It’s What You’re Not Eating That Counts

Good morning! I hope your day is starting off nicely.

By this weekend, most of the nation will be once again open for business. Of course, “open” doesn’t mean what it did a few months ago, and there will be varying levels of engagement for the time being. Like, instead of sitting on top of one another waiting for a table at the restaurant, you have to wait in your car. At least McDonalds has a drive-thru.

Most people appreciate the fact that they’re able to get back to some semblance of a normal lifestyle. You know, working, shopping, getting a haircut, and lining up at customer service to complain because the store is out of Cheetos. I’m kidding. They have plenty of Cheetos. They even have paper towels to clean your hands after you eat them. But now they’re out of meat.

I read an article a few days ago about food shortages and rising meat prices, and the health benefits of cutting back on the meat. Especially red meat. They don’t like that one much at all. Naturally, that’s the one I like best. Why did broccoli have to be so healthy? I think it was God’s way of keeping us from eating too much. Boy, we tricked him on that one.

But, as I read the article, I realized I could probably get by with a lot less meat in my diet. I can say that now, because we have health insurance again and if my wife has a stroke reading this, we’re covered. Yes, I love meat. To me, a meal without meat is like a bathroom without toilet paper. Sure, it’ll fill your basic biological needs. But you certainly wouldn’t look forward to it.

That said, my tastes have changed over the years. I like a good steak, but I prefer seafood. In fact, the last several times we went to a steak house, I ordered salmon. I like chicken, but I prefer small slices in a hearty salad. And if I had to go a whole year without eating pizza, I don’t think I’d miss it. But I love fried Spam. Still, that’s not technically meat. I’m not sure what it is.

Tastes are a part of our culture. We generally tend to crave the foods we ate as children, no matter what they were. And, depending on where you were born, those foods may be very different. I see people in documentaries grinning from ear to ear as they eat fried cockroaches. That’s one way to lose weight. Not by eating them … by watching someone else do it.

That said, I think I may be ready to make some changes. In many cultures, meat is more of a garnish than a main course. Seafood is a big part of the diet, and so are fruits, vegetables, and those things they call “legumes.” I’m not sure what they are, but it doesn’t sound very appetizing. Maybe if they came up with a better name, like bourbon-glazed steak beans.

I’ve always appreciated a good salad, but my wife complains about the way I make mine. I like all the goodies – fresh spinach, romaine lettuce, blueberries, dried cranberries, eggs, meat, cheese, nuts, and loads of bleu cheese dressing. Yes, I know how much cholesterol is in that. It’s still a lot healthier than a Big Mac. Besides, that’s not technically meat, either.

But, as the article pointed out, when we reduce our intake of meat, we need to replace those nutrients somehow. As bad as meat can be for your heart, it’s also one of the best sources of vital nutrients. Iron and protein are at the top of the list, followed closely by vitamin B12. All three are important, especially if you like being able to get out of bed and function.

And, wouldn’t you know, vitamin B12 is only available through animal sources. Well, that and “fortified” breakfast cereal. So, if you just replace your steak with Cheerios, you’re good to go. Otherwise, it may be time to supplement. Besides, Cheerios don’t go well with a baked potato and sautéed mushrooms. I’m just saying.

I’ve been taking plant-based vitamins for several years. When you get to this age, you think about all those poor choices over the years and start looking for ways to ward off the evil spirits. I never really thought I’d make it to retirement. Now that I’m this close, I’d kinda like to enjoy it. And being sick all the time isn’t my idea of fun.

We all love certain foods, whether they’re good for us or not. And most of us will live to a ripe old age, regardless of the foods we eat. But aging and living aren’t the same. Living means to enjoy an active, vibrant, and healthy life. And that all begins with nutrition. Give your body what it needs, and it’ll return the favor. Besides, you’re gonna be with it the rest of your life.

That’s all for now. Have an awesome day!

© 2020 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

It’s Easier to Stay Healthy Than to Get Healthy

Good morning! I hope your day is off to a great start.

So, yesterday my state announced a list of measures to re-open some businesses and give people the option to go back to work. That’s a welcome sign after all these weeks of sitting around the house. But it comes at a price. Social distancing will be enforced, and protective gear is required. No mask, no service. I’m still trying to figure out how that’ll work in banks.

I remember when getting into a bank meant walking past an armed guard and getting into school didn’t. Times sure have changed. Eight years ago, people were leery of teenagers in a hoodie, and now they have to cover their whole face. Wow! We may have to actually talk to people before we jump to conclusions. What is this world coming to?

