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Where hope has gone to die

Just when we thought we couldn’t possibly feel worse about the state of our country, our society, our community, we see how tenuous hope is when it hangs on the shoulders of an 87 year old with cancer.

She deserved so much better than to suffer knowing what her loss would mean to all of us.

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Parenting never ends

That baby is not mine, just an image from the internet. My oldest baby is turning 25 soon and she decided to pack up and move 3000 miles away. I was sad but it’s an adventure, although could be better timed but she’s an adult. Her mother and I worry a lot and usually there’s no reason to worry.

Yesterday we were in the supermarket when I got a call from her, “I don’t want to alarm you, I’m fine, but the car broke down and I’m on the side of the road somewhere in Tennessee.”.

My blood went cold. I imagined all the worst scenarios. My first instinct was to jump in my car and start driving to her, 14 hours away. That was irrational but I felt helpless.

We talked through calling AAA (which i had bought for her when she announced her intentions, really paid off) and I told her to get as far away from the car as she could and wait for the tow. She posted a pic of Instagram and her car down a berm on the shoulder of the road. What she hadn’t told me was that it was pouring rain out. I was really proud of her taking my advice and getting away from the car. Cars on the side of the road are magnets for people not paying attention.

AAA told her the tow would be an hour, she had a friend following her and she asked me if she should go with her to a gas station to wait. I didn’t think that was wise, an hour isn’t really that long and in that time someone could come and ransack her tightly packed SUV.

I was on edge while she waited, we have an app where we can see her location and I kept checking it to see if she was moving or not. Once the tow was there and she was on her way I was able to relax a little. With Covid she was not allowed to ride with the tow truck so if she hadn’t had her friend to fall back on I’m not sure what she would have done…does Uber pick up on the side of the road? I doubt it.

They towed her to a Honda dealer, not her car’s make, and they ran a diagnostic and determined what the problem was but didnt have the part. They advised her where to go and helped her understand the symptoms as after sitting for awhile the car would start again. The Honda Dealership charged her nothing for this and I’m grateful and thankful for decent people in the world.

Anyway, she’s back on the road and I still have simmering anxiety and will continue to be anxious till she gets to her destination.

No matter how old our kids get parenting never ends.

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Intermittent Fasting; here we go again!

I wish I could blame it on Covid but it was more likely due to life changes, a new job back in November and some other crap I won’t get into here, maybe someday when I can even bear to think about it. Anyway, I stopped intermittent fast, I stopped Keto, I basically stopped caring. So, i went from an A1C of 6.5 to 10.5 at my last check 2 weeks ago. I did manage to keep my weight down only gaining 10 pounds in that time which sounds like a lot to some people but I’m 6’4″ and 10 pounds either way doesnt make much difference.

I met virtually with my endocrinologist, who looked exhausted, but looked even more worried when she looked at my numbers. I didnt get into the reasons for the fallback, she’s not my therapist, but said i had gotten back on the right path a couple of weeks ago (1 week really, I’m such a liar).

The good news is, after a couple of weeks, I’ve settled into a routine and I’m going in the right direction. I have gotten on a good Keto path and don’t eat until between 1 and 2 every afternoon and stop eating around 7-ish. My blood sugar levels are looking really good and I’ve lost some weight! I hadn’t been sleeping well so I’ve also cut my caffeine in half by making a pot of half-caf every morning instead of full strength and I’ve cut out diet soda. Dr. saw me drinking one during our appointment (the perils of Zoom!) and scolded me pretty good. I haven’t had a Coke since then and have substituted with water. I don’t miss it which is weird for me, I’ve drank it so long and I’m not even tempted.

Coca-Cola® Zero Sugar | Coca-Cola®

i have a spreadsheet where I track all my numbers, here’s an excerpt;

My Daily Numbers

So, as you can see things are on an upswing. I am also keeping track of my blood pressure because that’s a real problem for diabetics if it gets out of hand. I added in a conversion to Kilograms because I was too lazy to find the formula for BMI that used pounds (stupid Americans, we don’t do metric!)

It’s a marathon not a sprint though so I have to keep at it. I do enjoy getting a green box much more than a red box though so that’s my motivation.

I’m the most unreliable blogger but I intend to keep tracking things here so stay tuned you nameless Romanian and Chinese viewers! 🙂

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what do we do if we lose?

