Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Hypertension and Comments

Good morning all.

I mentioned to all of you that I have hypertension. Several of you commented in the blog. Others e-mailed me. It seems fair to update. I was able to drop my bottom number 10 points. That is the less important of the two numbers. I spoke to my doctor yesterday. He is giving me the summer to get my act together. If I do not, he will get it together for me. I will keep you updated. Thank you all for your concern.

Also, on one of my recent posts, one of you commented. Then, a wonderful thing happened. Someone else posted a comment in response. I made an editorial decision several months ago that I will no longer delete comments. Obviously, a comment that crosses any of my decency lines is subject to exclusion from that general practice. I read your comments. You have started responding to each other. I like that. We are slowly becoming a community.

I am supposed to teach in an hour. Naturally, I am doing this instead of preparing.

Have a good day.


And It Is Only Wednesday...

Good evening all...

So first of all, I would like to congratulate my team for the Zareinu Move-a-Thon. We all rode well. Special kudos go to Jesse, who rode 50 kilometres without a whimper, and decided he wanted to do the 100k next year. Jesse was riding with a friend. They got lost (took a detour). I am glad, as they were ahead of us. Had Jesse finished ahead of me, I never would have heard the end of it.

I have my first blog follower whose name I do not recognize. That is quite flattering. Welcome aboard to CM.

I wanted to thank GS and DKW for their comments to the entry on self care. It is interesting to realize that there are different types of martyrdom. We clergy are so used to being of the giving type that we sometimes do not do as well being of the taking type. It is not a bad thing. Still, it is difficult to learn.

Okay folks - this is where we cross into the area of adults only. I have read mommy porn. That's right ladies and gentlemen. I read "50 Shades of Grey." Whilst I doubt very much that any of my readers desire a Red Room of Pain, the book raised some questions for me.

As you may know, the author is a 50-year old mother of two. I am not quite at that age (42). Still, women at about Jennifer's and my life stage are the target audience for this book. I have no clue anymore what it means to be single. I am quite happy about that. All you married folks at there, these are the questions that the book raised for me:

1. Are there depths of sexual relations that couples have not plumbed, but perhaps might be willing?
2. If so, how do we communicate this to our spouses?
3. Ladies, are we, your loyal and valiant husbands, failing to excite you? I suppose the ladies out there might wish to ask their husbands the same question.

I hope that after reading this blog entry, you will all still respect me in the morning.

Have a good evening.


Friday, June 22, 2012

Self Care

So we had a huge 'argument' yesterday in class. The subject was self care. Chaplains, in general, are notoriously bad at it. While we all realize that we are expendable, our commands seem not to get it. On the civilian side, our congregations also often do not understand. I have had disagreements with board members about what I am supposed to do if I have long-standing plans and a funeral comes up. The class discussion was vociferous, with very strong opinions and a flying cell phone. We are a stressed group.

I suppose that those of us who are in the so-called helping professions are not great at asking for care when we need it.  We may well also be bad at realizing that we need it.  We read that Moshe (Moses) lived to be 120, did all that he did, and never lost his personal strength.  Perhaps we have internalized Moshe's life in a way that we are unable to maintain.

In any event, the instructor asked us what we do for self care. Most of us do not do enough. I will give all of you my list:

1. I like to cook.
2. I ride my bicycle.
3. I enjoy my own cup of coffee every day.
4. I NEVER take my lunch at my desk.
5. Jennifer and I have a long-standing policy of not answering the phone during meals.
6. (Deleted due to intimate content)
7. I take time for limudei Kodesh (religious learning).
8. I write in this blog.
9. I take my appointments on foot when the weather permits.
10. I zealously protect my day off, although getting all of the errands done hardly allows that day to be relaxing.
11. I play ping pong and exchange a little bit of trash talk with my son.

Here is the issue though. Items 2, 3, 4, and 5 are daily, and do not require much effort. They are easily made part of the schedule.

All of the other things are activities, not policies, and not attitudes. Until self care becomes attitudinal, clergy will likely suffer both physically and professionally.

Folks, this may be a 'do as I say and not as I do' statement, but make sure to take care of yourself. It is important.

Have a good day.


Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Too Many Subjects to Give a Title

Good evening all.

Great title, n'est-ce pas? That is what happens when I cannot think of a title.

