Archive for health

Covid strikes – antivax family member

Posted in family, health with tags , on September 19, 2021 by jefferyrn

It has been a while since I have provided any updates. Family emergencies and a lack of interest in blogging for a while is the cause. My brother-in-law is in the hospital with Covid-19.  He was put on a ventilator today.  The outlook is bleak.  He has been in the hospital for almost 14 days.  He and my sister are not vaccinated.

It is very discouraging.  My sister can not visit him in the hospital because she is not vaccinated.  She still refuses to get vaccinated even in the middle of this tragedy.  I have had long conversations and texts    back and forth with her and my mother.  In fact, I am out of town now on my way to visit my mother for her 85th birthday.

Suddenly, my problems seem very small.  Rick and I are both vaccinated.  We are triple vaccinated.  We got boosters the beginning of the month.  My mother is triple vaccinated too.  We can’t convince my sister to even get one shot.

My mother wanted me to stop by my sisters and take her to the doctors to get her vaccination.  I told her I can’t force her to do it.  Plus she is still in quarantine and could infect me.  Yes even vaccinated people can get sick.  I am not going to risk my life because she is stupid. I told her I would pay for an uber or a taxi to get her to the clinic.  She has friends that could drive her there too.   A mother will do anything for her child, even a stupid one.  I told her not to go down there either.  It is not worth the risk.

So tomorrow, I meet with my mother in person and I am sure this will be on the agenda.  I am so mad at my sister and yet some of her texts make me cry.   He is not coming home he tells her over the phone.  It is like a good bye.  She is devastated.  I tried to explain to my mother that this is all my sister is thinking about.  She is not thinking about her own health.  She is think about losing a husband. She is thinking about being alone.  She is scared. She is defiant. She is a fool.  She is my sister and I love her.



Alternate measurements of success

Posted in random with tags , , on August 18, 2021 by jefferyrn

Weight is not the only measurement of progress.  I have been on a plateau for several weeks.  Actually, that is the definition of a plateau, no weight loss for 2 or more weeks.  Noom has taught me how to deal with these plateaus and not be too terribly discouraged.  One of those tools is to measure other forms of progress.

Men's Big Size (Plus Size)
Measurements for a big man.

I have been taking measurements (reluctantly).  I hadn’t done a new set until yesterday.  Low and behold, I have lost 7 inches from my belly.  Amazing.  This is since I started recording these measurements in April.  4 inches since my last measurement on June 1st.  This is the measurement I am wanting to shrink the most.  I have taken other measurements and to be sure they are getting smaller too.

Ring of Danger: Your Belly Fat | Live Science
This not me but does illustrate what I am talking about.

Something to point out is that I don’t wear my pants at this widest part of my body.  If I did there would be a lot of fabric and every time I breathe out my pants would fall to the ground.  So, like most men built this way we wear our pant under our bellies.  My waist if you want to call this smaller location that has also shrunk by one inch.

Also, maybe this is more then you want to know but, belt buckles have always been an issue.  I have a black and blue mark where the buckle digs into my gut.  The doctor told me to move the buckle to the side.  I have been doing that for years.   Today I am back in front.  And it doesn’t seem to hurt.  Progress indeed.

Of course, rock hard ads is the ultimate goal, but at this point I am happy with less flab. Those muscles are under their some place waiting for their first showing. Even when I was a young man I didn’t have abs. Skinny but no abs. Actually it wasn’t even a thing people strived for like they do now.

Ahh haha My friend Matus, where are your clothes? 😱 | Hot dudes, Men  beach, Male models
The dream. Probably not happening. For one thing I am only 5′ 10″ haha.

So far, I am down 20 lbs. on Noom.    This is a little shy of my goal which would be 1.25 pounds a week.  I have lost not quite a pound a week.  But I am not discouraged.  As I mentioned, I am on a plateau.  Once I get off this thing I hope to catch up to my goal a little bit. 

