29 November 2006

A weighty subject...

Above are the before and after photos...

And now a shameless plug.

I had one of those life changing events at the beginning of the summer (and since then I have had too many more than my liking). My civilian physical and my Navy annual physical coincided at the same time. Both docs provided me with the same message - you can not bluff your way into middle age.

In short, lose weight, watch your diet and exercise or you are going to be in trouble.

A genuine fear of being smacked around by my youngest son suddenly arose in my head. Nevermind that Citizen Une has been able to TKD me into oblivion since I married her. I know too many other fathers in the neighborhood who subscribed to the local gravity theory of maintaining their family togetherness. In other words, if they are the most massive object in the region, then Newtonian physics takes over and their family stays nearby.

Hopefully in a relatively safe orbit.

Sort of like the Law of Attraction.

Nonetheless, I enlisted the help of a local training gym and a friend of mine, Lauren Muney. Lauren is the founder of Physical Mind and a personal coach (see links under Good for the Soul). She provided several simple approaches tailored to my own irascible personality designed to help me get more fit. To be honest, I was dubious. I had always been in the 180-188 weight class.

A little more than four months later I am teetering at 163.


A lot of this is credited to Lauren's thorough approach and comprehensive attention to my personality and goals. I still have a lot of work to do, but the bulk of it is behind me.

Thanks Lauren.

22 November 2006


How could one not be thankful today? There are a myriad of things for which I am grateful;

1) Modern medical science which kept my youngest out of serious danger

2) A family who is genuinely loving, if not a tad dysfunctional

3) A friend who has the courage to stage a performance of significant weight and value

4) Colleagues who genuinely care about their work and coworkers

5) A nation which can withstand the vitriol of the past year and continue as the greatest country on earth

6) A military which thrives on the intellect and moral courage of not only its serving members but the families and friends who truly support those engaged in the work of our nation

7) Turkey - nuff said...

8) A brother, who by virtue of his own new son, reminds me how much I value his friendship and counsel

9) In-laws who do not suck, act too crazy and are pretty decent human beings

10) Great weather - global warming be damned!

11) Did I mention turkey?

12) A spouse who holds infinite curiosity and my undying affection

13) A planet in which all things are truly possible.

By the way, enjoy the turkey!

17 November 2006


I am a grateful man.  Last Thursday at this time I was racing back to Atlanta from our major corporate pow-wow in order to get to Scottish Rite Children's Hospital.  The youngest of the Proto-Citizens had come down with an unexplainable illness and the next step was a spinal tap to rule out meningitis.  For those readers who have children - this is terrifying stuff.  In our modern age, we don't think too much about unexplainable illnesses.  As I sat on the AirTran CRJ, desperately willing it to fly faster - if only I could have requisitioned an F18 from nearby Willow Grove - my mind raced with frightening possibilities. 
I am a guy who seeks harmony.  I like pathways that are trouble free and well thought out.  I am not afraid of conflict, as an engineer I have a belief that it can be avoided.  This was full blown reality arriving with a vengeance.  I have medical training by association.  Citizen Une is a physician assistant, and a pretty freakin' brilliant one as well.  She has an intellect which can wrap around complex chemical interactions and still maintain a calm demeanor while talking to a near hysterical patient. 
Nonetheless, I spent three sleepless nights in that hospital room waiting for test results, the occasional visit by a variety of doctors and constant interruptions by phlebotomists.  Nothing will strike terror into a five year-old like a 4:30am wake up for a blood draw.  To the credit of the hospital they took great care in mitigating his pain.  They used topical lidocaine, freeze spray and a cadre of efficient staff to care for him. 
Four days and several IV antibiotics later, the diagnosis was pronounced as strep-A which had migrated to his bloodstream and was working to shut down his kidneys.  The lead doc, a superb ex-Navy guy, took a no nonsense approach which left me dizzy but reassured my spouse.  In the end the medicine won the day and on Sunday evening we left the hospital which had been our home since Thursday. 
A few more days of oral antibiotics but the results are nothing short of miraculous.  He is now back to his lightsaber swinging, train building, "hot mo mo" chanting self.
There are a LOT of scientists, doctors and technicians out there to whom I owe a great deal of thanks. 
There is a spouse who guided me through one of the scariest periods of my adult life. 
And there are even a set of in-laws whose fortuitous arrival allowed us to focus solely on our youngest.
Nothing is guaranteed in this life.
But I will place my bets with the folks at Scottish Rite any day of the week.

14 November 2006

Be careful what you wish for...

