Monday, June 30, 2008

Another M*&@#$ Monday . . .

I have a case of the Mondays. There is no refuting it.

Today was "one of those days" - not nearly as cute as that poster of the cat hanging from the tree, or the poster of the cat gripping the toilet seat for dear life (for that matter) and not nearly as dramatic as some of the fight sequences of The Matrix either BUT - it felt like "one of those days" none the less.

I over slept. I am all but out of my face wash. I could not figure out what I wanted to wear to work today - even though I, the obsessive compulsive that I am pick four shirts and four ties every Sunday to go with my four pairs of khakis to wear Monday - Thursday (I try to be "spontaneous" of Fridays (so I lay out my Friday out fit on Thursday evenings)) - I could not get focused early in the morning and then, by the time Joy and Ava and my parents showed up for a delicious lunch in the middle of the day - it was alllllll over but the show.

By mid-afternoon I had a co-worker in tears, I had a stress level that made me want to eat everything in the kitchen and a pulse that would have easily killed the 500-pound me. I wanted very, very badly to just sort of freak out and yell and scream and slam my chair against my desk and storm out of my office. Old Sean would have totally done that. Old Sean would have done that - crossed the street to Red Sage across from the old office and had a margerita and chips and salsa. Old Sean would have done that and loved it.

New Sean is a bit of a "wuss" though . . . or so would say Old Sean or fans of him (Ben Mufti is shaking his head in mortified contempt as I blog) and New Sean did nothing. Very Edward Norton to his Brad Pitt - if you get my drift - speaking of Brad Pitt . . . saw Wanted this weekend. Such a great "summer movie."

Anywho - New Sean was very milky-cereal about his Monday. He sat at work. He solved the problem on behalf of his less-than-inspiring co-worker and he did all the other things on his to-do list despite having to shuffle around his entire day. New Sean didn't give in to the urge to eat at all. Not even for a protein bar or a sugar-free lollipop (slippery slope, slippery slope). New Sean didn't swear or curse. New Sean asked his boss for advice on how to be more effective in this type of scenario. New Sean felt bad that his co-worker was crying (okay, to be FULLY honest, he only felt bad that he was to blame for the tears - the fact that her makeup made a mess of her face entertained even New Sean).

I might not have known what to wear to work this morning and I might not have gotten out of work to spend time with my parents as early as I wanted to but - for the most part - New Sean had an okay day, as moral victories and baby steps forward go.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Latest iTunes Playlist . . .

It has been a while since I updated my iPod but with the new Coldplay and Alanis albums loaded in to iTunes it was time to synch up and rock out. Of course NO visit to my iTunes would be complete without setting up another playlist so I went ahead and threw something together. I did something a little more mellow this time but, as per always, I think that this playlist is sort of where my head is at lately . . .

1 - Vega4, Life Is Beautiful - I think this song was on one of my earlier playlists (I'm way too lazy to check) but I really like it. It feels like the opening credits to an episode of Grey's Anatomy but - there are worse things in life. The song is about, uh, life being, uh, beautiful and "stuff".

2 - Two Spot Gobi, Sunshine Lady - I heard this song in the background of a podcast that I like to listen to and actually e-mailed the podcaster to find out who the song was by and the name. I was so awkward about e-mailing him though that I went on and on and on about what a huge fan of the podcast I am and how I listen every week and how I go to his website all the time to check out additional content and so on. When said-podcaster typed me back he pointed out, very politely, that at the end of every episode of the podcast he tells who the music he featured was AND on his website is a section that contains the artist and song informatio as well. Open mouth, insert foot, up to calf or maybe knee. Anywho, good song.

3 - Coldplay, Lost! - My boys are BACK and they don't disappoint me (I know, I know, Coldplay "sucks" and they haven't had a good song since "Yellow" and blah, blah, blah - zip it all you haters - no one ever said that Chris Martin had to become some super hero for the anti-establishment. It is NUTS what getting married and having a kid or two can do to a man, right? Lost is my favorite song off the new album but I'm still really "getting to know" the CD (I listen to it daily, literally) so that might change over time. "Just because I'm losing, doesn't mean I'm lost, doesn't mean I'll stop, doesn't mean I will cross." - Interesting for those of you that have me on depression-watch, when I hear just because I'm losing . . . I think of weight loss. The song takes on a whole new meaning in that context. OH - and for you cool kids - there is also an accoustic version of the song on the CD. I prefer the plugged in one though.

4 - Alanis Morissette, Orchid - Having gone on and on and on about Alanis once before (and not long ago), I will simply say that her new album does not disappoint me either. Orchid, on the bonus CD, is a great song. My favorite lyrics (that remind me of my life with my wife) . . . "So I've lived in my blind spot thought myself usual when I'm not and your garden is a nice spot as long as it is brave and where you are." Check out the whole CD.

5 - My Morning Jacket, I'm Amazed - I love My Morning Jacket. No - I've never been to Bonnaroo and I don't have much street cred on the music front (I've already defended Colplay in this post and I'm going to tell you what my favorite Leona Lewis song is a little later). ANYWHO - I love My Morning Jacket. Their album Z was an instant favorite for me and I have anxiously awaited this album. Favorite song from the new album - I'm amazed. Favorite lyrics . . . im amazed at the evoltion im amazed at the lack of faith. Reminds me of my own doubters. The song, as a whole, is about loving Mother Earth or something like that though. Who the heck knows what this Bonnaroo hippies are even talking about half the time? It just sounds GOOD.

6 - Barenaked Ladies, Eraser - Picture it, Hamden, Connecticut. Fall. 1994. I'm channeling my best Estelle Getty on Golden Girls here to tell you about how Molly Scott introduced me and Chris Delenick to Barenaked Ladies. The rest is history, as they say. What went from the little band that "only I" knew of went on to release a song of their first album (If I Had a Million Dollars, any one?) and then "blew up" and "lost it" but I stuck by them. I've seen them four times in concert (a personal record) and I still believe they have some credibility - mainly just having fun with their music. Now all fathers, they put out Snacktime a few weeks (months?) ago full of silly tunes for their kids. Eraser and Here Come the Geese are my favorites. Eraser fit better on this particular playlist.

7 - Notorious B.I.G., Big Poppa - Oh man. Christopher WHY did you have to leave me? Once upon a time the kids called me Biggy and I invented the remix under their guidance. B.I.G. was the man and no song made me feel more entitled to be morbidly obese than Big Poppa. I mean the man said "'cus I see some ladies somenight who should be havin' my baby - bay-bay!" and it didn't even feel silly or ironic at the time. Rest in peace, big. We still miss you.

8 - Adele, Chasing Pavements - Huge fan of Adele. I've talked about her in this blog before. Chasing Pavements is my second favorite song on her debut album (her version of Make You Feel My Love just didn't flow on the mix). I don't even know what it means - to Chase Pavements - but the song makes sense none the less.

