Posts Tagged ‘ goals ’

Malin Bjork

There I was: surfing YouTube, wanting some Christmas Music, when I noticed in the right-hand column “My Fitness Journey” by MalinBjork. Of course I clicked on it. Malin told the story of how she got back in shape after her pregnancy. With our Twins approaching five months old, it is clear my wife needs help regaining her figure, and I need help understanding if she could “go home again.” (My wife holds a Black Belt in Tae Kwon Do, so you can imagine her level of fitness when I met her.)


Well, obviously, my wife and Malin are not the same woman, but genes aside, might it be possible for someone – anyone – to regain a HEALTHY weight after pregnancy. I have known a few woman than have accomplished this; but mostly, the women I know (whether they have experienced a pregnancy, or not, gain weight (which I equate with losing health) – and I do mean considerable poundage – with age. And yes, men do, too. I know I have (without the excuse of ever having been pregnant).


But, what struck me was not that Malin did a superb job of regaining her pre-pregnancy physique, or that it took two years, but that she did it at all. I’ve never met Malin, but my own struggle with trying to maintain some semblance of health (which, to a great extent, can be measured on typical bathroom scales) leads me to believe that, while it is difficult to “battle the bulge,” it is not impossible.


My good friend Scooby1961 is probably in the same camp. (Full Disclosure: Scooby and I have never met or conversed, but I have been an avid YouTube follower of his – and sometime exercise follower – for years. What he says just makes sense to me; I’d like to think that if we did meet, we could be friends.) In one of his videos he says that if you eat donuts, you’ll look like a donut; and, if you eat like the average American, you’ll look like the average American. Right on both counts. He says food is fuel – something I could never say around my brother (a devout foodie).


Now, I’m a lot older than either Malin or Scooby, and it’s been years since I could say I was “physically active,” and there’s no way I could ever get to their level of body building (nor, honestly, do I want to). But, neither do they look like the average American (Malin is a Swede, Scooby is apparently a Southern Californian – one of the few with his head screwed on straight) – and that is what I am after. And, I just gotta believe that being physically active (and I don’t mean a couple of rounds of golf in the summer) and eating right (the right stuff, the right amounts) are just the right things to do. A sound mind in a sound body, eh?


However, the Twins are approaching five months old and nearly 18 pounds apiece. If I am to be able to play with them (i.e., interact), I am going to have to get serious about getting in shape for them. I find them to be a lot of fun, and I hope I can be a lot of fun for them (which will increase the bond). I also hope that I will be around for awhile – a long while, for their sakes.


So, if this is not too early for New Year’s Resolutions (how about “long term life goals”?), I do hereby resolve (sounds better using words normal folks would never use, doesn’t it) to lose five kilos (which would bring me down to 80kg, or about 175lbs) next year, thru diet and exercise. Sadly, I anticipate being stuck in a job that requires 12-hour shifts with an hour to an hour and a half on each end commuting – this is a “seven days on / seven days off” thing. Which means for seven days I don’t have time to exercise, and the other seven days I don’t have the energy to exercise.


It also means I have to give up wine. While many people say that “a calorie is a calorie,” I subscribe to Dr Robert Lustig’s view that the liver treats alcohol differently than other stuff. Scooby says to not drink your calories, and there is nothing that a glass of red wine will do for your heart that other foods and more exercise won’t also do (after years of developing a taste for wine – face it: alcohol is not good for the body – it will take a pretty firm effort to stay away from it). In the final analysis, what do I want for my Twins?


(Malin Bjork’s YouTube videos are in English, but her own website, is in Swedish. Both Scooby and Dr Lustig converse in only English.  All three have YouTube videos, too.)



Stray cats and dogs

Lots of people collect ‘em. I don’t. I collect books. But, like mongrels, the books on my shelves are not collectors’ items or first editions. There are some interesting titles (I think); but few people would give my books a second glance. In fact, few people have, tho most of my 1,000 volumes on are shelves in the living room. Opposite the front door. You can’t miss ‘em.

My point is this: you can tell who loves cats and dogs, either by the smell, or the bark, or the hair (or, is it fur? I can never remember). As my little brother might say, “Love my dog, love me” (or, do I have that backwards?). He might say it, but I won’t. I used to be ok with pets – just, “ok” – really ambivalent; didn’t much care one way or the other. Until I bought a house next door to a woman who owns about a dozen football dogs (little yappy things, the kind of dog I’d dearly love to kick), boards and grooms others (some, real dogs). When I worked nights, the little darlings often played in her backyard (while she stayed inside) and kept me company. Yet another reason why discharging firearms in the city is not permitted.