Lots of things will change as we move ahead. Sadly, one thing that won’t change is our general approach to health. We’ve gotten so used to just filling the tank and running through life that we forget about preventive maintenance. Besides, that’s for old people and hypochondriacs. When something breaks, you go to the doctor, he gives you pills, and life goes on. Right?

There’s an entire industry devoted to nothing more than changing the oil in your car. And it’s there because people recognize the need. The book says change the oil every 5000 miles, so we change it. Okay, maybe after 7500 miles, but that’s better than nothing. Of course, while you’re there, they try to sell you everything from air filters to air fresheners. It’s all about money.

One time I told the guy I wanted an oil change – nothing more. I was clear about that. First he came back with the dipstick. “Sir, your oil is dirty.” Yep. That’s why I’m here. Then he told me my serpentine belt was worn. Not today. Then he came back with the air filter. I cut him off mid-sentence. “Is that mine?” He nodded. “Then put it back where you found it!”

Yet, when the mechanic points to the owner’s manual and says it’s time to change the transmission fluid or engine coolant, we start to pull back. I can honestly say I’ve never had a car break down because of old coolant or transmission fluid. And I can honestly say I’ve never heard of the brain wearing a hole through the skull. You know, until it happened to me.

Preventive maintenance is simply a practice of fixing things before they break. It’s based on the premise that a complete engine rebuild is costs a few dollars more than a few quarts of oil, or that being sick is more expensive than taking care of your body in the first place. One leaves you walking, and the other leaves you barely able to walk. Both pretty well suck.

For me, preventive maintenance was always a matter of necessity. The cars I could afford pretty much demanded it. A quart of oil leaks out the bottom, I add a quart in the top, and voila! Fresh oil! I wish I was making that up. Smart? No. Not even close. Yet, how many of us do that with our own body? We run and run, and only think about the essentials when the dipstick goes dry.

Right now, people are trying every kind or remedy imaginable, safe or not, to battle this virus. Yet those same people are going through the stores without a mask, reaching over complete strangers to get a can of soup. The hand sanitizer aisle is empty, but the vitamin aisle is fully stocked. You can’t find a box of macaroni, but the produce section is brimming with variety. Do we see a trend?

Which is why I say we won’t learn a lot from this, at least in terms of our overall health. We’re so focused on making the bad things go away that we don’t even consider keeping them away in the first place. We’re so busy trying to fix what’s broken that we don’t take care of what works. And we all know the inevitable result of that. More stuff breaks. Important stuff.

At some point, we all come face to face with the choices we’ve made. Preventive health isn’t something we think about too much until the “check engine” light comes on. And, while nothing we know of today will prevent any of us from getting this virus, we do know that it’s a whole lot easier to overcome if we’re in good health to begin with.

Hopefully we’ll come away from this with a more vibrant zest for living, a stronger love for family & friends, and a greater appreciation for life’s many blessings. Part of that appreciation is taking care of what we’ve already got. Don’t wait for the “check engine” light to come on. Take care of yourself before something goes wrong. You’re worth whatever it takes.

That’s all for now. Have an awesome day!

© 2020 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

What Day Is It Again???

Good morning! I hope your day is off to a nice start.

So far, through all this hunkering down and sheltering in place, I’ve done a pretty good job of keeping track of which day it is. Monday through Saturday, that is. But somehow, Sundays have become a bit of an aberration. Sunday feels like it should be Saturday. Probably because I went into the weekend with a list of things to do and didn’t get started until Sunday afternoon.

My sister was a bit shocked to find out I get dressed for work every day. Yes, I work in my basement. Yes, video meetings are pretty much a headshot. I could be sitting here in my underwear with a regular shirt and nobody would know the difference. But invariably, I’d forget and step outside to check the mail. The neighbors have asked me not to do that anymore.

I’ve read things where they say you perform better if you comb your hair and dress the part. I’m no expert, but they did always appreciate pants when I was going to the office. I even wore a tie for about six months because my manager said it made me look professional and I was bucking for a promotion and … you know.

When it comes to clothing, people always have an opinion. “Dress for success!” “Dress for the job you want, not the job you have.” “You can have anything you want in life if you dress for it.” And my personal favorite: “Everyone looks good in a suit – even losers.”

I don’t mind dressing up. I’ve always believed that style is a way to say who you are without having to speak. And that’s good, because when some people speak, their clothes just vanish. Not from sight, but from prominence. It doesn’t matter how well-dressed you are if you’re a jerk.

But I think how we’re dressed does affect how we feel, and how we feel has some bearing on how we act. Put on a tie in the morning and you automatically feel like today is an important day, and you’ll be an important part of it. And people treat you better because of it. Put on a crumpled tee shirt and all of a sudden people are asking you to take out the trash.

