, I'd soon become malnourished, my hair would fall out, and I'd wind up taking a vacation at St. Mary's. You help prevent that, and I thank you.

In addition, I'm one of those poor souls who gags every time I try to eat Tofu, certain beans no longer work with my new physiology, and one can only swallow so many protein shakes. So again, the place you have in my day-to-day existence is important, and once again I say thanks.

The Creator who made us both and decided where our place would be on the... um... well, let's just say it, the food chain, He chose your particular rung, and He chose mine. And although at first glance that would appear to place me on a 'higher' rung than you, the truth is that with a higher rung comes more responsibility. He reminds me to be mindful, to be caring and compassionate, to be a good steward of His creation, and above all to be thankful.

So, rest assured that the portion of your existence that has come into my home will be treated with respect. The parts that are useful will be used to benefit myself, my wife, and, should some scraps fall to the floor, our dog. The non-useful parts (which is another discussion entirely) will be disposed of with proper care and dignity. (Although what happens to them after they make their way to the big blue plastic thingie is out of my control - sorry...)

Your useful parts will find their way into a number of wonderful places, such as the Ramen noodles I am presently enjoying. Indeed, they have added some wonderful flavor and texture to the noodles, for which some grain gave up its existence, as well as the most mysterious substance in our world, the bright yellow powder in the silver packet. (Oh so tasty, but I really don't want to know what that stuff is...) In a few hours, more of your tasty parts will join some Roma tomatoes and flatbread to make a lovely sandwich, anointed with that other mysterious substance, Miracle Whip, that I love so very much.

I guess the point of these random thoughts while engaged in removing the non-tasty bits from the tasty bits is this: to be mindful of God's good gifts, from the creatures, to the grain, to the mysterious substances, as He again provides what we need for this day. So, with a grateful heart and a full tummy, I thank Him. And you.


Sorry you had to hear that. It must have been the noodles - certainly not you. Really. No, really.


Alright - that was the dog. You can't pin that one on me. Nope. See? She's licking her chops. Sure sign of... um... something. Yeah.

Until we meet again, in a couple of hours, I remain,

Your friend, ever so briefly,


Tuesday, November 26, 2013

PeopleWatching: Baby Sister Lessons

Welcome to a new series, which, like all the other series thingies I start here in TW'sW, may die on the vine with the very first one. Good intentions, bad followthrough.

This series is about people in my life that I observe and who have a special place in my walk of faith, even if I neglect to tell them that. So here's where I tell them. Of course, I try to disguise them a bit, to protect the innocent. He or She who has ears, let them get piercings if that's how they roll.


There's someone I call Baby Sister... she isn't actually my sister, although in faith she is indeed. So I guess she is, even though she isn't.

Got that?

I don't actually have a sister, although I do have one since the Proofreader came with one pre-installed, so therefore when Herself and I dun got hitched, well, I instantly had a sister.

Whom I love a lot, for the record. I call her Sis, she calls me Bro, and I hope I earn that title - I try to, because I love her dearly.

Love ya, Sis. You were the first one, and always are.

Anyway, Baby Sister works someplace that is near and dear to my heart, and so I see her once in a while. We are friends - it astonishes me that she'll even admit that in public - and I find her amazing.

Why? I'm so glad you asked, because otherwise I'd just have to hit the * key for another few hundred words, hoping that I'll find something to fill in the empty space later.


See? There I go again.

By the way, in case you needed a reminder, refer back to The Girl In The Coffee Shop to read my views on old guys scoping out young fillies. Just so we're clear. Baby SISTER. Just sayin'.


Where was I? Oh yeah...

So here's some of the things I appreciate about Baby Sister:

1) She reminds me of what fire and zeal and love for God and His truth look like in real life. It's wonderful to see someone so in love with God and His work in their life that it radiates in every part of everything they do or say.

(I have a few people who show me that, and some of them will be coming to this series in the days ahead. Hopefully... As I said, good intentions, bad followthrough.)

2) She has a huge, loving heart for everyone, everywhere. I've seen her greet snitty customers, I've seen her greet smiling, enthusiastic customers, I've seen her greet flatlined customers in the middle of a 'meh meh' kind of day, actually getting a smile out of them with her gentle, gracious spirit. She shows every one of them the same caring love that she lives at all times.

