Day 58 of 84

Greetings from here/me to there/you …

Remember yesterday I just wanted quiet? Good, keep that thoughts.

Went our to breakfast with family to a place called the Frog Pond on Gulf Blvd. It’s a local’s place where the food is good and there is plenty of it. Also, there are plenty of frog statues and pictures all over the place. On one wall is a picture of a sad clown (Emmet Kelly I think) – no frogs. I asked a few times but never found out what the story was. But, I keep asking. Someday someone would know. Today was that day. I asked the owner whose face told the story first. Apparently years ago there was an old man who was a regular who loved the picture and asked if he could put it up on the wall. The owner agreed and two weeks later the old man died. The picture had been there since. The he started pointing out other pictures that had similar stories to them. One was a young boy whose family were regulars and the boy had died in an auto accident just down from the restaurant. Another was also a young man, a regular, who died of brain cancer and the parents request his small picture be place somewhere because he had loved the breakfasts there at the Frig Pond. You never know what stories you might hear if you ask. And how knowing that storied change how you feel.

Our visiting family left for their new home and my lady and I settled in for the day not really having anything planned and not knowing if anyone was going over. And no one did.

Remember yesterday when I asked for quiet  and alone time? Today, we got it. At one point I said “Hear that?” and my lady smiled and said “NO”, to which I said “Actually”.

Spent most of the afternoon noon and evening laid back/down on the couch (we actually have one long enough now) watching television. Got caught up on a few shows I missed and listened to others while I faded in and out of sleep/nap time. It was a quite unusual and pleasant experience. I don’t usually let myself just kick back, but I was too exhausted/fatigued to fight it.

As I have mentioned, as best I can, sometimes I forget all that I/we are going through right now. It’s not about denial, because I do intellectually know that I am sick and am going through some very major medical changes in order for a good chance of being better/healthy in the not too distant future.

So, I “chiilaxed” for the day.

Had a great conversation with my youngest son. He tends to call when he’s driving some place. Other wise he is busy and hard to get a hold off. He’s a lot like his father which I have apologized for but always feel complimented when it’s point out.

Everything is actually good and going in the right direction. I/we are just not there yet. I always say that the journey is the reward/destination, but I will be glad when we are past this part of  the road.

Thanks for stopping by and sharing the chill+relax=chillax of the day.

Love and pride, strength and honor …

Until again,


Day 57 of 84

Notice how I always seem to be at the corner/crossroads of something?

From me and here to you and there, greetings …

Okay, today to go to me.

I am sick and tired of being sick and tired. They say that we have to get to this point before we really change. But it seems that I have been sitting on this street corner for 10 years and what has changed is that it’s only gotten worse.

I tend not to complain much because I know that complaining only means that things are not the way I want them to be. And the universe, along with Mr. Murphy as the messenger, makes sure I don’t forget that the universe is not about the way I want it to be. I will be the way it is and I will just have to get my head around it. I may have mentioned that I not pray, but I do meditate. Prayers seems to be about telling the universe what you want and meditation seem to be about going quite and listen to what the universe wants from you.

Well, the over-stimulation got to me today. It just seemed like nothing was going down according to MY plan. We had planned a family day  at the beach when 4 different crews told us they were showing up to work on the house. We had A/C, roofer, electricians, and door people working all at the same time. Saws and hammers going. So, needless to say, we stayed home to facilitate, orchestrate, witness, experience, and try to stay out-of-the-way of the people doing the work so that some day we could just be here alone with the quiet.

Some times when we are off our games, it knocks other things off the game too. Like thought patterns. Usually I i just sit down and start to work, I can find that groove. It’s usually there. Okay, but not always and certainly not today.  I mean I go through the motions and I get done what absolutely needs to get done. I am pretty blue-collar about that. Doesn’t matter if you want to, if you feel like it, just go get the work done. So it got done. I am not sure who did it, but I was present and showed up.

When my dry lips bleed some and I realized I could not kiss my wife because I have this blood virus that is contagious, it took me right to the edge, I peered over with disappointment, and gave up for the day. I am sick and tied of being sick and tired.

The treatment continues to escalate the everyday flu-like symptoms of HCV. Perhaps if I wasn’t so apathetic and lethargic right now I’d actually be depressed. I try to keep the perspective that this is just a temporary experience and that it will all be worth it when it’s over, I and cleared/cured, and feel healthy for the first times in a long time.

So you keep you eye on the prize and accept that you are just sick and tired of being sick and tired and don’t really want to talk about because you are not always sure you are making sense (there is this brain-fog thing that comes with it too).

