**I left their names out of it, and just went with 'he' (the groom) and 'she' (the bride).
In something like September or October in 2003, I spent the night in my friend's house the day before they moved in. I had been helping them paint their entire house after they bought it and were doing pre-moving renovations. It was an old group home. It was a sad place. All the bedrooms had locks on the outside of the doors, so they could lock the kids in. There was even an anger room down in the basement with, you guessed it, a lock on the outside of the door. The walls in that room had holes all over them from the kids hitting them. It was terrible. It broke our hearts being in there a bunch of the time. It didn't feel right, and felt very off, because it was thick with connotations of pain, hurt, sadness, anger and, when considering the locks on the outsides of the doors and an anger room filled with holes in the walls, there were also all the implications of abuse. Apparently there was suicide in the house too.
I spent so much time in there working during the day and overnight. At least half of the time I was by myself, so, while I was lost in my own mind when I'd be deep into the abyss of monotonous painting, I'd get really sad for what must have gone on there...whatever it was. My friends and their family were good people though (They still are...giggle), and I started feeling like I wanted to do something nice for them before they moved in. I just wanted to pour a little love into the place. I spent the night by myself. I had the idea to bring all my driftwood, feathers and other wild-crafting things so I could put something like this together in the front room and try to spread a little love throughout the night.
In the morning I told them to first come down without the kids 'cause I wanted to talk to them alone. I just wanted to show them first...before the chaos of five teenagers rolled in. Needless to say, they were pretty blown away by it, and possibly somewhat overwhelmed too.
I'm not too sure when it was now that they were getting married, probably a couple years later, but they asked me if I could do something similar for their wedding. I was a bit surprised by that, that someone would want me to decorate their wedding ceremony space. Aside from the bit of surprise, I was also touched by them wanting me to be a part of their day in that way. I only had one condition: once I had all my stuff unloaded and in the space, they had to get out...get the fuck out...and not come back until it was time for the ceremony. I wanted it to be a surprise.
They had a few personal things they wanted me to incorporate into what I was gonna put together for them that were to be a part of their ceremony. Aside from that, it was free reign for me to go for it however I wanted. They trusted me in whatever I came up with.
I was putting it together right up until people started trickling in for ceremony time. As is the case with the groom, he came in there first, so he got a good look at things, and we talked for a moment before things got started and I finished the last second finishing touches. He was pretty psyched. I then went and took a seat right at the back because everyone else was already in and seated. (I cut it right under the wire.)
She came in shortly after I sat down. Even though I was on the aisle, she didn't see me as she walked by. I had serious butterflies swirling in my belly. I desperately wanted to do a good job for her. When she got to the altar area, you could see her pause as she scanned over it. She then immediately turned around with a couple of trickling tears and started looking for me. Being on the aisle, I was an easy find. I shot her a big smile when we made eye contact. Then the ceremony began. It was an excellent day.
Unlike the creation (I never know what else to call it.) I did in their house that I took apart right away, I left this overnight for them to enjoy. When I came back the next afternoon, I snapped a few photos and then packed 'er all up to take home.
**The windows weren't in the new building yet, and it rained that night with some wind, so that's why there are some water spots on the floor.
**The windows weren't in the new building yet, and it rained that night with some wind, so that's why there are some water spots on the floor. Also, I put the full view photo here at the bottom rather than the beginning because the light is kind of darker.
July 27, 2018
I lost the past couple days of my challenge because of circumstance at work. I was at work for 15 hours, and then came home and had a broken up sleep for 2 hours, then went back and was there for 16 hours.
Although the time restricted eating thing wasn't really a problem, I didn't care that it was my last day of this challenge. After putting in this crazy little stretch of work I decided to say, "Fuck it" and got a Dairy Queen cone.
(Still no plastic! No new plastic was easy.)
The first thing I noticed when I pulled up to my home was a garden of dying sunflowers as it has been hot and I hadn't been able to water them because of my time at work. Damn!
I didn't get right at that though because first thing is first: Go get in the river!
When I came up from swimming I got right at watering my garden. The poor bastid has taken a beating. (Elk and deer have been eating several of my sunflowers.) I don't have a tap at my house, so I can't water with a hose. I have to fill water cans in my bathroom tub. For a garden that dry and dying, I had to soak it pretty well, which means a whack load of trips in and outta my home.
I was so exhausted when I was done that I decided to kick back in my reclining gravity lawn chair. (Or whatever you call it.) I was sinking into it nicely under the sun on my deck. It felt good to stretch out, mellow out, and take a load off. My plan was to pass out if that's what happened. I was hoping for that at least.
Right when I was hitting that stride of bliss I got bitten three times by hornets. Even while I was getting beat up by those lil' fuckers, I was realizing that they must have been building a nest inside the piping of the chair.
After the swarm mellowed out a bit, I flipped the chair over and sure enough, the army was alerted and a big-ass swarm of hornets followed. When I saw that I started thinking of the walk with the hornet-y chair down to the river to throw it in and sink it for enough time to sort that problem. I'll do that soon enough. The new topic for the moment was to cut my grass.
I gassed up my lawnmower and got right at it. Within the first minute of cutting my grass I ran over something I didn't see even though I was looking right down where I was cutting. It was right beside the wall of my home, and was nothing I hadn't cut over and over, so I was a tad baffled as to what it was.
I just heard the noise, but didn't see anything, so I kept on going. A few strides later I started feeling a sensation in my foot, so I looked down and saw a drop of blood. It was nothing...just tiny. I kept on going.
It was really windy, so I thought perhaps whatever it was blew into my path. I looked down at my foot again and was kinda impressed with how it happened as whatever it was launched up through the bottom of my foot through my sandal...perfect timing in my stride to be hit the way I was. Some rain started coming down sideways to accompany the wind, so I put my lawnmower away and came inside.
I promptly crawled into bed and passed out. When I woke up my foot was totally fucked. I didn't care about the walking part. I can deal with being all gibbled just fine. The only thing on my mind was not being able to ride my bike, because there is no way I can do it right now.
It feels like whatever it was that I ran over with the lawnmower pierced through and hit the big plantar fascia ligament in the bottom of my foot. It's like a perfect strike to a pressure point that has caused a rippling effect in my foot.
I'm limping and can't walk on it properly, but that is fine for me. I can't stand on ball of foot on tip toes, etc, which is exactly how riding is done. My already slow-ass running speed will be chopped down at least 50%, but probably more. I'm pretty choked right now at the thought of having racing disappear just like that. Gotta figure out how to see if I can heal it fast if I wanna chance to get out and give 'er.
I'm gonna write more about what this means for the racing I had shaping up, and also to sum up my 31 day challenge for myself.
I got a jump on things before I left for work. I was tired and beat up, but I did 6 sets of hills and some push-ups. All night at work I was beat to shit. It was a busy night too because we had a lot more going on with Canada Day that never happens on a Sunday night otherwise
I'm not proud of much, but Canada (and being Canadian) is one of them.
It was all worth it when I got home and was ahead in thee game for the day...even if just a little bit. It was the opposite of what I had been feeling from having fallen behind so quickly on days 2 and 3.
I knocked off a couple more sets of push-ups before I crawled into bed so I would have a bunch done by the time I woke up for my afternoon.
