Losing Weight

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I was a skinny kid.  I weighed about 120 pounds in the picture you see above.  I weighed a few pounds more when I got married and held that weight until my 40s.

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But gradually, the weight began to add on.  In my mind, I was still that skinny kid–but everyone but me could see that just wasn’t the case.

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Recently I decided to do something about it.  It wasn’t the first time. I bought a Fitbit Flex and decided to follow suggestions from the website.  I’m losing the weight through a combination of diet and exercise.  Who knew? (Just being sarcastic here)

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Here are a few tips that I’ve learned.

  1. It took years for all of this weight to get on my body, it won’t come off over night.
  2. The best diet is the one you’re willing to follow the rest of your life. If you can’t eat paleo, find something that works for you.
  3. Fat is excessive food that you’ve eaten.  It’s food that your body can’t use effectively. I’m learning to eat only what I need. To eat more is wasting food as surely as if it were being thrown away.
  4. Portion control works best when you share your food with another. Cary and I split most every meal and find we have more than enough to eat. It literally halves the calories.
  5. Exercise is more than just dragging your body around.  It’s giving it the concern it needs. When you respect your body–it makes it better for you in many different ways.
  6. Set a goal weight.
  7. Log every bit of food that you eat in a program like myfitnesspal.com .
  8. Buy a Fitbit. They are worth it.
  9. Weigh yourself once a week.
  10. When you hit the plateau, stay with your program.  It may take several weeks for the stall to break–but it will break.

That’s it.  I’ve lost nearly 25 pounds.  I’m a few pounds away from my first goal weight. Yippee for me!

Kirk Woodward

 

This is a picture of Kirk Woodward.  My earliest memories of him involved me listening to his early morning show on KRBC radio in Abilene, Texas.  He was an early morning icon and local hero/star.

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Even though the picture of Kirk may not be the best, I believe it does a great job of capturing his funny and amusing persona. Kirk was a fun person to be around and he had a perceptively keen wit. He could spot the humor in most everything.  He was raised “Church of Christ” as I was, but had given up on most matters religious by the time I had met him.

When I first met Kirk in person it was through sailing at the Abilene Sailing Association.  Kirk owned a “Flying Dutchman” class sailboat and would often allow me to crew for him.  We had many good times in that boat.  He loved to sail and he was always in rare form once the tiller was in one hand and a beer in the other.

Though I worked for another radio station in town my background was similar to his.  Like Kirk, I first worked as an on-air guy through college and then would transfer my career to advertising sales.  Kirk was an amazing sales person.  He knew everybody in town and was well liked by his clients.  It wasn’t long before he was promoted to Sales Manager for KRBC–the leading station of its day in Abilene.

One of the first things Kirk did as manager was to hire me away from KWKC.  He found a way to increase the money and gave me a small but stable account list.  I worked the next two years at KRBC.

I wasn’t that experienced of a sales person and (sadly) I didn’t do very well. It wasn’t all my fault.  Abilene wasn’t that big of a town and most of the leading business accounts were already being serviced.  It was hard to build a solid account list on new businesses since so few were attracted to Taylor county in those days.  My account list did grow some–but not as much as Kirk thought it should have.  He decided I had to go.  It wasn’t personal.

You might think I’d be angry at him for giving me the boot.  Truthfully I was sore about it for awhile.  But from where I sit today, I believe the universe had a larger plan that included getting me out of Abilene and into a new path of college teaching.  I’m not sure if  my friend Kirk believed in these kinds of divine plans but I’m convinced he was a part of mine.  I’m sure we’d both laugh if we could discuss it. Though it seemed like a failure at the time, I’m actually glad that I didn’t become that crackerjack sales person that both of us wanted me to be. If I had, I might have made more money but I would have given up a much richer life. Sometimes losing isn’t losing.

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I moved on with my life and  Kirk moved on to a variety of other jobs as well.  He even started his own company.  He also became interested in motorcycles and started the Mother Road Ride Rally--an event that covers the length of the famous Route 66.  You can still buy his book–more of a diary really–on Amazon.  I suspect he was as much fun to be around on a motorcycle as he was when sailing and I’m sure there were many good times for all involved.

Kirk would eventually die of lung cancer in 2002 though he had quit smoking many years earlier.  (obit here) I’m thankful that I knew him for those few years and I choose to remember him as that wickedly funny, amusing, and delightfully witty “Flying Dutchman.”

Dr. Rex P. Kyker

Dr. Rex P. Kyker was my speech professor during my first year of study at Abilene Christian College in 1975.  Later he taught me American Public Address and Business and Professional Speaking in my master’s program. Of all the professors I had at Abilene, he made the biggest impact on me.

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Dr. Kyker was a popular speaker and a gifted teacher who received the Teacher of the Year award in 1976. He started Pi Kappa Delta (a forensic honor society) and was “The Voice of the Big Purple. ” He chaired the speech department for many years.  It is no exaggeration to say that Dr. Rex Kyker was an iconic professor at ACC.