So thanks …. appreciation and gratitude more than you know.

Love and pride, strength and honor …

Until again,


Day 56 of 84

Greeting from Bay Pines VA …

8 weeks down and 4 to go … life is passing when you are too busy and tired to notice.

I had insomnia last night again. Not unusual. It’s often a combination of things. With bad hips and lower back, sometimes just turning over or a muscle spasm will make it difficult to find a comfortable position. Funny how I used to dislike sleep thinking it was a waste of time and that I would get all the sleep I needed when I died. Now I would just love to sleep through the night. Woke up with the same fatigue, soreness, and headache I went to bed with. So it goes.

Cleared my morning classes online. Some discussion and debate, but mostly students just compiling the sources and posting them in response to the discussion question. I always like it when we start a conversation from a point of new information and then discuss how we can internalize and integrate that new information into our everyday life.

Went over to VA for my 2 week check in. Do a blood draw at the lab then sign in and wait to see the doctor. They are really good and get the labs result to the doctor within an hour. Actually, they scheduled my labs after the doctor’s appointment, so knowing better, I just showed up early and they took me right in. The blood work was all good and the body is tolerating the medication well – everything normal. We will get the viral load in a few days.

Got to admit, I heard such great things about Harvoni and people clearing within the first 2 weeks, that not clearing by week 4 and then 6 was disappointing. Now at week 8, we will see again. Trying to remain optimistic but also realize and accept the potential/possibility of failing again. Must admit that going back to being sick after being even sicker during treatment is not such a bad thing. Then I would investigate what was next. But like I said, I still have a few weeks to get to that “undetected” status.

What was strange, after looking forward to treatment, was scheduling the end of it. I have another 2 week check up and then in 4 weeks it will be over. There is a follow-up in 30 and 90 days after treatment. All scheduled and calendared now. Time will tell. All I can do is maintain the daily discipline.

Nothing but compliments, appreciation, and gratitude for how Bay Pines VA treats me and has given me this chance to be healthy.

Came home and played with my new toy – a lawn mower. The lawn here has not been cut well in so long that the poor thing kept clogging on the long grass. But, we got it cut and it look great.

Fatigue set in an after a showed, I feel asleep.

Checked back into the classes – all is well or as well as can be expected.

Waiting for dinner and family members to arrive.

Tomorrow … another day …

Thanks …

Love and pride, strength and honor …

Until again,

Day 55 of 84

Still here on the Florida Gulf coast … where are you?

I may have mentioned the military concept of burning the boats once you cross a river because you fight harder when there is no retreat. I guess bridges fall into  that same idea. Once you cross a bridge, burn it. There is a Zen saying that if you meet the Buddha on the road – kill him.

We tend to spend a lot to time thinking and rethinking the past. There is a whole idea that we go  through life trying to finish unfinished business from our past or find some closure to it. That usually just means we want everything in our past to  end the way we want it to. And it just doesn’t. What’s more, no matter what we do, we cannot change what has already happened. We cannot un-break an egg or un-ring a bell. Many people fall in deep depressions and feel helpless and hopeless to change the past. The reason they feel helpless and hopeless is because they actually are. It’s impossible to change the past. It’s only possible to reflect on it, learn from it, and let it go.

I talk to a lot of people with or about Hepatitis C. When they first find out I have it or they have it, they usually ask about the past and how did I/they get it. Many have no idea. I mean, we can connect the dots and discover that its more likely than not that  we go it a certain way at a certain time, but we don’t know. I do know/accept that no one gets it on purpose. Many of us from the baby-boom and Vietnam-era didn’t even know about it, neither did modern medicine. It was a surprise to all of us. So whether it was self-inflicted, other-inflict, or just some accident that no one remembers, we have it. Let get into what we can do about it now. Let’s burn that self-judgment/pity bridge and accept the realities of what is. I have a blood virus and it’s kicking my ass (but not my liver, which is functioning within normal range thank you). Welcome to my daily life. I cannot un-cross that bridge, but I can educate myself so I don’t cross it again.

I heard that life has pain, but suffering is optional because suffering is the refusal to accept what is. Many people apparently prefer to live in fantasy land rather than the realities of their lives. Yet, the fantasy is what perpetuates the reality because we never face and fix what is. Once we accept where we are, we can move on.

