Extremes Can Be Wildly Entertaining, But Not Really Practical

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Danny

Extremes Can Be Wildly Entertaining, But Not Really Practical

In 2010 I went on a backpack trip to the Caribbean with my buddies Clarke and Galen.  It was such an amazing experience and a trip that I will never, ever forget.  On this trip we befriended a guy named Vinny who owned a bar on Jost van Dyke.  Vinny also owned a boat and we signed up for a day-long excursion to Virgin Gorda, which by small boat is a few hours away.

Our trip there was fun and Virgin Gorda was amazing.  Insert camera noise now…

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This is a photo take at Virgin Gorda.  Left to Right: Galen, myself, Vinny, Clarke and Clarke’s friend Nick (I think)

As fun as the trip TO Virgin Gorda was, the return trip was the opposite.  To get to this island from Jost you have to traverse a channel between Tortola and St. John and then Tortola and Peter Island.  For some reason on our return trip the seas got bad.  We were in a 20 foot boat which is small for the open ocean and the waters became extremely rough, probably 6-7 foot seas.  This might not sound so bad unless you are on a small boat that is struggling to keep its head above water.

We spent a couple of hours battling the waves to get that little boat safely back to the dock on Jost.  The waves beat the bow of the boat and tossed us around like a rag doll.  Vinny was on the throttle working to keep the vessel steady.  Every second felt like an eternity.  When we got tied up Vinny looked at us and said “Boys we escaped death today.”  We all laughed and joked about it, but later that night while sitting at the bar in Corsairs (Vinny’s bar) the reality of what we lived through hit us all.  We actually lived through an exhilarating and scary situation.  It isn’t something I ever want to experience again.  My adrenaline was pumping.  My fear was elevated.  My senses were on high alert.

I am not built for extremes and I don’t believe living in the extremes is a healthy way to live.  Yes the extremes might be fun for a bit, but I have found extreme highs come with extreme lows.  I work to keep my mind out of the extremes and more in the middle.  I try not to get too excited when times are good and I don’t like to get too down when times are tough.

I developed this mindset through learning to play the game of golf.  I am currently a 2 handicap and what allows me to keep my scores down is keeping my mind calm when under pressure.  It is essential to avoid the emotional roller coaster of highs and lows in order to remain calm.

This mindset of living in the middle does not mean that life is dull and boring, but it does mean that I take things in stride.  My view is that you can’t spend every day on the mountain top celebrating and you shouldn’t spend too much time in the valley wallowing in misery.

Just a thought for a rainy Saturday…

Danny

I Now Know I Must Make Serious Changes in My Life

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Danny

I Now Know I Must Make Serious Changes in My Life

Recently I went for a procedure which helps my doctor better understand what is going on inside my body.  At the beginning of 2018 I started having issues with my gut and it concerned me greatly.  The last thing I want or need at this point in my life is digestive issues complicating my already challenging health situation.

In May I had a colonoscopy performed and the results revealed I have polyps and inflammation and part of my diagnosis was Ulcerative Colitis.  The polyps were removed and the areas tatooed so they could be monitored as time progressed.  This most recent  procedure revealed I do not have UC which is a great thing, but it did reveal 10 new polyps which is a startling development for a 6 month period, with one being quite large.

Regardless of the polyp results I have made the decision to get my health under absolute control.  No more excuses.  No more delays.

I started by researching the exact types of foods I must eat to be the healthiest I can be and the types of food I am eliminating once and for all.  I have also began research on exercises I can do with MS and how to slowly build up to being strong and absolutely shred fat from my body.

I have made the decision that I am going to be the before-and-after photo I’ve seen online which means I am going to stick to a clean eating regimen void of sugars and junk food.  It means I will be committing to the most disciplined lifestyle I’ve ever lived.

I believe change happens in 2 different ways which are both dependent on one another.  First, one has a moment of realization to make definite change.  Some will call this a moment of clarity or a “come to Jesus meeting”; I had this experience.  It finally hit me that I eat too haphazardly.  I take my body for granted.  I take a lot of things for granted.

Following the moment of clarity the second part of change kicks in and that is the process of actual change.  This is the nut and bolts, the how, what and when.  This second part of the process is where most fail because it happens in inches, not miles.  Every day you make decisions and those decisions either help you progress or they move you back. Sometimes making a more beneficial decision doesn’t “feel” like it is impacting your life.  It is only after the accumulation of multiple beneficial decisions do we see the impact of our work.  And because the impact is not immediate, most people make the mistake of letting up.  They stop pushing forward.

