My Blog Has Moved

Well folks, I've finally done it. I've switched to WordPress and my blog is now on my own domain. So say good-bye to Blogger and good-bye to the bling. But don't be sad. Life is full of change. Change is a good thing. It keeps us on our toes. It challanges us and makes us stronger. And as your next President... oops, I got a little speechy there, didn't I?

Anyway, check me out at:

http://www.meandtheblueskies.com/

I'll look for you there.


Saturday, August 30, 2008

How Many of You Are There in the USA? 53 of Me is Pretty Scary!


HowManyOfMe.com
LogoThere are
53
people with my name in the U.S.A.

How many have your name?

Go on, give it a try. There are 53 people out there with the same name as me and I thought my name was fairly unique. Based on the 2007 US census, there were 301,621,157 people in the USA so that means 1 in every 5,690,965 people have my name. I guess that is pretty unique. Even still, there really is only one me!

Friday, August 29, 2008

Obama and the Speech of a Lifetime


Before I start anything, I promise not to turn this blog into a political blog. But this is a general blog about life AND this is a Presidential election year, so posting about the upcoming election is not totally unavoidable. It is going to be a part of my life and a part that, at times, I will feel the need to blog about. Enough said on that...

Along with millions of Americans nationwide and over 84,000 people at the Pepsi Center in Denver, Colorado, I watched Barack Obama deliver the speech of a lifetime. Never in the past 32 years of my voting life have I ever been so excited, so entranced, so motivated, and so deeply moved by a Presidential candidate as I was by Obama last night. It was a historic and defining moment, not just for Obama or the Democrats, but for America as a whole.

While scouring the internet for reviews and comments, it seems that everyone, even those who oppose Obama, felt it was a great speech. All the things I felt and wanted to say about this speech were already laid out so eloquently by Margaret Carlson on Bloomberg.com in her article, Obama Comes Down to Earth, Meets His Moment. Please read it.

The platform of the night was CHANGE. Yet there is so much more behind the change than any other election has offered. It was no coincidence that Obama's speech was held on the anniversary of another great speech, given by another great man, Dr. Martin Luther King. My good friend, Linda, lamented the other day that she was disturbed that there were people who would not vote for Barack simply because of the color of his skin. In 2008, there are still plenty of people who fit that category. Take a look at what Jacob Weisberg has to say in his Newsweek Article, What Would the Neighbors Think?

If you read Weisberg's article and especially the comments to his article, it would be easy to misconstrue that he is stating that everyone who doesn't vote for Obama is doing so because of the color of his skin. But that's not what he's saying. What he is saying is that there are plenty of people out there who would have voted for Obama had he been white but would rather vote for a dead dog than a person of color. Enough people, potentially, to cost him the election.

On Chicagotribune.com, Dawn Turner Trice understands his point and takes a different perspective in her article, Obama's Nomination Doesn't End Fight for Civil Rights. She understands that change does not come in big giant swoops, but in little baby steps taken over and over and over. She realizes that even if Obama does get elected, the prejudices that are so ingrained in certain parts of our society will not change over night.

I don't want to see this election become an issue of race. I want people to see beyond those deeply instilled prejudices and deal with the issues at hand that effect America the most: The Economy, Health Care, The War In Iraq, Housing, and The Deficit. We will feel the negative effects of the Bush Presidency for years to come. We need a President who will make changes and start the wheels turning in a new direction--a better direction that will help compensate for the previous administration's mistakes and overly conservative decisions. And we can have a President like that in Barack Obama.


Thursday, August 28, 2008

The Man Without a Camera

If only...

Those of you who have read my blog before probably know that I don’t own a digital camera. You can tell from the stock photos that I’ve “borrowed” from the internet. You can tell from the thanks I gave to Linda for letting me use her camera. You can tell from the captions and comments under my cell phone photos claiming that I still don’t have a real digital camera.

Jeesh! You’d think a digital camera was a must-have commodity like a cell phone or an expensive one like a new car. And I know that my cell phone has a camera built into it but have you seen the kind of pictures it takes with its 1.3 megapixels? We’re talking 1994 technology here! Using my cell phone to take pictures for my blog is akin to using a microwave to roast a chicken. It may get the job done but the results are unappealing.