3) She works hard at living the Micah 6:8 rule - and she challenges me to make strides of my own in that direction.

4) She seeks justice, and her heart breaks for the downtrodden, the lost, and the lonely. She truly knows how to shine like a light in a dark world.

Which can lead to...

5) She is sometimes impatient with others who don't share her clear vision of God's economy - seeing how we get so caught up in our petty "first world concerns" without considering the huge need for mercy and justice in third world nations. She has a heart for the world.


6) Refer back to #2 to see how God is tempering that clear vision for world needs with love for those around her, even when she doesn't understand how they can seem so blind to suffering. She loves at all times.

(She sometimes lovingly accuses me of only challenging her on #5, without considering #2. Nope - I just like seeing her squirm as she considers the possibility that there's some nugget of truth in all those Doggie Exhaust Pellets I tend to lay down around her with my usual twisted sense of humor. That's how I roll...)

(See, Baby Sister? I do get it. But I reserve the right to continue to mess with your head. Just ask the Proofreader - she's had to put up with it for 30-something years now.)

So, why do I think everyone should have a baby sister or brother in their walk of faith? 

Simple - because their views, unencumbered with years of dogma, tradition, or complacency can help awaken our own fire. Or at the very least, can remind us of how very far we might have strayed from the freshness of when we first fell in love with Jesus. They can remind us of who we really are...

Children in the hands of our Father, who loves all His kids.

Thanks, Baby Sister. You make me smile.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Funny Fluffy Friday: The Interpretation of the Dream

I'm being plagued by a series odd dreams, but rather than summoning all the Wise Guys of the kingdom, and commanding them to tell me the dream and then the interpretation, I'll just handle it all myself. That way, nobody gets hurt.

So, the dreams...

1) A friend is cutting my hair... Since Herself usually handles this (with a vacuum, a Flowbee, and a smile), this puzzled me. She told me that it was alright, and that my Beloved had asked her to do it, but it was still way, way weird.

2) A former co-worker from my retail gig has a chat with me at the end of a long walk through the store (in dream standard time), and in response to my comment that I really miss it and was thinking of re-applying, says "Dude, don't bother - we'd never re-hire you. You just weren't that good."

Way too much truth in this one... can't handle that in a weird dream.

3) A series of frustrations occurs when my present church puts on an outdoor concert... Right outside on the lawn of the township hall 300 miles away in my hometown. And two of my longtime friends from WCSG are part of the congregation, one running the sound and multimedia, one introducing the artist in a long, winding, nonsensical introduction. Then the artist comes up, starting to sing some weird song that she'd never sing even in the shower, and the power goes out...

Because the light in the bedroom (on a timer) just shut off. I awake to a dark room and a warm dog. And all is weird.

The interpretation of the dream? Simple - I should really get up when my alarm first goes off and the light first turns on... 'cause the dreams just get weird after that.

Amen. Word to yo writing on da wall.

Throwback Thursday: Documenting the Story, Pt 2

Another installment of the events that changed everything - when I was ReBorn...

To simplify stuff, I’m going to use a few abbreviations...
MMPC - the place where I first went through the medical weight loss program
GHP - Grand Health Partners, - Dr. Paul Kemmeter
WtW - Weigh to Wellness, where I did a medical fast in January of ‘09

Have you ever noticed that when God decides that the time has come for something, that nothing (and I mean NOTHING) ever stands in His way? You can almost imagine the Red Sea flying back to the shore, leaving very surprised fishies in its wake. God points, the path opens, and nothing can stand in the way of His will.

We began to consider the surgery option in October and November, beginning to jump through all the little hoops that so delight the insurance industry. And yet, it was more like the hoops being flattened than jumping through them. God pointed, and we followed, more amazed at each step.