There are many things to try to get going again.  Sometimes you need to change up your meals.  Maybe even eat more.  Maybe exercise more.  Any change can break the spell.  I have changed my breakfast and we shall see if this make a difference.  I have also gotten started again on my circuit training videos.  Wish me luck.

Cry uncle

Posted in family, health with tags , on July 29, 2021 by jefferyrn

I try not to be too political in my writings, but I need to be just a little bit today.  My uncle and his family all came down with Covid after attending a church sponsored summer camp.  They are not vaccinated because, in part at least, they are loyal Trump followers and they are fundamentalist Christians.   Oh my.  Not friends of Dorothy if you know what I mean and I am sure you do.

Perhaps, you might think I am hasty to judge these family members, but let me tell you they have been judging me for years.  When my uncle first found out about me being gay, he bombarded me with email about how I was a sinner.  Suggested places I could go to get help.  It was ridiculous.  I was direct with him and told him to stop “spamming me”.   He complied.  Since that time I only hear from him through other relatives.

He is my dad’s youngest brother.  The last survivor now.  When he was a teenager he came to stay with us for the summer.  He is 10 years older than me.  It was fun.  He was a fun teenager. Then he came to visit again with his new bride.  My aunt Janice.  She is very nice too.  But she changed him or maybe she just brought out what we were not seeing.  Either way he is different. 

They couldn’t have children so they adopted.  An admirable event.  They took on three girls from an abused home.  I won’t go into the details of all that here.  Suffice to say the oldest girl was rebellious and didn’t conform to my uncle’s strict discipline.  The youngest half conformed.  The middle girl is his perfect child.  She and her husband also got covid at this church camp, as well as their children.

So that is the family history.  The tragic part is that my uncle is now in the hospital.  His condition has got pretty bad according to my mother.  Despite our differences, he is a blood relative and I have fond memories of him.  I am very disappointed that they chose not to be vaccinated.  He was a college professor/administrator before he retired.  Well educated.  Or at least one would think.  But this “political” debate against science fits right into his fundamentalist beliefs.  God will take care of him.  That part I believe too.  So pray for my uncle John and all those who have been afflicted in this horrible pandemic.  If you don’t believe in god, that’s okay too.  Just hope for the best possible outcome.  I believe our collective conscience has the power to heal with or without a god.

Language of love

Posted in health, weight loss with tags , on June 30, 2021 by jefferyrn

Today is a good day.  I had my follow-up with the cardiologist yesterday and everything is hunky dory.  We closed on our new place in Palm Desert yesterday as well.  We are packing up to get out of Dodge (Reno) on the 5th of July. There are still things going on with the escrow on our sale of this place.  Inspections and repairs, oh my.  But I am trying to not let those things spoil my mood about the good stuff that is happening.

So what is happening with Noom during all of this excitement?  I am still losing weight and on track with my goals.  I have to keep site of where I started and where I am going.  I have lost 17 pounds so far on Noom.  I have been at this transformation since the end of February. That is an average of 4.25 pounds a month.  Slow but steady and I have learned a lot about myself and why I eat.  That’s the difference here.  It is not a diet.  It is a behavior modification.  A change in the mindset. Hopefully a long lasting change in how I see food.  And some of this spills over into the rest of my life.

For example, we talk about the concept of love.  I am sure some of you might already know this but there are 5 basic ways people show and appreciate one another.  It turns out I am a person who needs praise to feel loved.  Studying the other four types has helped me appreciate others and understand that the things they are doing are out of love.

Developed by Dr. Gary Chapman, an author and counselor, the Five Love Languages are:

So my need for praise translates to “words of affirmation”.  This seems pretty basic.  I took a quiz that came back with this result. 