So what’s a poor, broke slob like me to do? I suppose I could go out and buy a super cheap digital camera, but that only results in low quality, low resolution pictures. Plus cheap cameras have very little storage space and usually only come with digital zoom. I want a camera with an optical zoom, like traditional cameras, not one that simply makes the pixels large, like digital zoom does. And image stabilization sure would be nice. Is that asking too much?

Actually, relatively good cameras with all the features I want are available from a variety of manufacturers at prices that range from $89 - $129. You can definitely spend more but these lower end cameras are great for the novice photographer, like me. I peruse the Best Buy and Circuit City websites looking for camera deals with as much fervor as a kid going through the Sears Wishbook at Christmastime. Camera deals abound.

So why haven’t I bought one yet? I just can’t seem to justify spending the extra money right now. But somehow I can justify buying a $22 bottle of vodka to make some martinis or spending $40 at Blockbusters on a bunch of “previously viewed” dvds. I’ve never been good at managing money and I guess I have some of my financial priorities mixed up a little.

Perhaps the next time I go to buy a bottle of vodka, I’ll stop and put the money aside instead. When I get the urge to buy movies, I’ll put the money aside instead. When I go to buy something that really isn’t necessary, I’ll put the money aside instead. Perhaps I’ll just stand on the corner with a tin cup and a sign that says “Will Blog for Digital Camera.” Or perhaps some really cool person who reads my blog will take pity on me and treat me to a camera. [wink wink] Yea, right. And perhaps I’ll make my turkey in the microwave this Thanksgiving, too.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

I Love Hillary Clinton and I'm Voting for Barack Obama


I love Hillary Clinton. I LOVE Hillary Clinton. There. I said it twice. Last night at the Democratic Convention when Hillary confidently walked on stage in her bold, orange pant suit, she was, well, boldly confident. She had a job to do, she knew what that job was, and then she proceeded to hit it out of the ball park.

Hillary spent most of her speech talking about why she ran for office and the ideals she believed in—things like health care for everyone, a healthy economy, a better life for the average Joe, and a greener America. She challenged her followers to look inside them: Did they vote just for her or for what she believed in? Because every reason why she ran for office is why she now supports Barack Obama. It was a powerful speech. I had goose bumps—I was close to tears. (In all fairness, I have a low threshold to tears. I even cry at Massengill commercials.)

But don’t just listen to me. Here’s a few early morning reviews:

Rush Limbaugh exclaimed, “Have you EVER seen a convention more excited about the loser than the winner? You saw it tonight. And you saw it in 1976, Regan/Ford.”

"She was like Harriet Tubman, keep it going....It was like a relay race, she was passing the baton," wrote MSNBC's Chris Matthews.

Phil Trounstine, Democratic strategist and Obama supporter: ''Sen. Clinton did everything she needed to do. She made it crystal clear to all of her supporters that it is their duty to fight on for her by supporting Barack Obama. If he becomes president, it will be in part because Hillary Clinton had the grace and strength to re-unite her party.''

Ruth Sherman, author and communications consultant summed it up best with, ''I've never seen her this good, not even close. It was well-written, confidently and oh-so-passionately delivered. It was totally authentic. Whatever doubts about her support for Obama existed before she came up to the podium should now be erased. In particular, her framing of the issue of who her fans were in it for -- her or the Marine, the cancer patient, the single mother -- was a perfect appeal. The most persuasive moment, I believe.”

Even those less supportive had a hard time attacking her speech. Rich Lowry of The Corner, in his article titled, Hillary Clinton and the Bare Minimum, wrote, “What wasn't in the speech—anything remarkable, personal, or truly warm about Obama—speaks eloquently of how she still feels toward him. Consider this passage:
And when Barack Obama is in the White House, he'll revitalize our economy, defend the working people of America, and meet the global challenges of our time. Democrats know how to do this. As I recall, President Clinton and the Democrats did it before. And President Obama and the Democrats will do it again.

If revitalizing the economy, etc. sound like pretty impressive accomplishments, the reason Obama will be able to do them is because he's a Democrat. And in the same breath she's bragging about the Clinton presidency. What so great about Barack Obama? He happens to be a member of the same party as Bill Clinton. Nothing she said tonight will be incompatible with what she'll want to say if Obama loses in November: Told you so."