You’ll notice that I’m saying “we” a lot... no, I haven’t suddenly ascended as the reigning monarch of Olsonhaus, speaking in the Royal we. Vicki and I have both been walking this path. I might be the one whose innards were redecorated, but Vicki walks with me through all of it. She was the one waiting through the surgery, while I snoozed. She was the one who greeted me when I finally came back to the world of the semi-conscious. She was beside me, walking the hallways and keeping me moving after surgery. She came home with me, making note of what meds I go back on, how much protein I have to take in, water intake and all of those details that make me dizzy. I’ve done the easy part - take a nap, wake up, drink, eliminate, repeat. She’s done the heavy lifting. And I try, but can never thank her enough for being by my side. Our favorite nurse said it best - “His wife will be here soon, and he’ll be well cared for.” Indeed. 

We walk this path together, now and always.


When I first considered surgery, I met Dr. Paul Kemmeter at MMPC, and we liked him a lot. But that wasn't God’s time. Dr. Kemmeter has since become a part of GHP, and knows Dr. Turke and her work at WtW. (Anybody else seeing a connection here?) The door opened (was blasted off its hinges, actually) and we went to surgical orientation at GHP. There were appointments to keep, tests to be run, but all was finally in place. If approved, Dr. Kemmeter would be my surgeon, doing the procedure that he first recommended when we first met - the duodenal switch.


The term “bariatric surgery” actually means a whole flock of procedures - from the Lap Banding (which places removable bands around the stomach to constrict intake) to some that aren’t even done anymore. A large number of patients receive Roux-en-Y gastric bypass - it’s not really correct to call it “stomach stapling,” since it’s more complicated than that. If you know someone who has had bariatric surgery, there’s a good chance it was Roux-en-Y. Similar is the sleeve gastrectomy, which turns the tummy into a tube. Want to know the details? Wikipedia is your friend. :-D

The duodenal switch is a two-part operation - part one is sleeve gastrectomy, and then the duodenal switch - the small intestine is divided, part connected to the liver and part to the stomach. The result is restriction of intake and malabsorption. Dr. Kemmeter put it this way - for me, the difference between Roux-en-Y and DS is the difference between trying to drive a spike with a ball peen hammer or a sledgehammer. With my body mass and everything else considered, the duodenal switch would give us the best chance at the outcome we were hoping for. Harder surgery, tougher recovery, more meticulous maintenance - and exactly where God wanted me to go.

There was a good chance that he wouldn’t be able to do both parts of the procedure at the same time. If after finishing the sleeve gastrectomy, he found that the small intestine wouldn’t reach, the operation would end. And maybe in a year or so, after losing some weight, we'd be able to go back and finish with the duodenal switch. So my only prayer about the operation became, “allow him to do both parts.”


We waited for insurance approval, which could take 8 weeks. And we waited on the Lord. Not patiently, with halos perched on our noggins, but we waited. And yet, patience came. And peace - knowing that it was all in His hands, in His time, and we were to just sit back and watch.

Less than three weeks later, the phone rang. “This is GHP calling to schedule Cal’s surgery.” Ok... When? “March 30th - two weeks away.” Ok... yikes. :-D 

A mighty wind was blowing the sea aside. So He pointed and we walked...

Dr appointments. Down to 800 calories / day for two weeks. All liquids after 6pm on the 29th. The time flew, and yet we were in the eye of the hurricane (my friend Dr. John calls it “The Eye of a Miracle”) and all was peaceful. Reminds me of what Rich Mulllins said in The Love Of God - “Makes me glad to have been caught in the reckless raging fury that they call the love of God.”

The Saturday before surgery, we were getting “things” in order - will, patient advocate forms, etc. That was my only time of fear and anxiousness. Not for myself, but at the thought of leaving Vicki behind and alone. That was almost more than I could bear, but when one is weak God strengthens the other. Vicki had no fear, no doubt - the path was clear and she was eager to follow it. And she carried me along for a bit when my feet wouldn't move.

Sunday morning, Palm Sunday, and God was in da house. I was doing my usual thing, playing the bass in our worship team, when He showed up and healed a connection I had been missing since January 2006 - the connection between the mechanics of my instrument and the heart of worship. I worshiped while playing my bass, and rejoiced at God’s grace. He blew away the darkness of Saturday night with the light of His presence, and it was amazing!

After the service, brothers and sisters gathered around me and prayed over me. If you've ever been at the center of a circle of prayer like that, you understand the overwhelming feeling of God’s presence. God met us in that circle, hearing my family as they raised us up in prayer. Praying for my only concern - that the whole operation be completed. I wasn't concerned about anything else, but my family was - they prayed for peace, for comfort and for God’s care over both of us. Sitting dead center in the Eye of a Miracle. 