Why fight what we cannot win? I know there is a lot of clamor and glamour in thinking that  we are fighting the good fight by refusing the accept reality. But a wise fighter would never fight a fight they could not win. Wise fighters do not go on suicide missions. They find another attack plan/strategy that can win and follow through on it. Seeing how much pain you can withstand is not fighting, it’s adolescent egotism, ignorance, and arrogance. I fight this battle everyday. I don’t want the disease or the symptoms, or I don’t want them to show, but they do (if you know what to look for). Most people don’t know and don’t care so I don’t bother.

Now realize, there is no bridge and no boat. Both are only cognitive constructs in our minds. They are figments of our imagination. Every see the movie “Inception”? Yea – it’s like that. We believe in fantasyland more than reality. We believe in yesterdayland more than today or tomorrowland. But we don’t have to be. If I made it up, I can change it. If I cannot change something, I can change how I see and respond to it.

It was interesting this morning that as I drove to Aikido, I thought I bet there was no class. And sure enough, there was a sign on the door saying class was canceled. (Guess I need to give my contact information to somebody.) What was interesting was the truck didn’t even pause, just passed by, turned around, and drove home. No relief and no disappointment. The bridge/boat was not there this morning. People continue to work on our house as one day at a time we get closer to being temporarily finished before something else need our attention. The students in the on-line classes continue to try to get it (cross the bridge to new insight/understanding, or they stay on their side of what they know, of they are somewhere in the middle) or not. Fatigue, soreness, headaches, and cautious optimism continue. Another day forward.

Thanks …

Love and pride, strength and honor …

Until again,


Day 54 of 84

From here to there, from me to you … well, you know the rest.

From hot-rods to surfing to insanity …

Relatively quiet today, inside and out.

Got up with the usual fatigue, pain, and headache.  Looking forward to waking up someday and being okay. This can wear on a person. It’s hard to explain what chronic fatigue and pain is like – so I won’t try.

Got some online work done. Seems like I am running as fast as I can just to keep up, but never getting ahead. And I guess there is some truth to that.

Got a chiropractic adjustment. I know some people don’t believe in them, but we do. My brother turned us onto a business called The Joint. I think it’s a franchise chiropractic chain. For a flat fee you get 4 adjustments a month and no appointment is necessary. Found one when we were in Georgia. Found another one here in Tampa (Florida). None of the bells and whistles. Just show up, get adjusted, and be on your way. I figure if I am this way with regular adjustments, what would I be like without them? I know the difference. I have had some doctors who were actually hurting me and I would be getting worse, so I would stop going to them.

It’s always interesting how the kinesthetic senses know. As soon as some one touches me for an adjustment, my body knows if they know what they are doing and are confident or if they are not. Same with a good massage. The body and relax and trust is it feels safe. If not, it tenses up. Same on the mat – just the way some one works you can feel the difference in their energy. Same with a handshake or a hug. The body has an intuitive knowing. Enough said.

Air conditioning guy was here all day. We will be so glad when the work is done and we get some privacy. It’s interesting how everyone expects you to work around their schedule and their schedule changes so you never know what schedule you are on or who will be here doing what work, but you know they will all show up at the same time on the same day and get in each others way. But, we are making progress.

AARP offered a free screening of the new Love and Mercy movie about Brian Wilson. I grew up on Beach Boy music and have always been a fan from the early hot rod day, through the surfing era, and into many private projects. For those who don’t know, Brian Wilson wrote the songs and produced the music. He was such a perfectionist that he drove himself insane. Only in the last few years has he been seen publicly again. The volumes of music and influence this man has had is incredible. There is a story that one of the Beatles was in Los Angeles when the Beach Boys released the Pet Sounds album. The Beatle was so knocked away that he immediately flew back to London and reworked everything they had been doing. WOW! So we get to the movie theatre a bit early only to find a long line of old people like us. When we finally got into the theatre, it was so full we had to sit in the front row. There were some technical difficulties, so after a half hour or so of waiting, we decided that the ice-cream at home sounded better – and we left. But, I hear it’s a good movie and will see it someday. But it was not tonight.

30 days left and doing well.

Thanks again …

Love and pride, strength and honor …

Until again,


Day 53 of 84

Greetings, Greetings …

Sometimes a frog just hits you in the face!

Another busy day. Yet, it’s the people around us who are busy. As long as we don’t internalize all the chaos around us or let it get between us, it’s all good.

Remember we are having all this work done on the house? Of course you do, I don’t let you forget it. Well, the parade continues and one thing naturally leads to another.