When I did wake up I knocked out some more push-ups and then got on my bike straight away to get that behind me. My bike is the biggest solid time chewer I have to deal with. I put in another 25 minutes on my bike, which has put me ahead of schedule. It felt good to be up on something rather than behind. By the end of today I will be caught up with my calf raises, and tomorrow I will be caught up with my hills as well, so I’m showing some good signs of progress. The biggest picture of optimism though, is within my push-ups.
My push-ups started out really rough. Sure I knocked off the 42 I needed to get done the first day, but it devastated my arms. Sucked the life right out of them and shredded my shoulders to pieces. That left me feeling weary and like I was a tad too ambitious with the path I chose for myself. I was committed though, and I know how I am, so I couldn’t let myself down because I would mentally beat the shit outta myself in a very devastating and destructive fashion. I hate that feeling and I will fight really freakin’ hard to keep it at bay…defend my mental ground in my fight against myself. The next day was devastating for that thought.
On day 2, because of how messed up feeling I was, I only did 6 push-ups. That quickly put me at -36 completed. I was so mad with myself, and I was also rattled with how things were gonna turn out with the rest of all of this challenge. That wasn’t the worst though. Day three happened where I lost the entire day due to my work.
When I lost that third day, I didn’t know to do just on the push ups alone. I mean, they were draining me and tearing my shoulders to pieces when I was fresh. How the hell was I supposed to get through the next 4 weeks when I have that as my foundation and was sitting at -78 for my push-up total?!
Even with the bars, I have a real short range of motion in my wrist, so it impedes in a certain way when it is strong and stable enough to let me bang some out. The good thing about these bars is that they let you go deeper into the movement than just on the floor.
To answer that question I turned to the same page in my book I always rely upon when I am beat down with the walls caving in and everything in my body and circumstance trying to impede my progress:
Toughen up, suck it up, and go for it!
Thinking about it doesn’t help. That just eats at your mind. Giving up is not an option, so that choice is out the window! The only thing left is knowing that, in this instance, the push-ups aren’t gonna complete themselves, and the more time I waste, the deeper of a hole I will fall into. So what do I do?
Dig the fuck in!
So, that’s just what I did, and here are the results…
-On Day 4, even though I felt like shit, I banged out 54 of them…bringing my total to -66.
-On Day 5, I banged out 52…bringing my total to -42.
-Today, on Day 6, I filled a little bit more dirt into the whole I dug for myself by banging out another 54 push-ups…bringing my deficit to -30 in total.
I can do more, but I’m being smart about it. I don’t want to sacrifice the rest of my daily fitness challenge in terms of losing more ground on several other elements of my challenge, only to make up ground on one.
Although I still have a good sized deficit, I have shed any sense of doubt or trepidation in my mind about the rest of the month. That shit’s gone. The fight came in my mind early on and I whupped its ass as needed. Holes are being filled and ground is being covered. Better than that though, I have that mental challenge behind me already at Day 6.
My mangled hand. Only my index finger works properly...but he's a workhorse and I make that shit work!
Even with this full turn around, I know my body is gonna go through some shit. I’m way too beat up for it not too. I have far too much experience in this kind of realm not to realize that. Sporting injury has never been a big deal to me. It isn’t real pain. I live with something far worse every second of every day. Sporting pain and injury is actually comforting to me. It’s like a security blanket that comes with me that I don’t have to carry. It’s such a familiar feeling, and comforting in the fact that I know I only feel that way because of doing the things that I love.
There’s no better feeling than pursuing a full faceted test of one’s self. Testing the mind, body and spirit simultaneously! The mental games and wars to elevate your body to transcend the impossible for yourself is pure bliss to overcome. It’s an absolute drug. Not many people seem to understand that the way it runs through me because of how often I get questioned as to why I challenge myself like this when I can. Far too many people have told me they don’t understand why I do things like this the way I do, and will often go as far as to tell me what is best for me, even encroaching on telling me it’s stupid of me to charge like I do, especially in my broken body. I’ve never changed my attitude towards them: I feel sorry for them! If they only took the chance to really test every aspect of themselves all at once, to face deep, deep adversity within as well as with everything around them, only to fight the mental and physical battles to transcend and persevere, my goodness…a whole new world opens up.
A GAWD DAMNED BEAUTIFUL ONE!
I never really feel the urge to explain myself to those who question what I do. For the most part they don’t want to understand, even if I could explain it properly. If anything, it fuels me to go even harder…to dig in even more, to get my fix of the drug I love. I don’t do that to prove anything to anyone, or even to myself, I do it just out of pure love for what I do.
The bottom line though is something I believe deep within, the only way we can find out what our true potential is, is to have the courage to imagine the impossible for ourselves, and use that courage to go for it. Sometimes you make it, sometimes you don’t, but there’s only one way to find out. That falls into the realm of how I often look at failure. I don’t look at failure as the lack of success, but rather the lack of trying.
Not trying is an internal torment that hurts worse than any pain. I hate it. It’s almost like a fear of that internal torment is what can often drive me to fight and claw so hard to battle with everything I got when I find myself looking into the face of everything trying to tear me down. The worse it gets, the harder I fight. If I go down swinging, I go down swinging, but at least I’ll know I gave it everything I had, and that is all that matters to me.
I didn’t have any apprehensions, but when I started this out going into my first day, I definitely had some wonder with how things would go. Any preconceptions I had with my anticipation of how things would unfold did not take long at all to get dispelled.
I started off great on my first day. I crushed through most things I had to do. My food was simple as I had not yet really done any shopping. As I am an idiot, rather than getting some proper food to start me off in a position of strength, armed with the knowledge that I was taking this challenge on, and what it would mean for my food intake (both amount and kinds of food available to me), I got myself a pizza on my last day before I began. One last blast before I get at ‘er!
My food was very simple on my first day, leftover roast chicken and rice. I ate that through the night when I was at work (My equivalent of daytime…kinda!)
The fitness aspect of things was equally great and quite lacking. The push-ups drained my arms really badly and really chewed up my shoulders in a nasty way. I was expecting the shoulder part, but the amount they drained my arms was beyond what I expected, or was prepared for. It took me a lot to get through all of them.
I also gave myself a set back by trying to add some planks into the fitness end of my challenge. I only did one for 22 seconds, but it took such a toll on my hernia that I had to stop. Not only could I not do anymore of them, but it set back the rest of me for what I still had to do. Bottom line: Planks are out!
The planks put me in a bit of a hole, but I would soon find myself in a bigger hole in the next couple days to come.
The amount of time involved to do everything was more than I expected too. Aside from all the fitness chores I have to knock off, I also have to prepare food to take to work with me. The first night didn’t take long as it was so simple, but the rest do take time and planning. By the end of the challenge I will have it all dialed to a smooth running machine, but this is the beginning and not the end, plus I started off in a hole right away.
Part of the thing that put me in a bit of a hole was the time constraint of the day my first day fell upon. It was on my worst working day of the week. I have a schedule adjustment that costs me time at home as I get off several hours later than usual. I also had to go to the market after work to get some food. I wrote about that already for day one.