Regardless of the nay sayers, I will stand firmly with Hillary Clinton by supporting Obama and Biden. I truly believe that if America has any chance of recovering from 8 years of Bush Politics, it is with Barack Obama. After all, America has seen tough times and terrible presidents before, and she’s always bounced back swinging.

If you want a greener America, a healthier economy, and health care for everyone, then you want Barack Obama. If you want a President who will put the average American first, then you want Barack Obama. If you are tired of old-school politicians and the lies and deceptions of the Bush administration, than you want Barack Obama. If you want our soldiers home from Iraq, then you want Barack Obama. If you want America to be the country she should and could be, the great country she once was, then you want Barack Obama.

The time has come to unite against the politics of personal agendas and the lies and mistakes made by the current President and his administration. The time has come to say NO to Republican politics as usual. The time has come to bring our men and women home from Iraq and start focusing on the needs of America and Americans. The time has come to elect Barack Obama as President.



Monday, August 25, 2008

Brunch at The Tortilla Press in Collingswood, NJ is a Must Do!

Chorizo Hash & Eggs (cell phone picture)

La Prenza Breakfast Enchiladas taken with my crappy cell phone camera


On Sunday morning, Heather and I decided to head over to Collingswood, NJ for a little brunch at the Tortilla Press. Collingswood is quickly becoming the Restaurant Row of South Jersey. The town has been able to maintain that old “home town” feel with it’s quaint shops and boutiques, while providing a unique and varied dining experience which is rivaling Center City. Restaurants like Word of Mouth, Nunzio’s, and the Pop Shop are helping to make Collingswood THE place to dine in South Jersey.

The Tortilla Press has been around since the beginning of this dining revolution. I’ve had dinner several times there but never taken advantage of the brunch. (The made-to-order guacamole is a must-have) Heather and I were both dying to have some Huevos Rancheros and we couldn’t wait any longer.

The Tortilla Press looks like a Mexican restaurant with it’s bright primary colors of blue, red, yellow, and green. The walls are adorned with paintings from the local community the incorporate those colors. They staff is friendly and courteous. The corner room has big double glass doors that slide open when the weather is nice. It was a little hot so the doors remained closed but they allowed an abundance of light fill the room.

The brunch menu is available Saturdays and Sundays. It is full of unique offerings like Breaded Calamari & Jalapeno Rings with Jalapeno Dipping Sauce ($8) and Strawberry & Banana Quesadilla filled with Canella Cream Cheese and served with Vanilla Yogurt ($8). The Pan Perdida ($10.50) is cinnamon & triple sec enhanced egg battered slices of bread, griddle fried and topped with cajeta-a Mexican caramel sauce. The guy seated at the table next to me ordered this and it looked fabulous. When he started pouring the cajeta sauce, I started to drool.

After reviewing the menu, Heather and I both opted for something different than the Huevos Rancheros. I ordered the Chorizo Hash and Eggs ($11). The chorizo hash is a mixture of diced potatoes, onions, and chorizo sausage. They are topped with 3 eggs and then topped again with a spicy hollandaise sauce and pico de gallo. Then the whole thing was topped with mult-colored tortilla strips.

I have to admit my meal was as good as it looked. They only disappointment was the hash, which to my account had no sausage in it what-so-ever. But it still tasted great with the eggs and sauce on top and I would definitely recommend giving it a try.

Heather ordered the La Prenza Breakfast Enchiladas ($10.50) which are scrambled eggs and cheese rolled in three (?) corn tortillas, smothered in gaujillo chile sauce. It is served with pinto beans and chorizo hash. Heather opted to have the enchiladas covered half with guajillo sauce and half with a green tomatillo sauce. The plate looked beautiful and tasted amazing, per Heather. She did agree with me that the chorizo hash had no chorizo in it and decided if we come again, she’d just order a side of chorizo with her meal.

I had decaffeinated coffee and Heather chose the “fresh squeezed” orange juice ($3). We were a little wary about the orange juice because “fresh squeezed” doesn’t always live up to it’s claim, but it sure did here. The juice wasn’t just orange, it glowed. Beautiful pieces of pulp floated in the glass and Heather exclaimed that it was taking every bit of effort not to suck it all down in one gulp.