I have had the moment of clarity and now I am developing my plan which began this past Wednesday.  I have implemented a daily 20 minute workout, which will progress to 45 minutes by the end of December.  I will be implementing a ton of green leafy veggies and some raw fruits, most raspberries and pears and replacing potatoes with sweet potatoes.  I am eliminating salad dressings, bread, sugar, tea and potatoes along with processed foods and the like.   I will also be mixing in some juicing using the NutriBullet.

My ultimate goal is to get to 10% body fat from my current percentage of 25.  I’m not going to focus so much on weight, but on measurements and progressing through my exercise regimen.

I am calling my new endeavor Project Me.

Hope all is well!

Danny

It’s Christmas, But Are We All Failing Life Miserably?

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Evelina and I love Christmas.  This time of year we usually plan a lot of activities involving Christmas by visiting McAdenville (Google it), Christmas shopping in the hustle-n-bustle, tree lighting services, parades…you get the point.

This past week we visited the Christmas Village in downtown Charlotte to see the tree lighting and to shop the vendors for special gifts.  And of course I did my usual which is watch people and their behaviors.  I don’t know why I do this, but I simply cannot escape it.

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There were a lot of people and the area for the village was packed, often times leaving little room if any to walk or maneuver from one vendor to another.  We spent much of our time saying “excuse me” or “I apologize” as we bumped our way through the crowd.  What surprised me (not really) was the fact that we did not get one single return courtesy from another person there and we were bumped into, run into, pushed past many times; too many to count actually.

It is no secret that I really don’t like crowds and maybe I am hypersensitive because of this fact, but I don’t think it should be okay to be discourteous.  At one point I positioned myself in an area away from the crowd so I could watch people to see how many apologized or excused themselves when they pushed their way through other people and not one time did anyone say anything.  One instance resulted in a lady having half of her hot chocolate spilled and the offender just kept on walking.

It is becoming evident to me that we’ve failed (or are failing).  I see this occurrence too often and it seems to be the norm in today’s world.  Every time I watch people’s behavior I feel myself becoming so negative.  I feel negative writing this post as a matter of fact.  But I don’t think this topic should be ignored simply because I don’t want to be negative.  It is my belief that the smart device and social media are behind this growing trend.

Society as a whole has become addicted to their devices and because of this addiction the world around us becomes invisible.  We forget that this thing around us is a live, breathing, actual place which depends on real, live interactions with real, live people.  It is not uncommon for a drug addict to steal from family, the same family that loves them.  The addict becomes so focused on his or her next fix that the only thing that matters is getting that fix and everyone else becomes irrelevant.

I tend to be a bit pessimistic and possibly a touch judgmental and I admit to being so.

But I still think we are failing.

Danny

Never, Ever Listen When the World Says ‘No’!

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Danny

Never, Ever Listen When the World Says ‘No’!

In 2016 I was at a point of decision.  My business was not doing as well as I wanted and my insurance premiums were skyrocketing.  The proverbial writing was on the wall and I knew I had to make a change.  So like many others I began putting my resume together and applying for jobs hoping that my efforts would lead me to a solid company who would give me an opportunity in sales.

The first company to reach out to me was a furniture company by the name of Brook Furniture.  I interviewed with a district manager which led to interviewing with a regional manager in a restaurant in downtown Charlotte.  I wasn’t exactly sure if this was the right job for me, but I was certain I could do the job and they needed help, therefore I continued through the hiring process.

During the interview the guy couldn’t have been less interested.  We met at a restaurant in downtown Charlotte and he ordered a huge ice cream dessert and commenced to eating it throughout the interview.  He asked a lot of questions which I answered honestly (probably my downfall) and in the end he explained to me that he didn’t see having a place for me in their company.

At that moment I felt a bit confused.  I honestly thought the job was mine and he said ‘no’ which I was not expecting.  It was at that moment that I realized getting a job in sales with little sales experience was going to be more difficult than I had thought.

I guess I could have taken that ‘no’ as a sign to find a different line of work, but I didn’t.  I took that ‘no’ as motivation to interview better and try harder.  That ‘no’ led me to a better opportunity and my diligence impressed my current employer enough to give me a ‘yes’!

I think we listen to the naysayers too much.  We allow other people’s opinion to influence us too often and I say don’t ever listen to anyone IF you believe in yourself.  If you believe in something then I say let your desire drive you to getting what you want.  Let your self-belief be the foundation for working through the struggles.

Don’t quit and don’t give up until you have pulled every bit of effort out of your soul.  Sometimes giving your best effort is the best result.