I did make it to Aikido. It’s interesting trying to retool the basics/fundamentals after all these years. Each teacher/school has a slightly different way of doing the same thing. I often think the real training is trying to get my body to do what the instructor is telling me to do and not what I am used to. Now the interesting part is that Aikido comes from the hips and right now I just don’t have any. My hips seem to be my weak link and the inflammation and arthritis have decided they will make it hard for me to move. Okay, so it may also be because I spent a good portion of my life making my joints do what they were not intended to do. I remember as a child I had trouble with my hips, wore corrective shoes, and used furniture to help me along. Funny how development comes full circle. In my head I can see what the instructor wants me to do, but when I go to move the body it just seems to have a mind of its own. But I enjoy the classes in humility and continue to show up.

Had an online class end and another one begin today, which means double duty and a lot of set up and grading. I am still surprised that after weeks of telling my students the same old thing, they still do what they want (forget the paragraph above). I often teach developmental psychology. I used it a lot as a therapist. I would pay close attention to how old a client was acting or ask myself at what age would this seem appropriate, then ask the client what happened at that time in their life. I also asked people how old they felt inside and then what happened at that age. It’s all about connecting dots and realizing that some transition was not made and people use some cognitive/emotional strategy that is immature (which explains why its not working for us as adults).

I have a couple addiction classes going on right now too. Interesting that everyone wants to look at the drug of choice and not the process of choosing. They also want to look at external regulation/legislation which supports the belief that the individual is not responsible or accountable for themselves but a puppet of history, media, and manufactures. Wow, what an insult if I thought they were talking about me. My mother used to be afraid that I would analyze myself and blame things on her and my dad. Nothing could have been further from the truth. My parents gave me everything they had and withheld nothing. Besides, the only person who was consistently present when I did really stupid things (which I used to do on a more regular basis) was me. I own it.

I may have mentioned that our 2 month old dryer didn’t work after we had some electrical work done, but we just figured it was the dryer. Nope, appliance guy said it was getting the 110 voltage it needed to turn on but not the 220 that it needed to get heat up. Had another electrician look at it and moved the breakers so it got what the voltage it needed. The funny part always is listening to everyone say they didn’t do it and blaming the other guy. So, in a true solution focused perspective, we have no idea how we got the problem, but we got it fixed.

Had dinner with the family again. While telling us about her day at school, our 3 1/2 year old granddaughter informed us that a frog (toy) just jumped up and hit her in the head. I just smiled and said that it happens some time.

Same chronic fatigue and pain symptoms/side-effect. The days are counting down. I go in Friday for another lab and to check in with the VA docs. Hopefully this time I will become “undetected” for the virus. I read many of the forum posts where people who had a much higher viral load than I did cleared by week 2, 4, and 6. I am into week 8. Sometimes I wonder if I will fail again. I think that its normal to question and probably wise to stay open to the possibility and have a plan on hand. In the dojo we would say the day before a test we trained, and the day after a test  (pass or fail) we trained. A old Zen master was asked what he did before he became enlightened and he said that he chopped wood and carried water. When asked what he did after he became enlightened, he said that he chopped wood and carried water. So no matter what the outcome, I will be the same with the same fatigue, pain, and clarity – or not.

Thanks for listening … what? (exactly)

Love and pride, strength and honor, …

Until again,


Day 52 of 84

Greetings again,

Another busy day, but not for me.

At least is was a day that included some finishing and not always something else. When they say that life doesn’t always go the way you plan, they were not kidding. It is nice when it does. Allows you to put your feet up, exhale, and just watch.

I was working on my monthly Aiki-Web column. I always start with the breathe in one thing and breathe out another. The last line of the Haiku is the internal change process. It usually means to breathe in the bad and breathe out the good. I know that most people want to breathe in the good and out the bad, but that appears selfish to me and puts more bad out into the world. If I want a better world, I have to give my best to it. Aikido is about accepting an attack, enter and blending with it, taking balance, and finally ending the conflict without harming anyone. It requires a calm mind and a relaxed body. Someday I’ll get the hang of it.

Today we had a lot of workers/professionals in our home. We had the electrician in to correct the aluminum wiring, and they finished today without giving us any new bad news. Now we can move to the next step. We also had the air conditioning tech in to install a new unit. While he isn’t quite finished, we can see progress. Most impressive was the gentleman who laid our side yard pavers and came back to lay a new front porch and patio for us. He was on time, kept checking in with us, did an excellent job, cleaned up after himself and only charged what he said he would. In one day, a whole new front porch and patio that look beautiful. Amazing.