My meal for my second day was much nicer. It was rice, cucumber, shredded beets, Liquid Braggs, some Spike seasoning, and green onions. I also had a chunk of that bread from the French Bakery that I got at the market, as well as some strawberries.
Rice, Cucumber, Green Onions, Shredded Beets, Spike Seasoning, French Bakery Bread.
I was freakin’ starving though. I definitely expected that on the first day, and it delivered for sure! When I woke up before work and was preparing my food to eat at work, I shoved a few of the strawberries in my face. Daaaaaamnnn were they exactly what I needed. I felt my insides crying with happiness. My tastebuds were dancing to the songs the strawberries were playing to them. I was in heaven.
I cut off a big chunk of bread…about 1/3 of the loaf (They are small loaves…don’t judge me!) and ate it while I was driving to work. I know rice and bread were two starches, but I didn’t care one freakin’ bit.
I had gotten home from work just after 12:00 noon. I was freakin’ exhausted! I crawled into bed and slept off and on for about 2½ hours. I couldn’t let myself sleep any more than that as I had to be awake at 9:30pm to get ready for work, meaning I had to go to sleep around 6:00pm to try to get maybe 2½ to 3 hours of sleep before work. (I will usually wake up 2 – 5 times in a three hour stretch.) Sleeping so late though, waking up just before 3:00pm I mean, set me up to probably not be able to sleep again before I had to go to work. That’s not ideal, but that has become normal to me.
I woke up with a brutal head ache, and felt like I had sunstroke. I had no energy and was light headed all day. I could barely take on my fitness tasks at all. I was bitter about that for sure. It was eating at my mind and pissing me off! Luckily, I didn’t know what I had ahead of me or I would have been really upset.
That next night I was at work from 11pm Thursday until 5pm Friday afternoon. I did take a 30min break to just sit there deep into the night as I knew I would be working into overtime because of circumstance. The morning was dragging on, and work was nuts. Sometime after 12:00 noon, Daniella and I went to her place for about an hour to let the doggies play as I was starting to talk to myself about taking a break for Fennario. (I had brought her to my van just before 10am thinking I would be done for the day around noon.)
Daniella & Willow; Fennario
Needless to say, it was a fuckin’ grind of a long-ass day. It beat the hell outta me. As soon as I came home I crawled into bed and passed right the fuck out. I woke up several times though as per usual. I’d get up to drink some water, and then get back into bed. I did get outta bed for a couple hours in the middle of the night, but I didn’t do anything. I just sat there like a useless piece of shit and stared at some of the World Cup. I went back to bed, and aside from the usual waking up every so often and grabbing a drink to make some use of the time, I didn’t get outta bed for good until sometime between 9:00-10:00am.
I lost my entire Friday...Day 3! I was freakin’ pissed off! The only way I could look at it though was through two things. One, it was only the beginning of the challenge, so I had time to make up the lost ground on the fitness end of the challenge. Two, it was the weekend, so it was a good place to start to make up that ground and get some proper footing on finding a routine.
When I got outta bed I sat around for a little bit, in no hurry to wake up quickly. I was riding the blob in my mind and the lethargic-ness in my body. I got bored of that quickly, or perhaps it was just my mind only thinking about all the ground I had to make up, so I got up and immediately did some push-ups to begin my fitness end of Day 4.
I had some reservations about those that was bordering on anxiety. I just knew how much they drained me, screwed up my shoulders, and set me back a little. I did make an adjustment though with my technique to see if that helped. I went to a wider stance position with my arms and it worked beautifully. I started making up ground right away. I need to complete 42 push-ups each day. It was a massive struggle on Day one, but this was kind of my 2nd day and I did 54 push-ups to begin.
After I did my push-ups, I went and did 6 sets of hills in my back yard. I wanted to do more, but I needed to bathe and hit the road as I was going to Castlegar to see a matinee. After my work week, I really felt the need to unplug like that. When I was there, I had my popcorn and a soda. (I don’t go to the movies to be healthy, I go to unplug my brain and turn on my robotic arm while I stuff popcorn in my face.) The movie popcorn/soda is eating loophole I gave myself. I did however, not get a lid or straw for my drink, so I stayed plastic free. (Except for the waxy shit they line those cups with) I didn’t think they would let me take my drink like that, but they did, so I was happy about that.
On my way home from the movie, as it isn't too far from where I live, I went to Evergreen Natural Foods in Crescent Valley to load up on some more food. I like going there 'cause I get to see a couple of really great people: Tracey and Kelly. Lucky for me, both of them were working, so I got to say hello to each of them. Yaaaay for those kind girls!
Even being a natural health food store of organics, etc, I still found the same problem of stickers on most things like avocados and bananas, so there was only a limited selection to pick from. I still got some good food though.
When I came back home I got right back at it and made up ground in every category. It took me into the night, but I did pretty well.
I was up through the night until about 4:00am. I had to deal with some unexpected work stuff between 1:00 and 2:30am. Even at home on my weekend my work still gets me.
I woke up for good not too long after 9:00am. I got at Day 5. Despite how tired my body is, I did 52 push-ups, and did 12 sets of calf raises instead of 4. I also did 6 sets of hills instead of 4, so I am making up ground again.
I stopped to make some food, but I don’t really feel like eating it. The struggle from the first couple days is behind me already and I’m nicely on my way with the time restricted eating of one meal a day, with some nibbles while I am making it. Today it is elbow pasta with broccoli, zucchini, cucumber, green onion, and a couple spoonfuls of salsa.
I kinda feel bummed that I don’t wanna eat my food. The nice thing though, is that I already feel lighter on my insides. I don’t mean as far as body weight, but in the way of my digestive system, and the feeling of not being full, or any kinda thing like heart-burn or whatever. It’s nice to feel that progress.
When I see how the first handful of days has played out, and reflecting upon them, not bringing new plastic into my life and time restricted eating has not been an issue all! The real issue is the time involved for all the fitness tasks, as well as food prep combined with my working schedule. I will need to reconfigure my time management. This is all to be expected, but just not quite the way I might have thought initially. I guess that’s the whole point of a challenge. I won’t let myself fail. Pain lasts for a little, failure lasts a lifetime!
My body has been in such a state of decay that there is no way I could even entertain the thought of doing that epic swim I wanted to do...at least this year. I won't give up on it though. I like to challenge myself and find life is lacking without imposing that upon myself, so I have decided to give myself a three faceted challenge for 31 days that I am gonna start the day after tomorrow. I was gonna do it for the month of July, but there is no sense in waiting. After all, the sooner I begin the sooner I get done. The bigger reason though is because if I wanna have any kind of shot at doing some triathlons at by the end of the season, even a five day head start is critical.
The first part of the challenge is to try to be plastic free to an extent...
What I mean by that is that I will buy no new plastic. I will continue to use what I already have as it is impossible to avoid. Think about it...tube of toothpaste, gas cap on van, buttons on the gas pumps, debit card, grocery points card, computer and mouse...the plastic is endless.
So, avoiding plastic is impossible because of the way we are set up as society now, but bringing any new plastic into my life (excluding work) will be challenging enough as it is. Think about this... The simplest things like bananas and avocados are out as they all have plastic stickers on them with bar codes. Bags of potatoes or packages of fresh rosemary are out as they come in plastic. It will be tough for sure, but I am gonna do my best. I might make one exception, but haven't decided on that yet. That is on the soda lids if I go to see a movie...of which I do most every weekend.
