Saturday, August 27, 2011

The Death Of Me........Or Starting To Work Out

About three weeks or so ago my wife got a family membership for us at the YWCA that is located three blocks from our house. She did it because both of us need to lose weight and get in better shape. I had to face the fact that for too long I had been living a very sedentary life and while once upon a time my metabolism could withstand my poor eating habits that sadly is no longer the case. Truthfully my metabolism changed about twenty years ago while I was in the Army and I never adjusted with it.

So now I find myself at forty six years on this earth and in desperate need of a making a change in my life. I stand 6 feet 1 inch tall and weigh (fully clothed) about 260 pounds which means I need to lose 20-30 pounds at a minimum for my body frame. Even more would be better of course, especially since I want to be around for my son. Factor in that my Mother had a near fatal heart attack two years ago and you can see where I'm heading.

With all of this in mind if you saw me two weeks ago you would have found me striding hesitantly in the door of the Y. My decision was that given my poor physical condition it would not be wise to jump in full bore and push myself to the limit and then to be barely able to walk for a week or so until I recovered. Instead I would go on Monday, Wednesday and Friday using the treadmill and various weight machines and build from there, slowly but surely. On the other days if possible perhaps I could go to the swimming pool for a change of pace.

After the first week however I found myself reverting to old form and was already starting to increase the weight on the machines and even started doing extra sets on some of them. Of course that meant I am experiencing some additional soreness but that's the price you pay. Otherwise I wouldn't feel like I was getting any benefit from it and if that's the case then what's the point of it all? Also I've decided to forgo the swimming pool (except for Saturdays with my son) and instead will use my heavy bag in the garage as well as walking in the park on my off days, that is unless I have to cut grass in our yard because that is a much harder workout than I'd ever get in the gym.

Even with the additional stiffness and soreness that have come I must admit that after a workout I find myself feeling good, more alert and dare I say, more alive. I'm just hoping that all of the work will pay off with some moderate weight loss soon and then hopefully I can completely get rid of my gut in the months to come. Right now though I'm taking it one workout at a time with a lot of effort and even more hope for a better me. But I'm not totally changing my diet just yet, let's not get too crazy alright?

Published by Don Leach

The Line

Just a few lines I came up with a few weeks ago about well, waiting in line, whether it be standing, in a car or what have you. Take from it what you will.

a long lumbering line of slow minded dullards
each as uncertain and insane as the other
slowly creeping along in a line of prolonged deceit
too afraid to decide about making a decision
jamming up the airwaves, the freeways and the mindwaves
everybody behind them held hostage in some way
inexorably dragging down my enthusiasm for humanity
leaving me awash in a fit of despair and depravity

Published by Don Leach

Do not use without permission.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Busy Day

Yesterday was a busy day in our household. My four year old son started school for the first time (Pre-K) which involved getting up at 7AM to get ready and get there on time. Afterwards a had a far too brief nap and my wife and I went to do the signing for the refinancing of our house. It's a much lower interest rate and will save us over $160 dollars a month in our mortgage payments. Best of all we get to skip the payment for month of September and we start anew in October. This way maybe we can catch up on some bills that are too far behind.

Afterwards we went to the library to take back books and dvds and pick up new ones and then to the tag agency to pay for the tags on my truck. Afterwards it was home and lunch and then off to work for the evening where I had to play catch up since I was off sick on Tuesday with unknown illness (I think it was from our lunch when we ate out). Needless to say I could not catch up on everything (not even close) but I did what I was able to accomplish so that's that. Now hopefully I'll have time to write something more on my break. The way things goes though, who can say?

Published by Don Leach

Sunday, August 14, 2011

The Gift That Kept On Giving

Sometime around the third grade I received a GI Joe for Christmas. This wasn't the kind of small action figure that we have today, these were about a foot tall and came complete with the kung fu grip. I had no idea whatsoever what that meant but still it was a great selling point to a young person such as myself. I begged my mother endlessly for this particular GI Joe and for once it worked. My joy was endless, at least for a little while. After Christmas break was over we children returned to school and it was there that my teacher informed our class that we were to bring in our favorite gift that we had received for show and tell.