Whether you’re working from home or waiting for the chance to go back to work, there’s something to be said for going through your morning routine and coming out on the other end looking presentable. It’s not about appearance as much as a sense of normality. It’s about reminding yourself that you’re worthy. It’s about being able to answer the door without putting on a robe.

I saw a welcome mat the other day that I would love to buy. It said, “Be patient – we’re probably not wearing pants.” Bet that’d send a few people away in a hurry. Like coughing in the grocery store. Some people need a reminder about this whole six-foot separation thing, and that one pretty well does the trick.

But to the extent that we can maintain some sense of normalcy right now, we’re that much better suited to come out smiling on the other end. And part of that means passing up the Ramen noodles for something a little more healthy. It’s especially important right now that we take care of our health … both physical and emotional. This is no time to get sick.

Home is a place where we should all be able to feel comfortable. But when home our place of work, the rules change just a little. And even if you’re not working right now, don’t fall victim to the habits of the terminally unemployed. The first two weeks are a vacation. After that, we need to at least pretend things are getting back to normal.

Habits are easy to form and hard to break. Sleeping late is nice for a day or two, but after a while it starts to wear you down. I love shorts and flip-flops, but they’ve never really made me feel like I was about to do something important. And I love a good cheeseburger as much as anybody, but when this is all over, I have to be able to actually fit into those work clothes again.

Go through the motions, whether anybody will notice or not. Get up and get dressed. Eat healthy. Keep your mind active. Keep the kids active. Set a routine and stick to it. Take your vitamins. Get some fresh air. Build your immunity. Everything in life may have changed, but the most important part hasn’t – you.

The first step in getting back to normal is simply acting normal. It may not make this all go away, but it’ll sure have a positive impact in how we get through it. And it’ll have a huge impact in how we move forward once it’s all over.

That’s all for now. Have an awesome day!

© 2020 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

The Road Will Curve Again – But Will You Be The One Driving?

Good morning! I hope your day is starting off nicely.

For those who missed my follow-up post yesterday, our daughter was diagnosed with a pretty strong case of pneumonia, but no coronavirus. Yes, we live in a time when that’s something to celebrate. “Woohoo! It’s only pneumonia!” They loaded her up with IV antibiotics and then sent her home. Right now, a hospital is not the place to be if you’re sick.

As I’ve mentioned a few times lately, I think we’re just beginning to see the new normal. I read an article yesterday that said oil prices will be down for a long time to come, and I guess we can all feel pretty good about that. Unless you own an oil well, in which case I really don’t feel sorry for you. Of course, they’ll still find a way to drive up gas prices. “Coronavirus blend.” It’s coming.

That said, I was pretty excited when I topped off the tank in the RV for $13. Okay, I used my Kroger fuel points and got a 70-cent discount, but still. I had to risk my life to build up those points. So far, I haven’t given in to online grocery shopping. I still go into the store with a bottle of hand sanitizer in my holster, dodging sneezes the whole way through. I earned that discount.

But now, we don’t have much choice. Our daughter is back home with us, and in no condition to fight off germs. So, we have to dig in a little deeper and find ways to keep the pantry stocked without putting the whole family at risk. I have to assume those rabbits and squirrels dancing in the yard haven’t been watching the news. That’s some pretty low-risk shopping if you ask me.

Okay, I’m kidding. I’ve only shot a squirrel once, and I filled it so full of buckshot it weighed in at six pounds. Needless to say, we had chicken for dinner. I’m just not much of a hunter. I’m too much of a softie. I’ve always said I could shoot a deer if the family were hungry, but only if it didn’t look at me. That one seems to be in the playbook, because they ALWAYS look at you.

Part of me wonders if anybody will eat a wild animal after this. Apparently, that’s where it all started. On the other hand, farm-raised animals aren’t all that safe, either. Every time you turn around, something else is being recalled. Guess we should all become vegetarians. You know, so we can learn the joys of listeria, salmonella, and e-Coli. Guess that’s one way to lose weight.

Hopefully, part of the new “normal” will be more stringent food safety standards. Working from home has been nice, and I could get used to these gas prices. That said, having kids cooped up in the house when there’s a playground within walking distance is for the birds. We need to fix that one. I’ll volunteer to keep the monkey bars clean if I can find some disinfectant.

Another change I hope we’ll see is more people taking control of their health, wealth, and happiness. We seem to go through life looking for the easy path to all three. Find a good job. Get a good doctor. Enjoy the good life. And that’s great, until it’s not. Something can always come along and change what we’ve come to know.

