Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Something From the Fat Boy

Yeah, that's me--the Fat Boy. I started out the year with the idea that I would lose 50 pounds by my 50th birthday. I even started out doing pretty well at working toward that goal. Somewhere along the way, I lost sight of the goal or just got tired of working at it and so June 13th came and went and the only thing that happened was that I turned 50 and weighed the most that I've ever weighed.

Aside from feeling like crap and either having to struggle to fit into clothes that are too tight or buy a new wardrobe, I also face the typical overweight health issues. I've noticed that my blood pressure is slowly on the rise, my knees get sore more often, stairs are a little bit more of a problem, ... you get the idea.

So along with a couple of the other fat boys that I work with, I'm back into the "be a better me" mode and we have a little contest to get us started on the way to a healthier weight. Our initial weigh in was eight days ago and the contest portion of my weight loss ends on August 31st. I really don't think that I'll be at my goal of 210 pounds by then, but that's the contest weigh in date.

We're all off to a good start with each of us losing 7-8 pounds in the first 8 days. While I fully expect these two guys to keep me on track for the first six weeks, I'm going to borrow from one of my Facebook friends and post a weekly progress report.

Week 1: minus 8lbs. (16% of my goal).

I've been eating better (and less) and trying to get a little bit of exercise. Although I think that increasing activity is more of my style rather than an exercise program. I'm taking my cue from Dr. Yoni Freedhoff at Weighty Matters, and from Lucy, the dog. Unfortunately, I don't do too much that is very active these days so I have been using the recumbent bike while watching a ball game...or watching a ball game while using the bike. I don't suppose it really matters which I'm doing with purpose and which is incidental. Although since the Cardinals have been playing like minor leaguers lately, I guess the main focus has been on the "activity" part!

I'm also going to try to get more sleep. I know that there is a correlation between weight gain and a lack of sleep. It makes sense that there would also be a correlation for a good night's sleep and weight loss. That's going to be harder than setting aside time to exercise!

In any case, we're off and running (so to speak). I'll keep you posted as to how it's going.
Oh yeah, I've also been drinking more water and tea and only had a couple of sodas in the past 5 days.

Soon to be the ex-Fat Boy,

Monday, July 26, 2010

Monday Morning Quarterback

I know that it's not yet the season for Monday morning quarterbacking, but I thought I'd borrow the phrase as I rehash a bit of yesterday morning's Sunday School discussion.

The text was taken from the 15th chapter of 1 Corinthians, and was about the resurrection--both the resurrection of Jesus and the resurrection of the dead. Some how we managed to get off topic and were talking about what heaven will be like--if we'll recognize each other, if we'll know one another as we know one another now (mother, son, spouse, etc.), and if there will be animals in heaven (pets from earth or heavenly animals).

Personally, I find these discussions (especially about animals) to be a waste of time as they are purely speculation. But since we managed to take up a good portion of our class on the topic, I thought I'd just throw it out there for my readers to weigh in on.

For the discussion, I'm going to have to assume that you believe in heaven. If you don't, well...I guess you'll have to wait for the next open topic. Rather than have too many different ideas of heaven, let's just stick with the idea of animals in heaven.

Will there be animals in heaven?
Will they be animals that are created for heaven or will they be animals that were on earth?
If you think they will be animals from earth, does that mean that animals have souls?
If your pets will be in heaven, does that mean that all animals will be in heaven?

Apparently, there are people that feel pretty strongly about this topic that I really don't care about. If you're one of them, feel free to share your thoughts on the subject.


Sunday, July 25, 2010

Happy Birthday!

To be more correct, I suppose it should be "Happy Anniversary"

Out of My Hat wasn't really born on the 25th of July, 2006, but that is the date that it was first published. Looking back, that very first post is still one of my favorites...and I still think that I need to write that book.

I don't really expect that to happen until I decide that I'm willing to commit a set amount of time to write on a daily basis. I haven't even been able to keep a faithful time for posting regularly on this blog. How could I ever manage a book?

Out of My Hat hasn't changed much in four years. I've added a few widgets to see who is reading and a recent addition to count down to retirement. Topics are about as varied as I originally expected but I feel like I should do more under the label of "Favorite Bible Stories" or "message".

I'd like for you to endure fewer rants on politics or religion but they seem to be a pretty big part of discussions in society so I'll probably continue with the occasional thought here. I'd like to write about more fun stuff--fun for me to write about as well as fun for you to read. In the beginning, this started out as something that I was doing for me. I never would have guessed that I would have regular readers from around the globe or that I would make friends from so many countries. I feel a little bit obligated to provide some meaningful writing instead of writing about "the life of John" most of the time.

I'll try to look at this day as a new beginning. I want to recapture the fleeting enthusiasm for writing that was here four years ago. I really do want to write more often. I think that Facebook, Twitter and other social media sources have contributed to a decline in blogging. Several once regular bloggers have quit writing blogs for the ease of the short "status update" or "tweet" about their current moment by moment situation. I'm pretty sure that has a lot to do with the decline in the frequency of my posts.

