September 9th, 2009

WNL

WNL-LXXXIII: "I have got to take the best of me and keep that part alive"

Whatcha gonna do with the restlessness inside your worried mind?
How you think you're ever gonna get ahead when you feel so far behind?
Step inside this endless moment for a subtle touch of grace
I've always found my strength inside the act of faith

I believe in the spirit of rock and roll
In the eternal strength of the immortal soul
Beause sometimes everybody's got to let it go
I believe in the power of love

I believe in the sounds of Sam & Dave
That little children should occasionally misbehave
That all that you get is all that you gave
I believe in the power of love

Little boy staring out a window sill to a world that doesn't care
Everybody around is so much bigger, they don't even know he's there
But one day he's gonna grow to be a man and maybe then they'll see
He'll provide the hope and care for the family

I believe in the chance of love at first sight
That your life doesn't always have to be a fight
And if you do it at all, you ought to do it right
I believe in the power of love

I believe that sometimes you've got to take a stand
That you're holding my heart when your holding my hand
Because everything eventually is in God's hands
I believe in the power of love

I have got to take the best of me and keep that part alive
Why'd I ever want to shut that down and kill my soul?

I believe that sometimes you've got to take a chance
That you can't live your life just listening to cant's
Because the thrill of the fall is part of the thrill of the dance
I believe in the power of love.

I believe that we're never really all alone
Because there's so much more than anything we've known
New Orleans is always gonna be my home
I believe in the power of love

I believe in the spirit of rock and roll,
In the eternal strength of the immortal soul
Because sometimes everybody's got to let it go
I believe in the power of love

I believe in the power of love

I believe in the power of love

-I Believe
Written by Fred LeBlanc
Performed by Cowboy Mouth


(Here's the link to the song if the embeded player doesn't load.)

  • Current Mood: relaxed relaxed
  • Current Music: I Believe / Cowboy Mouth
WNL

WNL-LXXXIII: The Prologue, Part II

For a long time now, the one thing that seemed most impossible to me was changing the direction of the numbers on my bathroom scale. I was a slender kid through elementary school, but found myself shopping in the husky section by the time I approached middle school age. Looking back at pictures, my extra padding was mostly baby fat that would have worn itself off with a little effort. However, more than a couple of people had already deemed me fat by that time in my life and I guess I believed them.

If eating like a teenage boy isn't bad enough, I spent a lot of my high school years eating like a much bigger teenage boy than I really was. Why eat one hamburger when you could have two? Why have just a slice of pizza when you can eat the whole damn pie? Some of my habits wouldn't have been life altering if I'd still been playing football or baseball but those I gave up organized sports by the time I was 16. Slowly and without noticing it, I kept getting bigger and bigger. I finally grew into the fat person I had always thought I was.

This February, I realized that I had to do something about my weight. I'd reached a point where I was no good at my job, my weight was interfering with my health and I could see myself dying young because of it. My first action was to initiation portion control cold turkey.

One of the first or second nights of trying to curb my portions was spaghetti night. I'd grown so used to two platefuls of spaghetti, that it hurt just a little bit to walk away after just one. At the time, I had so much weight I wanted to lose that I didn't think it was possible to lose any. It was hard to see how small changes would have any impact at all. After a few weeks, it became apparent that the small changes are sometimes the most important.

I started taking a serious look at the meals I consumed. I started using The Daily Plate at LiveStrong.Com, which provides nutritional information for just about every type of food you can buy in a restaurant or at the grocery store. As it turns out, I was eating a tremendous amount of crap and in quantities that were unnecessary. A typical evening out at a restaurant for me was practically double a normal person's recommended caloric intake. I asked myself if I really needed an appetizer, a full main course and dessert. I decided that it wasn't normal to eat so much that your gut hurt after dinner.

Combined with watching what food I was putting in my mouth, our shift made a new year's resolution to work out together on duty. For the most part, we played basketball with a few junior high kids after school. I always wondered how it looked for people to see firefighters getting their ass handed to them by school kids. (It's bad enough that some people don't think we should work out on duty. I always imagined a complaint letter to the mayor saying, "and they suck at basketball, too.") When we first started playing in January, a half-court game whipped me. Within a couple of months, we were playing full court. Soon after that, I took up running on some of my days off. (It was really more like walking really fast and jogging every now and then.)

I lost 3.4 pounds between February 8 and February 12. Weighing myself every morning I went to work (which is usually every third calendar day), the display on the scale continued to shrink. With only a couple of exceptions, every weigh in was less than the previous one from February 12 until the end of June.

By June 30, I was 60 pounds lighter than my heaviest weight ever -- a mark I'd reached in January.

Once again, I was reminded how absolutely great it feels to be alive. Looking back at the previous five months and 60 pounds, it was easy to see that anything really was possible. I was proof.

  • Current Mood: relaxed relaxed
  • Current Music: Silence
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WNL

WNL-LXXXIII: The Prologue, Part I

Sometimes, procrastination has it's benefits.

Less than 48 hours before making the all-day drive to New Orleans for a conference last September, a sinus infection made me rethink my travel plans. With a stuffy head and a stuffy nose, the last place I wanted to be was behind the wheel. So, I hit up Travelocity and actually found an airline ticket that I could pay for with the mileage check the city had already cut me. I booked it on the spot.

Through what turned out to be a technological glitch, the Web site showed a very small plane on the return trip from New Orleans to Houston. Had the plane really been a puddle-jumper, my seat selection of 2A would have been just another ordinary window view. However, the plane turned out to be a 737 and my place in seat 2A was in first class.

A late night in the French Quarter turned into an early morning and I only caught three or four hours of sleep before heading to the airport. Had this been a regular flight, I would have most certainly been unconscious before the plane made it to the runway. As it was, I found myself in the land of wide-bodied leather seats with complimentary drinks in real glasses. I wasn't going to miss out on the good life for anything.

As we flew south and then made our way west along the Gulf coast towards Texas, I rarely took my head out of the window. I've long since had a love affair with south Louisiana and it was pretty cool to see that part of the state from the air. Everything seemed to come together for that flight. The view was perfect. The weather was perfect. The first class ticket was perfect. The tunes in my ear -- Cowboy Mouth's newest album, Fearless -- turned out to be perfect, too.

"Whatcha gonna do with the restlessness inside your worried mind?
How you think you're ever gonna get ahead when you feel so far behind?
Step inside this endless moment for a subtle touch of grace
I've always found my strength inside the act of faith"

My life had been anything but perfect in the weeks leading up to my trip. I felt plagued with by a variety of issues -- some that I would go on to write about here and others I kept to myself. New Orleans did it's part, however, and reality took a vacation. For four or five days in September, it felt as though anything could happen at any time. I was reminded how absolutely great it feels to be alive. That feeling sort of showcased itself at 30,000 feet and for a brief moment, I decided that anything was possible, that nothing was set in stone and that those were good things.

  • Current Mood: relaxed relaxed
  • Current Music: Silence