Right now, health and income are the two big ones. If we’ve neglected our health to this point, there’s not a lot we can do to change it overnight. But we can try to optimize our health going forward. Illness doesn’t ask if we’re ready – it just hits. And the healthier we are at the outset, the better our odds of survival. The time to do something about that is now.

The same is true of income. We all know the risks of putting our eggs in one basket, yet that’s what most of us do our entire life. And we know better. Companies fail. Industries die. Recession, pandemics, and even weather can impact our ability to put food on the table. Having a secondary income isn’t just prudent. It’s essential.

This crisis has affected us all in different ways. And right now, when there’s a light at the end of the tunnel, it’s easy to wipe our brow and say, “That was a close one!” Well, guess what? It’ll happen again. Hopefully nothing of this magnitude, but we’ve all faced crisis before, and this won’t be the last one. The question is, will we be any better prepared next time?

Preparation isn’t about watching and waiting. It’s about taking proactive steps to be ready for whatever comes along. Are there things you wish you’d done before this crisis? Then get started now. This won’t be our last crisis. But hopefully, we’ll all be a little better prepared for the next one.

That’s all for now. Have an awesome day!

© 2020 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Good Health Doesn’t Just Happen – You Have To Want It

Good morning! I hope your day is off to a nice start.

For the first day in a week, I woke up relatively free of back pain. That’s “relatively” in the sense that my first car was relatively free of dents. You know, after I hit the open tailgate of a parked pickup truck. Most of the car was fine, but that one headlight pointed to the stars. It didn’t hurt the truck a bit. Naturally.

I’ve got a condition doctors refer to as degenerative disc disease. I don’t think it’s a disease as much as the fact that the discs in my lower back are trashed. And every now and then one slips to the side enough to let my spine sit directly on a nerve. They say the Latin term is hurtus alotus maximus. I’m not so sure about that, but I do have some pretty juicy French terms for it.

I’m told it’s just part of aging. You know, in the sense that I packed on a bunch of extra weight and it’s been sitting on my spine for the better part of thirty years. It’s like driving around with sacks of concrete in the trunk of your car. Sooner or later, you’re gonna wear out the tires. Come to think of it, I need to check them. They’ve been carrying this weight a while, too.

Lose some weight, you say? Well, thanks! Why didn’t I think of that? I’ll just get right on it. By this time next week I should be in good shape. Maybe after that I’ll go run a marathon. Oh, how I wish it were that easy. Not the marathon. I don’t run unless somebody is chasing me with a snake. Then I could outrun Jesse Owens. Only until I find a stick big enough to knock them out.

Extra body weight is a problem in this country, and in most of the world. If you don’t believe me, take a look around. Just don’t stare. Fat people don’t like that, especially if you’re skinny. If you’re fat, too, they just think you’re flirting. And fat people don’t like that. Okay, we do. We just don’t say it out loud.

The problem with body weight is that it builds slowly, giving us time to adjust. We barely notice when we need pants that are one size larger. We just blame it on the brand. “These pants must run a little small.” No, your butt runs a little big. We can say it. You’d think by the time we’re six sizes larger we’d get the hint. But no. Even then it’s only one size larger than before.

The same thing happens with our general health. We don’t really notice when we find ourselves running a little slower or waking up more tired each day. “It’s just a normal part of aging.” Well, maybe. But I think we accept that excuse a little too easily. We compare ourselves to people who are much older and decide this is normal. “We’re all headed that way.”

Well, sure. We are all headed that way. But that doesn’t mean we have to accept it without a fight. Losing weight is harder as we get older. The same is true of maintaining our health. The difference is, one comes from how much we eat and the other comes from how much we don’t eat. Sure, the gas tank is full. But if it’s full of sugar, you won’t be going very far.

Doctors tell us to eat a balanced diet with all the right nutrients. Well, guess what? In order to get all the nutrients your body needs, you’d have to eat several pounds of the right foods every day. And that’s if you could even find those foods. Most of what we can buy in the supermarket is seriously lacking in nutrients. Even fresh produce. Ever heard of soil depletion?

That’s not to say we can’t make better choices, but even a strict vegetarian has vitamin deficiencies. On the other hand, vegetarians are more likely to use supplements, because they’ve done the research and they know. As a result, most of them stay reasonably healthy later in life than the rest of us.

Our bodies were designed to convert nutrients from a broad variety of foods into the chemicals we need to thrive. Not survive – thrive. And the longer we cheat ourselves of those nutrients, the sooner we’ll feel the effects of age. Meanwhile, we’ll probably get some bigger pants to go along with it. Kinda like that hidden surprise in your cereal.