So, there’s Levi, inviting Jesus over to his house for dinner. I can imagine him then thinking something along the lines of, “Oops! I hope He’s not offended by the mess. When was the last time the wife cleaned? Maybe He’ll come tomorrow?” I’m thinking, “No such luck.” Jesus probably said, “What are we waiting for?” What would Jesus have noticed upon walking in the front door of Levi’s house? What would be His first impression upon entering yours?

In reading that passage of Levi’s invitation, I had the thot: “What if Jesus was at my door, right now?” I’d hear the knocking (I disabled the doorbell when I worked nights), I’d go open the door, I’d recognize Him immediately, and I’d blurt out, “Jesus Christ.” Maybe He’d smile (‘cause He knew that was coming), Maybe He’d make some quip like, “I certainly hope so.” I mean, Jesus has a sense of humor, right? I know His Father does, so “like father, like son,” right?

Anyway, He couldn’t help but notice the wall of books. He might think, “This guys sure loves books,” or maybe a more cynical, “I wonder if he’s read even half these things?” ‘Course, He already knows, so I guess this would be a rhetorical question? Is that a rhetorical question?

A better question is: “Are you living your life so that (a), if (GOD forbid, eh?) Jesus came over for dinner tonight (think of Sidney Poitier, if that helps) you could – in any way – be the least little bit comfortable; or (b) you’d actually like what you might find in Heaven?” Think about the latter possibility: what, exactly would you do if the streets of Heaven were, indeed, paved with gold? Not working? How about singing “Hallelujah” for all eternity (I was gonna say “all day, every day,” but of course, time has no meaning in Heaven). Maybe trying to make a joyful noise on Sunday mornings would be a good warm-up?

I see a lot of debate about whether or not there is a Hell, or if it’s populated. Logically, it makes perfect sense that there is nobody in Hell: of course GOD would make something that is absolutely worthless. And, since I am trying to prepare for that other eventuality (I accept that I haven’t filed my taxes yet), I’m very curious about what I read in the Owner’s Manual (as a very important man once described it to me – he was also a Disciple of Christ minister). I’m not finding much hope at all for the idea that there is no Hell, that Jesus won’t judge after all (maybe just wink-wink and a nod of the head?), and maybe being a goat is not just being the butt of some joke (or, maybe it is?). How else to read Matthew 25:41-46?

So, not much comfort in the concept that Jesus is my “Get out Jail Free Card.” No, I’m not thinking I can do much to guarantee that I’ll like what’s behind Door Number Two, when I’m standing there (naked, and alone) in front of the Pearly Gates. But, at least – at the very least – I will be able to say that I tried.

While I do believe the Bible is inspired (the Holy Spirit guiding the hand of man which held the pen), I don’t believe it is all, word-for-word, literally true (for starters, none of the original Bible has survived to this day, and none of what has survived was written in English). Some parts I do take at face value. like not trying to interpret the Bible by myself (2 Peter 1:20). Look to Burridge if you’re trying to get your hands around the genre of the Gospels – I’m only half-way thru his What Are the Gospels, and the thing I am really sure of is that I’m not really sure of much. But, I do believe that the entire Bible is about Jesus Christ; and the one thing that keeps coming back, over and over, is the idea that He is setting Himself up (forward?) as an example. He wants us to follow His example, His lead. Very much a “Do as I say, and do as I do,” kind of thing.

And that makes my trials and tribulations inescapable. I have no personal knowledge of scourging or crucifixion; but, like standing in front of a Mac truck on the interstate, I really (no, really) don’t think I need to. Granted, I might be missing part of the, um (forgive me) full impact; but I’ll take that chance. Nevertheless, the end of Jesus’ life here on earth was not all skittles and beer. And, I don’t believe He intends for us to have a free-ride, either. Pretty much a case of: “This is what I did for you, what are you doing for Me?”

Full disclosure: that last sentence, that question I originally wrote as “This is what I did for you, what are you going to do for Me?” A quick re-read and I discovered that it shouldn’t be future tense, it should be here and now: today. The Season of Lent is a great time, one could say the perfect time for an assessment of what you value and what you are doing (actually doing, not just planning on doing) to realize those goals. It seems that everyone I know is busy. Busy, busy, busy. Really, the only question is: “Busy doing what?” Anything important? Anything that will make a difference in your life; or just stuff to try to hang on to whatever your life is like at the moment?

Do you look out a window and try to find ways to help others, or do you look in a mirror and try to find ways to help yourself? What was the last book you opened? Got any books at all around the house? Any magazines besides Readers’ Digest? Read anything besides a menu? Anything at all? Or, just marking time? Just putting one foot in front of the other? Look around the house, exactly what do you think is getting you ready for your future? What you do today profoundly affects today, and very nearly makes tomorrow guaranteed. Yeah, the bell tolls for all of us. And, eternity is a long time.