November is fast approaching and the race is tightening up. There are all sorts of musing about what happens if we lose. I imagine the idea of another “civil” war as so out there as to be ridiculous but i guess I thought Global Pandemics were only for books and movies before this year.

2020 has seen so many of our deepest nightmares come to pass and it feels like it won’t end anytime soon. I can’t even imagine who is going to line up for the “vaccine” that is due before the election. It feels like it will be all ant-vaxxers taking it and pro-vaccine people not. The world is upside down.

So, back to the original question; I was never one of those “if my guy doesnt win I’m leaving the country sort but, (again 2020) now I would seriously consider it, Ah, but TWIST, we can’t go anywhere!

We seem to be stuck in a nightmare we can’t wake up from.

Oh! My Fasting Blood Glucose is way better these days!

How to avoid a nightmare trustee board | Third Sector
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VE Day

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Victory_in_Europe_Day

Churchill waves to crowds.jpg

If you didn’t realize it today is Victory in Europe day! 75 years ago a war that had raged across the continent for 6 years came to an end! Growing up in America we read a lot about war, some have gone off to war, some have lost loved ones to war but we’ve never had a war waged in our backyard. It’s hard to even imagine.

I grew up with my mother and father telling us what it was like living in Scotland while the war went on. They were both teenagers and my father was too young to go fight although my mother’s brothers went. They lost family in the bombing of the city they grew up in, my mother was evacuated to the country just like the kids in the Narnia books and they were often awoken in the middle of the night to go down to a bomb shelter during air raids.

My mother had life-long guilt over her feelings that “at least something was happening”. She was a kid and she had a childish feeling but it never left her. Her boyfriend, fiance, was killed in the war but she never spoke about it much.

My father was much more close lipped. He served in the Army after the war when he turned 18 and spent his time in service in Palestine before it became Israel. He was there when the Israelis blew up the King David hotel. I missed the opportunity to talk to him more about it.

I really missed the opportunity to talk to them much about their pasts and their families. They’re both gone now and they both lived through some very historic times and all i have left is scraps of memories of them.

Well, now I’ve depressed myself. 🙂

I hope everyone is doing well and staying safe during this bizarrely safe and scary time.

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Who the hell is Frank Allen and why is he writing a blog?

I mean this isn’t the 90’s for goodness sake!

You don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows.

— Bob Dylan

I imagine that WordPress on January 1st each year is much like any gym on that date; well-intentioned people trying to improve themselves by starting something new. I also imagine the results are the same; the usual diehard people are the only ones still around in February.

I have started and forgotten about a lot of blogs over the years. Will this attempt be different? It has to be! My life depends on it!

Ok, a little dramatic. I do have some pretty serious problems that I think blogging might help me control and maybe even overcome.

Physically, I have a raging case of Diabetes (Type 2, judge away!). I made great strides in getting it under control in 2019 and, I’m hoping, with the extra day in 2020, I’ll do even better. I went from an A1C of close to 11 to 6.2 at my last blood test and I lost 40 pounds. Over the holidays that just passed I definitely managed to put a few back on but I’m not going to step on the scale till next week after I’ve eaten normally for a few days so that I don’t trigger my other thing….

Mentally, I’m pretty depressed. I wouldn’t say I am “crippled” with depression…although it does feel that way sometimes…but it definitely gets in my way often. At particularly tough periods I’ve had some suicidal thoughts but, honestly, I recognize that my life is pretty good and I don’t want to do that to my wife and kids and anyone else that might be affected by that particular act due to their proximity to me.

I read a lot. The year ending yesterday I completed 69 books (thank you Goodreads for keeping track of such things). Each year for the past couple of years I’ve set a goal of 52 books to read for the year and I haven’t missed it yet.

I do the New York Times crossword everyday. I currently have a streak of 710 days in progress. I’m not particularly smart, there are tricks involved in completing even the hardest puzzle and if you do enough of them you learn those tricks. Free hint; if the clue has something to do with a cookie the answer is most likely OREO.

Frank Allen is not my real name but everything I’ve mentioned in this post is true. I think the pseudonym will allow me to post the truth about myself no matter how icky it might be and I think letting people (even strangers) know my dark side as well as my light side will be beneficial to me. I’m not a serial killer or anything there are just things about me that I don’t or can’t share with people in my life, I’m sure whosoever has read this far understands what I mean…like that suicide thing a couple of paragraphs up…I’ve never expressed that to anyone. Also, I’m starting therapy next week, that should be fun to write about.

