There’s Always a “Before”…

… and it ain’t pretty.  I hadn’t realized how I had gotten pudgy around the middle and I’m certainly no model of the human form at my age.

Beyond the aesthetic, I’m not fit enough to do things I want to do, including:

  • Walk to or from the bus stop so that I can take the regular buses that run on schedules on fixed routes.  That will make it easier to do things like shopping or the library, when the time for returning home isn’t set, just when I’m done doing whatever.
  • Attend social events like my high school reunion which is coming up next month.
  • Attend day-long rocket launches without leaving early or needing a timeout which makes it tough to go on my own or with a group.
  • Go to the Mountain Play which had been an annual family tradition until the stroke.
  • Visit my father again before he dies.  Getting to Nashville takes a full day of traveling with lots of walking and standing in line and dealing with airplanes (with small aisles and smaller seats.)

So right now, I’m working on establishing a daily workout habit with motor skill exercises for my left elbow and left foot/ankle.  I hope this leads to  workouts that actually stress muscles in the next few weeks.



Libertarians and Government

(edited & updated Nov 18, 2011…)

I am one of six libertarians in my town.  I know there can’t be many more because every year the Libertarian Party asks me to run for one local office or another,  It’s ironic that a party dedicated to no government is trying to elect government officials.

I call myself libertarian and I believe in libertarian principles as I read about them in Heinlein stories.  Clearly, the Democratic and Republican parties aren’t interested in libertarian values.  But when someone mentions the Libertarian Party, I’m embarrassed to admit that I’m a libertarian too.  It just seems that the party is run by kooks and crackpots.  They spout off on how the government is stealing our hard-earned dollars and giving them away.  The candidates for national office are so obviously nutcases that Ralph Nader could beat them in a landslide.

Libertarians rant about how government is evil and unnecessary.  I disagree – every system I know of has some sort of mechanism to deal with problems or when the system breaks down.  Government is that mechanism for our system.  When the system fails or there’s a problem that overwhelms the system, government is there to get things back on track.  So if we got rid of government, then we would have to invent something to replace it.  And I’m not sure we could come up with anything that is better than what we have.

So we need an organization that Libertarians can proudly associate with and that others will take seriously.  Then we could actually work on getting our government to move toward libertarian ideals and eliminate all those things that drive libertarians up a wall.  🙂


How to Get Out of Survival Mode

Some people may think that I’m being less than honest when I remark that I had it easier than my wife did when I had the stroke.  But it’s very obvious to me that she’s had a miserable time trying to keep everything together while I just had to survive.

This is one of those times of life when it’s reasonable to slip into survival mode – when something unexpected and outside your control happens and you can’t ignore it.  But to maintain your sanity, you have to figure out how to eventually get out of survival mode to a life with some semblance of balance and if not calm, at least not constant demands, crises and stress.

First, stop making more commitments!

That old cliche that when you find yourself in a hole, the first thing to do is stop digging! applies here too.  It is much better to surprise someone when you do something unexpected than to disappoint them when you fail to do the expected.

Of course, there are always some things that are too important that you can’t stop doing, like feeding your family.  But those are very few, probably fewer than you think.

Once you’ve reset expectations, you can then begin making commitments again, being careful to only make commitments that you are absolutely going to keep.

Craig’s Hierarchy of Everyday Priorities

It can be helpful to think of time like money, a limited resource that you have to budget what you spend it on.  Like your checking account has only so much money for each month, there are only so many hours in each day and you have to decide what is most important to you to spend those precious hours doing.

To manage commitments intelligently, you need a systematic method of deciding which commitments are more important and which will have less impact if dropped.  Without some system, you’ll find yourself unhappy and stressed out because while you’re missing the important things in your life, you’ll be stuck doing things with little meaning for you.

Don’t Count on More Time Later

When you’re in survival mode, there is a huge temptation to put stuff off or only do the absolute minimum of what has to be done at that moment.  The problem is that there’s never more time later.  At least, not enough when you need it.    It’s a better strategy to do things completely, so that you never have to worry about them again.