Danny

Have Young People Lost the Skill of Math?

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Danny

Have Youngsters Lost the Skill of Math?

On this past Sunday Evelina and I ventured out to participate in one of my favorite activities of the year-Christmas tree shopping.  There is a local tree lot near our house so I jumped in Little White Truck and headed out to find the perfect tree.

Evelina met me there and it only took us 10 minutes to find our gem.  As the young man trimmed the bottom limbs and stump I went to the hut to pay.  I handed the young lady a $100 bill to pay for our $69 tree.  I expected her to reach into the register and quickly hand me a twenty, ten and single bill.  Instead she grabbed her iPhone, typed in her security code, opened the calculator app and used it to do the math.  100 minus 69 =31.  I stood amazed as did her coworkers as she then reached in the draw and counted out my change.

As I stood there waiting for my tree she used her calculator several more times, all of which to do simple math problems.  100-80=20.  80-75=5.  For a brief moment I thought to give her the benefit of the doubt until one of her coworkers teased her about the quality of education she was receiving at her university.  At that point I was even more amazed.  This kid is going to graduate college and she cannot do simple mathematics without a calculator.  How is this possible?

Have we gotten to a time in our history when kids cannot perform simple operations without using a device or running to Google?  And I’m not talking about complicated calculations.  I’m not expecting someone to calculate the launch angle necessary for a rocket to hit the moon.   100-69=31.  Are we devolving into the human form found in the movie Wall-E?

100-80=20.

My personal belief is that we ARE becoming more lazy and that technology (with all its advantages) is doing as much harm as it is good in some instances.  It isn’t technology that is at fault, but it has a lot to do with our reliance on technology.  Spellcheck.  Google.  Smart devices.  For heaven’s sake there are kids who don’t use their hands to write.  40% of kids who took the ACT in 2016 lack the reading and writing skills needed to pass a basic college level writing course, according to the National Assessment of Educational Progress.

I know I sound like the proverbial old guy standing on his porch yelling “You kids get off my lawn”, but come on!  80-75=5?  Really?  I find it hard to believe that if pressed this girl could not have come up with 5 as the answer without using a calculator.

Sometimes I think humans are evolving…then this happens and hope comes crashing down around me.

Maybe it is time for Jethro Bodine to start teaching math in our schools.

Naught x naught = naught.  Shouldn’t be too hard to do that math!

Danny

A Really Sad Reminder That Life Does Not Last Forever…

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Danny

A Really Sad Reminder That Life Does Not Last Forever…

In the last 2 months I have lost 2 friends from high school.  I wouldn’t say either were close friends now, but back in high school they were in my larger circle of friends.  The latest friend to die was a girl named Tonya (name changed for privacy reasons) and her death has hit me fairly hard.  When I was in high school my mom’s company did business with her mom and dad so she and I would talk here-n-there between classes and had kept in touch via Facebook.

She was a kind person who would often comment on my blog and/or FB posts with words of encouragement and always seemed interested in how I was doing as I dealt with the impacts of MS.  She leaves behind a husband and 3 daughters ages 10, 13 and 17.

She was in relatively good health and went to bed one evening and died in her sleep.  I cannot imagine how her family is feeling at this point and attempting to imagine their position leaves me feeling empty and incredibly sad.

I guess if you must die now that is about as peaceful a way to go as any other.

Tonya was my age and it is hard for me to accept I have gotten to the point in life when my friends are beginning to die.  In a way it forces me to contemplate my own mortality.  What have I done with my life?  Am I wasting the time I have remaining?  Am I spending enough time with my family?  But more than these questions, I have been sad.  And the sadness I feel is real and subtle.  It isn’t a crying my eyes out sadness, but a foundational sadness, a tangible shaking in my soul, quiet type sadness.  It is hard to explain, but it has disturbed my complacency.

This coming week Evelina and I will attend her funeral and I will see many friends from high school.  Her family will bury her and life will begin to move again.  Her husband will return to work eventually, her kids will return to school and life will continue on; minus a husband and a mom.  The reality is their life will never be the same.  October 31st will always have a different meaning.  It will be sad in many ways.  It will bring about happy memories.  But life will never, ever be the same.

One day I hope someone has good things to say about me.  It is difficult for me to imagine not being alive, but I understand there will come a day when all of my questions about the after-life will be answered.

I would prefer the after-life continue to be a mystery for many years to come.

Danny

Caution, Your Actions Can Hit You Like a Boomerang!