I would normally never correct Jennifer in public. It is rude and abusive. However, she asked me to. The exact wording from her blog entry "Perspective Is Everything - Children and Marriage" should have been: "I am really angry at you. I am wrong, but I am angry." I do not remember the issue. It is not important. We did laugh about it. By the way, whatever concerns she has had about kick-boxing and results on the scale, I would just like to say that I have seen results. For all of us, there is more to our physical shapes than the scale is able to report. In this regard, you are not permitted to ask further.

My blog needs a passport. At this point, it has been viewed on every continent, with the exception of Antarctica. It would seem like penguins should be able to have computer access. I imagine their search engine would be Safari. I picked up Brazil and Ethiopia this week. The blog has over 9000 hits, and not all of them are mine. The most common page is my rules of marriage from January 2011.

I was playing racquetball today. I hit the tip of my right ring finger with the edge of the racquet. There is a bruise there.

Speaking of fingers, my wedding ring is presently on my left pinky. I was bored in class the other day, and somehow managed to wrest it off my ring finger. It had plenty of room at the base of my finger, but could not get over the knuckle. The ring had become uncomfortable. I have not had that ring off of that finger in over two years, and probably much longer. The finger is a different shape now.

I am afraid of losing the ring. It slips off my pinky quite easily, though it does not fall if the pinky is upside-down. I like the way it looks on my pinky. I have also worn it on my watchband over the last couple of days. My Marines will often do that. It will not get caught on a trigger or on the safety if it is away from the hand.

We will conclude our course here on Friday. It has been a good course. We spent three weeks discussing leadership solely from the perspective of the chaplain. This program was not the usual "Death by PowerPoint." We had to write a six-page paper on the intersection of theology and leadership. It is fascinating to see the different approaches my colleagues took. On an aside, of the 11 of us in the class, three of us started chaplain school together in 1995. One more graduated chaplain school with the same three in 1997. It is hard to believe that I have known them for close to two decades.

Go to bed everyone.


Sunday, June 17, 2012

Disgrace to the Fleet

Top of the morning everyone...

It would appear that I am a disgrace to the fleet.

On Friday, I went to the racquetball court. As I was warming up, someone knocked on the door and asked if I wanted to play. It is always better to have an opponent.

I lost...three games in a row. At least the first one was pretty. The final score was 15-11. I did not break out of double digits in either of the second games.

Worse is that I lost to a Soldier. Had I lost to a Sailor or to a Marine, I could have tolerated that.

Naturally, I have reported this Soldier to his command for insubordination.

Have a lovely day everyone. To all of you fathers out there, happy Fathers' Day.


Thursday, June 14, 2012

The Sequel

Hi all...

I am in the deep south right now. Perhaps it should be 'Shalom Ya'all.'

Anyway, thank you to GS for suggesting some other books I might have had with me. Two out of my three extras could have easily been changed for the books she suggested. However, there is no way I am giving up on the survival manual.

One of the books GS suggested was "Exodus," by Leon Uris. She is right. I would likely switch that out with Robinson Crusoe. I am the descendant of a shipwrecked people, as are most of my loyal readers.

I have read most of Leon Uris's books. He spent part of his boyhood in Norfolk, VA. I went to high school there. If you read the book "Armageddon," you will find that one of the characters to arrive late in the book, a pilot, went to Matthew Fontaine Maury High School. I know for a fact that it is a real name. I graduated from there in 1987.

I thought that you might be interested in what some of my classmates picked. Please note that someone, either I or they, misunderstood the instructions. I thought that we were not to supposed to pick anything canonical. By that, I also thought that we should avoid things that are semi-canonical. The writings of the Ramban would qualify here, just for example.

17 of the books they picked were in the theological realm. Nothing was canonical, but there were many authors listed who were pivotal theological figures amongst our Christian friends. Wesley and Thomas Aquinas are at the front of that pack.

Stepping outside the theological world, authors included JRR Tolkien, Charles Dickens, Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Dr. Seuss, Mark Twain, and Louis L'Amour. It seems to be a well-read group.

They also asked me if I might suggest one semi-canonical book. I ended up with "The Sabbath," by R. Abraham Joshua Heschel. It would seem to me that finding a way to sanctify time is a useful skill to have when stranded on a desert island.

Have a good evening.


Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Books on a Desert Island

Hi all...