Get Yourself Out of the Loop

Quite often survival mode is so overwhelming that there doesn’t seem to be time or energy to teach others how to do stuff themselves.  It seems easier to just forge ahead and do stuff yourself instead of teaching someone else how to do it without your help, especially since teaching someone to do something takes just as long, if not longer than doing it yourself.  The important thing, though, is that once someone learns how to do something, they no longer need you to do it for them and you then have less that you have to do yourself.

Another way to get yourself out of the loop is to delegate ruthlessly.  We often don’t delegate as often as we could because we think that only we can do something correctly.  Mothers often underestimate what their kids can do and don’t think it’s fair to make them do stuff to to help keep the house & family functioning.  But kids will surprise you with what they can do and they are proud when they can contribute like they see their parents do.

Don’t Forget to Take Care of Yourself

Lastly, you need to remember to do the things you need to do to stay healthy and sane.  That includes getting enough sleep and exercise. focuses on fitness and working out at home.  The target audience appears to be young women, like Zuzana, although there are bodyrockers of both sexes and most ages.  The primary attraction is the workouts and exercises demonstrated and explained step-by-step by Zuzana.  But Zuzana and Freddy try to connect with their viewers and include everyone in the “bodyrocker” community.

The videos of workouts and exercises are shot by Freddy, giving them a home-made quality and hosted on youtube, providing both a marketing venue and revenue stream from the embedded ads.

In addition to the videos of exercises and videos, there are also posts on diet and food and some of their interesting adventures.  Bodyrockers also send in posts of their own, most commonly pictures to show off the results of their bodyrock workouts.  But there are also personal stories that connect you to the bodyrocker community.

I first ran across when I was searching youtube about how folks use it to market and make money.  Their videos are among the most downloaded on youtube.  Since then I’ve lurked around looking for exercises that I can do with my affected arm and leg and just trying to get motivated to get serious about getting back in shape.

So I think that is an excellent resource for working out at home, with a trainer to create workouts, explain exercises and lead/push to get the most out of it and a way to share the experience with others so you don’t feel like you’re doing it alone.

What do you do to keep fit?  If you’ve got something that you love and think others would too, please share it in your comments.

School Teachers

Our children spend more than a quarter of their waking hours at school and their teacher(s) are the ones responsible for them and educating them on stuff they need to succeed as adults.

That means that our children’s teachers are the most significant influence on children after their parents.  We expect them to keep our kids safe.  We expect them to teach our children what they need to succeed.  We expect them to teach kids how to work and play with others.  We hope they’ll teach them how to face and overcome daunting challenges.  If we’re lucky, they’ll teach them to enjoy learning and how to have fun even when they’re working hard.

This week was Back to School Night for local schools.  Despite the effort required to get my old, broken-down body to get moving, I was very determined to show up and give teachers a chance to share what they hope and expect to happen this school year and take the opportunity to show that I’m keenly interested in what goes on at school.  Parents’ attendence at Back To School Night is the single best indicator of whether a student will be successful in school. I hope that you care enough about your kids to attend.  It doesn’t usually cost anything and only takes 2-3 hours out of your life.

By Back To School Night most parents are fed up with all the demanding and pleading for more money for a supposedly “free” education.  It’s a natural reaction to say “no more!” but that’s not just ineffective at changing the system, it’s plain mean to people who are caught in the middle.  If you want to fix the system, you need to find a way that motivates the decision makers which is surely not by depriving teachers of what they need to be able to teach.


A User Manual For Life Would Be Helpful

Ever since the rehab hospital after the stroke, I’ve wanted to blog about my experiences, so hopefully others won’t trip over the same things I did.  It’s very important to remember that we aren’t alone and there are others in the same boat and surviving.

It took me a long time to get my act together enough so that I could actually write a real blog!  There have been a couple false starts and many obstacles that were overcome.  But I’ve finally started blogging regularly.