Quality time means you feel the love when you are doing things together.  Physical touch can be a hug or a back rub or yes even doing the nasty.  Acts of service are things like doing chores without being asked to lighten the burden on another person, or doing something special for them.  Gifts seem obvious too, but don’t think of this a being a “material girl”.  For some people generosity just sparks for them either as the giver or the receiver.  Think grandma’s cookies, or auntie’s pies.  We sometimes call these people food pushers, but it really is a form of affection and love.

Love this coffee analogy

So where does this fit in with our relationship to food?  It helps us see these people in a different light and makes us better able to respond to them in a less offensive way.  We graciously accept grandma’s cookies.  We may even eat one.  But there are tools or physic tricks to help us through these situations.

If it’s your grandmother, let her slide.  But if it is a co-worker, you can explain to them how it makes you feel.“ I know you went to a lot of trouble to make these cookies….but it makes me feel like you are not supporting me in my weight loss goal.”  Okay so I may not have the best word here but you get the idea.  The key is not of offend them and give them an outlet for their love.  Ask them to try a new “healthy” restaurant or appeal to their gift giver and suggest a more appropriate treat, whatever that may be, that you both enjoy.

We had this pizza in Savanah. While it may not seem like a good idea, it was delicious and a gut ache 😋

I have only touched on the gift giver here, because it is easier to relate that one to food.  But all these love techniques come into play with how we relate to the people in our lives.  It’s the total picture that is ultimately being worked on, not just our relationship to food.  I encourage you to look into this and make a change for the better.

The one I need to work on is the physical touch.  My partner nicknamed me “Touch me not”.  But that could be a whole other post, maybe two.

More positive thoughts

Posted in health with tags on June 22, 2021 by jefferyrn

So much is happening that is stressful and time consuming.  But I am still managing to keep it together.  Noom has helped me deal with a lot of the stress.  It is not just a weight loss program.  If you follow the advice it can be life changing.  And that is exactly what I intend to do.  Turn my life into a more positive and pleasant experience.  It’s a mindset.  I am getting there but the journey is ongoing.


As part of that goal, I need to share good information.  Positive things that have happened to me recently include getting a new place in Palm Desert California, selling our place in Reno Nevada, being allowed to work remotely and postpone actual retirement for a year and a half, getting all the result in from my cardiologists.  I do not need any surgery, just continue with my medications and check in once a year.

Those are just the major things that have been positive.  I am also thankful to my mother for helping me deal with some of the stress of buying and selling a home.  She is a realtor and can talk me down off the ledge. I am thankful for my co-workers who have encouraged me in everything I do, from weight loss to moving, to dealing with relationship stress. They have been my sounding board.

My husband has also been encouraging.  He makes me healthy meals.  He takes care of business. He stays calm even when I am stressed out over work, health or whatever.  I know I have given him a lot of reasons to be mad at me, but we take a few deep breaths, explain (not make excuses) and apologize for our behavior and move on.

There are a lot of positive things in my life. That should always be the focus.  Don’t let the negative things take control.  With a few adjustments the negative things can become positive. We had a setback on the close of escrow because my retirement funds were delayed.  But as it turned out the sellers needed more time too.  It gave us more time to get organized for the move as well.

It is not a perfect process, changing negativity into positivity.  Sometimes fate seems to have a lot to do with it.  Sometimes you need to give into the reality.  That acceptance can be a positive experience.  I have been a pessimistic negative person for over 60 years.  Change is not easy. But I am not throwing in the towel.  It can be done.


Once I was 11 years old

Posted in family, health with tags , on June 21, 2021 by jefferyrn

Picture it.  Montclair, California.  June 1971.  We were at the Bowlium.  My dad bowled an almost perfect game, 299.  He was so proud of that event that he commemorated it with a gold ring.  It has a sapphire stone with gold numbers embossed on the top,  299.  It was the one thing I asked my mother for when he died, two years ago.  Almost perfect.  That was my dad’s lifetime motto, “close enough for all practical purposes.”

The Bowlium. I remember we used to climb up on that sign until the Manger chased us down.