9 - Grizzly Bear, Knife - Confession. I heard of Grizzly Bear through a blog that I like to check out from time to time. The blog takes musical acts (some that are really famous, some only mildly and some probably only famous to those who really "know" them to begin with) and puts them on the streets of Paris (or around Paris) and they have them perform (Vampire Weekend performs in a van, while driving, for instance). Anywho - so they perform Knife and I am all enthraled and I pull up iTunes and I can't find it. Why? Because I thought the name of the song was NIGHT (I missed where it plainly says KNIFE on the video). I thought it was a beautiful love song and it is actually about obsession. While reminds me of my obsession and how all I want to do some nervous minutes is recount my calories and exam my hanging skin flaps to guess how much they weigh. Anywho - good song.

10 - Kraak & Smaak, Squeeze Me - I can not tell you where I stumbled on this song (maybe it was a free download from iTunes) but I'm addicted. Ava is too. She does the full booty-drop dance with the head shakes and the elbow shimmys when we turn it all the way up in the car. If I did work out like I am supposed to - this one would be on my gym mix.

11 - Mika, Happy Ending - The one downer of the mix. It makes me miss a few of my old friends and regret that I lost touch with them. The rest of Mika's CD is really good though. I downloaded it the day I got home from the hospital after my surgery and listened to it all those lonely nights that I walked the highways of IBM in Somers alone.

12 - Leona Lewis, Bleeding Love - So she won the UK equivilant to American Idol and now she's really popular here. I don't know why but, like last year's Umbrella, this song seems to have made its way in to my heart as the OFFICIAL SONG OF SEAN'S SUMMER. Laugh all you want, I can take it.

13 - Jon Foreman, Deep In Your Eyes (There Is a River) - I love my wife. I can't state it enough or simply or clearly enough. I let Jon Foreman make it all sticky-sweet instead.

14 - Pras featuring ODB and Mya, Ghetto Superstar - Summer. 1998. I had moved to DC after meeting my boys Michael, Ben and Bob and the ladies of my life - Megan, Val and Helga the Red (I still love you best, Olga) and we lived in a beat-down two bedroom apartment with four guys and no central air. We DID have cockroaches though. Lots of them. Big ones. Afraid of nothing. They would ask you to pass magazines in the bathroom they were so bold. Across the interesction from our apartment was a movie theater though. It was still showing Titanic when I moved in and, as summer rolled around, Bulworth moved in (DC being a sorta political town and all). I went to see that movie four or five times in the first two weeks it was out. Mainly for the cold, cold air that blew around in the theater. Secondly for the popcorn they sold me. Not so much the movie itself (I LIKED it but - It was no Lethal Weapon 26 (or whatever) that came out later that summer). Great song. Great song. Great song. The Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers original is not bad either (Islands in the Stream - for those not familiar with the Dolly Parton hit Ghetto Superstar).

15 - The Rolling Stones, You Can't Always Get What You Want - Kevin Costner was supposed to steal the show in The Big Chill. The movie was supposed to be all about him. Instead we only ever see his hands and hairline in the coffin during the opening credits of this great, great movie (with an even better soundtrack) about college friends who grow apart but come back together for the death of a friend. I don't know why but the minute the organist starts in the film, I sort of knew this song was coming. I will still watch this movie every chance I get. It makes me think of Danielle (mmmmBella) Magaldi/Dopman (who had the soundtrack) and my college friends and how I hope that we might someday all spend a weekend together again just to let our lives recross and remingle. What an adventure that would be.

16 - Stevie Wonder, Master Blaster (Jammin') - I love me some little Stevie Wonder . His four-disc super collection that came out in late 99 or early 00 is one of my all-time favorites (I've bought several copies of it for friends too). Joy and I had Stevie do our wedding music (well, his CDs at least) and I don't think I will love a song more than I love "As." It is summer though. Master Blaster is the way to go on this mix. Play on, Stevie.

17 - P.M. Dawn, Faith in You - Here is a couple of brothers (they really are related, I don't mean that in the "jive talk" sense (in case any one thinks I am a closeted racist)) that love them some Jesus Christ and love them some music. Set Adrift on Memory Bliss may have been about Christina Applegate but almost 99% of the rest of their songs are about God and spirtuality (including their cover of Norwegian Wood). Faith in You makes me think of all the diets that I tried that failed and my commitment to making this journey work. It makes me think of Joy too. I know, I know, I'm sorta' pathetic.

18 - The Police, De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da - Just give it a listen. I don't need to defend this one or explain it.

19 - The B-52s, Roam - Ava loves the B-52s. I love them accordingly (Tin Roof Rusted and such). Roam is my favorite B-52s song though. It is about adultery, or so I've been told. I don't support that - or a happy song about it - but I like the idea of endorsed adventure and seeing the world and understanding it. I moved to Kansas. I am a man who can take risks and find the rewards. Come on out and visit - tornado season ends tomorrow.

20 - Katy Perry, I Kissed a Girl - I'm not really sure what I like about this song. The last time a song had this title it was the 90s and Jill Sobule was a staple of Sean "GUYK" Christopher's CD collection. This song is just straight up different. Not something I would usually like. Not my genre and not my flavor. It gets in your head though and, before long, you are shouting along. And your co-workers are trying to figure out why you are shouting along with a woman who is telling the world she kissed a girl and "liked it."

21 - Oasis, Wonderwall - This one reminds me of Pezzullo. He loved him some Oasis (he really, really loved the Beatles and I think he WANTED Oasis to be the next coming of Paul and John - sorry that didn't work out for you, mate). It is a great song though that feels like a nice way to wrap up an iTunes mix. Maybe . . . you're gun-be-da-one that saaaaves me. Cuz after awwwlllll, yur my wondur-wah-eh-al.

Anywho, that's the mix. What's in your ears these days? Let's get some chatter going.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Welcome Back to My Life "Energy" Drink . . .

Now let me be very clear about this. I do not condone the consumption of vast amounts of sodium for the sake of great taste. I don't think that there is a beverage out there that is better for the body than water (especially since I stopped drinking Courvoisier on a dark, rainy night in May, 2006) and I do not want my old stomach and my ability to drink and eat the foods or yore back (come ON, Little Debbie - get that sugar free Swiss Cake Roll on the market . . . hear me, feeeeeeel me) but I have to say, I was SUPER excited to be in the convinience store this morning - buying ice for my office since our freezer's ice machine is less than capable of keeping 35 advertising professionals adequately "chilled" in the late-June heat - when I saw Sugar Free Powerade in the cooler!

That's right. From the people that brough you the entire line of Coca-Cola products and specifically Powerade and, uh, Powerade light and, uh, Powerade + Vitamins (the B ones at that) and, uh, )Powerade Option and, hmmm, what else (I'm sure their additions to science and nutrtion and sports in general is vast and intimidating) . . . comes . . . POWERADE ZERO

A more perfect beverage, the convinience store has never known. It tastes (to me, almost two years since my last energy drink experience) EXACTLY like real Powerade but it has NO sugar and NO calories and only about 2% of my daily sodium allowance (per serving).

Helllllll yeah. I like the Mixed Berry (that comes in a very "organic" looking shade of blue) and I like the Grape (equally calming in its purple-ish hue). Joy likes the Strawberry.

Good to the last drop. Pick some up. Take it to the gym. Take it with you when you pretend to go to the gym. Sip it gingerly in the parking lot of the QuikTrip while waiting to use the payphone (if you need the payphone). Enjoy the taste of what your GB life has left behind.