Of course there was no other toy for me to consider, the GI Joe was head and shoulders above anything else I had been given, so I informed my mother of my intention to take it to school and display it in all the glory that it was worthy of. Much to my dismay my mother had a completely different opinion than mine and told me quite clearly that the GI Joe had cost far too much money for me to risk taking it to school. It was forbidden. What if it were to get broken?

Even though I listened intently to what my mother had said the truth was that before she had even finished talking I had already resolved that I would take my GI Joe to show and tell no matter what. After all, hadn't my teacher instructed us to bring our favorite present? I couldn't ignore a directive like that from a teacher and then bring some lowly, lesser toy with me. It just couldn't be done that way. I went to my room and started plotting a course of action that would allow me to deviously sneak my prized gift out of the apartment.

As it turns out none of my careful planning was needed due to the fact that my mother left for work before I left for school. I merely had to take it with me. The moment had arrived and all of my class presented our offerings for inspection. There was a very good reaction to mine. So good in fact that a girl whose name escapes me (I've probably blocked it out) took it over to another part of the room and when she brought it back my mother's admonitions had born their hideous fruit. It was broken beyond repair as was my heart. Not only did I no longer have my favorite possession that I had long begged for but now I also had to look forward to the severe punishment that would no doubt be coming my way for disobeying my mother.

Once I was home I feverishly started looking for a hiding place, some secret spot where my mother would never find the broken GI Joe and thereby protect my posterior from having harm inflicted upon it. Keep in mind that I was young and so I chose the most unlikely spot that I would have been able to find something, under the gloves and scarves on the shelf in the hall closet. The very shelf that was almost eye level for my mother. The one that as it turned out was extremely easy for her to find what I had tried so hard to hide.

As you can imagine it didn't take her but a few moments to find it and summon me to stand before her in front of the closet. How is it that mothers have this ability to immediately discern that something is wrong in the house and sniff out exactly what it is? As she stood there shaking the broken GI Joe doll, ranting and raving at me for what I had done, what she had forbidden me to do, she lost all control and sharply smacked me on the top of the head with the doll. The impact shocked and probably scared me more than anything else. I stood there in shame and fear as the tears started to roll down my cheeks. My mothers reaction was not one of sorrow or remorse though. She immediately fell back on her tried and true go to saying, "Be quiet before I really give you something to cry about!"

Never in the history of the earth has that admonition worked on a child and it certainly didn't this time either. As if the physical pain that she had just inflicted upon me had not been enough to make me cry! It makes no sense at all but still parents use it to this day. Sadly I myself have used it a few times wincing inside after I've delivered it and realize what I have said. The rest of the evening was spent alone in my room alternately crying and plotting how I could make her pay for what she had done to me, which I of course was never able to do. Truthfully it was forgotten about after a few days and the natural order of things was restored.

Oddly enough this story would somewhat repeat itself years later (although accidentally) when she belted my nephew in the head with one of his action figures. That of course is another story saved for another time.

Published by Don Leach

Talking Right Wing Nutjobs On The Internet

I've only been a member of Twitter for about two months and just now for the very first time had a reply from a right wing, tea party nut job from a tweet that I had sent. I read his reply thoughtfully and then promptly blocked him without so much as sending a reply first. The truth is that the vast majority of people that are so far out on one side of any issue is that you will never reach them no matter how much sense, truth or sanity you expose them to. They will not read your opinion and sit back stunned, thinking about how wrong they've been. No matter what you say they will either ignore it and blindly go forth disseminating their beliefs or brutally attack you for not believing the same things that they hold forth to be true.

It's as if they believe that if everybody else doesn't feel the same way that they do about EVERYTHING then somehow it invalidates their opinion so they have no option to ever reconsider their beliefs. It really makes conversation next to impossible especially in this age of internet anonymity. People will say things online that they would never attempt to say to your face, they just wouldn't have the guts for fear of retribution alone. So the best thing I can do is simply block them. Keep in mind I'm not talking about someone who disagrees with my opinion and presents a valid, well thought out argument. No, I'm speaking solely of those that only want to insult, belittle or just ignorantly argue no matter how incorrect or ridiculous their points are.