If he were here telling the story, he would remind me what that 11 year old boy said,  “Ah, dad you blew it.”  I honestly only remember my father telling me that’s what I said.  But I do remember that summer night.  My mother sent me with dad to watch his bowling league play.  Of course, I wanted to go because dad would give me quarters for the arcade games.  You could get one game for a dime or three for a quarter.

I don’t know how it is these days but back then when someone even approached a perfect game the whole alley stopped to watch.  Remember this was one of bowling’s heydays so there would have been 36 lanes with 5 man teams on each plus spectators and employees. That is quite an audience.  All eyes on my dad.  That last ten pin wobbled but it just didn’t go down.  I felt like maybe if the others were still playing that extra vibration in the building might have knocked it over.  But there it was standing in defiance.

It truly was a life lesson for me.  My dad was still so proud of his achievement.  He even justified it by saying, “Anyone can bowl a perfect game, but leaving that last pin is a rare accomplishment.”  He consider himself to be a little bit unique.  All the names of the bowler went up on plaques around the rim of bowling alley with their scores that either were perfect games or near perfect.  And sure enough he was correct, there were a lot of 300 bowlers, a few 298’s (which means they left a spit) but there was only one 299 and that was dad. There was also the boasting rights for the rest of his league play.  “Remember that night Jim almost bowled a perfect game?”

What is the lesson you might be asking?  You should always strive for perfection, but when you miss the mark don’t forget what you have already accomplished. My dad was not a perfect man.  But he was near perfect and he always had that goal in mind.

I look down at this ring on my finger.  It actually fits me now that I have lost some weight.  I have been working toward a goal.  Sometimes I don’t quite hit the mark.  I gain a little.  I don’t exercise.  I forget to do the lessons on Noom.  I eat too much. But I still have that goal in mind and I never give up.

Rest in peace father and know that I will always strive to make you proud.  Love Jeff.  (Okay now I am crying.  Time to post this thing.)

Getting real

Posted in health with tags , on May 24, 2021 by jefferyrn

I want to share a story.  It has nothing to do with weight loss or health.  Well, it sort of has to do with relationship health.  In Noom, we are learning to apply our psychic tricks to every part of our life, not just our food choices.  I thought this story would be relatable.

We made an appointment to go to the DMV to get our Real IDs.  The deadline to get these has moved out to May of 2023, but we made this appointment several months ago.  In Nevada, you go online to make your appointments.  There is not a choice for Real ID, just for New Drivers License.  The instructions say to pick the closest one to what you are wanting.  So we made the appointment back in February.

Flash forward to last week.  The day to go into the DMV has arrived.  My husband gets a text reminding him of the appointment and a link to a checklist that tells you what you need to bring in to the office:

A utility bill or credit card statement that has your name and address on it.

A recent check stub.

Your social security card.

Your old License.

We gather all these papers together the night before the appointment.  I say, “Don’t we need our passports.”  My husband says, “No, it is not on the list. It says two of the following.” And he proceeds to show me the list he received on his phone.  It didn’t sound right to me but he was insistent.  This was his thing.  He setup the appointment and I wasn’t in the mood to argue.

The next morning as we head out the driveway of our complex, I say, “Are you sure we don’t need our Passports or Birth Certificates?”  He stops the car and says, “Do you want to go back and get them?”  His tone was that of anger.  Why was I questioning him?  I said, “No, let’s just go.”  I tried to stay calm.

The DMV had moved to a new location all the way across town in an area known as South Meadows.  I tried to pull up a map but google still showed the old location.  I search for an article about the opening day and got the correct address to put into google.  We were on our way.

You can probably tell where this story is going, but sit tight and we will get there.  We arrived and the DMV and there was a long line outside the building.  The facility hadn’t opened yet.  One line was for walk-ins and the other was for appointments.  We checked in and waiting for them to open the doors.