The second part of my challenge will be for my scheduling of eating...
I will only eat one meal a day that will be during my work day during the week. I will bring whatever I am gonna eat to work and that will be that...no eating at home. During my weekend I will still eat only one meal per day. I will use my judgement as to when that meal will be. (Excluding popcorn if I go to a movie.) The rest of my time at home are fine for juices and of course, water. The biggest problem for this will be all the times I will have to pee because of how much fluids I will be drinking. (My usual heavy amount of water, plus all the water and juices in place of food.)
The third part of the challenge is a physical one consisting of...
- 15 minutes of stretching
- 4 sets of hills per day
- 42 push-ups
- Set amounts of time on my bike on my winter trainer.
-7 min x 2 days
-15 min x 4 days
-20 min x 4 days
-25 min x 5 days
-30 min x 16 days
- Weight training as usual: 4 - 5 sets each of:
- Chest Press
- Dumbbell Curls
- Triceps Press Down
- Upright Rows
- Leg Extensions
- Seated Rows
- Calf Raises
(Gonna try to figure out something else for my legs too. Not sure if my knees will let me do lunges holding dumbbells.)
- 11 minutes of focused breathing
Some of the numbers of time and amounts are based on numbers I like, and also just the full sum amount of time I have to put in when it is all added up. My body will only allow so much.
The push-ups isn't a big amount, but when you consider my shoulders often won't let me do 2 or 3 at a time, then 42 could actually shape up to be a huge number.
It is a bummer that it is summer and I have to ride my bike on my winter trainer, but I have tried out on the road and it had a devastating effect on my hernia.
Early last week my hernia started hurting worse, and in a different manner too. It was two days after I went out for my first jog of the year...a chintzy-assed little 4km run. The run was my second choice as I was gonna try going for a bike ride again, but about 150 yards in my chain broke, so I had to bail on that and go for a run instead.
Although short, and therefore, basically a waste of time, I had to start holding my stomach to put pressure on my hernia and hold it in place. The pain was of course masked by all the other pains I get when I run, but just after I made the turn on my out-and-back course I couldn't ignore it any longer
Even though he turned out to be a total jig, (jig's up now) I remember reading in one of Lance Armstrong's books where he said something along the lines of it being a total waste of time to go out for a ride for anything less than an hour. I feel the same way with running. If I'm just doing a stand alone run with no cycling or swimming, than anything less than 10km is a complete waste of time. I felt this the whole time during that 4km run because it was genuinely how I felt.
As far as this fitness end of the challenge, I'll play it by ear for whether I can start running or not. I mean, I will have to start at some point, but maybe this 31 day challenge will just be the thing to build my body up so I can start putting in about three weeks of road work before the triathlon weekend I would love to be ready for if possible. (Aug 17 -19
There is also the water aspect of things that will all be bonus material for me. How I go about that depends on when it is warm enough to get in and how long I can stay in for. It would start out as mostly treading water before I got into actual swimming though.
How do I rank the three challenges in order from easiest to hardest?
1: The physical challenge should be the easiest part of all of this as it is second nature to me for the longest love of my life.
2: The eating part of the challenge will be tougher at first while my body adjusts to the schedule and volumes of food. After that it should be pretty easy.
3: Eliminating all new plastic. I am looking at a diet consisting of things like rice, broccoli, garlic, ginger, quinoa; but when you consider eliminating things like bananas, pineapples, avocados, chicken, etc, that shit could be tough just from a food stand point. Who knows what else will come up that I will have to deny myself. I guarantee it will be an eye opener for sure.
I have been aware of plastics for a long time, and generally trying to be conscious of things like that, but someone who I stumbled upon and have been following for some years now has really opened my eyes up even more. Her name is Alison Teal. I will write about her during this challenge of mine, but not right now. There's no doubt she has been a huge inspiration though. For now I will just put links to her web and Facebook pages:
Alison Teal's web-page:
Alison's Adventures Facebook Page:
Hopefully I can instill the discipline I need to pull all of this off. I know how hard I'll be on myself if I fail, and I hate the thought of that, so if I just have that belief and high standard for myself I should be OK.
June 14, 2018
I feel like I have been stuck in a rut for far too long. Of course, I have no one to blame for that but myself, and I have no choice but to accept that one.
The stupid thing is that it drives me nuts every day. Every…freakin’…day! The obvious huge part of that is my body. I’m disgusted with myself every waking moment. The grotesque level of fat that I am living in is nauseating to me. I really mean that. I feel this sludge hanging off of me all over my body…sludge that never falls off or wipes away.
I feel it hanging off my back, hanging over the waist of my pants. My pants are so tight that they are so bothersomely uncomfortable. I refuse to buy bigger ones because all that does is say that it is OK to be like that…but it’s not OK.
I don’t understand this whole thing in this world of obesity we find ourselves inn now in the way that we promote how being big is beautiful too. I wholeheartedly disagree with that. The reason for that is I know how unhealthy it is, and I don’t think it’s right to promote unhealthy as beautiful. What one looks like and what their personality is irrelevant to the issue at hand...this is about health, plain and simple!
For me, the excess fat on my body, and my disgust within it, has nothing to do with how it looks, because I don’t give a shit how I look to other people. The thing that matters is what it does to my body. My efficiency of movement is non-existent, and therefore so is my efficiency of energy. I’m just wiped out all the time.
I know I have all the strikes of my pain filled body and sleeplessness working against me too, but even with acknowledging it, I still ignore it and hold myself to a standard irregardless of it. That plays torture on my mind…all day every day. It never won’t! Even when I am at my best it is still never good enough for me, because I still see what could have been.
I am sooo far from my best right now and my daily battle with insanity because of it is another torturous fight on my daily plate I am force fed to eat down.
The amount that I hate getting winded for nothing is something that I couldn’t possibly quantify. I fuckin’ hate it! Hate it! Hate it! Hate it like you don’t even know!
The strange thing is that I love hitting hard cardio to the point where I feel like my lungs are gonna pop and I am gonna throw up. That unique taste that forms in my mouth full of saliva that splats out of my mouth and hangs off my chin while I have snot shooting from my nostrils while I am gasping for air feeling like I’m gonna die is one of my most favourite things. I’ve been so in love with it for so long, but my body has ripped the true ability for that as I structurally cannot bring myself to that level. There is one exception to that, and that is when I am able to find a steep mountain hill in the winter and charge up the hill in belly-button deep snow. That shit fucks me up in that very blissed out way. Sadly though, it has been a very long time since I have been able to do that.
Getting winded from being so over weight is not the same thing though. It’s coming from the same place. The tiniest ways that I can get winded are embarrassing. I don’t mean embarrassing in regards to what others might think, because just like not giving a shit what people think about how my current obesity looks, I couldn’t care less about what one might think of the ways I can get so winded so easily.
Although not steep and deep snowy mountain terrain, I have been dipping into doing hills in my back yard from the river up to my home. Even that kills my heart and winds me terribly though
The path from my home to the water. Doesn't look like a hill here, but I swear it is one.