It’s all about choices, compounded over time. And right now, I can imagine there are a lot of people wishing they’d done a little more to maintain good health. There is no vitamin or supplement that’ll keep you from getting sick. But starting off healthy can make a world of difference in your recovery.

We can’t lose weight overnight, and we can’t get healthy in a day. Choices compounded over time. The sooner we start making the right choices, the longer we’ll be able to enjoy a reasonably healthy life.

That’s all for now. Have an awesome day!

© 2020 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Cabin Fever Doesn’t Cure Anything

Good morning! I hope your day is off to a great start.

I missed a couple of posts last week. It’s taken my brain a few days to get wrapped around this whole “back to work” thing, and the fact that I have to do certain things by a certain time each morning. But I’m thankful to have a job, one I can do from the comfort of home, and in an industry that’s not likely to shut down during this pandemic. Things could always be worse.

Friday afternoon, we heeded the governor’s advice to “enjoy some outdoor recreation with social distancing” and took the new motorhome for a shakedown cruise. In the Navy, that means a short boat ride after you come out of the yards so you can see what all is still broken. On an aircraft carrier, that means thousands of items. Thankfully, our list was a lot smaller.

Okay, first things first – this park was made for golf carts, not buses. The signs said “Go this way to register” so I did. Then came the sloping 90-degree turn to get out of that corner and my wife’s inevitable Lamaze breathing as I negotiated that turn. I was pretty smug about it. You know, once I started breathing again.

We had a pull-through site that, under normal circumstances, would mean drive right in. Turns out “normal” means a Volkswagen Beetle with a teardrop trailer. We were about 20 feet longer than normal. So, I backed in. More Lamaze breathing from the passenger seat. But I’m getting pretty good about backing up. It’s that whole staying in my own lane thing that’s a challenge.

I wanted to get there before dark because setup is all done outside. Wooden blocks under the leveling jacks, electric hookup, water hookup, cable hookup, and crawling underneath to set the water heater bypass valve. You know, the one the dealer’s mechanic crawled under to check and told us it was in the correct position. It wasn’t. And the ground was wet. Naturally.

Once I figured out where the TV cable connects (a critical part of “camping” for my wife) and got the water situation sorted out, we were up and running in just about a half-hour. I’m sure next time will go much smoother because, you know, every campground has the same hookups in the same places. Right. And unicorns blow fairy dust out their nostrils.

All in all, we had a nice weekend. It was a lot warmer for a change, so we spent a good part of the day with the windows open. Of course, warm weather also means thunderstorms, and Mother Nature treated us to a good one. Other than a little rocking around in the wind, it was just like being home. The dog was hiding, and my daughter was glued to the Weather Channel.

Why did we choose this particular weekend to go camping, when everybody is being asked to stay home? Well, for a few reasons. First of all, sitting in a closed-up house is about as healthy as sneezing on your pizza. Of course, with all the other toppings, who would notice? Which makes you wonder about pizza delivery. I’m just saying.

But a little fresh air is good for whatever ails you, and it’s even better when you’re having a good day. We’re being asked to stay at least six feet from other people. Check. We’re being asked to avoid crowds of ten people or more. Check. And we’re being asked to keep shopping trips to a minimum. Well, once camp is set up, you’d be surprised what you can live without.

The bottom line is that, even though life has changed, that doesn’t mean we have to stop living. Sitting around the house, breathing the same dust and germs all day, isn’t good for anyone. We need air. We need sunshine. We need a little exercise, even if it’s only taking the dog for a walk as he marks every tree, shrub, and tuft of tall grass he can find. There are no short walks.

If the weather is nice, get outside. If it’s too hot, wear shorts. If it’s too cold, wear a jacket. If it’s raining, take an umbrella. And don’t kiss your neighbors. This isn’t rocket science. But sitting around the house wears on more than just your patience. Already, divorce attorneys are cancelling their summer vacations. They know. People are not made to live this close.

Find something you can do outside. Whether it’s planting flowers, playing with the kids, taking a walk, or mowing the lawn, you need something to get you out of the house. And that something doesn’t always have to be in the confines of your own yard. Just be safe and remember to keep a distance. Life goes on. Sometimes, it just needs a little nudge.

That’s all for now. Have an awesome day!

© 2020 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Don’t Grow Old Before Your Time – And It’s Never Time

Good morning, and happy Friday! I hope your day is off to a great start.

Some days we wake up full of energy, ready to take on the day and crush anything that stands in our way. Priorities have been set, a plan is in place, and we won’t stop until everything has been finished to perfection. When sleep finally comes, it’ll be out of sheer exhaustion from all the magnificent things we’ve accomplished. Today is not that day.