See you tomorrow and, hopefully, well into February and beyond!

I’m stuck.

My company just replaced the CEO that hired me with someone new with a radically different philosophy as to the goals and future of the company. The previous CEO was an incredibly nice guy but he just couldnt grow the company. I agree with the new CEO’s approach but i’m afraid I won’t be around to help him achieve it as executives tend to have their own teams and don’t like being burdened with the old guy’s staff.

I’m going to work hard during the transition to demonstrate that I can be of value to the company but at the same time I’m revising my resume’ and reaching out to my network. I hate this, as Danny Glover says, “I’m getting too old for this shit”.

Covid-19 in Philly

My son has one friend that hasn’t been laid off. My son has a lot of friends. He’s a bartender and, granted, most of his friends are in the service industry but to think that only one of his many friends is still working is mind-boggling.

I work from home normally so this isn’t that much of a change for me however I do have my wife around all the time as she has been laid off; she’s a teacher.

My business provides remote technical support using support agents that are not in call-center but work from their homes. It has been an interesting period for us; we have a lot of new opportunities but many of our current clients are experiencing problems and so their futures are shaky.

So what disaster awaits us next? In think that through I was not encouraged to see the air force release tapes of incidents when their pilots spotted UFOs. Can it get worse?

Day 14 PlayList

Wow. In the midst of this incredible worldwide phenomenon that hasn’t been seen in our lifetime I find myself doing very little productive. When London was quarantined for the Plaque Shakespeare wrote most of his brilliant plays. this will not be my output. I am however revisiting some songs I used to love.

I really loved Cyndi Lauper in the 80’s right before I went into the military her album, True Colors came out. It was wonderful.

Some songs that got me through some long deployments in the middle of both the Mediterranean and the Pacific follow below.

there were so many though. Lots of George Thorogood too..i think I was somewhat limited by the cassette tapes I had brought with me. Lot of Dylan too but this may have been the best one…i left home a little bitter i guess.

Concerta and Ritalin

I started on some ADD medications last week. I’ve noticed a significant improvement in my focus. It’s great! I have been much more “present” in meeting and my thinking is more orderly. I’m still on the introductory low-dose, I move to the big leagues on Friday. Hopefully it will just get better.

Work is crazy busy these days. The company is in transition, we’re changing the culture, the focus and we’re bringing on new people. It’s all very exciting and exhausting. It has made it a challenge to get in regular exercise so I’ve been focusing on keeping my carb count low and eating Keto.

I head out to California next week again. Looking forward to seeing the team and getting more work done. Hopefully the weather will improve. I’m going to some really fancy steak house with a vendor. A rib-eye steak goes for 60 bucks! I’ll have to see if it’s really worth it even though I won’t be paying.

Measuring age…

Image result for baby

My baby turns 22 next week (not pictured).

I’m 55 and that seems old enough but when I see my baby all grown-up and approaching a milestone birthday (aren’t they all?) I can’t help but feel even older. I reflect that I may not see many more of his birthdays. Will I live to 78 so I have more ahead of me than behind? I wonder. The diabetes tells me there’s a good chance I won’t but I’m going to give it my best shot. I’m not trying to be maudlin; it comes naturally.

He’s a man now and he’s living his own life and I see him making some of the same mistakes I made. It’s hard to realize, at 22, just how much time you have left and so you make more short term decisions than long term. If I were to point out all the things I regret I’m sure it would fall on deaf ears, he is after all, his own person and I made those mistakes in prehistoric times; surely things are so different now my experience could not be relevant. I’m sure most parents have this same frustration and concern and I do my best not to preach…but it’s hard.

All that being said; he’s doing great! He moved out of the house at 18, just like I did. Unlike me he didn’t get married at 18, he didn’t join the military and he’s way better looking and smarter than I was. We often have to push money on him. I’m happy we can but I worry he struggles more than he has to. He grew up with the stories of my youth and I’m sure it’s not lost on him that I never moved back, never looked for financial support (my parents couldn’t have provided it if I did) and I didn’t go to college. That last one is one of my greatest regrets in life. He’s not a “school” kid though and he hasn’t been since 5th grade. Will he regret that just as I do? Only time will tell.

I’m very proud of him but I do worry about him. He’ll make his own way, make mistakes, have heart-breaks, and pick himself up and move on. Just like I did. It’s just hard to watch. It’s also a joy to watch. Life is complicated.

Happy Birthday, kid. I never knew I could love someone this much.