It eats at my mind to not have a low resting heart rate. (I used to love seeing results of my resting heart rate being in the mid 50 beats per minute when I was younger.) The thing hurts worse than my lungs for getting winded is the pain it causes in my chest around my heart area. I have to be conscious of that. I miss the recklessness of hard cardio when I was in shape, or not far from it, where I could go hard and it felt nothing but good for me even when I would throw up from the hard charge. It is the exact opposite though with a body so horribly out of shape, because the worst thing is my heart. It just feels like it could give out at any moment. The strain my heart and chest feels is insane! This is why I think it is not right, and down even outright negligent to be promoting excess body fat as beautiful, because when you get below skin deep and look at what is really going on it is absolutely terrible. I don’t understand why people are so OK with it.
For those who may read this and get offended or all mad at me, I simply put this 30 month challenge out to any obese person. Take 18 months to eat relatively well, and get good exercise consistently 4 days a week. I don’t mean going for a shitty little walk, I mean proper cardio and weight bearing exercise. Cut the weight off while strengthening your muscles and cardiovascular system. Eighteen months is a good amount of time to do it safely and properly. During that time, honestly acknowledge how it feels in your body. Completely ignore how it looks as that is not what this challenge is about. It is strictly about what the effect of proper eating and exercise has on the function and feeling of your body. Document the journey. Then, at the end of those 18 months, for the next year, go back to eating whatever you did before and giving up on exercise…do whatever it was within your previous lifestyle that had you in an obese body, packing on a whack load of weight again with cardio stripped away. Document that honestly too.
With 100% confidence I guarantee that the results will find that of the two different body types and lifestyles, the healthier eating and exercising one will feel better. I know this first hand because during the 25 years of my broken body I have been kinda disgustingly underweight (to the point where I had to walk around with my hands in my pockets just to keep my pants from falling down), grotesquely overweight (as I am right now), as well as ripped in shape. I have experienced the full spectrum of body type (Irregardless of the pain in my body.), and well condition trumps grotesque underweight or overweight every time with no thought. There is no comparison.
Having been through all of that, and knowing it first hand, plus having been in shape (or not far from it) for most of my life I know what I am talking about with it. Packed with that knowledge is also why it drives me so insane on more than a daily basis to be in such poor condition that I’m in. It’s there in my mind non-stop. It doesn’t matter what I am doing, if it isn’t on the forefront of my mind, it is lingering around on the back burner poking at my brain.
It is really hard for me to push through that. It gets harder and harder with the more that my body breaks down. I’m so worn out, and I sleep so little that it is a struggle to do nothing most of the time, so having to push through that to charge into strengthening a well rounded aspect of my body is tough. Real, real tough!
I’ve always been known for having a real tough mental strength, but although it is there in theory, it can often feel like it is waning which is terrifying to me. If I lose that I’m fucked.
I know that mental capacity is there as I have shown it far too many times when strength is the last thing I felt inside me. Finding that mental strength doesn’t always have the same recipe though, and at times I feel like I have lost my recipe book and have lost the intuitive nature to create a new recipe from scratch. That can frustrate the living hell outta me; and that’s when I start really attacking myself mentally for being so weak and shitty in my mind. It not only terrifies me, but it disgusts me. I love being strong. If not in my body, than at least in my mind! If it’s not there, or it continuously tries to elude me I beat the living shit outta myself in my mind.
If all that is not enough, I also have to deal with my mind ripping itself apart over the actual physical sensation of how it feels having these disgusting layers of sludge hanging all over my body. It is such a living torture every day. Add to that the unfathomable exhaustion permeating every cell in my body and it’s really hard to put it all together.
I am trying though. In my mind every day I am desperately trying to crack through the wall my self-imposed rut has led me to. I have been building muscle to where I can feel those changes in my body. That feels good, and paints a lotta pictures in my mind of the first summer I started working out with Ronnie Perkins when I was 12 years old. That summer changed everything about who I am.
Starting to strengthen my body has also flooded me with images of working out with my Uncle Charlie in his powerlifting days on his way to winning the world championships. I’m not sure if he ever realizes the true depth of his impact on my life. I fuckin’ loved spending that time with him…even when I was a piece of shit little punk-ass teenager
When I moved last year, I bought myself a universal gym. I had wanted one of those since that summer workin’ out with Ronnie. The downfall with them was always the limited amount of weight on them, but that isn’t a problem anymore as my physical structure can only sustain so much, so I will never be able to strengthen my muscles to their capacity. That’s a bummer for sure, but I will take what I can get.
Without exception, every time I am working out on it, I think of my old bro from high school, Gary Beynon. He and I had some good work outs on the universal gear in school. He was a tough bastard! Strongest and toughest in our school as he used to be a boxer! Fuckin’ great guy though! Even though we haven’t seen each other since forever we’re still really great friends
Gary's greatness was always inevitable!
(We are both die-hard Philadelphia Eagles and had all our dreams come true in the Super Bowl this year! Yaaaaaaaaaaay! Eagles! Eagles! Eagles!)
I also have a few people on my mind on pretty much a daily basis who are from around here, but who I barely know at all…Kaila, Ali and Leo. They’re pretty well known, so a lotta locals will know who I am talking about. Ali owns Power by You Crossfit. (www.powerbyyou.com/)
Leo is a firefighter who trains at her gym. (They are also engaged) They are both competitors on top of simply training themselves. Ali had this amazing video of Leo made last year. It is bad-ass as all fuck!
Not too long ago, the community came together in a heartbeat to sponsor Leo to go to a big competition he qualified for. He's such a good guy, and works real hard, so people jumped all over the sponsorship opportunity for him.
Kaila owns Bambu Hot Yoga Studio and also trains at Ali's gym with the two of them. (Kaila and Ali are best of friends.) Her yoga studio is right across the road from my work. I work nights, so I see her car parked out front all the time when I get off for the day. You can pretty much set your clock by her discipline. Earlier in the year I spontaneously wrote this about Kaila.
Bambu Hot Yoga in Nelson, BC bambuhotyoga.com/
Kaila and Ali are freakin' animals when you see one sense of the way they are. No matter the time of year, how nice or shitty it is out, you see Kaila's car parked in front of her studio somewhere around 5:00am...even in the deep dark side of winter all covered in ice and snow. Then you look online and Ali's postin' stuff for her business and returning messages at like 4:00 - 4:30am. It's totally amazing. Forget the crack of dawn...these two kick the crack of dawn's ass all up over the place!
Two seriously bad-ass people!
Kaila, Ali and Leo are all pretty serious into being bad-ass and living a really wholesome lifestyle. The three of them, maybe they do realize it, maybe they don’t, but they do leave an inspired impression in their wake. They’re all really freakin’ nice and just go for it! What’s not to dig about that?! I like people like that. I didn't mean for them to be on my mind, they just inadvertently carved their way in there from being awesome.
In my past I have been told too many times I have inspired people. I don’t always think I deserve that, but regardless, even those who inspire need to be inspired, and I like that I casually 1% know these people, and that they are around town. It’s good to have that kind of thing at the doorstep of ones mind when trying to push through a barrier.