Overall, brunch at The Tortilla Press is nothing short of fabulous. Mark Smith, Owner/Chef, has really put together a wonderful Mexican dining experience in beautiful downtown Collingswood. I seriously recommend it as a nice change to traveling into Philadelphia or dealing with the local, overdone Sunday Brunch buffets that most South Jersey Restaurants resort to. I know I’m going back. I still haven’t had my Huevos Rancheros. Ole!

It's A Major Award!

It sure beats the fish net & pump clad leg lamp

This is the Arte Y Pico Award.
Here are the rules for the award:
1) You have to pick 5 blogs that you consider deserving of this award for their creativity, design, interesting material, and also contribution to the blogging community.
2) Each award has to have the name of the author and link to his/her blog to be visited by everyone.
3) Each award winner has to show the award and put the name and link to the blog that presented her/him with the award.
4) The award winner and one who has given the prize have to show the link of “Arte y Pico” blog so everyone will know the origin to this award.
5) To show these rules.

I want to give a big thank you to the Southern Goddess at Fried Chicken and Grits for giving me this award. I truly am humbled. I started my blog just as I was quitting smoking as a fun alternative to sitting around the house with a cigarette in my mouth. Who knew that so many others would read and enjoy what I write. And by blogging, I have found so many wonderful blogs to read myself. If I could, I would re-award the Southern Goddess. If you are not reading her blog, you should be.

Passing out this award to only 5 blogs was the hardest thing I've had to do lately. (So, life's been a little slow, ok?) I want to award this to the following five blogs:

  1. I'm Learning To Share - The coolest blog ever! If it's from the 40's, 50's, and 60's, you'll find it all here: Music, Comics, Advertisments, and all the cool swingin' stuff from the past.
  2. Hello Kitty Hell - My daughter just loves Hello Kitty. We've got a Hello Kitty microwave, trash can, hair dryer, waffle maker, toaster, lamps, clocks, pens, pads, books, stickers... the list goes on and on. Whether you love or hate Hello Kitty, this blog is for you.
  3. Holographic Meatloaf - Whether he's blogging about his never-ending quest to lose weight or his life in Southern California with his family, you just can't beat his wit and humor. A daily dose of Dave is a good thing.
  4. Design Boner - Another cool blog. This one showcases what's new and different from a designer's point of view. You won't find the trendy and "I'm the hippest" stuff (that the design snobs push) at this blog. It's all unusual and eclectically cool. Jessica & Katie can paint my walls orange anytime.
  5. Laughs and Rants From My Inner Child - I'm not nominating this blog simply because Erin is a friend and a co-worker. While much of this blog is comments about Erin's personal life, her unique perspective of her world and the world around her is definitely worth the read.
Well, there you have it. Congratulations to the winners. And remember, there are no losers. I had at least a dozen more blogs that I would have loved to have given this award to. And now, I'd like to thank my mother, my daughter, my two dalmatians (dave & sissy), Matt, my best friends, Linda, Sandy, & Melissa, Scott, Sean, Amy... [cue the music] Just call me the Elaine Stritch of bloggers.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Link This Baby - Amusing, Funny, or Just Plain Silly Links

Sick of the campaign trail already? JibJab has the candidates "head to head", so-to-speak. Check it out here.

Would you eat here?

The man with all the emotions: Eric. Who knew?

This one just freaks me out. Go on, try it! Try it again and again! It's scary. It's a mind-trip!

OK. So this one isn't funny but give it a visit and a click and someone gets a free mammogram.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Harry Potter and the Half-@ssed Release

Warner Bros execs must be possessed by Voldemorte, too

I’m a BIG Harry Potter fan. I own and have read all the books, some even twice. I saw each movie on the big screen and own each DVD in widescreen. I’ve watched each movie dozens of times at home and still am not tired of watching them. I’m in awe of the wizarding world. I admit it--I’m a Harry Potter-phile. So you can imagine my reaction when Warner Brothers announced that they were moving the release date of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince from November 2008 to July 2009. I was beside myself.