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I believe we all need a professor like Rex Kyker at some point in life. I was not a particularly good student back in my undergraduate days.  I was young, immature, and lacked the discipline needed to be successful in my studies.  Even so,  Dr. Kyker encouraged me to keep trying and later he suggested that I enroll in graduate school.  When I completed my masters, he moved me in the direction of a  doctorate.

I would not have done this had it not been for Dr. Kyker’s support.  He wrote letters in my behalf–in the days before computers could spit them out.  But more importantly, Rex passed my name along to a professor at North Texas State University.

I had given up on the idea of graduate school since I had applied to many places with no success.  The rejection letters did their job and convinced me to believe that I should choose a different path.

One day out of the blue, a Dr. William DeMougeot from the speech department at NTSU called and said he’d like to interview me.  I had not even applied to study there but Rex worked behind the scenes with a willingness to vouch for me and use his connections to help me out.

I have numerous Rex stories–maybe I’ll tell a few someday. But for now, I’m very convinced that my wonderful life as a college educator would never have happened if Dr. Rex Kyker had not given unselfishly of himself at a time when I needed it the most.

Rex passed away in December of 1996. I don’t know how God attributes the good that we have done–but I know that Rex deserves to share in whatever goodness I may have accomplished.

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Read more about Dr. Kyker here

OC Yoga

I have been teaching yoga off and on for many years.  It is something that I enjoy.  I have developed a style of teaching that is communal. Unlike traditional classes, my group will always meet in a circle so that we may get to know each other . Our yoga classes are designed to be social and fun.  We encourage each other and we are able to see each person as we do our exercise.

Sea Scouts

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Here is a picture of a family of triplets who are Sea Scouts. You can read about their story here.  I’m not related to this family, but I was a member of a ship when I was 14 years old. Sea Scouts are a branch of the Boy Scouts of America.

My mom was a high school teacher who worked with another teacher by the name of Bob Joy.  Bob was a member of the same church we attended and he also was in charge of a local troop of sea scouts–which sounded very exotic to me. After all, growing up in Abilene, Texas there weren’t many seas close at hand.  Anyway, mom thought it would be a good idea if I joined and I was excited about the idea too.

Unlike the photo above, in my day women couldn’t be a part of sea scouts.  Somehow we couldn’t wrap our brains around that concept.  But like the picture above, we got to wear cool uniforms that looked strangely like real Naval uniforms.  We even met at the local naval recruiting center.  Hmmmm!  Instead of being called scouts, we were called cadets.  Like the regular boy scouts, we had our own Sea Scout Manual and there were badges you could earn if you wanted to.

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Bob Joy was a perfect sea scout leader.  As such he was called the Skipper. He taught us how to build and repair boats, took us on camping trips, taught us each how to sail,  tie knots and all the other scout stuff.  Those were good times and Bob and his wife were great people to give of their time so unselfishly. He even took our ship (troop) down to the gulf coast to rent a sailboat to the Bahamas! Mom thought I was too young to sail to the Bahamas–so I didn’t get to do that.

Here’s a clip from the history page of the local Kiwanis in Abilene, Texas.

The Sea Scout Ship sponsored by the Club is on a ten day trip to Miami and the Bahamas under the leadership of Skipper Bob Joy. The club approved assistance in the amount of $200.

I didn’t know then that local service clubs helped to sponsor us–so please allow me to give an almost 50 year belated thank you to the Abilene Kiwanis Club!

I couldn’t find a picture of Bob Joy, but I did find  small news story about him that indicates he’s still giving to the community!

Sailing was a great activity for a young kid and gave me something to do during those early formative years. It also placed some interesting ambitions in my head.  I remember fantasizing about selling yachts in Florida.  I thought being a Yacht Broker would be a great career. I guess I could still give that a try.  Thank you God for saving me from that!

I’ve sailed in a lot of regattas–but I discovered that I enjoy getting out in the boat and sailing aimlessly more than racing. I’m not a very competitive kind of person.  Hey if you want to be faster than me–have at it!

I love sailing to this day.  I have owned three different boats and have great memories of sailing outings and screw-ups and even a time when I rented a boat to sail to the Channel Islands in California.  The latter memory qualifies as one of those fond screw-up memories.  For a while there I made a lot of good friends through sailing–but no more.  I haven’t owned a boat in years–I suppose I’m over that.  I’m contented with the fond memories.

The Tile Floor

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I have a lovely home that was built in 2005.  Even though it is fairly new, several events have conspired to cause me trouble today.  First, there was a slow leak in the master bathroom shower that went undetected for a period of time.  This leak eroded enough dirt away from the slab that it began to sag and crack–leading to problem two.

It seems the tile was installed directly on top of the concrete slab. As the slab cracked so did the tile.  This might have been avoided if a Ditra membrane had been used as recommended.