Originally, I thought that I'd be posting once, maybe twice, per week. At times it was much more often than that. Other times it was only a couple of posts that were weeks apart. I'll try to be more consistent and get back to the once or twice per week where I started.

In any case, if you've been with me from the beginning (or reading for some time), Thanks for your loyalty. If you're relatively new to Out of My Hat, stick around. We'll have some fun, discuss a variety of topics and enjoy the daily input from blogs and bloggers from around the globe.


Friday, July 23, 2010

Friday funnies

Family and friends from my college days may understand why I think this is funny. If you haven't known me that long and only know the more mature and sophisticated me, you might want to re-read #6.

The latest from the "Messin' with Sasquatch" commercials:


Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Hero Worship

I've never been much on hero worship--maybe it's because there are few that are qualified for true hero status. And I guess that everybody has their own standards for what qualifies as a hero.

From the website of the 107 Ranch:

Any man, woman, or child can be a H.E.R.O. with humility, endurance, relationship, and obedience which all begins and ends with Jesus Christ.

I can live with that. Using that as a qualifier for hero status, take the time to read about a guy that just may meet the standard to be called a genuine HERO.

Read the article, then come on back. I'll wait.

I like that guy--and not just because he's a great baseball player. He really seems like he's a great guy, too. It has to be hard to keep humble and to remember his roots and to serve in Christian obedience when he is one of the all-time great baseball players.

I don't know if Albert would make the hero status in your world, I'm not even sure that I'd say he's a hero in mine; but I do know that he is a hero to many young people in his homeland and around the world of baseball. He is an ambassador--an Ambassador of Christ, an ambassador of baseball, an ambassador of many that are much less fortunate due to poverty or disability.

I'd have to say that Albert Pujols is one of the good guys...and a reminder that we all can make a difference. We may not be able to sponsor a medical mission to a foreign country, but we can help our neighbors or contribute in some way in our local community.

Do something nice for somebody today--little or large--and come back to share it with the rest of us!


Saturday, July 17, 2010

Summer Re-runs

I just changed my profile picture on Facebook. If you follow Mike's blog, you'll recognize it from one of his posts.

After posting it, I got to thinking about the masks we wear and the perceptions (and mis-perceptions) that people have of one another. Then I did some back tracking to read several old posts that give an idea of who John really is--or at least an idea of who I think I am.

Some of the things are a little bit funny, some are interesting, some are controversial, not many are normal or boring. Maybe that's why I like the new pic.

If you're a long time reader and don't feeling like the reading the repeats, I understand. If you are relatively new to Out of My Hat or a recent addition to my Facebook friend list, you may enjoy these (I do):

The last two are short easy reads (lists), the first two are a little bit longer.

So now you know why being me isn't boring ... or normal


Monday, July 12, 2010

Who is Your God?

I read a couple of different blogs today that addressed diversity of beliefs in one way or another.

This first one is really just a brief on the author's look at how we sometimes view God. I think that we all need to examine why we believe as often as we examine what we believe.

The second is Brian McLaren's response to the question "Are all religions the same?"

And the last is an irreverent look at a polytheistic world that ridicules several beliefs. If you're easily offended by somebody making fun of your beliefs, you might want to skip this one.


Sunday, July 11, 2010

Looking Back, Living Ahead

Today was another beautiful day in the Ozarks. I don't know if it made it to 90F (32C) or not, but I'm sure that it was close--pretty much what one would expect for mid-July. At a little after 5 pm, the sun is beating down on the back of the house and the driveway (where I am sitting) is well shaded.

I'm taking advantage of my laptop, wifi router, and the alone time afforded me by my current task of manning the ice cream freezer to do a little blogging. There really isn't much to do other than making sure that there is ice with enough rock salt to keep it melting and to be here when the delicious confectionery concoction freezes enough to stop the electric motor.

Chris is baking the lasagna and we are awaiting the arrival of our dinner guests. Aaron and Jenny are home for the weekend taking care of some pre-wedding business. Tux measurements, dress fitting, a shower at Hopedale today and another one at Jenny's church tomorrow. Then back to Clinton and work for Jenny, Chicago for Aaron. For this evening, we'll share the two of them with Jenny's family and have dinner together as soon-to-be in-laws.

I was looking at some of Aaron's pics from when he was just a little guy and thinking of the great time that I've had being a dad. Honestly, I'm not really sure of how I feel about entering into this next phase of fatherhood--I mean it's good--I'm very proud of Aaron and thrilled with the young woman that he's marrying. I don't know if I'm supposed to be sad that they will be on their own far away from home or not. I think that falls under the category of what mom's are supposed to be sad about. For dads, I think it's more of a "mission accomplished" kind of thing. You know--that's what we raised them to do.