I find that it's just not worth getting upset over some unknown person's beliefs, especially when all they mean to do is divide people and ridicule them. What should I care about this persons says when I've never met them, never talked to them and based upon what they've written I really don't ever want to meet them. Honestly a person like that is someone whose opinion doesn't even matter to me. I prefer to speak with people who can understand how opinions differ and don't get upset over it. True, that doesn't leave me with very many options that way but I in the end it's how I prefer it.

Published by Don Leach

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Losing It In School (No, Sadly Not That Way)..............

During my entire time spent in the secondary educational system I can only recall vomiting while in school one time. Then again, it only took that one time for it to prove to be more than memorable. If my memory serves me well (and it probably doesn't) this lone instance of regurgitation occurred in my freshman year of high school at Ironton High School. In those days there was one girls and boys bathroom for each floor and they were located on opposite ends of the floor. It was just my luck that my class was on the wrong end on this fateful day.

I've always had this strange knowledge early on of the fact that I was going to puke and as I sat in my English class I felt my discomfort growing with each minute that went by. There was no doubt in my mind that I was going to hurl and soon. Still, for some odd reason I didn't make my way to the boys restroom with haste. Perhaps I was in denial despite my knowledge or maybe I was trying to convince myself that I could hold it all in until after the class was over. Whatever the reason there I sat in with my hand covering my mouth waiting. Until I could no longer sit that is.

The point of no return came and I realized that the choice was to move now and take a chance of making it in time or to continue to sit and blow chunks all over my desk. With that thought in mind I jumped out of my seat and quickly walked to the door. I didn't bother to say anything to my teacher because I knew that if I opened my mouth something other than words would come out. Instead I made my way into the hallway and started the long march to relief. The further the distance I covered the faster I began to walk and still it seemed as if somehow all of the laws of physics were being broken and the distance was magically increasing instead of decreasing.

Luckily nobody attempted to stop me for if they had then they would have been witness to my sick spilling forth, perhaps on them. Finally I turned the corner and now nearly running with my hand still over my mouth I covered the last twenty feet or so and turned the last corner to make it to the doorway of the bathroom where I instantly and violently lost all control of my body and projectile vomited as if I were a character in a horror movie. Inside the doorway there was a wall that formed a short walkway that led you into the bathroom proper without anybody outside being able to look inside. That walkway was now covered in a watery film that was spreading evenly across the floor. Unbelievably I had not a drop on me.

Doing the only thing that made sense to me at this point I tiptoed into the bathroom and went to the sink where I washed off my face and rinsed out my mouth and then looked around to see if I could find a mop. There were none to be found. The mess was far too large to tackle with the thin and tiny paper towels available and besides, if I were to kneel down to attempt to clean it up then the smell would have sadly made it happen all over again. Instead I tiptoed my way back out the door and carefully looked around to see if anyone had noticed the insanity that had just gone down.

For once I was in luck as the hallway was still clear so I silently made my way back towards the classroom. On the way I met a classmate who had been sent to make sure I was okay. The teacher had been around for awhile and knew that when I had left so quickly that there was a good reason for it. I told my classmate about all that had happened and he was naturally pretty grossed out by the tale. We returned to our class and the rest of the time went along fairly quietly without any other excitement yet I still sat there nervously, afraid that at any moment now the door would burst open and the janitor would point at me telling everyone what I had done. I said a silent prayer that I would not be embarrassed in front of the whole class.

The bell rang and like everyone else I went off to my next class and tried to forget what had happened. Later in the day my classmate that had been sent to check on me informed me that his next class had been on that side of the building and was close to the bathroom when another boy ran past him into the bathroom only to make contact with what I had left behind. He went sliding into the wall and almost fell down. A little shaken and not sure why he had slid he continued on into the restroom never knowing how close he had come to rolling around on the floor covered in my putrid heavings. I didn't even try to find out after that if anybody else had any problems going into the bathroom that day. Sometimes it's better to be ignorant of what's going on around you, for your own sanity.