Just your genes and your environment

I certainly enjoy the argument that “some people are just born that way.”  True, anyone reading this was born a human being.  And being human is not the same as being an avocado.  And neither is it like being a zebra – something that can’t change its stripes.  Being human means, more than any other trait, using the stuff between your ears.  Otherwise, you might as well be dinner.

One popular speaker/author has said:

    “You will be just your genes and your environment, UNLESS you make conscious positive changes to your mindset and habits.”

 He was speaking about being happy, but I believe the basic premise, that we can be – we have the ability to be more than our genes and environment – applies to all of our lives.  That would be all of us, and the entirety of our own world, our own reality, our own rice bowl.  There are limits, of course; I’m talking about staying within the window of your limits – but pushing those limits, finding the edge of those limits.  Not hiding behind what is easy, or popular, or convenient.

When I was younger, say teen-age and twenties, everyone I knew was competitive.  Like cats, we all had our “thing,” but we would stop at nothing to achieve it.  Tell us it couldn’t be done, or it wasn’t for us, and that was tantamount to pouring gasoline on a fire.  Now, looking at my sixtieth birthday, most people I know are complacent and petty.  It seems as tho the divergent world we saw forty years ago has been replaced with a convergent world; yet most of us can expect to live another thirty years, at least.  A long time to be on cruise, or worse, idle.

We bitch and moan about how “they” are doing this or that; but not how we are doing nothing.  We are resting on our laurels; which means of course that we are wearing them in the wrong place.  As kids, we didn’t care about material things and we were out to change the world; now, all we care about is material things and we hope the world leaves us alone.

If life is a race, being first out of the starting blocks is only a good start: no race was ever won by being first off the gun.  Races are won by crossing the finish line first.  So, why do we rest?  Why have we stopped running as if our lives no longer depended on our effort?  At one time, all we believed in was our effort.  Hopefully, with some maturity, we might consider that, as Gayle Sayers put it, “I am third.”  Physically, some of us are paying for our youth indiscretions; but that does not mean we have mentally turned into avocados, or like some aged zebra we are last in the pack and easily picked off by the predators.

Life is like your muscles and your brain: use it, or lose it.


Thanks to Shawn Achor, his book “Before Happiness,” and his website “”

Happy New Year

I’ve just completed something of a ‘marathon’ Star Trek session. Only the latest two films, but I paid money for them (unusual for me); and that makes this significant.

First, I’d like to say that, somehow, the ability to gather together incredibly incompetent acting has not left the Star Trek Franchise. Nothing at all against the persons who act the characters – I’ve never met an actor/actress – but it is really remarkable and astounding that ineptitude has been part and parcel of Star Trek since William Shatner. Either that or, I just do not appreciate the actors that are selected. Or, more likely, I don’t appreciate the direction they receive. At least the Star Trek Franchise is consistent, and that is apparently what the chattering classes desire. More power to them. And the James Bond Franchise. And, I guess (never having seen any) the “Fast and Furious Franchise.”

But, what I found the most fascinating – truly the ‘what did I take away from watching’ – about current Hollywood is the absolute necessity of living, apparently, forever. I just don’t see the question asked of ‘how do you live.’ But, over and over and over again, it is the basic, fundamental desire to live just one more day; or in the case of one of the incarnations of Captain Kirk, just 12 minutes.

Yet, the final credits roll and we walk. We walk out of the theater, or our living room, back to the same old lives we escaped from when the curtain was raised. Nothing changed in us. It was, after all, just entertainment. Mere entertainment. No wonder that actors were once looked down upon as the most despicable occupation there was, below even prostitution (which, I imagine can have not only entertainment, but also satisfaction involved). I have yet to see a movie that was ‘satisfying.’

This was a weekend of American Football Playoffs. Four games. I watched one entire game at the home of a friend, noticing most of all, the behavior of the dozen or so other watchers. While I did grow up with football, both as spectator and participant, I have since lost the connection. Yes, I wish Greenbay had won, and San Francisco had lost; but I still think the Colts belong in Baltimore. That was enough for me. I understand that the so-called ‘Superbowl’ is yet to come; I will probably watch it at the home of my friend, but only for the sake of our friendship – I certainly have no interest in mere entertainment.

What I do find of interest is the desire of human beings. Persons, if you will. I have a brother who is training for the ‘Wasatch Steeplechase,’ I applaud his efforts to be more than he is. Altho purely physical endeavors are of more worth than watching hours of tv; there is a long way to go to:

Why are we here?

I have struggled for years, as my closest friend(s) know for the path to why. I guess, after years of struggling with this blog, I will have to explore this path here. It will henceforth not be about football or food or petty politics. It will focus on what is important – truly important – and nothing else. Sound boring? What else matters?

In my view, nothing at all.