And daydream about how good that sugar free Swiss Cake Roll is going to taste when Debbie delivers it to your door!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Doing My Part to Battle the Fuel Crisis . . .

I was sent this article from US News and World Report this morning that gives some very helpful hints on how to save $1,000 at the gas pump. Number eight on the list reads as follows . . .

8. Lose Weight: Possible Savings 13.1 gallons/yr for each 100 pounds you remove ($104/yr) - Government estimates say that an extra 100 pounds in your car can reduce fuel efficiency by up to two percent. And that's an average -- the smaller the car, the more extra weight makes the engine work harder.

I drive a Toyota Matrix (a small car) and I've lost 240-ish pounds. That is a savings of at LEAST $250 on gas. Annually.

Here I thought gastric bypass was about extending my life and living a healthier existence but - gravy of gravy - I'm saving at the pump too. This just keeps gettin' better!

SO - congratulations to allllll my fellow GBers (and dieters in general) for saving money, helping mother nature and striking a blow against the current fuel "crisis" we are facing in the fifty-nifty!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Happy Birthday, Daddy-O . . .

My father turned a young and spry 61 today.

We went to a nice, healthy (TOTAL sarcasm) dinner at Red Robin to celebrate his special day. It was my mother, father, wife and daughter as well as Lexy, my father- mother- and sister-in-law too. It was odd to celebrate a family occassion with such an odd configuration of "family" - it made me really miss my brothers and Joyell, frankly.

I had the cup of chili with cheese and red onions and my father and Joy enjoyed some birthday cake after Joy got home from class.

I didn't envy the cheeseburgers, french fries, milkshakes and chicken "fingers" that the rest of the table enjoyed and I certainly did not feel bad about not having a big slice of cake at 10:00 PM. I don't think, a few years ago, I could have resisted THAT much temptation in one evening. By now - it feels like "old hat".

HAPPY, HAPPY Birthday, Dad. I love you and I'm extremely happy that you were able to spend your special day with us here in Kansas.

One more week to go with the 'rents in town. We're excited to make the most of it (rumor has it I might even take some time off from work tomorrow afternoon and all day Monday to hang out).

Sunday, June 22, 2008

The Happening . . .

Joy and I finally got out to see The Happening on Saturday evening. It was movie number four of my commitment to see ten movies this summer and - I have to say - I didn't hate it (this is where Michael Thomas, Ben Mufti and film officiandos everywhere grimace).

Let me be clear about this . . . I'm a huge M. Night Shymalan fan. Love him, frankly. I stand by all of his movies (including his stellar script for Stuart Little) and they have all had their desired effect on me (much like Alanis, I often wonder if maybe Shymalan is working solely for my comfort and benefit (smile)).

I don't want to overstate my feelings on the movie. It was NOT my favorite of his films (point of fact - it was my least favorite of his written/produced/directed credited films) but it resonated with me MAINLY because of my beautiful wife's ability to analyze the movie in a way that resonated far more than, as I watched someone delibirately run themselves over with a lawnmower, I thought the movie would.

LACK OF SPOILER ALERT - for the benefit of those of you that would still like to see the movie, I won't get in to the plot too much but I will offer my own (well, Joy's) theory on the movie and I might give some stuff away.

First, let me tell you that the R-rating was probably unneeded. The "gore" of the movie was somewhat shocking (the loud thuds of bodies hitting the ground after falling from a construction site and the pops of a gun over a bluff in a field were particularly jolting) but the movie could have been done, and done well, without the blood and stuff. The MOST terrifying part of the movie for me was the Betty Buckley scenes. I had actual cold shivers when she first grumped, then slapped the cookie-grabbing hand of Jess and then appeared at the bottom of the stairs. CRAZY scary. And all PG(13?).

The Happening - like so many things in life - is really about who we are and our relationships. With the planet, with the government, with terrorists, with the wind, with each other, with whomever. It is also, at the end of the day, about mysteries and hope, positive thinking and the willingness to observe the world around you and try to find a way to make it better. It is as simple as that.

Look at the facts in the movie (we'll break it down scientifically - Marky Mark would be proud).

1 - High Pitched Voices - Mark Wahlberg and Zooey Deschannel (sp?) both star in the movie and both speak at the high end of their registers (think Mark as Dirk Digler signing with John C. Reilly in Boogie Nights) and it is very annoying at first and then Joy reminded me that babies build a closer relationship with and trust their mothers first because their voices, in a higher register than most fathers, are more comforting and more convincing. Are the characters setting themselves up to comfort and lead - or just annoy me? Let the movie roll on.

2 - Everyone's Dead - As the movie goes on and "the happening" continues to spread through the North East - HOW glad am I that I live in Kansas now when people are punching out all over the North East United States in a film? - there are many theories on what causes the happening to happen to you (to review a film without giving away any of the plot is NOT the easiest thing I've ever tried to do) and it ranges from getting away from cities to getting in to small groups to getting off the roads and places people are known to be and then - once a very, very alone Betty Buckley (who was AMAZINGLY scary, creepy and impactful in the movie) succumbs to the happening while alone in her garden on her rural farm with no power and no source of news from the real world - you realize that it has NOTHING to do with anything other than the people themselves. You'll notice the complainers and the negative folks and the worry worts in each "attack" were the first to go. Take John Leguizamo (sp?) - Wahlberg's best friend in the movie. From JUMP he triest to tell himself (and others) that he's not scared because he has numbers on his side but he seems very resolved that his wife is going to die and that he is going to do trying to find his wife (watch the scene where he hands his daughter off and tell me if there is even a drop of belief that his family will be together again) and then watch the whole jeep full of people when they see the rip in the roof of the jeep. No one stays positive. They all get "happened". Coincidence?

3 - The Mood Ring - Purple may mean horny (see the movie) but according to a quick google search, blue (the color Mark Wahlberg makes the ring for most of the movie) means calm and relaxed and the yellow amber color (we saw at the end of the movie and when Jess wore the ring) means tense and excited. It was only in the final, final moments of the happening when the troubled couple was seperated and the end was surely near that our hero let the tension get to him. He stayed positive and thoughtful the entire rest of the movie/adventure.

4 - Even Those Closest To You - In two very telling scenes about the real nature of The Happening, Marky-Mark was able to see people die despite observing his seemingly correct theories about the happening. The two kids that got angry and indignant when they were barred entry to a safe house lost their lives, our heros and Jess did not and then Betty Buckley, grumpy and angry from her first appearance in the film, was lost to the happening despite being alone in her garden when she was overcome. It was the positivity of Walhberg and Deschannel that let them live through the experiences.

5 - If We're Going Down, We're Going Down Together - Like any mediocre movie, the final moments of The Happening force our heroes to make the choice that they've run and fought as much and hard as they can and, if the time has come to face their fate - so be it - but let them do it on their terms. The two heroes walk out, seemingly in to the happening maelstrom, and yet they go unscathed. They believed they had to be together to survive and they should perish together too, if needed. They WOULD be together though.

So, I guess my point to all of this is fairly simple . . . IF you are positive. IF you believe. IF you just pay attention and surround yourself with people you love and put out the energy to come up with a plan. IF you don't get negative or nervous or too scared. IF you do all of the above - you can survive just about anything. Just about any "happening."