As I am writing this I just caught a whiff of my wetsuits hanging in my closet. Ooooh that disgusting smell of neoprene rubber that I both hate and love so much! I can’t stand the smell, but I love what it represents. It often makes me think of a triathlon I was doing in Florida 10 years ago at Disney World. Before the race began, when it was still dark in the early morning, when I was in line to go to the bathroom the guy in front of me turned and said with a smile on his face, “Aaaaahhh…nothing like the smell of neoprene and port-a-shitters before a race!” If you’re a triathlon person you will understand what that means.
(By the way…at that Disney triathlon, there was a petting zoo between the water portion of the course and the transition area. Haha…That was a first!)
So, even though it is covered in fat, I have been building muscle in my body, but aside from casual time on a recumbent bike trainer in my home, I have not really been hitting cardio.
**On a side note...it is a really strange feeling having tightened and toned muscles that are buried in fat. It is a truly perplexing feeling.
I have tried to ride my bike, but the tough thing I found is that I have a big bulging hernia that hurts pretty badly. When I did get out on my bike for a chintzy flat 4km ride, my hernia went rock hard and was sticking really far out. It hurt really badly. The pain I can take, but I don’t want it to rupture ‘cause that’ll be trouble, so I kinda don’t know what to do for my cardio right now. I am trying to figure it out. I have figured out how to weave through the pain and my hernia to do some weight training, but the cardio aspect is a different animal, an equation I have yet to figure out. I am a persistent one though, so I will figure it out.
I am also getting back into intermittent fasting and casual consistent cleansing just to give my digestive system a break. Straight fasting is not something that is good for the make-up of my body. I have discussed that pretty thoroughly with numerous healers many years ago, but intermittent fasting seems ok. Cleansing is more suited to my body needs, and I have been well versed in that for sure.
A couple weeks ago I looked on the Triathlon BC website for the first time in 6 years. It was a spontaneous thing that I kinda found myself surprised that I was poking around there. There are a bunch of the same races, and also some new ones. I kinda have the itch to do that again, but the state of my body is so rough, and it has broken down so badly with a lot more permanent damage since I last raced that I don’t know what is realistic and what is not.
For now, all I really wanna do is cut this fuckin’ sludge off my body and be able to get this hernia cut outta me in the fall time with enough time to heal before I have to start shoveling snow…or else I will have to wait til spring for that.
Cracking the cardio code for my shitty body, and busting through all mental barriers pulling me down with such crushing weight is my real top priority, but maaaaan is that shit ever tough when I have the level of exhaustion flowing through me that I do.
How I walk around...living in a world between awake and asleep.
Last month I kept track of my sleeping hours during one of my work weeks. My entire duration of sleep over that week totaled 7½ hours. I get so tired that I feel like I am gonna throw up, so it does make it real tough to have that as the starting point to then push through paint throughout my whole body with a crazy hernia on top of it all. I guess this is just another one of those times where I can try and see what I’m made of to see how it all plays out.
June 2, 2018
**I didn't read through and edit this, I just wrote it quickly and posted at 4:00am.
Maaaan...it's been a long time since I have seen these guys play. They don't play very often, and I get out much less than that. My body is just too exhausted for doing shit anymore. I've long been to the point where it's even exhausting to have people visit me at my own home. I love seeing shows though...I mean...shit maaaaan, gruuuuvin' is the ultimate expression.
Since I'm such an idiot, I thought I was gonna miss the show 'cause I thought the advertising on The Dam's facecrack page said they were done at 10:30pm. Luckily, I am a fool 'cause that was not the case. I got there late 'cause I was hookin' Timmy up with an ultimate score of Jerry Garcia music...somethin' like 1600 Grateful Dead shows, a freakin' stack of Jerry solo shows from 1962 right through til about 1994 (I don't have any solo Jerry from his final year in '95), and a whack load of videos too.
It took me way longer to put all the shows together for him than I thought it would, so I was half expecting the show to be over when I got there. To my kind pleasure though, when I rolled up in the parking lot and got outta my van I heard an Around and Around blastin' outta the place. I was psyched!
I went in straight to the bar, ordered my standard Rye n' Ginger and went down to the floor and started gruuuuuvin'. I saw Ryan right away...only after he grabbed my shoulders from behind. (I had missile lock on the boys gettin' down.)
It's always great to see Ryan. I've known him for at least 10 years now and I have never not laughed around him. Ever! I guess we both entertain each other. When I was talking to him, Red rolled up to say hello. I hadn't seen him forever. I've known him for 15 years. Then it was Joe's sister and Em who I have known for equally as long (They're like family to me.)... Lookkit that...all these amazing people who I rarely ever see 'causea my penchant to never get out and go anywhere.
I did a bit of talking, but I'm not very good at that in bars. It's too loud and I don't like to yell. Even in my minimum conversation depth, I was mostly just focused on the Turkeys playing.
I couldn't figure out the last time I saw them. I have no freakin' clue. What I more thought about was the first time I ever saw them, which was pretty much exactly 19 years ago. It was at the Royal just after I moved here from the islands in late May or start of June 1999. I remember it crystal clear.
I love the Turkeys for what they are. I really do. Right back to the first time I ever saw them that time at the Royal, or just after that up the mountain in Ymir on Earle's property...which was also BC-DC's first show. (I was given some hash ice cream there. It was pretty stylin'.)
I saw them at Ymir Hall too some other time. I remember for nothing more than sitting in the back with Chad before the show, and Scully rolled in, immediately took the fire extinguisher off the wall and gave it a quick shot just for the fuck of it. Chad looked at me with a big smile, "Scully's here! That fuckin' guy's hilarious!
I've seen them many times in clusters, but not for a long time. They are freakin' fantastic in their raspy charm. That's the first impression they struck me with all those years ago and it has never changed.
I had a fatty smile on my face. Gruuuuvin' and drinkin' my Rye. Not bad maaaan...not too bad at all. They filled me with happiness. I love Grateful Dead things so much, so it was more than seeing them play and hearing the music they created that spoke to me, but also plainly what the music I love means to them as well. They're not doin' it for anything more than how much they love the music and I appreciate that on a very profound level. It doesn't matter if they raunch out a tune or crush it, it's all beautiful to me for that reason at the very least. Tonight had both the raunch and the beauty
I got there about half way through the second set. When Red told me they were gonna play three sets I was psyched!
I talked to Scully at set break, and went outside to hang out with Kenny, and met Red's partner, Megan. She was super nice. Em, Jeff and I talked about paddle boarding this summer...which'll be awesome! I also saw Ronnie, who didn't have a clue who I was until I did some mind jogging for him. I rode with he and Jeff to Vancouver in 2001 to see Steve Kimock. Eventually he remembered, and it kinda blew his mind as it was only 17 years ago. I even saw Elissa there when she came up from behind me to say hello.
It was great to see so many great people. How lucky am I to know all of them?!
For the actual show, although Franklin's Tower is onea the tunes tattooed on my arm, it wasn't the song that reeled me in the most tonight...that was Tennessee Jed. It actually made my face hurt from painting such a fatty smile on it. It was pure happiness. Of course I sang it my own way, which always makes me love it even more, but musically they carried it really well and I really appreciated it.