So the democrats have won a majority in congress.  They now have the double bladed position of getting what they asked for in the election.  Regrettably, the problems faced by the nation are not those subject to quick fixes and sweeping legislative reform.  A couple of problems which should be addressed right away are immigration reform (my plan would include gradient amnesty for current workers, a program to permit easier, safer flow of labor into and out of the nation and a more robust [read secure] border with Mexico) and tax reform.  The tax code has spiraled out of control and no longer reflects the needs of our modern economy.  Although the economy is growing, it is hampered by an onerous tax system which dampens the use of capital in the market.
As for foreign policy, the democrats will have to play in the world they have.  There are real threats out there from Islamo-Fascists, North Korea, China and portions of Latin America.  How congress helps shape foreign policy (which is not their primary role) will be of interest.  What is more interesting is the number of left of center commentators who are trumpeting the election as a victory for democracy while only a few weeks ago were predicting Diebold tampering, republican voter suppression and all manner of dirty tricks. 
So which is it?  Does the democracy work in the nation or not?  Certainly if there had been an ongoing conspiracy, wouldn't this election have been the time to execute it?  And how does that play in retrospect for 2000 and 2004? 
Look, either the system is corrupt or it is not.  It can not possibly swing from compromised to free and fair in the space of two years. 
Until the nation abandons its fixation with magical thinking - it will be very hard to take seriously the claims and ideas of those groups (left and right).

08 November 2006

Wrong again...

Well maybe svelte...

The democratic process triumphs!

Deux wrong in bullheaded beliefs!

America saved!

Pelosi's reaction still impossible to discern from facial expression!

Wow! What a great day. I was actually able to have a civil conversation with Citizen Une about politics without fear of serious physical harm! Kudos to the folks who voted and voted ferociously! And shame on those who did not! This is exactly the sort of election which reminds us of the power of our nation.

The GOP did itself in during this season. How they will recover for 2008 is anyone's guess. But suffice to say, the world will look pretty different then. The economy, if strong and Iraq and Afghanistan if progressing will even the playing field. If either are out of balance, get ready for a big turnover!

This site has a great round up of all the contested seats.

My only caution to the victorious democrats, get to work! The American people will be just as quick to punish you for not acting in our nation's best interests as they did the republicans.

07 November 2006

Here we go...

Well I voted.  So did Citizen Une.  In the fine state of Georgia, there wasn't too much controversy.  Most of the state seats were uncontested and there were no contentious issues on the ballot.  Well, the constitutional amendment to enshrine hunting and fishing was a bit much.  But in general, the most talked about race was for governor.  I backed the incumbent (a republican) who has leapt the state steadily tracking along as opposed to his opponent, the present lieutenant governor - a very large man with an affable demeanor and no compelling story.
I did put my vote squarely in the democratic camp when it came to education.  The incumbent, Kathy Cox, has led Georgia to near the top of the heap for laughingstocks.  Her ID support is enough to disqualify her for me.  Her competitor is Denise Majette, a former congresswoman who briefly ousted Cynthia McKinney. 
The time at the polls was not without confusion.  The poll worker could not find my name, for about fifteen minutes.  I noted my beloved's name (horribly misspelled) and thus was confident I was in the right spot.  Finally I was found (having shown ID twice - what is the problem with voter ID laws?) and cast my ballot.  My spouse encountered the same problem, despite my telling her how her name was misspelled. 
The poll workers were neither elderly nor incompetent.  There appeared to be plenty of machines, just a general lack of familiarity with the new system.  I did not notice any stealthy hackers, unless the high school booster moms at the bake sale outside were using their high frequency GOP supplied laptops to secretly up the tally!
Vote on!

03 November 2006

Sixteen years...

We enter into this life dancing alone. Working on our steps a bit at a time. It is often only when we find that certain partner that we are able to tread into patterns undreamed of and thus display all that is possible within our soul. Citizen Une and I celebrate (acknowledge?) sixteen years together as a married couple. In that time we have;

1) Bought and sold four houses

2) Moved five times

3) Changed jobs at least as many

4) Redirected both of our careers at least once each

5) Had two children

6) Gained a beautiful dog - Inga - and recently had to let her go...

7) Rebuilt two houses

8) Faced the danger of war together

9) Bought and sold cars

10) Provided comfort to friends in need

11) Dealt with multiple family health crises

12) Lost grandparents

13) Gained and lost friends

14) Performed on stage together

15) Fought

16) Loved

17) Lived

It is remarkable that so much has transpired in a relatively short amount of time! And this is simply the broadest possible brush. I can not begin to describe how important a partner she is to me. I was asked recently what I thought the roles of a father and husband ought to be.

I would have had no trouble answering that a few years ago, but now I think it is more complex and subtle. There is a certain uniqueness to each gender's traits. These qualities we all bring in some balance within ourselves, but it is the emotional needs within in each of us that are met by our partner. Thus allowing us to truly grow beyond our own wisdom.

This balance and need evolves over time. It can not remain static. If you happen to have children, or simply aging parents, you understand that what was applicable even a year ago may be incompatible now. Thus it is within long-term, intimate relationships.

There was a study released recently on the effect of same-sex unions on society in Sweden. The study revealed that by encouraging more committment, a correlation to overall stronger bonds between all couples was created. I believe that although the human species is a social animal, capable of nearly limitless love, there is a need for that singular connection.

Call it the mirror-self. Call it the Yin to your Yan. But whatever you call it, I know I have found it within she who captured my heart so many years ago.