I think that Jenny's dad, Joel will be scanning some of these pics for a power point presentation of pics of Aaron and Jenny for the wedding. After they're digitized, I'll post some of them here. They remind me of some great times.


Dinner was great, the ice cream was awesome and we had a good visit our with friends that are soon to be family. Kathi, Joel and Kassi went home a little while ago. Hannah's boyfriend, Ethan, left around midnight and Aaron and Jenny are on an early morning (1am) run to Buffalo Wild Wings to get Aaron his spicy fix.

It's been a whirlwind kind of visit--arrived home about 10pm Friday, busy with tux measurements, dress fittings, hair appointments, and a shower today. Too busy to make the fireworks after dinner tonight and church, another shower tomorrow and then the drive back in the afternoon. Jenny will be back next weekend, but we won't see Aaron until the week before the wedding. He's still got some laundry to finish tonight so he'll have a pretty late night. Maybe he can get a nap on part of the trip back tomorrow.

All-in-all, a pretty boring post for most my readers, but another reminder for me of just how good things are. Yeah, I only mowed half of yard today, spent a few days on sick leave last week, spent some money on stupid medical tests for work last week, watched the Cardinals have a dismal week, and I have two cars in need of repairs (ones not running and I can't figure out why). And yet I have a grand life.

If you're one of my Facebook friends, you may have already listened to this song. I think it explains my attitude about making it through the day to day struggles of life. In the Bible, Paul writes that we are just travelers through this life; that this is not our home; that we have something greater ahead of us.

Author Stephen Covey says it this way: "We are not human beings on a spiritual journey. We are spiritual beings on a human journey."

I guess it's just a matter of perspective.

Enjoy the song.
Enjoy the day.
Enjoy life.


Monday, July 05, 2010

When Small Business Turns to Corporate Greed

Just down the road from me is a Wal-Mart Super Center. It has just about anything that you might want or need from a gallon of milk for dunking cookies to a quart of oil for your car. You can do all of your grocery shopping from fresh fruits and vegetables, to deli, dairy, bakery and packaged foods. You can buy a new cell phone (and contract) from most cell providers, a new computer, iPod, or flatscreen TV. You can get school supplies, bedding, hardware and tools, clothing from slacks to shorts and dress shirts to t-shirts. You can get exercise equipment, sporting goods, toys and tents. You can fill your prescriptions, get your vitamins and supply your medicine cabinet. You can decorate your yard, fertilize your lawn, buy a lawn mower, weed eater, leaf blower, patio furniture, gas grill or charcoal grill. You can buy tires or batteries, get the oil changed in your car or buy all of the stuff to do it yourself.

It is the great one stop shopping place...and it's cheaper than any other place around.

...That is, if you can find another place around.

I'll admit that it's easy to go in there when you're in a hurry and need a few diverse things. Or when it's almost midnight and you're on your way home and need to get a gallon of milk for the next morning's breakfast.

Your kids will never make a fashion statement dressed in Wal-Mart clothing, but if money's tight (and it usually is) you can buy a couple weeks worth of t-shirts, shorts, sock and underwear for a lot less than at a "clothing" store.

This might sound like a big push for Wal-Mart Stores...IT IS NOT.

Wal-Mart is the ultimate example of how corporate greed can upset the balance of healthy competition, small business and community pride. It shows how profits for the major stock holders and corporate executives outweigh honesty, integrity and just plain fairness when it comes to dealing truthfully with communities and employees.

The High Cost of Low Prices is a documentary film that will will make you think twice before spending another dime in a Wal-Mart store or make you become active in keeping a Wal-Mart from coming to your town. You can watch it here.

I know that it's an hour and thirty-eight minutes long, but it's worth the reminder that we are still paying a high price in round-about ways and it's all going into the pockets of the corporate big shots.

Come back after you've watched the film and tell me what you think.

Today I'll sign off as...
the Union Member
Commercial Food Workers 1985-86
International Association of Machinists and Sheet Metal Workers, Dist 9 1989-'92
National Air Traffic Controllers Association 1992-present

Sunday, July 04, 2010

Happy 4th of July!

It's a great day of celebration across the USA. Although we often struggle with political issues and we may not have the perfect system of government, it beats the pants off of whatever anybody else is doing.

One FB friend posted the thought, "Wondering what our founding Fathers would say about our country and government today."

I liked the comment that was posted, "They'd say they're still a free country and fighting to keep it free. Way to go people!"

To often we want to focus on what's wrong with our country--and we have to recognize our faults if we are going to fix them. But let's celebrate what's right with our Grand Country today! As Citizens of the USA--what ever your race, religious preference, political party, sexual orientation, social status, size or shape--let's celebrate our freedom!

My friend Bilbo has an excellent post for today. Hop on over and give it a read.


Happy Birthday to my Dad.