I know it has been a while.

We were assigned today to come back in tomorrow with the titles of three books that we would want with us if we were stranded on a desert island. I came up with four.

1. "To Kill a Mockingbird" - It is the only book I have ever read that I kept hoping the author could find a way to extend further. It is magnificently written. I was sad when it ended, because I wanted it to continue on.

2. "Lady Chatterley's Lover" - This book is also wonderful. It is a reminder to me that a marriage must have more than an intimate mental connection in order to be a happy marriage. It must also have an intimate physical connection. Those two connections are sides of the same coin. It also reminds me that missing our spouses sexually is not just a physical statement. It is a statement of intimacy. Related to that, we should also remember that what happens to us physically also happens to us spiritually/psychologically. Body and spirit/soul/psyche are not absolute dichotomies.

3. "Robinson Crusoe" - This requires no explanation.

4. "US Army Survival Manual" - This also requires no explanation.

If any of my loyal readers has another idea, I would love to know.

Have a good evening.


Marines and Soldiers

Hi all...

When I was but a lad, I lived near Naval Station Norfolk. Where there are Sailors, there are usually Marines as well. My mother always commented on the Marine bases. She said that even the grass would salute.

When I was stationed at Camp Lejeune, I realized that she was right. We lived in an immaculate neighbourhood. Each house was identical. The properties were of equal size. The grass did not salute, but that is surprising.

I have been here at Fort Jackson. It is not quite the same. Some of the Soldiers do not salute. The parking lot over by the gym is messy. The gym itself is run down. These things would never happen on a Marine base.

The whole concept of military bearing comes into play. For example, the submariners were sloppy about it. I suspect that their feeling was that they are the absolute best at what they do. Bearing is thus irrelevant. For the Marines, they would likely say that they are the best at what they do BECAUSE of the military bearing.

I think I am more comfortable with the Marine way of looking at things.

To the credit of Fort Jackson though, they do something very smart. If the weather is such that exercising outside requires extra precaution, the command here sends out a message on its internet server. Every .mil computer assigned to this base gets that message. The computer will not allow further work until acknowledgment of the receipt of that message.


Sunday, June 10, 2012

Well That's Interesting...

Thank you to DKW for the advice on the exercise. As well, thank you to DS for telling me not to tarry as far as blood pressure medication. I promise everyone - I will take care of myself. I am actually paying attention to the doctor. He is not worried about a short delay in starting the medication.

In the time I have been here, I have mostly avoided unhealthy food. My snacks now are apples and almonds. It is not entirely boring. Emerald Nuts produces a canister of almonds coated with cocoa. It is quite tasty. As well, I have been on the racquetball court every day. I play usually for about 20-25 minutes. After that, I try to beat the previous day's number of consecutive 'kosher' volleys - no more than one bounce prior to returning the ball to the wall. Today, I got to 59. Tomorrow will not be easy. I have also been sleeping an appropriate amount.

The result, according to the machine at the commissary, is that both numbers on my pressure are down about 10 points.

Supermarket machines are fairly accurate. Still, it is a one-time reading, as opposed to wearing a monitor for 24 hours.

The curiosity now is this: I seriously doubt that diet and exercise changes could have such a profound impact in less than a week. My work day being a little shorter, not involving evenings, and not having to run kids to school or karate might have such a quick response.

I keep coming back to the same reaction. I am going to have to sell a kid.

Have a good evening.


Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Well That's No Fun

Hi all...

I have high blood pressure. When going for a routine physical, I mentioned to my doctor that various drug store sphygmomanometers had found me at unreasonably high numbers. He checked, and those meters were correct. The best way to measure though is to wear a meter for a full day. I did.

My doctor e-mailed me yesterday to tell me that my blood pressure is high. He would like to start me on medication soonest.

Soonest is three weeks. I am in South Carolina (not at surfing college) with the Navy. In three weeks, I intend to sleep more than six hours a night. I intend to hit the racquetball court on a daily basis. I went to the commissary yesterday. I bought lots of fruit, but not one piece of chocolate. I am hoping that in three weeks, I can drop my blood pressure significantly.

I am hoping. I am not actually expecting.

Such is life. Folks, check your blood pressure. If it is high, see a doctor. If you have not seen a doctor in a significant amount of time, see one anyway. It is good to touch base.

Have a good evening.