Thursday, September 27, 2012

10 Weeks and Counting

I'm now ten weeks into this bout of bronchitis and it doesn't want to go away.

This is very frustrating!

I've been to see my doctor once (he's been away since the end of last month) and I've gone to Urgent Care twice. After two or rounds of antibiotics and one round of steroids the bronchitis keeps bouncing back. On my last visit to Urgent Care I was prescribed two very strong inhalers. There is some concern that I may develop COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder), formerly referred to as emphysema. I'd like to avoid that if I can.

I have several immediate challenges:

  1. I have to find a way of overcoming the bronchitis. I'm at a loss as to how that can be done at this point - I suppose another trip to the doc at Urgent Care is necessary.
  2. I have to come up with an exercise routine that won't over tax my lungs, but still help me lose weight.
  3. I have to overcome my exhaustion so that I can refocus on my writing and research. The only way I can get a good enough sleep at night is to stop coughing. That, unfortunately, is not a matter of will; I'll need some help with that.
  4. I need sleep, exercise, lots of light,  and a good diet to stave off the encroaching depression.
I need prayer for God's healing; some help from medical professionals; and some self-discipline and perseverance to push through my exhaustion and depression to do all I can to exercise, and get my prayer, meditation, reading, research and writing activities back on track.

Psalm 121

A song of ascents.
I lift up my eyes to the mountains—
    where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord,
    the Maker of heaven and earth.
He will not let your foot slip—
    he who watches over you will not slumber;
indeed, he who watches over Israel
    will neither slumber nor sleep.
The Lord watches over you—
    the Lord is your shade at your right hand;
the sun will not harm you by day,
    nor the moon by night.
The Lord will keep you from all harm—
    he will watch over your life;
the Lord will watch over your coming and going
    both now and forevermore.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

23 1/2 Hours

Today was a tough day to get out of bed. I've been starting my day by going to the gym and the exertions of exercising seem to be rekindling the bronchitis I was battling for 6+ weeks over the summer. This morning I had to quit after only thirty minutes because the coughing started up again.

The 30 minute session reminded me of a video I saw about 3 months ago. I can accept that the limited workout is sufficient for today when I keep the video in mind.

Check it out.

Tomorrow is another day and I'll see how long I can go then. The lungs have to clear up at some point. Hopefully sooner, rather than later.

"You're not obligated to win. 
You're obligated to do the best you can
every day."
~  Marian Wright Edelman 

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Priority and Direction

I'm back to sifting through family history documents.

The challenge I face is there are so many of them. Heidi recently told me I need to select the ones I will use in my writings and set the other ones aside for now.

That is easier than it sounds. I know that there are details that I find intriguing and interesting but I also know that others find those same details of no more use than for a trivia game.

Personal letters, diaries, poetry collections, invoices, shipping documents, report cards, certificates, post cards, newspaper clippings, photos of very distant relatives, old passports; they're all fascinating because they are all windows to a family and societal culture that are part of my roots.

How do I pick and choose? How do I prioritize these items?

The documents are all in German. Do I translate them all? If not, how do I choose which ones to translate?

Where will I find the time?

When it comes to putting the family history together, what do I write about? Should I write a lineal narrative that can't possibly include all the available information? Or should I put a collection of stories together? I prefer to write a collection of stories, and have already begun to do so, but how do I organize them?

I could put them in some kind of chronological order but I'm actually considering a collection of stories organized around the primary character in the story. To me that makes sense because it offers the opportunity of describing the person more than just recording what happened. It opens the door for anecdotal information, personal impressions, and recollections.

I enjoy reading narrative history books. Will writing a narrative history be as enjoyable? Will the readers care?

"Why is it that our memory is good enough
 to retain the least triviality that happens to us, 
and yet not good enough to 
recollect how often we have told it to the same person?"
~ Francois de La Rochefoucauld

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

A New Routine

Labour Day has come and gone - now the fall routine (such as it is) begins. My activity calendar will look a little different from here on in.

Over the past weeks I've heard my 82 year old mother complaining about how bad the streets and sidewalks are in our city. Despite her mobility challenges she likes to get out every day to walk for an hour or so. The horrid conditions of our streets and sidewalks make it extremely difficult and unsafe for her to go for her walks. There were a couple of instances where she thought she was going to fall because the wheels of her walker got caught in cracks and holes.

Last Friday I suggested to Heidi that we invite my mother to join us as our guest at the fitness center we use. So Saturday morning we took her along and she went for an hour long walk around the track. She loved it! The track is level and cushioned making it so much easier for her. She was very enthusiastic when she talked about her experience with my siblings the rest of the weekend.

I contacted all my siblings and asked them what they thought about giving her a one-year membership as a birthday/early Christmas gift. Everyone agreed to pitch in. On the suggestion of one of my siblings I extended an invitation to our kids and our adult nieces and nephew to participate in this gift giving and I received many immediate and enthusiastic responses.

This morning I signed my mom up at the gym. Now I have an extra push to get to the gym and work out because I've committed myself to taking her there every morning. I'm glad of the push because I need to catch up to my wife in losing weight and getting in better shape. Heidi has lost over 60 lbs since the beginning of Feb, 2012. I've got a lot of work to do.

So the focus this fall and winter is to exercise more, lose weight, get healthier, and also continue to work on my writing projects. That, and my other daily activities (Bible reading, meditation, prayer, household chores) should keep me from getting bored. Somewhere in there I need to find time for all the reading I like to do too.

The exercise will also help stave off my usual seasonal descent into depression. I also have to be aware that too much stimulation puts me at risk of slipping towards the manic side of my Bi-Polar Disorder affliction.

Keeping a balance - not one of my strengths. We'll see how it goes.

"There comes a time in the affairs of man 
when he must take the bull by the tail 
and face the situation."
~ W. C. Fields

Saturday, September 1, 2012

British History with a Twist

Lora knows I like to read and that my reading interests lie in many genres. She purchased a book for me (while she was in the UK) that she knew I would like.

It combines history and satire. I love it!

Here's a short excerpt:

"As a piece of engineering, Stonehenge is an incredible achievement and there is something rather symmetrical about Microsoft providing a photo of Stonehenge as a standard wallpaper for the twenty-first-century computer screen. No one knows quite why it was built, but it seems sensible to presume that some ancient ceremony took place there every year, hopefully slightly more meaningful than today's annual beating up of New Age travelers by the local riot police. The sheer scale of the monument and the logistics that must have been involved in constructing it tell us something of the society that built it. We know that they followed the movement of the stars and the planets, the presumption being that they worshiped the sun, which as religions go, seems a bit "first base", but then it was a long time ago. In fact the site was of religious significance for far longer than Christianity or Islam have existed. It is the temple of a civilization about which we know very little and so tend to presume was very simplistic, but they must have had a fairly advanced social structure; in addition to a good number of labourers or slaves they would have needed managers, engineers, surveyors and designers. Basically they must have had a middle class. How Stonehenge managed to get planning permission with all those objections from the "friends of Salisbury Plain" is just another of its ancient mysteries."

It's going to be a challenge for me to be productive until I finish reading this tome.  I'm making very slow progress because I find myself reading bits and pieces of the book over and over again. The most amusing parts of this book for me are the frequent pokes at today's western culture and society.

I wonder if I can locate other books by John O'Farrell?

"History is the sum total
of things that could have been avoided."
~ Konrad Adenauer