Apply that to morbid obesity, gastric bypass surgery and the recovery process, the slings and arrows of poor decisions and bad relationships or the least impressive (but still heavy and deep and ambitious and beautiful) of M. Night Shymalan's movies.

Go see it. Take your wife/husband/significant other. Assure them that you would never be able to weather a terrible scenario without them. Buy them a dessert. Get a mood ring. Wear it daily.

OR just tell me if you agree or disagree with our theory once you've seen and thought about the movie.

Friday, June 20, 2008

The Griller is Thriller . . .

We had a barbecue tonight! My friend Tricia (the only other Grotonian living in Wichita (that I am aware of)) and her son, Sebastian, came over for dinner and we had a great time just chatting.

Ava and Sebastian drove Ava's pink Cadillac Escalade around the driveway for a while and then stripped down naked to do some swimming and a good time was had by all, I think.

The BEST part of the post-gastric bypass life is that you are encouraged to eat protein, protein, protein and that is what grilling is all about. Shrimp, steak, chicken, pork, turkey-burgers. I grill them all. Yuhhhhmay!

Anywho - Joy bought me some new grilling gear for Father's Day and she took my picture in my apron and matching hot-glove and I felt compeled to share that picture with the masses.

If you are in the Wichita area and you are hungry, swing on by. We're hoping to grill as much as possible this summer and we'd love to feed you something hot, spicy and full of protein.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Gamma and Gampa Come to Town . . .

My parents are in town for the next two weeks. They got in yesterday afternoon. It is wonderful to have them here and to have some time with them (I miss them so much most days).

My mother has lost about 40 pounds since she had her hosptial scare in the fall and she seems to be feeling a lot better. My father seems to be doing well at his attempts to diet as well.

My parents did get on me a little bit about some of my "negativity" here on the blog and how "hard" I am on myself.

I thought it was important to clarify for any one else that might be confused or have some questions about my general tone and demeanor when I get "negative" like I did on Monday.

It is actually quite simple - I was glib for a full decade about my life and how I lived it. I took my friends (I was a wonderful friend to them and they were wonderful friends to me on the average day - I have never said I never deserved friends) for granted. I worked too much and for the wrong reasons. I ate way too much and lied about it to myself and others and I was developing an alcohol problem on top of my food problem.

It is very, very important for me to take a look at all of that and to acknowledge the failures of my past and try to build over them with positives in my future.

How friggin' boring would this blog be (how much MORE boring - I should ask (smile)) if all I did was sat around and talked about how wonderful I used to be and how great I was and how perfect life was? Would any one read that crap? I wouldn't.

The reason that I have decided to share my "journey" with the world (and, scary as it is some weeks the hits I get on this blog make me afraid the world truly is reading) is because I wanted to talk about the larger process of gastric bypass. Too many people think the surgery is about four hours on a table with a laser and a surgery team followed by skinny bodies and perfect lives.

It is really important, to me, to let people know that - as far as my own experience or the experience of any one I know who's been through this procedure - that is JUST four hours in the life of the real process - the real journey.

I apologize if people think I'm overly harsh on myself in this forum but - ask anyone who know or loved me then (or knows and loves me now) and they will not hesitate to tell you that I've always had a very healthy self-esteem and an overly ripe sense of self.

I am not beating myself up now. I think I'm blessed to have come through all of this alive and I think that I am the luckiest man alive to have such a wonderful wife and daughter and home and job and family and friends. I had allllll those things before my surgery though. And I knew how lucky I was then too - I just didn't openly appreciate it as much. I was not as "aware" as I am now.

I'm simply looking at who I was and who I want to be and trying to quantify the differences.

Let me know if you still have any questions, Mom and Dad (and others).

Monday, June 16, 2008

Horseshoes and Hand Grenades . . .

They (the "Royal") always say that almost only counts in horsehoes and hand grenades. You hear the one-liner applied to many things in life . . . being on time, being faithful to spouse and even, in rare cases, a lunar landing or two. The phrase is hardly ever used, in my limited exposure to the English language or the charming people that use it, in a context that actually makes much sense to me.

With that in mind - I wanted to declare that, as I see 15-months since my surgery looming on the calendar for later this week, that I am ALMOST the person I want to be and I am ALMOST ready to declare a victory in my battle against my weight and my demons. Of course almost only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades.

Here's the reality . . . I'm making great strides and I'm working on it. I've lost almost 50% of my body weight in the last 15-months. At this point though, my "journey" doesn't really seem to be about food or calories or pounds or pounds lost any more - hasn't in a while, truth be told. I'll get to my goal weight but what good is meeting that goal if I lose sight of the PROCESS that should get me to my goals to begin with. A 200 pound man with all the issues of a 530 pound man is really just someone who's wearing smaller pants . . . it is not a different man.

I've come to peace (either in my head or through direct communication/action) with some of the mistakes that I've made and the terrible things I have done and the error in judgement that plagued me for so much of my life. I've had some tough moments and I've had situtations that I HOPED would bring peace that just opened old wounds (I am sorry, Jess, if you still read this blog - for all of it - and if you believe nothing else I say, believe that I want you and your family to be healthy and happy).

I've said "hello" again to old friends and I'm working on just sending an e-mail or two a week to people I have lost touch with and picking up the phone every now and again to just call people up. I got hit on the other day. In JC Penney. The woman was figuratively and literally CHECKING ME OUT. I haven't been hit on or flirted with since I was in diapers and my parents would baby-talk to me and whisper sweet nothings to me when I refused to go to sleep. Clearly something is changing. Clearly I am different. I did, for the record, make a point of showing off my wedding ring and changing the subject with the woman.

I've said good bye to most of the foods I had leaned on for so long and I've come up with new coping mechanisms (like crochet and crack cocaine -- but that's another post for another day) and I've started to understand that my body is actual useful in ways beyond sitting at a computer for 10 or 12 hours a day or for sitting on the couch or laying on a bed for the remaining 12 to 14 hours in the day. That being said - I still watch a LOT of television (any one but me suddenly OBSESSED with the Next Food Network Star on the Food Network? No? Really? NO ONE?) and I like to toot my horn about a walk-a-thon on a Saturday morning but I don't go to the gym or just walk nearly often enough for a man trying to change his life - for the rest of his life.

The biggest problem I still wrestle with is who did shoot Christopher Wallace. Oh, wait, wrong forum for that conversation. The BIGGEST thing I struggle with is that I still am "me" with allllll of the pitfalls of being me.

I'm going to tell you though . . . I'm still a moody bastard. I'm still way too insecure to just go to work in the morning and come home in the evening without some drama on one or both sides of that process. I'm still not sure if any one actually likes me. I still see myself, swear to God, as a 500+ pound man that people take a first glance at and decide that I'm too stupid, lazy and food dependent to offer them or the situation anything. Of course the large chip that still sometimes sits on my shrunken shoulder then makes me act out in ways that might just prove them right (if they were even thinking that to begin with). I still think I'm depressed half the time. I still think that I'm just trying to climb out from under or running from the falling thumb of depression the rest of the time. I still don't give my ALL to Joy and to Ava every single day. I still don't give them what they deserve and I still don't give Joy the ONLY thing she has ever asked me to give her (kindness) 100% of the time.