The headline should read, "The Studio Who Lies"


Warner Brothers did the two-step trying to explain their reasoning for the change. "Our reasons for shifting 'Half-Blood Prince' to summer are twofold," Warner Bros. President and Chief Operating Officer Alan Horn said in a statement. "We know the summer season is an ideal window for a family tent-pole release, as proven by the success of our last Harry Potter film [released July 11, 2007], which is the second-highest-grossing film in the franchise, behind only the first installment." Horn added that "like every other studio," Warner Bros. was still "feeling the repercussions of the writers' strike," which had affected scripts for other films, and changed "the competitive landscape for 2009." Because of this, the studio felt next summer was a "new window of opportunity" for the franchise. The film's producer, David Heyman, concurred, saying that this would allow them to "reach the widest possible audience."

Translation: The Dark Knight has made so much money this year that we do not need a Harry Potter film in the fall. With no new great release scheduled for the summer of 2009, Harry Potter will generate us enough cash to carry us through the rest of the 2009. We want you, the public, to think we are doing this for you but really it’s all about the cash.

The average Harry Potter fan's reaction to the release date change.


And it’s all about the cash. Warner Brothers is not concerned about upsetting the loyal Harry Potter fan base because the fan base is still going to remain loyal to Harry Potter. Even though comments on news articles and blogs reflect a very nasty backlash as well as calls for boycotting the movie, Warner Brothers was smart enough to push the release date back far enough that people will soon forget how angry they are about the release date change. And the closer we get to July 2009, the more excited Harry Potter fans are going to get. Especially the younger crowd who are quick to call for a boycott and then quick to forget they wanted to start one.

So Warner Brothers wins. But what about the fans? Although disappointed, we win too. We’ll still get to see the movie in July AND it makes the wait for the next installment shorter. I know I’ll be first in line at the theaters when the movie opens in July. And if there’s a boycott? Who cares? It’ll make it easier for me to get a ticket and a center seat in the theater. I can’t help myself. I’m a Harry Potter-phile.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

The Legacy Diner Restaurant in Audubon, NJ - Great Food and a Few Kinks

Not the real meal. (Still no digital camera.) My meal looked even better!

The Weber Colonial Diner in Audubon, NJ has been closed due to a fire for so long that I couldn’t even find the date of the fire when I googled for it, so I was very excited to see it reopen last week as The Legacy Diner Restaurant. All week long I have driven past it to and from work and the parking lot has been jammed full of cars, so I decided to stop by for a Saturday morning breakfast.

While the layout of the restaurant has not changed, the exterior and interior have been totally remodeled and the parking lot, which snakes its way behind the diner, has been repaved. Stepping inside, the diner has that brand new look and feel, decorated in soft colors like terra cotta and moss green. The chandeliers above each booth give the place a nice touch of art deco.

Since they were very busy, I decided to saunter over to a small counter which seats about 12 people. There were only a couple of stools open. Those already seated were all either waiting for their food or their check. The guy next to me was huffing and puffing and after a few minutes, he turned to me and said, “Plan to be here a long time. It took 45 minutes for me to get my food and I can‘t get my check!” I looked at the other patrons and a guy a few seats down said that he had been waiting longer than that and still didn’t get his creamed chipped beef on toast. I was beginning to feel a little anxious.

As I watched the servers work the room, it became obvious that they all seemed flustered and annoyed. Finally, an older gentleman came up to me and the guy to my right and offered to get us coffee. He poured the coffee and then the guy to my left spoke to him by name, telling him that the guy to his left had been waiting over 45 minutes for his meal. The man flew into the back and returned saying the food was coming. Two minutes later, the food arrived and the guy to my right got up and left. The waitress came over with more coffee and apologized for the wait. Apparently, the computer system was not working yet and there were only three people in the kitchen.

Now I’ve worked in restaurants before and I understand that problems can occur, especially when a restaurant first opens. I came in expecting that there might be some kinks they would need to work out. I was hoping that the problems were all with the computers being down and not with the food. I ordered the number two on the breakfast menu: Two eggs over easy, with home fries, scrapple, and wheat toast, dry. The breakfast specials also include juice and coffee.

I have to admit that the food I saw coming out of the kitchen looked delicious. The creamed chipped beef on toast looked creamy, was chock-full of chipped beef, and was an over-generous portion. The guy woofed it down and I think it was half because it was delicious and half because he waited so long. The eggs benedict looked equally tasty with a thick yellow hollandaise sauce on top. I kept looking back at the gal behind me who ordered it and she ate every last drop. I was beginning to feel less anxious.