After being awakened by a pretty intense thunderstorm sometime when all good people are supposed to be asleep, I was a little slow rolling out of bed this morning. It’s not a lack of enthusiasm. It’s a lack of uninterrupted sleep. We all have days like this. Thankfully for me, they only come on days ending in “y.”

I’m told waking up during the night comes with age. I hope that’s not the case, because aging is something that never stops, and I’m nowhere even close to being old. Never mind the fact that, as of tomorrow, my oldest grandson will turn 20. That doesn’t mean I’m getting old. He is.

I still remember the day he was born. Watching him grow has been more than just a privilege. It’s a gift. And, like a lot of gifts, there were days when I wanted to take it back to the store. But overall, he’s been my buddy from the start. And he’s still not too proud to give his grandpa a hug, even if other people are watching.

Still, I’ll never forget the day I took him to little league football practice. We pulled up right in front of the team and, as he went to get out of my truck I said, “Hey, what about my kiss?” He gave me that wide-eyed stare that instantly conveyed what his 9-year-old brain was thinking. “Are you freaking insane???” I guess he didn’t care to be the tackling dummy for the day.

I’ve always said aging is inevitable, but growing old is a matter of choice. I’ve met people much older who are more vibrant and energetic than I was on my best day. And I’ve met others half my age who stopped living long ago. Benjamin Franklin once said that most people die at 25 and aren’t buried until they’re 75. Can I get an amen?

And you know, I was part of that crowd until about 20 years ago. I don’t know if it was becoming a grandfather that breathed new life into the hollow shell I’d become. It may have been getting out of a job that sucked the life out of me, writing my humor column, getting into stand-up comedy, or any combination of things. I’m sure my wife had something to do with it.

But I can honestly say I’ve enjoyed the past 20 years a lot more than the years leading up to it. As a consequence, I’ve enjoyed better health and emotional vitality than I did before. Sure, I’m starting to show some signs of wear and there are things that need a doctor’s care. But all things considered, I’ve never been healthier than I am today.

That’s not the result of modern medicine or a healthy & active lifestyle. Please, weightlifting for me involves standing up, and the closest I come to a workout is bending over to tie my shoes. The reason for my good health is simple – I made a choice to go on living instead of letting life slip away. Besides, my wife said till death do us part, and I’m letting her off that easy.

Am I tired? Sure. Do I ache? All over. I can’t run, I can’t jump, and getting up from the floor is a major event that requires advance planning, supporting staff, and the will of God. But put me in the front seat of a rollercoaster (one I can fit in) and I’m like a little kid – arms in the air, eyes wide open, and screaming “Rock and roll!” all the way down.

There are days when we feel a little older than normal. The trick is to make “normal” a boundary we set, not one that’s imposed upon us. There are things we can’t control as we age, but there are many more things we can control. And the greatest factor in our power is the degree to which we let age define us.

If you’ve lost some of that inner youth, it’s never too late to find it. Find something you enjoy, something that makes you feel young again, and make it a part of your life. We can’t beat the effects of time, but we can beat the effects of age. Age is just a number, but growing old is a state of mind. Make sure yours is what you want it to be.

That’s all for now. Have an awesome day!

© 2020 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Can You Spare A Roll Of Toilet Paper?

Good morning! I hope your day is off to a nice start.

Last night my wife and I were out shopping and I couldn’t help but notice the empty shelves in three sections of the store – disinfectant wipes, hand sanitizer, and toilet paper. There were a few packages of TP left, and we picked one up. Not because we’re afraid of being house-bound in the near future. Our pre-teen granddaughter will be with us next week. Need I say more?

We picked up a pack of 18 rolls that the packaging assures us will last as long as 72 rolls. Okay, I may be missing something here, but once upon a time it took a really big box to hold that many rolls of toilet paper. I don’t care how many plies you laminate together, a roll pretty much lasts a little over an hour in our house. Maybe a little longer when everyone is asleep.

I try not to make light of people reacting to something that can’t really be quantified right now, and is already disrupting lives in more ways than we may be able to comprehend. And it’ll get worse. But there’s just something a little amusing about people with a few items in one shopping cart and another full of toilet tissue. One lady even asked for an escort to the parking lot. I kid you not.

The last time I saw a run on toilet paper like this was in 1976. The nation was in the midst of a mild paper shortage, and late-night host Johnny Carson joked that the shortage had impacted the TP market. I worked in a grocery store and, for the entire weekend, we couldn’t keep it on the shelves. People were in a panic. Not because of a real shortage. Because of a joke.