I occassionally read the e-mails people - STRANGERS - send me telling me that I've inspired them or that I've helped them. I read the comments my friends and family leave on the blog (I love you This Show, TJK, NYtoVA and Dad (who is father to Clara, not me, by the way)). I get word through my parents, friends and family of people who knew me "when" and who comment on how different I am and I think - man - these people would be so much less than inpressed with me if they talked to me at this particular moment in time. They would be dissapointed to know that the changes in me are, on some days, just skin deep.

Enough of my blathering (why DO I just share my random, random thoughts with the entire world, I wonder to myself on days like today). I guess the point is this . . . don't be too fooled by my cheery posts and everything is WONDERFUL blog posts in the last ten months. I am not hiding any deep, dark secerts. I am not miserable. I don't regret surgery or any of the moments I have had since surgery (quite the opposite - before my surgery I would have argued with any one who suggested I had any problems in my life, much less been so honest and proactive about acknowledging them) and I don't mean to pretend that you can't competely change who you are through surgery.

Just know that I'm not there yet. I'm still working on it. I'm still trying to figure out those last puzzle pieces and trying to cram them in to this 1,000 piece jigsaw rendering of three kittens playing in a basket of bright, cheery yarn. I'm gonna' get there and when I do - then I'll really have something to talk about.

I'm almost who I want to be. But almost only counts in horsehoes and hand grenades!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Happy Father's Day . . .

We had our monthly "second Saturday" dinner last night with the larger Terry-Salmans-Amore family and we had a new family picture taken too (our first since Christmas, 2006). MY how we have ALL changed in the last 18 months! Oh - one editor's note - there are no additions to the family. The little girl in the pink shirt is Lexy's friend Trinity.

Happy Father's Day to my two father's, to my brother-in-law, DJ, and to the many, many fathers out there that I count as friends and family!

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Three Miles, 37 Minutes . . .

I had my walk-a-thon this morning. It was a beautiful morning here in Wichita and that helped me a lot as I got ready for the big event. I was, truth be told, very nervous going in to it because the last time I remember walking any "measured" distance (especially one over a mile) was the Crop Walks I participated in while a high schooler. I've gained and lost several hundred pounds since then.

I am PROUD to say that I took the three-mile course this morning and I completed it in just over 37 minutes. That is an average of 12 minutes per mile, if you are keeping track (the average person walks a mile in fifteen minutes). I was only "beat" by a handful of walkers who took the three mile course (and walked the whole way - a lot of people chose to ran parts or all of the event) and I even beat several one-milers back to the finish line (suckahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhs!).

I wished I had walked with someone to keep me company but Ava woke up this morning in a less than wonderful mood so Joy stayed home with her (my iPod did quite nicely in a pinch though (smile)). I had a good time. I thought a lot about my father and his stroke and the heart and stroke problems that seem very, very common in my family. I prayed that I never know the "business end" of heart disease and I thought a lot about my heart and the things that are in it and who I am becoming (I do that a lot lately, as you likely know).

I'm proud of myself for making it three miles so quickly and I am very, very proud of myself today for having lost almost 240 pounds in the last 15 months so I can have the courage to even enter a three mile walk-a-thon.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Current Picture . . .

Based on Joy DEMANDING that I do so - I had two quick shots of me taken this morning before I left the house and I am posting one of them here. I'm naked and handcuffed in the other - thank GOD Joy happened to come downstairs when she did to unlock me.

Joy wanted me to share to show how "skinny" I am. I am, instead, posting it MAINLY to show that I have learned how to dress myself before leaving the house (see post below).

The good news, regardless, is that I am wearing a khaki suit today - something I wanted to do on our wedding day - and I feel pretty good about it!

Birthday Wish . . .

It is my birthday today. Yeah, yeah, yeah. I'm 32. I won't be going on and on and on about the day and its importance and how I was not sure I would ever see 32 (truthfully I am not sure that I was all that sure there for a while) and I won't be talking about my wish list (wifey hooked me up with some great books and a CD and a DVD from her and Gracie-girl and my parents sent a card with a gift inside that I'll open tonight so I'm happy) or what fabulous things I'm doing today (here's a clue - driving a rental car to and from Manhattan, KANSAS for a business meeting).

It's fine. Big friggin' whoop. I pretty-much hate birthdays and have a general distrust of people, especially full grown adults, who get tooooo excited about their birthdays).

I will, however, use this occassion and the you-have-to-do-what-I-say-because-it-is-my-birthday-and-I-said-so mentality that the 12 year old me would inspirt to remind you to PLEASE support the American Heart Association and pledge even $1 to support me the cause and the walk-a-thon I am participating in on Saturday (I don't see a dime of it so feel confident in giving until it hurts).

If my appeal is not enough - consider that I have given YOU a gift for my birthday. I found this picture (while trying to find a non-cringe inducing picture of me on my birthday from my childhood) and decided it might be the most ass-kick-deserving look I've ever left the house with. Even my little brother (not exactly a fashion plate at the time) is giving me the stink-eye in this shot. Ahhhhh, misty water-colored memories of the way we were!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

New Alanis . . .

When Jagged Little Pill came out in 1995, I was just getting home from finishing up my freshman year at Quinnipiac.

I had easily gained the freshman fifty (what's that - it is the freshman fifteen? well - not in my experience) and I was working the only job I could find following two weeks of searching around . . . I was working the night shift at a local factory that made sample sized items and mail inserts (think hotel shampoo, samples of new toothpaste in foil-packs and individually wrapped calcium tablets).

I was taken with the CD and with Alanis Morissette. I don't know what it was about the CD but I think part of it was the anger and part of it was the hope. I bought the CD the day it came out and I listened to it again and again and again that whole summer and well in to my fall semester of my Sophomore year.

Truth be told, I probably gained and then lost another 50 pounds while listening to the CD.

Yep, your moans are justified . . . I'm about to link my life's experience to Alanis Morissette's discography.

The next time we heard from Ms. Morissette, I had just moved to DC and her single from the film City of Angels (Uninvited) was an instant favorite for me. I listened to it again and again and again and it made me think about how your best intentions can mean NOTHING if the object of your intentions is not interested. Incidentially, must by money and food were uninvited in my life. I lost over 40 pounds as an unpaid intern and returned to my college graduation a slimmer, healthier and happier person than I left the campus six months earlier.

By the time Supposed Former Infatuation Junkie came out that November life was "complicated" - I was making money and was back to eating and counted graduate school and binge drinking as my two least favorite time sucks. The CD blew me away. To this DAY I can not hear "Thank You" without getting nostolgic for life as I knew it then including when she says "Thank You providence" - she meant it in the spiritual sense but, to me, it remind me of Tim and Jess and the time I spent at their place in Providence (Rhode Island). That I Would Be Good was a song that I also still carry around in my iPod and on many a mix CD. My weight was going up, the depression was setting in and I was just hoping that I would figure it out and survive the process. That I would be GOOD when it was over.