I’ve been living with this for several years and finally the crack got the best of me.  I decided that I HAD to install new tile.  I’m talking about DIY as in ME installing the tile.  I have done this once before when I lived in California and all went well.  I decided I would find replacement tile for a good value and set about the job while my wife was away on business for two weeks and well ahead of our vacation time. She would come home to a sparkly new bathroom floor.

Forget about the value tile, Cary wants a good quality tile or none at all.  We ended up buying travertine.  It was a good value at 5.76 a sq. foot–but not the 88 cents per foot I had imagined.  The travertine does look amazing with the rest of the bath but is about 500% more expensive than I originally planned.

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The first part of the project went well enough.  I bought an air hammer from Harbor Freight (one of my favorite places to for tool shopping and wandering about).  It worked like a champ and I was able to take up all of the tile and most of the thinset mortar attached to it.  That was exhausting work.  It’s a good thing I was wearing ear protection or I would be deaf by now.

For the thinset that would not come up I used an angle grinder with a diamond blade cup attachment.  It worked like a charm but created such a dust storm that even with a quality respirator mask the dust entered my eyes, ears, nose and mouth.  My hair became coated with cement dust and became hard to the touch.  Oh, did I mention that my bathroom, nearby closets and bedroom was fully covered in a fine layer of dust?  I filled numerous vacuum cleaner bags and a shop vacuum removing it.  The floor was finally cleaned.  My eyes were oozing from infection and I was spitting grout.

Next it was time to “level” the floor.  According to the YouTube videos I watched, this would be an easy thing to do.  Just mix the stuff up and pour it on the floor.  Gravity would do the rest by pulling the mixture where it needed to go.

Don’t believe any of those videos! The product sets faster than you think and doesn’t flow evenly on its own.  My life flashed before my eyes as it bubbled and rippled across the floor.  Then I made it worse by moving the liquid over to where “it needed to be.”

Now the floor has additional high and low spots that it did not have before.  But no problem, I rented a large angle grinder with a 7″ wheel and vacuum attachment.  My shop vacuum hose is smaller than the attachment.  I strap it on with duct tape.  Somehow it works.

If you know what you are doing, I’m sure the grinder is a good way to go.  I spent an entire day–four hours anyway–grinding high spots.  The floor is more level than it was–but it is still not ready for tile and frankly, I’m out of options and ideas on how to make it better.

I’ve been working  for two solid two weeks in my spare time and I’m exhausted. My wife is looking over my shoulder and assuming the job of a sidewalk superintendent. She isn’t bashful about pointing out the obvious–the floor looks terrible and needs to be fixed!

At this point, past effort does not count. The house is a mess, the master bath and bedroom cannot be used and she is quick to let me know that she didn’t like my idea of this in the first place.  She is not a happy camper!  Can you spell S T R E S S!

I’m tempted to keep trying–but that’s just poking the marital bear. Truthfully, I need help.  As Detective Harry Callahan, AKA Dirty Harry, once said, “A man’s got to know his limitations.”

I talked to my buddy Rick S. and he gave me the number of a general contractor.  Says the guy works for a reasonable price and did good on a recent tile job.  The man comes out sometime this week to give me an estimate. My intention is to let him finish the job.

Electronics

In eighth grade I discovered electronics.  A friend by the name of Chris Burnette introduced it to me.  Chris wasn’t exactly a friend but he wasn’t as mean to me as some of the other boys who would bully me around.  Chris liked electronics and to placate him, I asked him to tell me more about it.

I remember being impressed that he could read a schematic diagram and he taught me how to do that too.  Before long, I found the perfect little book for a young man who wished to learn more about this subject. It was “Using Electronics: A Book of Things to Make” by Harry Zarchy. I’m excited that someone has put the book online for some of us to revisit.

As early as eighth grade, I learned about Ohm’s Law, how to read the resistor color code, basic circuits, and how to solder parts together.

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One of the first circuits I learned about was the crystal radio–which I had built as a cub scout.  It was a lot of fun and I used to listen to radio stations at night.  It didn’t have much selectivity and I could hear two or three stations on top of each other.

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Even today, I think this book is an amazing example of how books could and should be written for hobbyists and people who want to learn more.  He wrote the book in such a way that the very mysterious became very understandable.

This early start would later lead to the joys of “Ham” Amateur Radio, and vocational electronics in high school.  I became a disk jockey at a local radio station while in high school and paid a good part of my college education from this.  I would later teach college level broadcasting courses.  Even today, I teach a course called “Media, Faith, and Society” that is a descendent of this early eighth grade interest.

Who knows what my life might have been like if I had not tried to placate young Chris Burnette by learning more about electronics!  I think Chris would be surprised at the difference this chance encounter made in my life.  I never knew what became of him, so I’ll just have to give a shoutout to the universe and thank him for a wonderful start that worked out so very well for me.