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Danny

Caution, Your Actions Can Hit You Like a Boomerang

A few years back Evelina worked part-time for this furniture store in Charlotte.  I was operating my vintage furniture business then and this guy (we will call him John) was one of my clients.  He mentioned to me that he needed reliable help selling in the store so I recommended Evelina.  It was a great part-time job for her while she finished law school and he paid her commission on sales which was really nice.

But as Evelina became more involved in his business she learned some things about his business practices which made us both hesitant.  First, he was not paying taxes.  Second, he was paying all of his employees under-the-table wages.  And, third, his store was not up to code for some of the painting and varnishing work being conducted.

At any rate the guy turned out to be someone we didn’t want to associate so Evelina quit and I stopped selling him furniture.  Which at the time was a big deal as he was my largest buyer, sometimes buying 30 pieces of furniture per month.  But for us the decision was an easy one.  Of course he refused to give Evelina her final paycheck and we didn’t choose to fight the battle, just wanted him out of our lives.

I tell you this because yesterday I got curious and looked him up on Facebook.  What I found didn’t surprise me.  His FB business page was shut down and as of July he was out of business.  Several local television news channels had run stories on him because he closed his doors while owing a lot of people money for inventory and owing customers money and product.

We filed a complaint years ago with the local tax office explaining to them that he was not paying taxes, but nothing was ever done.  I was a bit annoyed at this because I wanted vindication.  I wanted bad things to happen to this guy.  I know I’m not supposed to think like that, but I was mad and I’m being honest.

Now his actions have come around and hit him square in the forehead like a perfectly thrown boomerang!  He is being investigated by the Department of Justice which was a huge shock to me and lets me know he was doing some pretty shady things to get in that much trouble.

It just goes to show that it is better to conduct yourself with integrity than to cut corners and treat people poorly.  I hope he ends up in jail because he deserves to serve time.

Danny

When You Know the Right Thing To Do, But You Don’t…

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Danny

When You Know the Right Thing To Do, But You Don’t…

We have all been in a situation where we are trying to make a decision or a friend asks for advice and the right choice is obvious.  Often times the right thing to do is right in front of us we just don’t want to admit it or the right choice means going down a difficult road.  This happens often in sales and usually has something to do with us screwing something up and we have to call the client and admit our mistake.  Some reps want to hide details or even pass along the blame to a “corporate” mistake.

Doing the right thing should always be the first choice.  It isn’t always the easiest route and it isn’t always the most comfortable choice, but it should always be the choice.  When you know the right thing to do but you don’t do it then you bring in a whole new set of issues and problems.  It’s almost like opening Pandora’s box.  Then once the box is open you realize it would have been easier to just do the right thing from the beginning.

So here’s my policy…always do the right thing no matter what.  People will have more respect for you in the end.

Danny

I Can’t Make You Want It…

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Danny

I Can’t Make You Want It…

I had one single goal when I started blogging and that was to pass along some of the things that I did to turn my life around.  Prior to November 2014 I considered myself an underachiever.  I would wake up each day and whatever happened, happened.  For the most part life happened to me, not the other way around.  But then I underwent a transformation.  I spent a year completely redesigning my habits and my thoughts to change careers and find more success.  I restructured my thoughts so that I happened to life, not the inverse.  I stopped drinking alcohol, stopped watching television, started watching what foods I ate, started reading books to help me expand my mind, and most importantly, started making my bed each morning first thing.

All of my habit changes changed the way I looked at the world, but it also changed how I saw myself in the world.  I began to envision the result I wanted to achieve.  I began seeing myself in a successful position and eventually a new career opportunity presented itself and I scooped it up.

The key was I made up my mind that I would change.  But I can’t make others want to change the way they see themselves in the world.  I believe you can create your own ending, that you can write the script you want.  Then combine that with preparation and hard work and you can transform your life into what you desire.  The catch is you have to believe it, I can’t believe it for you.  I learned this principle from the book Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill.

I consider myself fortunate that my eyes were opened to this fact and I want so badly for others to realize it also.  But it is not up to me and I cannot make people rethink their existence.  Each person has to live their own life and all I can do is talk about my experience and hope that one other person experiences the awakening I experienced.

And for that reason I type each morning hoping that my story might help someone in some small way.

As Bob Wiley said “Baby steps onto the elevator.”

I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend!