Fast forward a year . . . November, 1999. I didn't go home for Thanksgiving because my weight was so high I didn't like to move. That and my checking account or maxed out credit cards were not all that keen on picking up the tab for a plane ticket. Instead I sat - alone - in my DC apartment for the entire four day weekend and drank and ate and played PlayStation (the ORIGINAL one - Tony Hawk, y'all) and listened to Alanis Morissette Unplugged again and again and again. The live and accoustic version of "That I Would Be Good" was just too much. "No Pressure Over Cappucino" was hopeful for me . . . still is. It is on Ava's current lullaby mix-CD. Words to live by are contained in that one.

Alanis played God in (and put some music on the soundtrack for) Dogma later that year. Love Kevin Smith. Love Alanis. Love George Carlin. Love blasphemy. Good times.

Under Rug Swept came out in 2002 (February, I believe). By that point I was just a miserable person. I'd started leaving notes to people I love in my apartment bedroom - you know - just in case (insert awkward smile here) and I had no real pretenses that I was ever going to figure out how to get happy and how to deal with my food impulses. The previous fall had been a DISASTER. A friend's father had a stroke and later passed away. September 11th had hit, literally, DC and my father had a mini-stroke and crisis of identity that fall. My crisis was not far behind. My roommate Bob had just moved out to start his married and family life and Ben had moved in to the front room of the apartment. I was too freaked out by alllllll of it to deal with any of it. At That Particular Time nothing was making sense and no one was talking any sense. The song was pitch perfect for where my head was at. I had stopped drinking 18 months earlier but food was all the more powerful in my life.

Then the So-Called Chaos started to make sense. By the release of the album in May, 2004, I had met and was madly in love with Joy. Her presence as the new center of my life and my new obsession had really started to curb my love of food and my hatred for myself. I was saved as far as I was concerned. If I could only muster up enough self-love to love this woman as she deserved to be loved, I would be fine. Oddly enough - this CD came at around the time that Alanis got together with Ryan Reynolds so it was the first UPBEAT CD Alanis had put out. My life was getting better and hers was too? NOW you see where all this is going (or I HOPE it is going). Just listen to the song Everything and you'll understand what I'm talking about.

In July of 2005, Joy and I had just gotten married and the 10th anniversary of Jagged Little Pill was marked with an accoustic version of the album. How interesting that I had survived the very, very awkward 20s of my life and that I was in a very, very different place than I was when the first CD came out. You Learn took on a whole new meaning. Joy and I probably listened to this CD 1,000 times in the first month we owned it.

Later that year, right around Christmas, The Collection came out. A greatest hits album had never seemed so perfect. They had just canceled my gastric bypass procedure in Baltimore and I was regaining all the weight I had lost in prep for the surgery. I was realizing that I needed EVERYTHING to go my way for anything to seem right, fair or justified. A decade older - no more mature in many ways. Best song on that CD - by leaps and bounds - was Mercy. The song will put chills in your spine - event when you've heard it 1,000 times. When Ava was born we used the song for a video we put together for Ava's new grandparents. It makes me think of how small and how strong Ava was when she was born and how strong I became with and through her.

And that brings us to yesterday - when Flavors of Entanglement came out. I've just listened to it for the third full time and I have to say - it might be my favorite Alanis CD yet (and I've liked them all). Check out Underneath, Tapes and Incomplete (my FAVORITE song on the CD and my favorite song of the moment - the introduction in the video reminds me of how I used to think life actually worked and how I realized it works very, very differently) if you don't want to spring for the whole CD on iTunes. I've lost almost 240 pounds since the last time Alanis came out with a CD (and Joy and I saw her live in concert in Baltimore). I've learned a lot more about myself and how to wrestle with life and how to make it through the much without food or alcohol or any of my former vices (if only I could curb my emotional swings one of these albums (smile)).
It seems like me and Alanis have both come to peace with our lives. We know what we want - we know we don't have it all and we know that we are largely to blame for what we don't have. It feels pretty good to know that I'm not alone in this continued struggle.

Thanks for seeing me through the chaos, Alanis. I appreciate the soundtrack!

Happy Birthday, Uncle Patrick . . .

Today is my brother Patrick's birthday. Patrick was born one year and one day before me. He is, as far as we can tell, Ava's favorite Uncle on Daddy's side of the family (she insists that Uncle Ryan is actually Uncle Randy so she must not think much of him (totally kidding, Ro-Ro))!

Happy Birthday, bruddah! We love and miss you!

Monday, June 9, 2008

My Mother aka The Braggart . . .

My mother carries something in her purse with her that she calls the "Brag Book." The brag book - for the unfamiliar - is a small, fits-easily-in-the-purse sized photo album that is typically filled with pictures of grandchildren. My mother's brag book also includes pictures of her grandpuppy and her three children and her official and un-0fficial daughters-in-law as well.

It has come to my attention that my mother has recently added a few pictures to her brag book that have lead to much converstation.

It seems she has a picture of Joy and I on our wedding day and then a picture of Joy, Ava and I from Easter (below) as well.

This is the game she plays . . . she says (to those she has not seen in a while and who were not at our wedding (we eventually cut off the people they could invite to our wedding (smile)) "And this is Sean and his wife Joy on their wedding day" and then flips to the picture of my family at Easter time and asks "and do you know who THIS is?"

And then she waits, anxiously, for two or three seconds as people confess they don't know or think perhaps it is my brother Ryan in the picture or just sort of look at her wondering why the people in the picture seem so proud to be having their photo taken with one dozen crushed Easter Eggs.

After she forces her friends and family to cry "Uncle" - she tells them that it is ME in the picture.

Insert their looks of shock or their giggles or their "no way" barkings immediately after.

Here's the thing . . . I love that my mother is proud of the weight I have lost. I love that she loves me. I love, frankly, that I don't look today like I looked on my wedding day.

I'm sure plenty of people play similar "before and after" photo games with their surgery-selves and with pictures of people they know and love that have had surgery. There is nothing WRONG with the practice and I'm not upset with her for playing but, truth be told, I really wish that the game was not so popular or that SOMEONE might win a round one of these days!

I've been saying to Joy more and more lately - and I mean every syllable of it - that I'll just be happy when I finally hit my goal weight and then a year or so can go by with just minimal weight gain and loss (settling, like the foundation of a HOUSE) so that I will just look like "me" - not the new me. Not the old me.

That is my birthday wish (a little bit early) . . . that - by a year from now - there is just one picture of me in my mother's brag book. And that her bragging will go back to her beautiful granddaughter instead of me!

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Celebrating in Style . . .

Joy and I went away for our third wedding anniversary on Saturday. We dropped Bidders off at Gamma and Gampas and headed off to Council Grove, Kansas where we spent the night in one of the honeymoon suites at the Cottage House Hotel and Motel.

We had an absolutely amazing time, frankly. We talked the entire drive up about some short and long term goals and ambitions and we just really enjoyed getting away - just the two of us - for the first time in a long time.

We had dinner at the Hays House Restaurant where we were treated to a free dessert on the house (Joy ate part of it - I had none, for obvious reasons) because the Cottage House staff had told them we were celebrating our anniversary when they made our reservation for us (nice people there at the Cottage House). Anywho - Joy had "smoothered chicken" for dinner and I had steamed shrimp. Sooooooo good.