Approximately five minutes after ordering, to my delight, my meal arrived. The waitress set it down and smiled, claiming “You’re a lucky guy today. I saw it in the window and didn’t even ask. I just took it.” I love a waitress with a little guts. I’ve been in similar situations when I was a server and I know that slow food impacts your tips negatively.

I looked at my plate. The eggs looked perfectly cooked. The scrapple was also perfectly cooked, crisp but not greasy. Scrapple is a staple in South Jersey, yet so many diners over cook it, making it greasy and giving it a way-too thick coating. The home fries could have been a little more crispy for my tastes but they were not bad. The best part was, even though she was frazzled, she remembered that my toast was dry.

My meal tasted every bit as good as it looked. The guy next to me also seemed to enjoy his meal. I heard him chatting with the others, explaining that this was the third time he had been eating here and all of his meals were excellent. He was hoping that the service would improve because he liked the food so much. And by service, I am sure he meant the wait time as our waitress, although frustrated, was friendly and attentive.

I got my check and was pleasantly surprised by the price. The menu stated $6.75 for my meal but the total was $5.65 with tax. They must have been running a grand-opening special, although I was unaware of any. Actually, $6.75 for all that food was still a great price. I paid the bill and left the gal three bucks.

Will I be back? You bet I will. The Legacy has the potential of becoming a great South Jersey diner. I am betting that they will be able to work out the kinks once their computer is up and running. But times are hard and people aren’t eating out as often as they use to. That makes eating out, even at a diner, a luxury. If they don’t work out the kinks soon, there are too many other good diners to go to where you won’t have to wait 45 minutes for a meal.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Grilled Vegetable Lasagna - Heather Style

Grilled Vegetable Lasagne
(not the one Heather made cause I don't have a digital camera)

Today Heather made a grilled vegetable lasagna for dinner. I knew this was coming because she had me grill a bunch of veggies last night for her to use in this recipe. I don't have the exact recipe but it was so awesome that I had to write about what I do know.

She started out with whole wheat lasagna. Then she made a chunky tomato sauce from tomato's out of her friend's garden. She then put together a filling of ricotta cheese, soft tofu, and sweet basil pesto. The grilled veggies were eggplant, zucchini, green and yellow peppers, red onion, asparagus, and corn cut from grilled corn on the cob.

She put down a layer of lasagna, then a layer of sauce, then a layer of cheese/pesto, and then layers of each of the veggies, shredded mozzarella cheese, and then repeat the process once more. The last topping should just be pasta, sauce, and shredded mozzarella. Bake it for 1 hour 10 minutes at 350 degrees.

After it's done, allow it to sit covered at least 15 minutes before cutting and serving. Heather reserved some of the sweet basil pesto and spooned some on top of each piece. She served it along with warm and crusty whole wheat baguette slices. It was an amazing, hearty, and very healthy dinner.

For desert, Heather made a spiced banana single-layer cake dusted with powdered sugar. Aaron ate over and we all ate so much lasagna that we had no room for the cake. I took half of the cake over to my friends, Scott and Sean's, house and they were ecstatic. They love getting food from Heather. I did manage to sneak a little piece for myself and it was deliciously moist. I promise to squeeze out the exact recipes from Heather and post them when I can. Happy eats!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

The Rootin' Tootin' Shootin-ist Remote Control Ever!

I was reading one of my favorite blogs, Design Boner, when I came across what I believe to be the coolest remote control ever: The Sharp Shootin' Remote Control.

Talk about un-pc. This is a gun shaped remote control. It is designed to look like a wild west six-shooter and can control one function from your regular remote, be it channel down, volume up, power off - whatever. Simply point it at the tv, and shoot away. It even makes a toy gun "bang" sound every time you pull the trigger.

Neatly packaged, it comes with a sheriff's badge so everyone knows who really controls the remote. It's available on-line at a variety of novelty stores including firebox.com, what on earth catalog, and x-tremegeek.com. But the best price I could find it for was at auctionaticstore.com for $7.99.

Who knew how inexpensive it would be to become the sheriff of your own tv? I think I can't resist. I've gotta have one. Now all I have to do is dust off my cowboy boots, dig up my old cowboy hat, and throw 3:10 to Yuma on the dvd player. Ride 'em cowpoke!