The doors finally opened and we proceeded to wrap around in one of those fun line mazes.  I got called to the counter first.  My husband was in line behind me.  The information person asked me what I was there for and I told him a new ID.  He said, “Well, you have a license.  It works the same as and ID. They will punch holes in your license are you sure that is what you want?”  I said, “ No, I want that new ID.”  I couldn’t think of the name of it.  Finally, it clicked and the clerk said, “Oh, you want a Real ID.”  He pushed me a piece of paper that listed all the things needed to get a Real ID and asked if I had them.  And low and behold what was on that list?  A passport or a birth certificate is required.  I explain to the clerk that I was unprepared.  He gave me a pass to come back later in the day.

My husband went to the counter next and argued with the guy.  Said he in the same boat as me.  The clerk shooed him away. Saying he would have to come back.  My husband asked for a pass like I got.  The man said as long as you return in an hour you are good to go.

The race was on to get back home and get our passports and return to the DMV.  I didn’t say I told you so.  I let him fume all the way home.  I told him to go inside and get the passports because he knew right where they were in the safe.  We made it back to the DMV with 15 minutes to spare.   I was doing my breathing exercises all the way there trying to stay calm and not argue with him.

It was a success.  We turned in our paperwork, got our pictures taken, paid our fees and left.  Again I didn’t say I told you so.  I let him reason it out for himself.  He realized what had happened was that the list he was given was not for a Real ID but for a regular license, because that was the only appointment we could make.  I tried telling him this too, but he had to get there on his own.

So I was right.  He was wrong.  The world didn’t come to an end.  Thank you Noom for giving me some insight into what I have been doing wrong for years.  I can win an argument without even really arguing.  Imagine that if you can, cause it is a rare day in May for me.

Sleeping better?

Posted in health, weight loss with tags , on April 27, 2021 by jefferyrn
The pink supermoon. Caught this picture last night with my cell phone. I can’t believe it myself!

Sleep therapy has commenced.   I have been using my cpap machine for 4 days now.  At first it seemed strange.  Every time I would put on the mask I envision Anthony Hopkins and had a strange craving for fava beans.  I have it down now.  I get up to pee, of course, and that is my opportunity disconnect, take the mask off, and adjust the straps.  The machine is set for a strength of 10.  But I have a modern version that has a ramp button.  It starts at 4 so I can fall asleep before it reaches 10.  I know this doesn’t make sense to non-users but imagine being in high wind verses a gentle breeze.  The wind is being blown directly into your mouth and nose.  It is a little jarring at first.  But then you get into the rhythm and everything is fine.  My husband says he can’t hear anything.  Even better.

The dream machine.
The mask – I added the scary teeth. It looks more menacing.

It is too soon for me to realize if I am feeling more rested, especially since I had a software upgrade to do at work over the weekend.  All that time on the computer wears me out and makes it hard for me to see straight.  Of course, I never see straight.  I have noticed my dreams are more vivid and real.  So something is happening.  And my husband had not tried to smother me or kicked me for snoring too loud.  I was worried about the hose and how I would turn over.  The hose swivels, but believe it or not I don’t toss and turn anymore.  I sleep on my side.  Each pee break I switch sides.  I don’t seem to be as hot anymore either.  Actually, I get cold and pull up the covers.

My machine is also a humidifier.  The lady at the equipment pickup/fitting place said that she goes through a tank every three days.  But since I am a mouth breather I go through almost a whole tank every night.   It uses distilled water.  Remember that stuff we used to put in irons.  After some searching I found it at the grocery store, took three different stops.  I don’t think irons require it anymore, but it seems everyone has a cpap.

Enough about this boring thing I call my “smog mask”.   We head over the hill to our son’s house in Sacramento on Sunday.  Everyone is properly vaccinated and we get to see the granddaughter and our great grandson. (Damn I am old.)  From there it is on to Morro Bay to visit my mother.  Sister and brother in-law are barred from the visit.  One reason is because they refuse to get vaccinated and the other is because we argue and it ruins my visit with mom.