Anywho - in addition to taking a nice, long, leisurely stroll around the town of Council Grove (we probably walked about two total miles - a nice primer for my walk-a-thon this coming Saturday (please click on the link and even donate $1 - it is a wonderful cause!)) we also enjoyed the big, huge, jacuzzi (sp?) style bathtub. I won't get in to details here - BOTH sets of my parents (and my NIECE) read the blog (I'm KIDDING, you should hope) and the super-luxurious robes that hung in the bathroom.

I mention the bathrobes because I had another of those "ah-hah" moments yesterday evening. Having NEVER been able to fit in to a hotel batrhobe in my adult life, I poo-pooed Joy's suggestion that I put on a robe and relax. I fought her and fought her and then tried and POOF - it was wayyyyyy bigger than what I needed it to be.

All in all - a wonderful evening away with my beautiful bride and an exciting way to spend a lot of time doing a whole lotta' nuttin' in a small, historic Kansas town.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Five Month Goals (Four Months to Go) . . .

I wanted to update my five month goals (20% in to my alotted time to accomplish them) for those who care (all three of you).

1 - Weigh 245 - 240 pounds by my birthday, June 12th - MISSED - With just seven days to go, I weigh 250.16 pounds. I won't make it BUT I will only miss my goal by 5ish pounds. Life will go on - and I WILL lose those pounds.

2 - Participate in a 5k Walk/Run (Walking, naturally) - MET (SORT OF) - I am registered for the 2008 Heart Walk here in Wichita on Saturday, June 14th. I'm going to try the three-mile course (I think). Click here to see my webpage for the event and to donate to the cause (if I get over $100 in donations, I get a free t-shirt and, like any time I go see Barenaked Ladies in concert - I feel like I sort of "need" the t-shirt).

3 - Become more serious about my bike riding - IMPROVING - I rode twice last week and hope to make it three times this week. One pedal at a time. I'll get there.

4 - Re-establish a connection with God - IMPROVING - I have been "talking" with God on an almost daily basis as of late and researching religions and cultural assumptions about religions (and the religious (very interesting)). I'm still leaning towards embracing my inner-Jew but, we'll see how that goes in good time.

5 - Take Care of Old Business - IMPROVING - I have had hard but wonderful conversations with three of my four people that I felt I had to reach out to. One is an old boss. That one went really, really well. One is an old girlfriend that I felt I was never really honest with (including dating her for almost two years and never introducing her to a single one of my DC friends (e-mail me if you want the scoop, DC people (smile))) who forgave me and was very happy for me and who seems to be doing very well herself these days. One is a good friend from high school that I just lost touch with after some harsh words. I've left four messages for the last person (including a totally embarassing one with his mother) and I won't leave more than five. I have to try to reach him though. For any one else who feels I owe them an apology (and feel free to be honest - e-mail me.

6 - See Ten Movies - IMPROVING - I've seen two - Iron Man and Indiana Jones. We have a plan to see The Happening next weekend and Batman the weekend after that. We have Wanted later this summer and a few other "must sees". Slow and steady. I'll get to ten this summer. Arena-style movie theater chairs ARE sort of comfortable after all (I never actually understood it before (smile)).

7 - Weigh 200 Pounds by March 20, 2009 - IN THE WORKS - I am waiting for my insurance company to tell me which doctor(s) I can go see in Kansas City to resume my post-surgery care regimen and I will work through them to address my excess skin and how I will get the rest of the weight off my body.

8 - See My Brothers and Have Them See Their Niece - N/A - We are supposed to head East in either August or September and we'll make a plan to see my brothers when we put the plan together.

9 - Get Rid of My C-PAP - IMPROVING - As I told you earlier, I've essentially taken myself off the snorkel (NYtoVA). I am waiting for a date in the coming weeks to retake my sleep study (I will likely do a "twilight study" which is done in the home with a computer-equiped self-calibrating Bi-PAP) and we'll see what the professionals tell me.

10 - Start Writing My Book - MET - If STARTING to write was my goal, I'm there! I have a title page and the preface written and I'm working on the first chapter (my pre-school adventures). I have a general outline for what I want to include in the book and the direction I plan to take for each section/topic/etc. I should, at this pace, be done by sometime in mid- late-2023! Look for it in a trash can near you later that same year.

11 - Make New Friends - IMPROVING - I have met a few people through my role on the board of a non-profit group here in town that I like and a former co-worker and I are talking about getting our families together one evening. I guess that is some progress, right?! We are going to see Joellyn and Ryan and Paige this weekend and Tricia and Sebastian in a few weeks. Let's agree that this one is improving - but needs more work.

12 - Go Floating - MET (SORT OF) - We are committed to driving out to South-Eastern Missouri the weekend of the 4th. I'm super excited. I was in a Bass Pro Shop while we were in Kansas City for business a few weeks ago and I got all excited looking at canoes and life jackets. I even bought myself a super-duper hat to wear on the river. I can't WAIT!

13 - Become Creative Again - MET (SORT OF) - My flute is at Wichita Instruments for repair as we speak. I bought some finger paints the other night for Ava and I to play with. I have my book started. I'm still blogging. It is another work in progress. Feeling groovy about it. Joy has class on Monday and Wednesday evenings so we are going to start painting before bed time on those nights (Daddy doesn't mind the mess like Mommy does).

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

The Luckiest . . .

Joy and I danced, for the first time as man and wife, to Ben Fold's "The Luckiest" (I found this great a capella version of the song and here is Ben himself singing the tune) three years ago today

That's right. I've been a husband for three full years already. In a way I can't believe it has been three years (it has gone soooo quickly with all the changes we've seen since that lovely day) and, at the same time, it feels like I have ALWAYS been married. Regardless - I still feel, very much, like I am the Luckiest man in the world.

Joy was my first real love. I dated four women in the 27 years of life I lived before her but never actually loved any of them - at least not the way I love Joy and I am positive that I've never been loved by any one any where near the way Joy loves me.

She and I were laughing the other day about our relationship and how it has evolved since our somewhat awkward first date on August 2, 2003. We joked about all the weight we've lost and gained, the three times we've moved (including moving in together in Baltimore). We laughed at my insistence - when we first began talking/typing - that I would never get married or have children and yet how much I enjoy my roles as husband and father.

We agreed that we were proud of the fact that our relationship has always been about friendship and support and love instead of just hot, passionate sex. TRY to clear that mental image and enjoy the rest of your day, I dare you! We high-fived at the fact that we both undertook huge transitions from day one in our relationship to afford the other person comfort in our future.

We both shed a tear over how wonderful our friend Vinu is for having introduced us (even if his intentions might NOT have been for a long, shared life) and we both laughed at how much we resisted his efforts to put us together and how "us" might have never been.

Here's the thing - today, three years in to our marriage, is possibly the first day that I really feel like I am honoring my part of our commitment to each other.

We stood in front of 125 of our family, best friends and friends of my parents (smile) and we cried and cried and shook and twitched at the idea that we were getting married. We spoke vows that were filled with promises of things to come and we were as sincere as the day is long in those promises and hopes and dreams. Today - frankly, we are starting to live those dreams. Really live them. Really enjoy our marriage. Really hold our promises to each other.