Monday, August 11, 2008

The Dark Side of Indifference

I promised myself when I started this blog that I would keep up with it. The internet is littered with barely started blogs. Do a search through blogspot alone and the majority of blogs you will encounter have less than a dozen entries. When I search on Google, I always check out any answers that involve a blog, and 9 times out of ten, it’s a defunct blog that only lasted a few months. Or less. It’s a virtual wasteland of incomplete thoughts, lost energy, and apathetic efforts. I didn’t want to be part of that.

And then I got hit with a small whammy: my blood pressure rose to dangerous levels and the doctor said stay in bed and don’t exert yourself. So I laid on the sofa and watched movies. No cleaning. No cooking. No internet. No nothing but movies. And as quick as you can say, “Bob’s your uncle”, my blog was way behind, slipping into that dark abyss called indifference. It’s an ugly pattern of indolence that I have become more aware of as I get older.

It made me think of the Pink Floyd song Time from the album, Dark Side of the Moon. I was 15 the first time I heard that album and it was love at first sound. I heard it at a party and went out the next day and bought it for myself. It must have been quite a shock to my mother as my music taste prior to that purchase hovered in the realm of Barry Manilow and The Carpenters. But oh what a change. The lyrics that struck me the most were:

“Ticking away the moments that make up a dull day
You fritter and waste the hours in an offhand way.”

Even at 15, I could relate to “frittering” the hours away in a very careless manner. I had this terrible fear that I was predestined to do such a thing. Another set of haunting lyrics confirmed it to me:

“And then one day you find
ten years have got behind you.
No one told you when to run,
you missed the starting gun.”

I thought to myself, “Ten years. Ten years seems so far away and yet here is this guy in a band, singing about the ten years that ran by him.” And I knew that they would run by me too. Of course, it’s not been ten years, it’s been thirty-three! And they didn’t run by me, the blasted by me in a blazing convoluted blur of everything and nothing until I have landed here eight years into the new millennium, in front of my computer, typing a blog entry for all the world to see. (Or at least the handful of friends who read it and strangers who stumble upon it)

Well I am not giving up nor giving in. I plan to see this through to the bitter end -- whatever and whenever that may be. In all the starts and stops in life that I have encountered, I’d like this blog to be one of my more enduring starts. It’s a little piece of me that I can send out into the vast internet universe and maybe, just maybe, make some tiny little mark somewhere. And who knows, thirty-three years from now I could look back at all this and think, “I may have missed the starting gun, but I ran the race anyway.”

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

High Blood Pressure - It's Stressful!

When I woke up Monday morning, I was feeling a little tightness and soreness in my chest. I decided to stay home and I called the doctor for an appointment. I have high blood pressure and have been taking Verapamil to keep it under control. I have a blood pressure montoring machine but I haven't been using it lately.

I dusted off the machine and took my blood pressure. It was 168/111 which is a stage 2 high level. I knew that was not good. I called Dr. B and made an appointment for later that day.

Dr. B did various tests and was very concerned that my blood pressure was so high. She insisted that I stay home in bed for three days and then return on Thursday to be checked out again. She prescribed Catapres-TTS-1 to go along with the Varapamil. CT1 is a patch that is worn for a week and then replaced with a fresh one.

I must say that it is very difficult to stay in bed when you don't really feel that sick. In fact, I have been laying on the sofa watching movies as I have no TV in the bedroom. I haven't done anything physical except walk the dogs twice a day and I have barely gone on the computer, which is why there has been no posts lately.

Dr. B feels that a lot of my blood pressure problems stem from stress. I know it's true but unfortunately, the big stress problem is not going away any time soon. I've just got to live with it for the time being. But there are small stresses I can and should avoid.

So I've decided that I am not making any plans. I am going to just stay home, watch my movies, and take it very easy. I am going to avoid my martinis (sob) for a while and eat even healthier. Since quitting smoking, I have gained 13 1/2 pounds and I show no sign of stopping. So I will focus on that for a while.

Well I just wanted to let my minions of readers know what happened to me. I still plan to blog and I promise to jump in with something more interesting in my next entry. What better way to blow off stress then through my blog, right?
High blood pressure is no laughing matter. For more information, check out A Guide to Lowering Your Blood Pressure by clicking here.