Monday - more things to finish up. Got to spend some sweet time catching up with Pastor Craig, recounting all the steps that brought us here. Before we knew it, we were getting into bed Monday night...

and I actually slept pretty well. Amazing? No - it’s just like God to do that.

Tuesday morning - at St. Mary’s by 7:45am. In we go, and all is still peaceful. “Scared?” “No. Not at all.” “Really?” “Yeah. Cool, eh?”

9:45 or so, I say goodbye to my best friend and get wheeled away. She has the long wait ahead, and I get a long nap. Doesn't seem fair, does it?

-- to be continued --

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Momentum, or the Absence Thereof...

Why is it so stinkin' hard to get something rolling again after it's come to a complete stop?

Confession: sometimes that complete stop has come because I just got off and stopped pushing. 

Now, because this isn't the first time I've done such a thing, I know full well how hard it will be to get it moving again... Regardless, I got off, I stopped pushing, and I let it come to a complete stop. And I really truly believe that getting it moving again is one of the hardest things that I might ever attempt, if I can bring myself to even try.

"So," I imagine I hear you ask, "What would you be referring to when you say 'IT?' And if Stephen King is involved, I'm outta here..."

If that were true, you'd have to get behind me, 'cause I'd already be at the door. *shudder*

By 'IT,' as in the thing that I've allowed to come to a grinding halt, I'm actually thinking about a couple of essential things in my existence...

IT = Big Blue, my beloved TerraTrike. I've been on it once or twice in the last two months, which is way, w-a-a-y too little. Riding is one of my replacement behaviors for food addiction, so no riding = no replacement for food, thus the possibility that I'll be using food as a drug again, which would lead toward weight gain.

(I'm up 30 pounds in this past year, so that's definitely something to be very concerned about.)

IT = Writing regularly. Journaling is my primary tool for figuring out my world, both in living life 2.0 and dealing with the various mental issues I have to work through. When I'm not writing, lots and lots of stuff is getting log-jammed in my noggin, which can lead to a lot of randomness swirling around, muddying mental waters that are already pretty murky.

Things become unclear, thoughts become "grey" instead of black and white, and if left unchecked, no momentum will ever be gained or gotten back, because everything will just slide into the murk.

In other words, two of the most important things to keep my new life at least afloat, if not moving, have come to a dead stop, or a very sluggish crawl. 

Rut Ro, Rorge...

"Ok, big boy," I once again imagine someone responding, "Aren't you being a little overdramatic? Aren't you getting a little too worked up over a couple little things? Neither writing NOR riding that three wheeled thingie you ride are things that should be that essential to live. They're just not that big of a deal. Suck it up, buttercup."

Overdramatic? Milking the moment for all the sympathy I can? Perhaps overreacting a few thousand degrees?

Not so, say I.

- I still remember spending entire days in my recliner, living there 6-8 hours at a time, placing everything in arm's reach so I didn't have to get up from my "nest" to get things. And poor Ezzie the Wonder Dog having to time her outside trips before or after I sat down, since once I was ensconced, it was pretty much over for her until I got up hours later.

- I remember having to watch Vicki go into the grocery store alone, while I sat in the car because my legs simply wouldn't hold me up for that long.

- I remember the grey curtain covering my thoughts, blurring everything together because I simply didn't have the strength or the health to push through it.

- I remember desperately stopping at McDonald's at 3am, getting a huge meal, and having most of it eaten before I drove the two miles home, using the euphoria of food to salve over my churning emotions and my unstable mind, hoping that it would make me happy, at least for a little while.

- I also remember going out in the wee hours of the morning, driving for a couple hours, crying out to God, and along the way stopping at a drive-through. (Since I "needed" something to eat, right?) And after starting to eat, I remember feeling as though a door had slammed shut - my emotions, my thoughts, my heart, they all went dead and numb. One of the first real pictures I got about how food was my drug, my pacifier, my "make-it-all-better-and-keep-the-pain-away" thing. And also throws into sharp relief my struggle with bipolar disorder...

- I remember going from extreme frustration and anger immediately into depression and tears, blaming myself for being so weak and unstable, unable to be the husband my beloved so desperately wanted and needed.

- I remember watching my sweetheart carting a couple hundred pounds of equipment up the basement steps and into the car, then out of the car into a gig, setting it all up while I did what little I could while seated; then she sat waiting for me to toodle my little tunes, and afterward, put most of it away in its cases, hauled it back to the car, and lugged it back down the basement steps. And I remember the loathing that would churn in my mind, knowing that as much as I hated watching her struggle, I didn't have the strength to help.

- I remember the times where, in my tears and desperation, I would wonder how much better her life would be without me. And I didn't think God was quite as loving and kind, since He stuck a wonderful woman like her with a slug like me for a husband.

- I remember the months of madness after being laid off of a job that I thought was my calling from God. He hung up on that call - now what do I do? Talk about momentum stopping dead... It was a long time before I could even start to think straight.

Shall I go on? No? You sure?

Interestingly, the majority of my writing has taken place either on my journey toward surgery, or during the roller coaster ride of the last three years. I don't know that I've ever taken a deep, honest look at what my world was really like back then, before God took away my chains and set me free.

And yet, I've got to admit that remembering these and many other scenes from my 480 pound life doesn't seem to be helping kickstart my momentum. If I think about it for a few seconds, I can remember the darkness, the hopelessness, the despair that I lived in, before my body and mind were ReBorn. But being able to recall those feelings and scenes doesn't do diddly to bring some leverage into the here and now.

Truthfully, it is SO disappointing to get on my trike and struggle to get in 5 miles, remembering when a 14 mile ride to Conklin and back on the Musketawa Trail was a "normal" ride for me. Or hesitating about loading my stuff into a couple of bags, putting them on the trike and riding to work, 3 miles of up and down, knowing how much of an effort it will be, when there was a time where I wouldn't have even hesitated - if it wasn't raining, I was on the trike, period.

Not so much now. We've come to a dead stop.

As for IT 2 (I really should have called them Thing 1 and Thing 2...) -

Any writer... (and even those of us who really aren't writers, but keep typing away for some unknown reason, perhaps thinking we're part of the infinite number of monkeys with the infinite number of typewriters that will eventually reproduce the works of Shakespeare...

Ooh Eee Ooh Ahh Ahh...)


Any writer can tell you the moment of panic, of numb, of lost momentum that hits when staring at a blank page or a blank screen. Real writers develop some things to get over this - routine, habits, little writer's block-busters to push through and get writing.

Me? I wait for a kick from an imaginary hamster named Steve who spins on a wheel in my mind, until I sit down at a table in front of my keyboard, open the cage, and let him roam around, seeing what patterns emerge from his exhaust.

I didn't say it's a good block-buster, but it's what I got.

(And yes, for the structurally observant among you [although if you are one of them, you probably ditched these random ponderings long ago...], you could say that the Whistler's Wonderings are pretty much comprised of hamster exhaust.

And that's why I call it the Fluffy Goodness. You're welcome.)

Some days, the momentum is rolling, the ideas come, and the fluffy doth flow.

Other days, not so much.

But if a day or days pass between writing sessions, I find an 800 lb. hamster that I get to try and push uphill.

And don't even get me started about HIS exhaust. *shudder*

So yeah, thinking my way through memories of past frustrations, of momentum gained and lost doesn't seem to help with any traction to regain momentum.

Or does it? Let's try turning the camera angles a bit...

So, what if I spend some time remembering the first year, when getting the 1.5 miles from one end of Riverside Park to the other was a difficult undertaking, leaving me gasping. Even now, as out of shape and heavy as I am, I can still go back and forth in the park, covering the three miles with a smile on my face at the end.

Could that give me some traction? Instead of focusing on summer 2011, one of the best years of my life on the trike, perhaps I need to remember summer 2010 - months after the surgery when I was just happy to be moving on three wheels under my own power...

How about even this past summer? The little bit of riding I've been able to do is still far, far beyond the summer of 2010. Nowhere near 2011, but is that really important? And way ahead of 2012, where my retail gig pretty much took my whole summer and fall away.

Now I'm not going to pretend - it still hurts like the dickens to get back on the trike and ride. My legs aren't up to the challenge by any stretch of the imagination.


They're still better than they were in 2010. And I was just under the weight limit of that trike (400). Now, I'm 50 pounds under the weight limit of this trike (300), and am moving better and farther than I could in 2010.

As for Thing 2, it's a work in process. After all, it was only after the surgery that we realized how writing (or journaling, since I'm still ambivalent about the whole "I am a real writer" thing...) is an essential part of the process of my new life. As Herself so wisely put it, "It's where the maintenance gets done." I'm trying to accept that this is something He wants me to do, even though I think I should be off doing something that actually helps pay the bills.

And so far, the "do both" idea doesn't seem to work. As I've said before, I don't have a whole train of thought - just a boxcar, and it's on rusty tracks.

So I'm taking baby steps, trying to learn the craft, hone and fine-tune my voice, and learn what it means to be a writer, just in case I ever get the inclination to actually be one.

Momentum? Maybe.

Getting easier? Oh my goodness gravy, no.

But every day, even with tiny movement, is worlds away from where I was before March 30, 2010. A bad day today, at 250, is light years away from a day at 480. Clarity, peace, and some measure of balance in my mind is so far from the chaos of depression and bipolar that I lack the words to express it.

So, as we turn the final corner and the ol' boxcar begins the final descent into a brick wall...

Perhaps momentum isn't gained in huge increments, but tiny little nudges that keep growing - not in a huge avalanche over a couple of days (although it can certainly do that...), but a little more ground gained, a tiny step here, a misstep there, but not back to square one, never back to square one unless we simply give up altogether.

And it's measured in years, not moments, because the real lasting change is measured in the long haul, not a sprint.

So here's another tiny step. Here's a short ride, or spinning on the trainer in my back yard. Here's a few words typed in - they might be incoherent, random, and make no sense when read back 24 hours later, but here they are.

Momentum. Tiny, hard, heavy. But moving forward. Always forward.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Friday / Saturday Fluffy Funny

According to my little schedule for when Fluffy will be dispersed on this here blog thing, we're at the day for the Funny Fluffy Goodness.

And if I don't put something up today, I'll have blown the schedule in the first week. That would be a little soon, even for me - I usually wait a week or two before getting bored and throwing something under a passing bus.


Beka Valentine - Shredding Daddy's Underwear since 06/16/2012


Homegirl is a world-class sleeper...

I'm writing the captions in, since the beautiful design of my blog makes 'em tough to read. You can thank me later... if at all.

I think you can read this one... Her back legs are about as long as my arm from shoulder to wrist. And no, I'm not kidding. Our long-legged Ibizan Hound...

7 Weeks ("I love my new daddy,... and I'm very sleepy") to 7 Months ("I'm SO gonna shred his underwear... Oh, and I love my daddy, for the record.")
Yeah - we had no idea what we were getting into from what she looked like as a puppy...

Homegirl is getting honkin' HUGE..
She's standing in the same position there - with a couple of months passing.

Hopefully you can click on this one and see it clearly - there's simply too much for me to convey. And I'm laughing too hard... and it sets up the next flatulence reference...

And this one is based on the truth of das Olsonhaus - the person with the most offensive "output" is also the person that lost his sense of smell. Thus, a commentary from The Beka...

There's a dose of Beka Caption Pics - I'm sure there will be more to come. Tune in next time to hear BekaV say...

"Nice going, Photo Boy... This little romp is going to cost you... a LOT... if you want to have any unshredded underwear, that is. I accept all forms of doggie bacon strips."

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Throwback Thursday: Documenting The Story, Pt. 1

As a part of our new, shiny, soon-to-be-thrown-under-the-bus schedule, Thursdays are where I pick a previously published bit of fluffy goodness, past its expiration date, but still lovely and tasty, and put it out there again for public consumption.


And since the readership of the Whistler's Wonderings is not a stagnant number, but constantly has folks flowing in and out of our core readership, all 3.78 of 'em, I thought it might be good to go back to the major event that kind of kicked us into the journey I'm on today.

So, we set the Wayback Machine to April, 2010, not all that long after my surgery on March 30th. Let's roll that beautiful bean footage, shall we?

Vicki was excited when I said I thought I was going to go and do some writing today. I know she’d never pressure me, but she wants to make sure I make note of the steps we’re taking in this journey, so that we don’t forget just where from and how far we have come.


Yeah - I know. It’s been a long, l-o-n-g time since I wrote. September of ‘09, according to the posts on TW’sW. A lot has happened since then, but I seem to have forgotten that writing is the thing I must do - it’s how I process my thoughts and feelings, it’s where I place the Stones to remind me of the path and to help me keep sight of God when I lose faith, and it’s the place where Vicki can see what’s going on in my brain without being overwhelmed.

(Vicki will often make my eyes glaze over with details of what she does at work - the type of digital sorcery she engages in makes no sense to me whatsoever. I sometimes forget that I often do the same thing to her... late at night... in bed... when she’s trying to settle in and rest, and I’m chatting for all I’m worth as everything I’ve thought about all day suddenly tries to jump ship at the same time. If I write, those ideas get out there when she can actually see them, take her time reading them, and not feel like I just ambushed her with a fire hose...)

So, it’ll take a while, but I’ll catch you up with where we are. Then we’ll talk about it. Saddle up, buttercup...


Last fall, almost a year out from my most recent medical weight loss program, my doctor and I began to discuss the possibility of bariatric surgery. I’ve considered it over the years, even went so far as to pursue it a couple of times only to be turned down by two different insurance companies. And frankly, I’ve always been a little scared of it.

It seems like everyone you talk to knows someone who has had “the surgery,” and you’ll hear tales that range from, “oh, they’re doing GREAT!” to “well, they did lose some weight, but now they’re bigger than they were before!” It’s all too easy to take that huge step, make some good progress, and end up worse than you were to start with because you’ve regained everything and stretched your stomach to a dangerous size. And that’s what scared me - I know me, sort of, and at the end of the day I seriously doubted I could make the kind of lasting change that would make surgery a safe and successful option for me.

But that changed...

it was in October that Dr. Turke (my doc at Weigh to Wellness) and I realized something - I was almost a year out from my medical fast in January of ‘09, and I was still at the weight I was when I finished. Actually, I had managed to lose a few more pounds since May of ‘09. And I hadn’t been doing anything to really make it that way. We looked over my history, and discovered something pretty significant: I don’t lose well, but I maintain beautifully.

It’s pretty much the opposite of most people. When I settle at a new weight, I tend to stick there, instead of ballooning back up the moment I get off of a “program.” I tend to land at the new place, and stay there instead of running back up to where I was.

That’s a biggie.

Now, back when I first went through a medical fast, I got all the way down to 366 - over 100 lbs off. And I regained back to over 460. That doesn’t sound like I stick very well, does it? So I thought...

Until Vicki reminded me that one little tiny thing happened in the middle there - losing my job of almost 20 years and becoming unemployed. And that was a very dark time - my heart was so wrapped up in that job and what I was a part of that it was a long time before I could even think straight. My heart went to stone, my joy was down the biffy, and worship became cold and stale.

Since then, I’ve learned some significant stuff. No job will ever have my heart again - it belongs to God alone. Work gets my allegiance, my best efforts, my full concentration and ability, but not my heart. So when my job at CBH ministries ended in October, I left and my heart stayed with me.

Have I recovered fully from January, 2006? Yes and no. I know enough now to keep myself and my work separate. But the wounds to my heart and my relationship with God? Still working on it. Making some progress, but working on it.

So, our original observation still stands: when I lose weight, I tend to stick there. It’s hard for me to get it off, but good when it’s gone. Knowing that, I started to explore the surgery one more time.

Little did I know that God was WAY ahead of me, as He always is...

-to be continued-

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

The Cool Kids

Just for once, I'd like to learn a lesson, and actually not have to return to it. I'd like to have the lesson stick.

But when it comes to lessons, it seems I've got a non-stick mental surface that would pass both the egg AND the fried cheese test.

(And if you watched late night infomercials, you'd know that those two tests truly are the greatest challenges anyone can present a given piece of cookware. Ever. Alleluia. Amen.)

So the lesson that seems to refuse to make it past my iron-clad noggin this time is the Lost Puppy Lesson, conveniently linked here by the Proofreader, 'cause she's fancy like that.

And as we learn in my all-time favorite book, The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster, from my favorite character in that book, Alec Bings (who sees through things), sometimes all we need is perspective - a different point of view. For example, a little perspective can turn the Lost Puppy Lesson into The Cool Kids lesson, giving it not a "happy" ending, but at least a satisfying one.

And that makes all the difference.

(So I guess "I CAN git some... satisfaction..."

Ha ha hee hee ho ho *snort* Wooo...)

The fall fundraiser for the radio station I work at (part-time) has passed into the history books. It's a few days of intense work, immense blessing, and good stuff in abundance.

But it also teaches me that I'll never be one of The Cool Kids. And I'm actually beginning to think that I'm actually alright with that.

I work side by side with my friends, many of whom I've known for at least two decades, some considerably more than that, and it's a great time. We laugh, we cry, and we watch together as God again moves His gracious hand. But, it also makes me long for the old days, when I was truly one of them, The Cool Kids, working full-time at the station, a part of the ministry.

But, I'm not.

And, as far as I can see from here, I'm not supposed to be. What I AM supposed to do, well, I have no clue at this point. But God's been pretty clear that going back where I was ain't it. So there's a distance, a little chasm that I perceive, but I'm guessing no one else does.

And that's alright.

I'm always aware of a separation, a distance between myself and others. It's not intentional, not malicious, and usually isn't even directed at me with extreme prejudice...

Except for the occasional personage, that is, who decides that I flatline their Weird-O-Meter, causing them to regard me with the Stink Eye of Malice and Loathing, as One Would Deliver to a Wayward Doggie Exhaust Nugget Placed in One's Sphere of Awareness.

I'm rather an expert on the whole subject of Wayward Doggie Exhaust Nuggets, so I can speak of this with a certain amount of authority.


And I recently received one of those aforementioned Stink Eyes of Malice and Loathing, so my experience is minty-fresh and shiny.

Anyway, I'm used to the subtle separation, the way God tends to keep a little space between me and others. There is, in fact, only one person in my world that I feel no separation from, no distance or "non-belonging," since God made her especially for me. It's only been recently that I've come to appreciate that in a new, astonishing way.

And lest this become totally self-centered, I'm reminded that God made me especially for her. You have no idea how long it's taken me to see that - I used to consider our relationship in two ways: God's great gift, giving me a spouse, a soulmate, and a best friend; and God's great celestial joke, sticking the Proofreader with a slug like me.

I've come a long way, baby...

Sorry I called you baby - I'll try not to do it again, snuggly-lumpkins.

Oh, and family doesn't count for the whole "separation between me and others" thing. After all, as I've heard it said many times, you can pick your friends, but you're stuck with your family.

Thank goodness. Otherwise I'd have been voted off the island years ago.

In these past few years, as I'm learning this whole thing of being ReBorn and living life 2.0, things like not being one of The Cool Kids take on that change of perspective...

Separation, in my specific and rather odd case, isn't punishment, but protection. It supplies the space I need to recover from emotional swings and come back to balance.

Isolation isn't something to drop me into loneliness, but a friend to come alongside and provide a quiet place for my mind to settle.

Embracing my introverted self doesn't make me a hermit, but instead allows me to truly cherish my times of interaction with others, accepting that it's alright to make those times the exception, rather than the norm. Too much interaction, too much social stimulation can have some bad results...

For me, that is. I have no idea what it does to the poor souls I've inflicted myself upon...

This is all stuff I didn't know back at the Lost Puppy Lesson, when I was an angst-ridden teenager.

Now I'm just an angst-ridden mid-fifty-something - totally not the same thing.

But, like the sunrise on a murky day, I'm beginning to see and accept God's design - quirks, oddities, weirdness, and all. If it were any less odd, it wouldn't really fit me, would it?

So, just in time, as life 2.0 is becoming "normal" life, I'm learning just what a remarkable "normal" it is - perfectly designed for me, with help for all my quirks, oddities, and weirdness... I'm not one of The Cool Kids - but I am just what He made me, and I'm ever-so-slowly becoming what He intends me to be...

'Cause my Father is fancy like that.