Published by Don Leach

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Blood From A Stone

Things have been rough lately in our household. There's a lot of uncertainty mixed with a fair amount of stress and pain on all fronts. So it was with a great deal of relief when my brother (from other parents) Tommy came over to work on some song lyrics. Of course first I was able to talk with him and sound off on the various things that were on my mind and gnawing at my stomach. As always not only did he listen but he also had some sound advice for me. Sometimes it's good to just talk with a person whose opinion you trust. After that we tried to start on a particular set of lyrics that had been our plan to be the next new song but instead a different idea pushed it's way to the forefront. I had written a single verse only eight lines long while at work and it was clear to both of us that it was the one we needed to concentrate on. Here's the original verse that I wrote:

Feel the noose lightly tighten ever so slightly
Slowly so slowly until it seems normal
Nothings out of place it’s all chased
It’s when your memory turns bright to dull
Who is this person I don’t remember
Staring at me through the looking glass
This is not my house nor my home
Painfully familiar yet hard to grasp

It can be hard giving up some of the words that I wrote originally but as we worked on it we tried to keep the core idea there and flesh it out. As we worked and bounced ideas off of each other we were able to make the words fit and sharpen it all to present a clearer picture of what was on my mind. It amazed me how we had taken those first eight lines and in just two short hours had evolved them into a complete song. Minus the music that is. That will come later from the rest of the band although Tommy already has an idea from an older unused music track that just might work. It feels really good to create something like this and it's surprising how much better I feel from it. Now if I can just keep this feeling going and build on it. Here's the final (for now) lyrics, make of them what you will:

Blood from A Stone

The noose tightens ever so lightly
A dulled perspective so hard to grasp
All I’ve chased seems out of place
Self desolation has come to pass
Familiar faults slowly breed a pattern
Who is this person I can’t comprehend
Every start seems to deaden my heart
With deception as the means to an end

Waves of restlessness surge
Igniting a sweat that burns
Perceptions always the same
Blood from a stone leaves it’s stain

Now run the gauntlet Run the gauntlet
Run the gauntlet again

Currents flow ever discretely
A scandal burns at both ends
Motives consumed I must resume
Feigning interest, I just can’t pretend
From a place I’ve never controlled
Sinister winds rage against me
To reveal all the flaws I conceal
Is a mistake in identity

Repeat Bridge and Chorus

All words by Don Leach and Tommy Terneus and may not be used without permission.

Published by Don Leach

Friday, August 5, 2011

The Smell Of Burning.............

As soon as I got out of my truck and came around the passenger side I could smell it. Something was burning and since it was after midnight I felt relatively sure that not a single person was up that late grilling and that meant bad things for me. My mind immediately grabbed onto the thought that perhaps some liquid had spilled out in my engine and what I was smelling was that liquid burning off from the heat but I discarded that possibility in an instant.

With each step my pace quickened bringing me speedily to the front door and as I did so the burning smell grew more intense. I now knew with certainty that it was coming from inside my house. As fumbled with my keys I opened the door I saw that smoke was quite thick in the living room, the dining room and the kitchen. It was in the kitchen where I found what was the source of the smell and the smoke. My wife had been cooking and somehow had left the burner turned on with the pot still on it although any liquid that had been inside had long since burned off and what was left inside was mostly a charred and blackened mess. Thankfully though there was no fire.

My first move was to start opening doors and windows and then, coughing, I made my way to my sons bedroom which had the door closed. My wife and son were inside safe and soundly sleeping as I went in and took the floor fan out of the room. My intention was to us it to help hasten the exit of that horrid, acrid smoke and smell. In doing so my actions woke my wife and I told her tersely what she had done and made my way out of the room. She followed and wanted to know if she and our son should leave the house but I sent her back into the room reasoning that since the door had been closed the chance of smoke making it in was minimal at best and that they would be okay.

She did as I requested (which can be a rare thing these days) and I opened more windows and plugged in the fan facing it outside in order to draw the smoke out of the house. It took a few minutes before the majority of the smoke was gone but some of it lingered on in various parts of the house and I reasoned that perhaps it was better for me to stay up longer and make sure I got rid of it all. I dumped as much out of the pot as I could and poured hot water in it in order to soften what remained making it easier to clean (a hope that was in vain) and then finally made my way to bed.

Several days and many hot water refills later that pot still sits there on the counter and it may never be fully clean again. At times I can still smell the telltale remnants of the smoke just briefly at various parts of the house. Who knows if and when it will ever go away.

Published by Don Leach