Granted, this time it’s not a joke. I do find it amusing that a couple of brands of toilet paper seem to be immune to the panic. And if you go to the camping supplies, there’s no shortage of “rapidly-dissolving” toilet paper. As comedian Bill Engvall asked, just how rapidly are we talking about? From what I’ve read online, rapidly enough. Get some latex gloves while you’re at it.

I don’t think anybody knows for sure how badly this virus will impact us, and how long it may last. And I understand people being a little on the cautious side. Still, it makes you wonder, are they stockpiling food as well? Those shelves appear to be pretty well intact. Sales are brisk, however, in liquor stores, which may explain the increase in toilet paper sales. I’m just saying.

Okay, this is a serious issue. That doesn’t mean we can’t appreciate some of the built-in humor. In fact, few things can trigger the release of immune-boosting endorphins like laughter. That doesn’t mean we don’t take the problem seriously, and that we don’t apply some common-sense preparations just in case. But don’t stop living in the process.

Will you catch Coronavirus? According to most experts, the odds are small. That may change over time, and then again, warmer weather could wipe this out in a matter of weeks. Nobody really knows. And even if you do catch it, there’s a chance you may not even know it. That’s both good and bad. Good for you, and bad for anybody you kiss. So, don’t kiss old folks. Except me.

It’s good to have a healthy fear of things that can do us harm, but don’t let that fear dominate your life. Make the necessary adjustments and go on living. Wash your hands. Cover your mouth when you cough. Don’t sneeze on other people. And, for the time being, avoid crowds. It’s pretty basic – the same things we were all taught as children.

But don’t stop living on the off chance something else will come along and do it for you. Adapt and go on. This virus may be around a while, and it may impact all of us in some way. But fear won’t make it go away. In fact, fear triggers cortisol which can, over time, reduce your body’s ability to fight infection. The more we cower down, the more likely we are to be affected.

It’s natural to be afraid of something we can’t fully understand. Follow your own instincts, but listen to the experts as well. Not politicians – experts. Throughout history, populations have survived countless plagues and pandemics. We’ll get through this one, too. And hopefully with enough toilet paper to go around.

That’s all for now. Have an awesome day!

© 2020 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Keep Going … I Triple-Dog Dare You!

Good morning! I hope your day is starting off nicely.

There was a good show on TV last night. It started at midnight and went until … I don’t know, sometime after I finally went back to sleep. Yes, back. I was in bed at 9:00 because, apparently, I’m that old. I remember a time in life when getting to stay up late was a treat. Now, it’s a challenge. Almost like my body is throwing down a gauntlet and saying, “I triple-dog dare you!”

Well, I’ve never been one to fall for the triple-dog dare. Those words are usually followed by, “Hold my beer!” And we all know what happens after that. I’ve seen the videos. We all have. They usually end up with some guy riding a bicycle off the roof into the side of an above-ground swimming pool, or something equally intelligent. It’s just not my thing. Okay, not anymore.

I never actually rode a bicycle off the roof. I’m a chicken when it comes to ladders. Going up isn’t so bad, but getting back on the ladder to climb down is another matter. Just send up my lunch – I’m gonna be there a while. In fact, toss up a sleeping bag and pillow while you’re at it. There’s a point where the old bicycle-into-the-pool thing starts to take on a certain attraction.

I’ve done some pretty dumb things in my life. Trying to dry a wet firecracker in a microwave oven holds a place of honor on the list. And then there was the time I stuck two suitcase keys into an electric outlet and woke up on the other side of the room. But the absolute best was the time I knocked myself out cold with a 20-pound sledgehammer. Yes, that really can be done.

And, not a one of those “America’s Funniest” moments was preceded by a triple-dog dare. Thankfully, none of them were caught on video either, or I’d have been a three-time winner of that show. I did every one of them completely unassisted and unprovoked. I’m that good.

So, last night I went to bed at the normal time. I was in the middle of a pretty good dream when I rolled over in my sleep and my heart gave me a sucker-punch that opened my eyes faster than a cold glass of water. And I could swear I heard it say, “Go back to sleep. I triple-dog dare you!”

It’s a condition my cardiologist calls “atypical angina.” In other words, your chest hurts, and we really don’t know why. He told me once that it’s not life-threatening, but someday that’ll change. I asked him how I’d know the difference and he said, “Oh, you’ll know.” That’s comforting.

Like a lot of things in life, you just learn to deal with it. I carry a bottle of nitroglycerine in my pocket, and every now and then I get to give myself an instant headache. Now, there’s a choice for you. Throbbing head or pounding chest? Sometimes I just flip a coin. That’s how they’ll find me someday, flat on my face with a tails-up quarter in my hand.