Danny

My Week 221: Noteworthy Nonsense

mydangblog

Like a lot of people, I keep notes on my phone to remind myself of things, sometimes writing-related, sometimes work-related, and they’re quite often so cryptic that I can’t figure out which is which. I was on the train on Friday night, typing in a reminder to buy wrapping paper (for the first time in twenty years, we don’t seem to have any, and the gift bags have been passed back and forth to the point that they’re a little shabby), when I realized that the first note was titled “Player 1”. And while you would think this kind of note would be writing-related, like for a cool story about a grand chess master who falls in love with his opponent, or the saga of an unindicted co-conspirator who is identified in court documents only by that pseudonym, this one is actually work-related:

Me: So there’s something wrong with my email. I changed…

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Curried Crab Cakes

A Jeanne in the Kitchen

Crab is a nutrient powerhouse, containing  loads of necessary vitamins and minerals that all contribute to good overall health.  It is an excellent source of selenium, which helps to keep the thyroid healthy.  There is 3x more selenium found in crab than there is in beef.  Aside from selenium, it is also a great source of B vitamins, protein and omega 3 fatty acids, all of which make for a healthy diet.  If possible, it is recommended to eat crab at least twice a week, although it can be pricey, and is often considered a luxury food, which might make it more difficult to eat that often.  I love crab, and can enjoy it any way it is cooked, but I admit that we don’t buy it that often because it is expensive.  But it sure is delicious, and I enjoy every bite of it when I do buy it. …

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Let Me Ask You a Question – 12/18/18

Do you buy the conspiracy theory that the medical industry doesn’t really want people healthy because healthy people means less revenue for them?

Lessons From The Snowstorm: 4 Lessons On Living With Chronic Illness – Reclaiming HOPE

When we got up around 6:00 Sunday morning the snow had just started coming down. There was just a light dusting on the ground, andContinue reading

Source: Lessons From The Snowstorm: 4 Lessons On Living With Chronic Illness – Reclaiming HOPE

Special day…

Cyranny's Cove

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Most people would probably say,
that this is by no mean a special day.

Just a week away from Christmas,
no reason to celebrate, right?
But I beg to differ
let me tell you why, if I might…
For thirty eight years ago
I was offered the greatest gift.
My mom gave birth to a little bro’,
therefore making me a big sis’.
Tonight as we feast together
and rejoice over a glass of wine…
The whole family will agree
that this day’s far more than just fine!

December 17th is certainly a date to remember
May you enjoy it, my dear and only brother!

This is my contribution to Brutus’ request that we celebrated today as the special day it is. I hope you’ll appreciate my modest take on it, good Sir!

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Book Review: Last Train to Lime Street by Brian L. Porter

This Is My Truth Now

Last Train to Lime Street (Mersey Murder Mysteries Book 6)Last Train to Lime Street by Brian L. Porter

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

If you were to look over my previously read book list, you’d notice ~75% are mysteries that are part of a book series. I enjoy getting to know a group of characters in a realistic setting who work together (or sometimes against) trying to discover what secrets led to a murder. Brian L. Porter’s ‘The Mersey Murder Mysteries’ series provides all that and more. I’d finished reading three of five previously written when his latest was released this month. Although I try to read in order, these can be read out of order as they’re stand-alone mysteries based on the fictional Merseyside Police Specialist Murder Investigation Team. If you read out of order, you might find someone married in a later book and single in an earlier book, but otherwise, it should be okay. Kudos…

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Brown Sugar Pork Chops

What's for Dinner Moms?

This dish was hard to photograph. We cooked it in butter so it had a shine to it so it was difficult to get a good picture. I have been reading quite a bit about cooking pork and one of the best suggestions we read was to cook it like a steak so it doesn’t dry out. We decided to give it a try to cook it like we cook steak.

Verdict:

Everyone liked the texture and how tender the pork chops were. They were a bit divided on the rub. We figured out that it wasn’t well blended so that some spots had more Cayenne and Paprika than others. Warning, make sure your spice blend is well mixed and rubbed in all over the pork so you don’t get pockets of only one spice.

We served this with buttered noodles with Parmesan cheese and green beans to complete the…

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Think we are getting there

Its good to be crazy Sometimes

The meeting I had with my mental health team went well, we went through the stuff I have done off on my own steam, which is a lot to be fair.

Then we talked about plans I had for the next year and how my new guy can help me. I liked the new guy, not sure what it is he is going to be doing, other than probably pissing me off.

Flippant I know, but his basic job seems to be forcing me out into the big wide world, so going to the shops without having a 6 year old attached to me.

I am really keen for this to start happening, I am in a better place than I have been in a while, and Monkey is starting to notice more and more things, which is not a bad thing but I don’t want him to feel like…

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