(I scribed my own version of Tennessee Jed while sitting in a park overlooking the mountains in Vancouver in 1997 when I was writing a letter to one of my tour friends from Minnesota. <Lisa Smeija> Instead of the lyrics, "Tennessee, Tennessee, there ain't no place I'd rather be, baby won't you carry me back to Tennessee," I sing, "Jerry G, Jerry G, there ain't no face I'd rather see, baby won't you carry me back to Jerry G." The same as, "You better head back to Tennessee Jed," I sing, "You better head back to Jerry G, Jed!")
Tennessee Jed was the song of the night for me, but in it's own special way, the song that spoke to me the most was the Hey Jude Finale out of Dear Mr. Fantasy.
Scully had some really nice riffs during Fantasy, but those first lines of that Jude Finale definitely walked that fine line of infused raunchiness which made it purely amazing. It just strung it together with this charm and made it shine. It was beautiful...I fuckin' loved it
Scully had everyone laughing (even the boys in the band) at the end of This Could Be The Last Time. Just when you thought Timmy was finishing it up, with a big fatty smile on his face, Scully started bustin' out the kind Bobby screams. It was freakin' hilarious. Fuckin' nice one bro!
The whole time I was there, I just stood gruuuuvin' with a fatty smile on my face. Sometimes my eyes would be open, sometimes they would be closed, and the whole time I was singin' to the tunes the boys were kickin' out.
After the show was done I went up on stage to talk to Timmy while he was packin' up. Gave him the Jerry packed hard drive, a hug, and I was on my way.
Bottom line: FUCK YEAH FOR THE TURKEYS!
I stopped into Pixie Candy on Baker Street to grab a surprise treat for a friend. While I was in there surrounded by all the nostalgic candy from when I was a kid, I got hit with an urge for Mackintosh's Toffee.
I haven't had that stuff since I was maybe 10 years old, so I found myself lost in a bit of anticipation wondering if they had some. Sure enough, they did! It was in a wrapper, unlike the way it used to come in a box. It made me happy to get some. I kept it in my pocket to try and keep it warm so it would be softer rather than rock hard. (I still remember those toffee rules from back in the day.)
Being that it's a little chilly outside right now, it was still hard when I got home. Even still, I tried a bite. Nope! Too hard, so I put it back in its package and into the kangaroo pouch in my hoody while I sat and wrote about my Valley Vittles burger. I forgot all about it.
When I was done writing I remembered it was there and was psyched to see if it was softened up a little more so I could try some for the first time since forever.
I had a little unexpected surprise when I pulled it outta my hoodie pouch...there was a dog bone stuck to it. Apparently I had Fennario treats in my pouch too! Not only one of her bones, but there was a tad bit of lint too
Undeterred I was still goin' for it. "Ain't no dog bone or silly-ass lint's gonna be stoppin' me!"
I bit into it. It was laborous! Even being warm and pliable, filled with a very nostalgic inducing flavour, it was like fast forming concrete around my teeth. They threw down an instant veto.
"You stupid fuck! You tryin' tuh kill us maaaan?! Don't eat that shit yuh dumb bastid!"
I didn't disagree. I sucked on the little piece I had that was glued to the back of my teeth, but it wouldn't dissolve or go away, so I had to pry it off so I could swallow it.
It was a nice try of an old memory, but the rest of it got tossed. I think my teeth would either break or get pulled out if I ate anymore regardless of its sweet smooth creaminess.
It left me with the opinion that candy like that is best for when you're a little kid before your adult teeth come in. Waste that shit on the throw-away teeth and then smarten up going forward in life
Brian Rosen at The Falls Music Lounge
February 10, 2018
Late last night I stumbled onto a video on youtube of Dave Grohl from the Foo Fighters telling the story of when he fell off stage at a show in Sweden. He tripped on some cables and when he hit the floor he dislocated his ankle on impact and broke a bone in his leg.
As it was only 8 minutes into the show he didn't wanna stop and bail on the fans. He never considered it, so he got his crew to get him back on stage and proceeded to finish the show while the doctor held his ankle in place. It turned out that the doctor was also a Foo Fighters fan and didn’t want the show to end either. It was total bad-ass and total rock star.
Here is the link to the interview: www.youtube.com/watch?v=q7tRZlFIxWo
I went into town unexpectedly tonight, so I stopped into work to give Erika a book I had stashed by my desk for her. “The Prophet” by Kahlil Gibran. When I went into The Falls to give it to her she was on the phone, so I just leaned on the bar hangin’ out.
I looked across the bar and saw Brian sitting there. Big smiles and hellos from both of us! He picked off the book right away, “The Prophet?!” he exclaimed.
I said, “You know The Prophet?!” With a bigger smile on his face he said, “I know The Prophet and I know your hoodie.” I laughed and went over to talk to him. He was just chillin’ havin’ a beer before he went on stage to play a show.
As I walked up I saw some crutches sitting beside him. “Are those yours?” He assured me that they were, so being naturally curious, I asked him what the deal was.
He injured his ankle 8 years ago, and about two years ago he had another surgery on it. A couple weeks ago he had another minor follow-up kinda surgery to clean up some bone spurs and such.
I saw his boot-cast, so I got to talkin’ about when I had one of those too…and what a pain in the ass it was for driving. We compared minor notes and laughed about that.
**Getting my bike refit so I could ride with cast after I cracked a bone in my foot during the 2008 Vancouver Marathon
Brian should be up and rollin’ by spring time, so it wasn’t too big of a deal more than just a minor pain in the ass to deal with. He was telling me the timing actually worked out well with the gigs he was playing as he didn’t have any drumming shows at the moment…no kick-drum to have to worry about.
All this of course had my mind rolling on the kind coincidence of seeing that video of Dave Grohl and his broken leg only the previous evening. I love those who throw down through the shit. That’s pretty much the thing I love the most.
We got into talking about music and what he was gonna play tonight. He said he was gonna play a buncha new stuff. I was intrigued and asked him if he had been writing songs. Brian said he had been writing some new tunes but that he was also gonna dive into some new covers.
I asked him what kind of covers. He said Bruce Springsteen from ‘The Ghost of Tom Joad,’ and ‘Nebraska’ albums. I was psyched ‘cause those are fuckin' great albums!
Brian said he had just watched a 4 hour concert from right after the ‘Born to Run’ album was released. He started watching it and got drawn right in and ended up watching the whole thing from start to finish...mesmerized by it.
"I can see why they call him the boss!"
That led us to talking about old great story telling songwriters, and how that is a seemingly lost art these days.
It was time for him to play, so as Brian was crutching up to the stage I thought again how it was excellent that I had just seen that video of Dave Grohl. I thought to myself, “Lookkit Bri rollin’ all bad-ass rock star like!” It made me giggle.
When he started playing I fell in love with his voice instantly again. It's so deep and rich. It lures you in, in a Johnny Cash kind of way. It’s fuckin’ fantastic
I had my laptop with me, so I fired it up while he was getting settled and sinking into his first song. I was all set and ready when Brian broke into his second song, “Give My Love to Rose” by Johnny Cash.