Notice, we/I didn’t have to do the work. First, its way beyond my pay grade and craftsman expertise. Second, it was one of those fatigue days that I could have put my head on my desk at any time and drifted off. Yet, when I look back, with a lot going on around me, I actually got some stuff done.

I currently have 4 classes going which keeps me pretty busy. There are assignments and ongoing discussions for each class of 15-20 students. At times it’s like herding kittens. It is also interesting to see some people getting what you  are trying to tell them, some struggling with it, and others not caring or having a clue. If we truly can choose who we are, why wouldn’t we take advantage of every learning opportunity we have. As a teacher I can share information and encourage investigation, but I cannot make somebody learn. Growing up with my own learning handicap (I was an auditory learner – one who spells phonetics phonetically) and eventually was grateful that I was not put in special class that would teach me the way I learned (okay – I still love listening to books on tapes). I had to learn the best learning strategy for the tasks at hand. When necessary, I now have a pretty good visual memory and recall system. Too many people only look at the content and not the actual learning process/strategy we use.

I wear so many hats/masks that it’s unusual for them to come together. Recently there has been some work that  uses Aikido to help with post traumatic stress disorder for veterans. I was contacted to consult on creating a small program for a dojo. Since I do have a 4th degree black belt in Aikido, and since I have clinical expertise in working with PTSD (which was also the topic of my doctoral dissertation), since I am a veteran, and since I try to practice empathy and compassion for suffering – it seems like a great match. So I am collecting my thoughts and we will see where it goes.

Let us not forget that the purpose of this blog is to keep family and friends updated in my progress in the treatment (Harvoni) of HCV (my disease) through the local VA. Today, mostly sunny outside and mostly tired and foggy inside. Sometimes all you can do is relax, breathe, and let the day pass. And it has.

Thanks for dropping by.

Love and pride, strength and honor …

Until again,


Day 51 of 84

Greetings from the Florida coast sand garden …

Besides working in the inside of he house, we are also working on the outside. My lady has the decorating eye and I have  … (well, I help).

We had pavers put in the side yard. Now, what to do with the rest of it. Usually this would not be a big deal. While it’s not the yard work itself I like, I like the thoughts and feelings of do-it-yourself behavior. The question is can we (I am not alone in any endeavor) make the external side yard look like the image in m’lady’s head.

Se, we got up early (which wasn’t hard because I get up early, unable to go back to sleep – actually I also got up and watched television in the middle of the night too). We went to breakfast – we enjoy breakfast out and there are so many new places to try – though we tend to go back to the ones we already know. Came home and went to work.

We dug up plants in the front (to make room for the new patio – which may come tomorrow with all the other things we are scheduled for) and replanted them one the side of the house. The ground was prepared and leveled to place granite rocks on one side of the walk and plants/mulch on the other. Ended up looking really good too.

Due to the fact that I am old, somewhat out of shape, sick, and undergoing major medical treatment, I have to pace myself and cut myself some slack.  I work slowly and take breaks (sitting down and drinking plenty of water).

By noon we were done for the day and exhausted. After a shower and lunch I spent the afternoon online teaching classes in developmental psychology (for one school) and addiction counseling (for the other). I often find it interesting/frustrating in these classes that people have personal experiences, beliefs, and opinions that facilitating them not learning any of the generalizations created by recent academic research and study. When they are challenged to think outside their normal box, they get defensive. Even had a few talk to their academic counselor/advisor because I asked them to use the required course text and not their usual religious dogma. If we are going to learn something new, we often need to see through (not necessarily let go) of what we think we already know. When we think we already know something we tend to shut down our input channels, especially when new input/information challenges what we think we already know. Perhaps we find security in the illusion that we actually know something or perhaps it allows us to feel special.

I also hear everyone say that we are all so different and unique that generalized theories do not apply (even when they obviously do). Western psychology, and our social norm, is really big in making distinctions of differences which create distance and difficulties. This makes empathy and compassion impossible. The illusion of independence negates the inter-connectedness and inter-dependency of existence. It’s both arrogant and ignorant to live life from this narcissistic self-referencing position (“it’s all about me”). We eventually realize that very little is about us. Even our self identity is based on our identification with others, so that is not really about us – it’s about who we identify with. And we are more alike than different. Figuring our selves and our lives out is not all that complicated or difficult once we drop our narcissistic special uniqueness and take our place with everyone else. We might be in different places on the normal curve of distribution, but we are all there. We all win or we all lose.

Tomorrow is another day of multiple workers coming to do multiple jobs on the same house. We will go about our day – let the humility continue.

Thanks again.

Love and pride, strength and honor …

Until again,