Then comes the real fun.  We are going to Palm Springs for our anniversary and Ricky’s birthday.  We are also going condo shopping.  I am so ready to retire and move there permanently.  One of the oncologists I work for just bought a house there with his husband.  It sits in a canyon high above the rest of us peons, which I suspect is the reason he chose it.  They call it a fixer upper/teardown.  It is actually a 1.8 million dollar estate that used to be an underground casino.  It was at the end of a canyon and high up so they could see if anyone was coming and close up shop before they got caught.  I want to drive up there and leave a note on his door, “Jeff was here.  Do you need help with your Wi-Fi install?” A girl can dream.



Posted in health, weight loss with tags on April 22, 2021 by jefferyrn

When I returned to work last Monday a Christmas gift was still on my desk.  It was a water mug filled with Hershey kisses. I dumped them in a bowl to use the cup and covered them with tangerines.  I have not eaten any of the candy. 

The cup.

Despite it being nearly 5 months old the aroma of chocolate is tempting.

The bowl of temptation

In MOBE news, I talked to the pharmacist and she is going to make some recommendations to my primary care physician.

It was a good talk. She gave me some advice about supplements. The ones I had considered she said not to take as they could have adverse effects for a diabetic.* I asked what she could recommend for weight loss and she told me what I already knew, there is no magic pill.

*Don’t believe those Goli commercials. Neither the ashwagandha (kind of fun to say) or the apple cider vinegar have been scientifically prove to do much for weight loss. And for me they could cause extremely low blood sugar. Not a fun thing.

MOBE jumbo and Meditation

Posted in health with tags on April 21, 2021 by jefferyrn

I had my MOBE call on Friday.  The “guide” Joe was very nice. There are four pathways he is supposed to guide me down:  Eat, Sleep, Move and Smile.  We went over the basic intro to the program and this Friday we are going to pick a path to start on and set some goals.  He also set me up with a pharmacist appointment today.  We will go over my medications and talk about supplements and the pros and cons, interactions, etc. 

I am sure you can guess what these path names represent but I will spell it out for you.  It is not the Ellen Show.  Eat is for your diet.  Nutrition and balance.  Weight loss approaches.  Sleep is exactly that, how to improve on your sleeping.  I am getting a CPAP on Friday so that is taken care of for now.  Move is of course that dirty word exercise.  I am doing circuit training videos three times a week.  Smile is all about stress.  This may be the one we discuss the most.  It is covered by Noom as well.  In fact we are working on that one this week.


Mediation is on the agenda for dealing with stress. We are not talking about crossing your legs for an hour and humming. It’s only 5 minutes and leg crossing is optional.  So is the humming.  Just take five minute to close your eyes and be with your thoughts.  Next step is to try and control what those thoughts are about.  There are three options given in the course.

First you can try being more aware of your senses.  What do you smell?  What do you hear? What do you see (with your imagination since your eyes are closed)? What is the temperature of the room? of your body? What’s for dinner and how will that taste? What are you thinking about? How do you feel emotionally?  Repeat for 5 minutes.

What I see with my eyes closed.

The second method involves breathing. Inhale to the count of 4.  Exhale to the count of 4.  Repeat for 5 minutes.

The last method is similar but it is called the counting method.  Inhale and exhale.  Count 1.  Inhale and exhale. Count 2.  Continue counting for 5 minutes.

“Meditation is a detour you can take to break out of the neural pathways that your mind normally takes when you experience stress. It immediately helps you feel calmer , more centered, more objective, in tune with your body and in touch with your feelings.  This will help you focus and reduce your stress.”

I just needed a diversion and this is hot.

That’s how it is advertised.  I am going to try one of these methods at 3 pm today and let you know.  I don’t drink much anymore so it’s worth a shot (pun intended).