Well, shiiiit…doesn’t he just have the perfect voice for that! I was fuckin’ psyched! After that he played a Paul Simon tune and then a Johnny ‘Tiptoes’ Prine song.
Tiptoes made me smile as I do every time I hear one of his songs. You see, when I went to do a triathlon at Disney World in Orlando, Florida in September 2008 I saw back-to-back John Prine shows on the two nights before my race.
I was actually there to see Josh Ritter, who was opening for him. They were incredible shows. I got to talk with Josh both nights. He’s such a great guy. (Paul has him playing here at Sprit Bar later this month. I’m psyched as fuck!”)
During the first show, as his old high school gymnastics teacher was in the audience, Johnny Tiptoes told the story of his high school gymnastics career that was pretty hilarious…turns out he’s actually a musician and not a gymnast. Anyway, the moral of the hilarious story for me was that his teacher nicknamed him, ‘Tiptoes,’ and so I have called him Johnny Tiptoes ever since.
It only took two notes into the next song after the Johnny Tiptoes tune for me to pull my head up from my computer and look to the stage with a big shit eatin’ grin. When I did, Brian was already staring at me with a fatty smile on his face too. He was falling into “Seven Curses” by Bob Dylan
The mini back story to that is that on Christmas night, when we were at Tara and Greg’s place, I started talking to him about when he played that tune at The Falls in the summer. I told him, of all the songs I have seen him play that was the one!
Brian was psyched, but also half surprised…almost at me even knowing it. You see, little did he know the Dylan freak that I am. Everyone knows me as a Jerry Garcia juggernaut, but Bob Dylan is made out of pure magik that changed my life.
Seven Curses is one of his tunes that stopped the world around me while I first heard it. A lasting impression is saying so little towards the impact it struck me with. It’s so gawd damned powerful that I couldn’t even believe what I was hearing while I was sitting on the floor on the living room floor in our place on Saltspring Island in 1998. I can still see the moment and feel it riveting through me.
When Bri was expressing his impressed-ness at me remembering him playing that in the summer, I told him that I don’t forget things like that. That made him smile.
I mean, Dylan really is something special to me. It's hard to put into words what his writing and songs have meant to my world. Bob Dylan showed that you can change the world with two simple chords and a pen. Riveting!
In mid January I sent Brian an amazing show of Dylan at Carnegie hall in 1963 because of the Seven Curses he played. Bri was psyched.
I've not been shy about expressing my love for acoustic music, and especially what one person can do with great writing and a solo acoustic guitar. That's one of the infinite things Dylan gave to me.
Sitting here listening to Brian took me on a journey of fascination. The tones of his voice, the deep richness of it, and the simplicity of the music he brings out of his guitar is the kinda thing that pierces right through the heart into the soul...weaving its web into the fabric of who I am. The way Brian plays, and what he chooses to play is what makes up so much of who I am. I could watch him play every day.
Midway through his first set Brian broke into a “Goin' Down the Road Feelin' Bad," so, I looked up again and thought to myself, “Of course you’re playin’ this tune yuh bad-ass mutha fucka! Daaaaamn!”
The easy way to say express that is that this song was on my list of 5 choices for picking a custom licence plate for my van. GDTRFB. Although it is an old traditional song, it is the Grateful Dead's scorching version that I fell in love with. (Surprise, Surprise!)
**Jerry on fire back in the day!
It is always great to hear someone like Woody Guthrie play it, but it's Jerry's smokin' lines on fire that grabbed me. Just listen to the GDTRFB they fall into out of the Jam at the final Fillmore East show in New York City on April 29, 1971. That shit's on fire!
Brian's rendition though comes across in a hauntingly beautiful way when combined with that ever deep richness of his voice that I keep eluding to. Simple, sweet, and so gawd damned powerful.
It made me smile every time I lifted my head and saw Brian tapping his left foot with his casted right foot sitting still while he sat there in front of his crutches leaning against the window sill beside his guitar case behind him. It was fuckin’ great!
When Brian played a Townes Van Zandt song I started looking at the musician map he was drawing:
Townes Van Zandt
…and also diving into old traditional songs that Bob Dylan’s biggest influence, Woody Guthrie, played.
Brian was drawing this musical journey painted by legends beyond words. It was like the musical terms of walking down a hallway with paintings by Picasso, Van Gogh, Da Vinci, Monet and Michelangelo hanging in all their luster.
It told a story of his musical influence and knowledge. It was really something special to behold. The way he captures the essence of these icons is absolutely gorgeous too.
When you talk with him about music you can tell he is more than just playing their songs, or playing tribute to them, but honouring them in an astonishing way.
I drifted away in this thought when, of course, he just had to break into Dylan's, "Girl from the North Country.
I mean...c'moooon maaaan... That of course is from "The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan," which I have considered the greatest album ever made since the first time I heard it when I was barely 18 years old. Sure, “Dark Side of the Moon” and “Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band” did their thing, but the way this record influenced a generation during times of turmoil, change and revolution on several fronts... It was a foundation laying and changing moment in music history…from that time when Dylan was changing everything with those simple 2-3 chords and a pen.
Hearing Brian play this song finished off painting over 25 years of pure moving nostalgia for me!
The thing I see rolling through my mind while sitting here during the final song of his first set is a visual history of myself told through his guitar and sung from his rich voice. How do you really capture that into words? I'm not even sure despite all the words I have just written.
Thinking about it right now, the best way I can put it is like this…
Take a blind man down to the ocean during the most gorgeous of sunrises and give him the gift of being able to see for the first time, and then ask him to put it into words. Some things are just left unsaid. That’s the final impression Brian left me with tonight!
I’m so glad I stopped in to give Erika that book…a book that, in itself, has changed many lives and stuck with people for the rest of their days once they had first read it.
I didn’t have a camera with me, so I asked Erika to take a photo of Brian on stage for me.
What a fantastic surprise stopping into The Falls brought me tonight.
Since it is the Winter Solstice, and many people are getting colds, I felt this is kind of a good time to put this up here.
When I brought a fat jar of this amazing tea to work a couple of the girls were quite diggin' it. I love it! It tastes amazing and has really great healing properties. It's the only tea I drink, and have I been for 20 years.
-2 slices of Lemon
-Few little chunks of Ginger (Cut/peel off skin)
-1 Cinnamon Stick
-Apple Cider Vinegar (Optional)
**I didn't have any honey when I posted this.
Fill the jar you are gonna use with water so you know the proper amount. (I drink it by the jar as the size of a mug just doesn't cut it!) Pour water into a pot. Add the lemon, ginger, and cinnamon stick. Cover with lid. Bring to rolling boil. Turn off heat, but let steep for a bit on the still hot burner. Pour entire contents into the jar. Add honey to your liking and a tiny splash of cider vinegar if desired.
If you want to travel with it and keep it hot for longer, wrap the jar in a small towel. I figured this trick out when I used to go down to the ocean and sit on the beach watching the sunrise when I lived on the islands many years ago. I'd roll 'er up in a dish towel, put it in my pack, and break out the hot tea as I watched the beauty unfold.
Stuff Writin' About Kinda Guy
I am a simple guy who likes to dream of the impossible and go after it. I have found fun in writing about my journey as well as other things that inspire me too.