I've lost 235 pounds since my surgery. I've finally gotten myself in a working situation where I can find true work-life balance and can handle the time commitments and demands of each. I'm finally at a point where I am comfortable in my own skin and I finally like myself. I finally love myself as much as I love Joy. The old addage that "Until you love yourself, you can't love someone else." MIGHT be true but I would argue that sometimes loving someone else is the only way to love yourself.

I loved the PROMISE of me for all the years, months, weeks and days between Joy and I meeting and the man I am becoming. I loved myself for my commitment to giving Joy the life I wanted her to have and for being willing to make whatever changes I have had to make to get our life here. I loved myself for being able to snag a woman like Joy and some how trick her in to spending her life with me (smile).

I am happy for the first time since I was a student in college. I am motivated in ways that I never thought I would find energy and draw and I am more ambitious about life than I ever was. That is all because of Joy, Ava and the influence they have had on my life and for the love I am lucky enough to recieve from them.

I FINALLY got something right the first time . . . I finally know what all the mistakes, wrong turns and stumbles in my life were for and all about.

Joy is living her life on her terms. She is a mother. She is a wife. She has a home she is finally happy with and she's kicking butt and taking the names of the same people she might have once allowed to talk over and step upon her. She is back in school. She's finding true balance between all the interests in her life and she continues to get more and more beautiful every day (she promised me to always be s-e-x-y (kidding)).

Anywho, pop tart, HAPPY ANNIVERSARY! Thanks for a wonderful first three years of marriage. I look forward to the next three HUNDRED years ahead of us and to continuing to be the man

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Walk-a-Thon . . .

As one of my 13 5-Month goals that I set for myself in early May, I am going to be participating in a three mile walk-a-thon next Saturday (the 14th) morning here in Wichita. I am walking to meet my goal BUT I chose this walk in honor of all the people that I know and love (especially family members) who have had heart and stroke problems.

I'm excited AND nervous, frankly. I don’t even know how far three miles IS, truth be told, and it should be in the mid/upper-80s by the time the walk is over so I might actually have a heart attack before it is over. Old Sean would have (smile).

I would love if you would all fly/drive/walk in and walk with me but if you want to just give some money to the American Heart Association and help me earn my t-shirt (I need $100 in donations to get one), click here.

NO pressure but I’d love the support – in any way you can give it (even if it is only a kind thought that morning).

Monday, June 2, 2008

Say It Ain't So, Hillary . . .

In January, 1998, I moved to Washington, DC. I left my friends at college for the spring semester of my senior year of college to get a jump start on graduate school and to finally see if "big city" living was officially for me.

I chose Washington, DC for one very simple reason. The Clintons were there. That's right. I moved to DC to be closer to Bill, Hillary and Chelsea.

Sure - I know that sounds a bit creepy but the reality is that I was deeply in love with politics at the time and Bill Clinton was my second-Idol (Mario Cuomo was, is and always WILL be THE man) and Hillary is a very, very close third for me.

I had the pleasure of doing some work with/for the Clintons over the years at my old job. I met them both (the picture above is me - super heavy and a little drunk - at a housewarming fundraiser during her 2000 Senate campaign) and I have continued to admire them as they have gone from the White House to the Senate to the presidential trail and . . . now . . . to who knows where.

Many are counting Hillary out. I hope they are wrong. The Clintons have been counted out many, many, many times since they first started their lives in Politics and - as of today - they are still going strong and their critics have always been wrong.

We'll find out tomorrow, many believe. Senator Clinton is supposed to make her primary season-ending speech in New York (which really doesn't mean anything, for the record) Tuesday night and then, the next morning, she will start the next phase of whatever is ahead for her.

Obama can NOT wrap up the nomination on Tuesday though and there is still much work to be done with these "super delegates" in terms of them figuring out who is most likely to win the White House itself (that is the whole point of this contest anyway, right?).

Anywho - say it ain't so, Hillary. Stick it out. Fight the fight. I still believe you are the best person we have to lead this country for the next eight years (one term is just not an option (smile)) and you fighting and fighting all these years just motivates me to overcome my own struggles and issues. My weight and mental health don't seem nearly as big of a problem when you compare them to trying to run the Free World!

Sunday, June 1, 2008

A Secret We All Share? . . .

I was reading this week's PostSecrets and I came across this one that hit home for me.

I met a woman in Missouri two weeks ago that had gastric bypass surgery in the early 80s. That is when calling it "stomach stapling" was really an accurate description - if not a compliment. They cut her wide open in a cross formation. She was wrapped in plastic for five weeks after her surgery to heal. She had ripping. She had infections. She had oozing. She had herniation (sp?). She had her hair fall out. She had internal leakage. She had a miserable experience BUT she lost almost 200 pounds over the three years that followed (the diet was not as perfected then, she tells me, so they had her eating the wrong foods and she struggled accordingly) and she can forever say she was the first person that her surgeon did the procedure on. But - almost 30 years later - she's gained almost all of the weight back. But that is not all that shocking - she was upfront that the mental component to her eating and obesity was never addressed and has gotten worse since.

What shocked me was what she said at the end of her story . . . "and I'm not sure that I am not happier being back at this weight." I'll admit that it made me very sad for her and made me all the more sure that I did the right thing to have this surgery and that all of the days and weeks and months (good and bad moments, etc.) since have been totally worth it.

It has been nearly 15 months since my surgery. I've lost about 230 pounds. I've lost almost 50% of my body weight and I've found out a lot about myself in the process. I'm sort of leveled out though. The 25 pounds a month I was losing has given way to about five pounds a month. That is okay though because I'm much more interested, at this point, in the MENTAL part of this process. The actual improvement of myself - not the physical shifting.
I'm working, actively, on goals to continue to improve myself and I have a deep appreciation for how much happier and content and driven and satisfied and self-satisfied I am now versus at 530 pounds.

True - I thought I was "happy" then too. I really did. It was not a real happiness though. It was a faux-reality fueled by junk food, laziness, sloth and anger. I will never go back to that. I'll never go back to anything CLOSE to that.

I have a great support system in place to keep me honest. Joy watches me, lovingly (she worries I am not eating ENOUGH and thinks I might be developing "manorexia" at this point as I become solely obsessed with my printed goals list). Ava looks at old pictures of Daddy with confusion on who that guy even is. My other-mother tells me that I look thinner on a regular basis and tells me about how "different" I am in behavior and action and so on. My co-workers gossip about me behind my back (or so I was told last week when I returned to the office after two weeks on the road) and how good I look. My parents tell me all too often about their friends and our extended family and how aware they are of my surgery and progress and so on. Old friends are contacting me in very kind ways, etc. etc. etc. It is all very, very welcome for me. That was one thing that I didn't have before . . . an open enough mind and disposition that people who loved me COULD express concern and COULD be honest with me and COULD talk to me about my eating and weight and sloth without me losing my mind on them.

Truthfully though . . . do I fear being heavy again? Sure. Do I think there is a snowball's chance in hell that I will get heavy again? Not as long as I have people around me to keep me honest and to keep me motivated and to remind me about how much better life is today and how unhappy I was "then."