The important thing is that we learn to adapt and make the most of the situation. Sometimes we need to slow down a little, but that doesn’t mean we quit. Granted, the time I went to the locker room for a hit of nitro, and then resumed my workout probably wasn’t too intelligent. But there comes a point where you have to decide whether you own life or life owns you.

Challenges come in all forms, and we all face our fair share. They may be related to health, income, education, geography, or any combination of other factors. Some may be related to poor decisions we’ve made in the past, and others are just a matter of circumstances. But to the degree that we face those challenges head-on, we’re able to rise above and move on.

There will be days when you’re not fully up to par. You may find yourself outclassed in a competition, short of skills for a certain task, or physically unable to keep up with the crowd. Adapt. Make the most of what’s working in your favor, and don’t let circumstances take control of your life. Rest if you need to. Or sit up and watch a late movie. Then get back in the game.

The best things in life await those who find a way around obstacles instead of sitting on the ground in front of them. As you’re climbing mountains, you never know what lies over the next ridge. It could be another mountain, or this could be the last one standing between you and your dreams. There’s only one way to find out.

That’s all for now. Have an awesome day!

© 2020 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Choking on Change? Take Smaller Bites

Good morning! I hope your day is off to a great start.

I think today I need to do a little research on inflammation. Something is causing my belly to swell. And before you go where we both know you’re about to go, I’m not gaining weight. Okay, I’m 12 pounds higher than I was a month ago, but I’m not gaining now. At least not since yesterday. So, it must be some kind of allergic reaction to something I ate. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

When I put my pants on this morning, or rather, when I tried to put my pants on this morning, the buttonhole had moved to the left. Not that much, but enough to make me twist and dance. An inch may not seem like much when you’re measuring area rugs, but it may as well be a mile when you’ve bent over, sucked in everything, and you’re still an inch short in getting your pants buttoned.

And they don’t make buttonhole extenders to close that gap. If you get on a plane and you’re too fat to buckle your seatbelt, they’ve got extenders for that. Not that I would know from personal experience. I guess I could just put on a belt and tighten it up like a noose. Then if I put on a really long shirt, nobody would know, right? If I had a shirt that long. They all shrunk. Don’t say it.

But it can be dangerous wearing clothing that’s a little too tight. And no, ladies, I’m not talking to you. Tight is good (to an extent). But if you have a body like mine, don’t do it. I was in a meeting once, wearing a dress shirt that was a little too snug, and when I reached for my pen a button popped off. I don’t mean it fell off and landed in my lap. It shot across the table so everybody could see.

Shirt buttons are relatively harmless in that regard, but if the metal button on my jeans were to fly off, especially under that much pressure, it could bring down a small plane. And never mind how many times I’ve sat down at work to the welcome sound of thread popping in the seat of my pants.

Yes, I need to go shopping. The problem is, most stores only carry clothing in “common” sizes, and apparently, I’ve reached the lower end of the “uncommon” bracket. No, I’m not huge. Well, depending on who’s standing next to me. I look pretty big next to those hardbodies in the gym, but next to Rush Limbaugh, I’d be invisible. Maybe I just need to make some new friends.

Okay all joking aside (well, most) the bottom line is I need to lose some weight. I’ve been saying that for several years, if you define “several” in terms of decades. This all started when I got out of the Navy, and it shot through the roof when I quit smoking. I remember my doctor telling me he’d rather I were 100 pounds overweight than smoking. All my brain took from that conversation was I had another 50 pounds to go.

And, before anybody says “Keto,” just don’t. In study after study (you know, those not paid funded companies selling pork rinds and cheese sticks), the Keto diet ranks dead last or close to it in terms of safety, heart health, usability, and bad breath. Okay, I threw that last one in from personal experience. Anybody who’s ever experienced “Keto breath” knows what I’m talking about.

So, the first order of business this morning is to buy a bigger pair of jeans. Thankfully there’s a Walmart nearby and nobody will even notice my pajamas. Then, I have to get serious about taking this weight off. Not the 12 pounds I’ve gained, but the whole enchilada. There I go talking about food again.

Losing weight is hard. Like anything else in life, it means doing something differently – making changes that you know you should make, but wish you didn’t have to. And we face lots of those decisions all through life. It’s easier if you set a goal and then work toward it. But I won’t lie, the goal alone doesn’t make the change any easier. Success, even just a little, makes the difference.

It’s okay to set a big goal, with the end result clearly in sight. But break that goal down into smaller, more manageable bites (food again), and celebrate those small wins. With each one, you’ll become that much more confident you can make it to the end. Focus on the small wins, and the bigger ones will come. Make that your goal for today. I did. But first, I need to go shopping.

That’s all for now. Have an awesome day!

© 2020 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved