Meal Prep

So…. I’ve lost a little bit of my gut again. I always seem to get to this point and not much further. hehehe Even though I haven’t had Taco Bell in forever, I still call it my TB gut.

I routinely fluctuate about 15 lbs but after a hard gym routine for the last few months, I’m back to my leaner self. I keep telling myself to keep going but my desire for delicious food often ruins it.

That said, I’m been using a meal delivery service and the meals are healthy. While it is a bit pricey, it has helped my diet significantly. I’ve been thru Freshly, FlexPro, Fresh N’Lean, and now I’m on to Factor 75. Freshly was the best of the group but the meal selection is limited when you order the max 12 meals a week. If they rotated out meals more often I’d still be with them. FlexPro was a bit generic. Not bad, but for the price I felt like I wasn’t getting my money’s worth. Fresh N’Lean started out great but then they started putting some sort of vinegar or pickling agent in the veggies for every dish and it just got to be too much. I don’t think they realize when you vacuum seal the food, that flavor seeped into the rest of the meal.1 Factor 75 was recommended by the guy at my Vitamin shoppe. I’m having the same problem with them I had with Freshly but they at least rotate a few different meals more often. I’ll probably rotate back to Freshly eventually. There is no contract so you can switch or cancel anytime you want.

Anyway, the meals have been good for my waistline. I can tell my body is detoxing form all the carbs because I’m constantly craving sweets or pasta these days. I’m one of those guys who can eat fatty foods no problem. I eat carbs and my ass expands exponentially. heehee I blame my Southern roots.

So not bad for a almost 49 year old fella, eh? I mean I could be leaner or bigger but I think I’m doing pretty good. I took off from the gym this past week for our trip and I miss it. Shawn and I were joking recently as he mentioned the same thing. Time to get back at it. Maybe I’ll even get a few baby abs.

Hope springs eternal…

  1. I did tell them when I left but I doubt anything changed. I got the generic response. []

Bias

If you know me, you know I talk about personal bias a lot. Everyone has biases. It is a natural process as humans grow. As our morals (or lack thereof) are shaped thru our environment and our brains learn to label things, bias is inevitable. But, we also have something called logical reasoning. This allows us to recognize and potentially overcome our biases when they are wrong or misguided. That is, if we chose to examine our feelings or try to separate our bias from facts.

In society today, bias rules supreme on social media. IMO it is one of the single largest failings of “social media”. It has allowed people to isolate themselves from opposing opinions or anyone who disagrees with xyz topic. It also allows folks to reach out and find others who think in similar terms, which only serves to reinforce one’s bias.

Sadly, this has lead us to the ‘fake news’ era and a flat out unwillingness of people to believe facts. Don’t even get me started on the never ending fake sites that pop up alleging malicious acts or crimes against persons they are against. The rise in anti-intellectualism stems from an unwillingness to let go or overcome one’s own bias.

And this brings me to my rant today. You can’t call yourself a moral, christian, or even a good person when you ignore facts in favor of bias. When you simply decide “I do not believe that” in favor of bias, then you are not in fact a moral, christian, or even a good person. Faith in an idea, person, or even religion should be dependent on denying truth. As a moral or ethical person, you should care about truth above biases, even your own. More importantly, you should be willing to challenge your own bias to see if it is grounded in fact or fiction.

Aging

Well color me surprised, I got several welcome back emails after my last post. lol Thanks to those who responded. I honestly didn’t think anyone still visited the site. However, I forgot about my RSS feed and the email push. Duh!

Anyway, I’m always touched when folks read here. It’s pretty bland these days as I’ve resisted discussing current events. I don’t want the blog to turn into a bitch fest so I’ll have to really think it over. Lawd knows I have an opinion on most current events. Social media is so toxic these days I may open the blog up to more topics. I miss it.

A reader did follow up about my age post and I figured I’d update on what I meant. I have definitely noticed my age these last few years. It started around 46 but the following year seemed to really be the dividing line. I’m fast approaching ‘ancient’1 I’m just a year and a few months away! Oh dear, how will I cope? The same as always.

To the question put to me, I have noticed why some older guys tend to resent the gay community as I age. Many of these things don’t phase me but I can see how it can turn ugly fast. The one I get most tickled over is when young guys hit me up on ‘certain apps’ and then get bitter when I either don’t respond or politely decline. Many times the trending retort is something along the lines of” your old anyway” or “your bald and old“.  One guy went so far as to setup a fake profile to try and harass me. He would send me messages like, “what’s up chubs” or “how you doing gramps“.  It was hysterical. The less I reacted the more he tried to get me upset. I finally took pity and let him know his attempts to hurt or anger me had failed and he had my compassion. If your life is so bad you need to resort to such antics, you truly have my sympathy. The profile disappeared after that. When he sees me on the streets now, his sneers have turned to just ignoring me. Either way, not my problem.

On the flip side, I’d be lying if I said it didn’t sting a little when someone I’m into declines and I get the impression it’s due to age. But sting vs tantrum are very different feelings. I accept the fact it will happen and so it makes handling it much easier….usually.

And that is how I approach some of the more negative aspects of aging in the gay community. I get it, we’re very carnally driven and as we age the desire remains while our attraction from others wanes. This can lead to some painful conflicts. I think it really falls back on how much you accept and love yourself. If you haven’t tackled those demons, then aging can be very hard and even isolating when you’re single. I adore my Shawn but if things went south, I’d never hold onto him out of fear of being alone. Been there, done that and no thanks. Fortunately, we’re doing good. It helps that I care more for his happiness than whether we are together or not. I love him dearly but I’d never want us to stay together and be miserable just so we aren’t “single.”

I have more funny examples but I feel like I’m rambling. I’m sure I’ll share them later.

 

  1. if you’ve ever read here you’ll know I lovingly refer to reaching 50 in gay years as ancient. []

Back At It?

I mentioned it before but after Cooper passed away the desire to blog just sort of left me. I mean I’d been drifting away for awhile before that but Cooper’s death just hit me so hard and I didn’t really feel it anymore.

But, I find myself really missing it. I miss rambling on here. And a shocker for any of long time readers left, a few of my old demons have surfaced lately and I’m trying my best to deal with them constructively. Rambling away here has always helped me do that.

I looked at my site stats the other day and was a bit surprised how many of my old posts still get non-bot views. Who da thunk it? My google rank has plummeted but that is to be expected.

In new news, I’ve been grappling with my age lately. Not in a bad way just noticing things, specifically on how I’m viewed/treated by others. I have plenty of thoughts to share on it. So hopefully, I’m back at it here. Time will tell I guess.

Hope springs eternal…

Snap

There are days where I see what humans are doing to this planet and I think to myself, “ya know, maybe Thanos had the right idea?” Then I realize we’d still be stuck with half the stupid people and I just shake my head.

If you told me 20 years ago we’d still be disparaging people over the color of their skin or calling vaccines sorcery I wouldn’t have believed you. Sadly, that is where we are today in 2019.

Our selfishness will be our undoing.

Not Gone

I don’t blame ya for thinking I ‘be done’ abandoned the blog. Cooper’s death hit me really hard. I was depressed afterwards. I spent most of my time eating and working with the occasional video game binge in there. I’m still completely heartbroken he is gone. I miss him so much.

I’ve reached a point where I get thru the days without crying…mostly. I still have days where I just can’t shake the loneliness. But, I am getting better. It’s coming up on 2 months since he passed. I will adopt/rescue another wonderful bully again. I want to grieve and heal first. When the time comes, I will know it. Anyway, I the desire to blog or even keep up with the blog totally left me when he passed. I even considered closing it down. I think that was mostly the depression speaking.

In less depressing and actually exciting news, Shawn and I just celebrated our 6th year together. Lawd only knows how he puts up with me? I still love him as much as I did in the beginning and am grateful he does indeed put up with me. Hehehe We had dinner at Firewood Cafe (which is closing soon) in the hood where we had our first meal together. Shawn is (and has been for a while now) my longest relationship. I guess there is something to be said for that.

So yeah, I’m still here.

Goodbye My Precious

We had to say goodbye to Cooper yesterday morning. His breathing had become impacted by the tumor pressing against his lungs. He was simply experiencing too much discomfort and I couldn’t stand to see him suffer. Any doubts I had about rushing it were swept away the night before.

Cooper

I kept saying out loud we’d have him for a few more months but inside I knew we didn’t have much time. The tumor was growing quickly. My only hope was that it might grow at an angle that let him enjoy a few more months. Sadly, it was not to be. I’m grateful he declined so quickly to avoid any unnecessary suffering on his part. However, I miss him so much already. I do not think I’ve ever been so attached to a companion. I never realized how much of my daily schedule included him. Everything reminds me of him and sends me into a new fit of tears.

His life started rough as he was abandoned. When he came into my life he rescued me just as much as I rescued him. I needed him without even realizing it. He gave me so much and asked so little in return. I am happy to know I gave him a good life. He was most definitely loved. I could go on and on about all the wonderful ways he enriched my life. He was not just a pet. He was my friend and companion.

As painful as it was, I was there in his final moments. I couldn’t imagine not being there. My only goal was to keep him from being scared. I wanted him to feel safe and loved. We got to play with him a bit before the end and it was a joy to see him come alive in those last moments together. He lived for butt scratches and we gave him so many along with happy words. It was an absolute joy to see him shrug off his discomfort long enough to enjoy the attention and love.

I held him as he drifted off. I spoke sweet words of love in his ear and kept my tears at bay until he had passed. He was a light in my life and my life is diminished without him in it. My Cooper Pooper, my “precious”, my love bug. . . you are missed and still loved.

My heart is broken now. And while it will heal, it will always have a mark from you.

Heart Problem

Now that I’ve had time to calm down, I’m sad to announce Cooper has been diagnosed with a heart tumor. If you follow me on social media, you’ll know he had a recent vet visit for his leg. Being almost 10, he is an old fella in bulldog terms. His arthritis aggravates his joints, which in turn leads to soreness, hence the vet visit.

While we were at the vet, we got his yearly update and did x-rays. From last year to now, a large tumor has grown around his heart. Ironically, he isn’t having any problems with his actual heart; no murmur, no irregular valves, etc. The tumor has grown to about the size of his heart so it’s begun putting pressure on his lungs. It will eventually impact his breathing severely enough we will have to euthanize him.

Surgery is possible but the chances of success are low and due to his age the vet wasn’t even sure he’d survive the surgery. I’d rather let him enjoy his remaining time vs putting him thru the trauma of such a major surgery. To say I have been upset would be an understatement.

Cooper came into my life at a time when I was severely depressed and having trouble finding my light. His boundless energy and enthusiasm gave me something other than my own problems to focus on and brought me out of my funk. Since then he has continued to be a beacon of slobber and unconditional love in my life. To say I love that dog would be an understatement. I have never in my life loved an animal so thoroughly. After many days of tears and uncontrollable bursts of sadness, I’ve made peace with it. I got over 8 wonderful year with him and I’m grateful for his love. I’m fond of saying, they give us so much and ask so little. Cooper would be the exemplification of those words.

My only goal now is to keep him as comfortable as possible until he reaches a time when his breathing is too labored to carry on. The vet gives him anywhere from another month to 6 months. I’m thinking 2 to 3 months at most but I’m hoping for longer. I would never let him suffer for my own benefit so once his breathing becomes too hard, we will make the decision to say goodbye.

His leg/knee injury is slowly healing and I am hopeful he will be off his meds within another week or two. As you can imagine many of the rules have gone out the window! hehehe He gets treats much more often and I’m less stringent on his structured daily life. I take comfort in knowing I gave him a wonderful life. That said, I know when that day comes a little piece of me will die with him. To my beloved Cooper, you were and are loved.

Ghosts of the Past

I haven’t talked about my “issues” here in a long time. Truth is, I haven’t felt bothered by them so there wasn’t a need.

Today, I’ve been overwhelmed with memories of my past. I can’t say anything triggered it. Maybe it’s just ‘my time of the month.’ I’m not depressed by the memories, even though most of them aren’t great. I just can’t seem to shake the progression. One memory will trigger another and down a rabbit hole of deep thought I go…

Anyhoo, it’s been mostly about my step-mother, her family, and my angst at them for never intervening when they saw my step-mother abuse me. I know they recognized it because I would sometimes overhear the adults (her siblings) asking my step-mother, “why are so mean to that boy?” My cousins would just ask me directly. Or they would discuss it amongst themselves in front of me. For many years growing up I worshipped and hated them at the same time. When my family from her side visited, I got a reprieve from the mental torment. It meant things would be more bearable, even if it was just a long weekend. Of course, when they left, I suffered even more for my apparent ‘slights’ while they had been visiting. It was in those moments I hated them most.

When I left home none of them made much effort to stay in touch. To be fair, neither did I. They represented a connection to “her” that was to be avoided. It wasn’t like I was overly stable anyway and there was no cell phones, texting, or even internet. But I didn’t understand that then. It’s only been in the last few years I’ve slowly opened a window to them on Facebook. Being an adult now, my view of them has been complicated. At first, I was resentful more of them didn’t reach out to me. But, I realized that wasn’t fair either. Their lives diverged from mine and I was a distant memory. They had as much reason to reach out to me as I did to them. And it wasn’t like I made a lot of effort either. I kept them at arms length. A small handful made an effort to at least reconnect and “know” me a bit. I’m grateful for that. Our lives are so distant and different so that is pretty much where it ends. We keep a cursory connection at best.

And as expected, many of them tend to be Trump supporters. This isn’t much of a surprise. I only mention it because I routinely chime in when I see them sharing absolute made up stories that reinforce their biases. Reconciling my childhood view of them with my adult exposure has been easier than expected. I’m not sure if that is a good thing or not. lol

Anyway, I don’t have any wisdom to share. I’m just putting thoughts to pad to help me drag the triggers and emotions out into my conscience id so I can examine them properly. I’ll post more if I figure anything of value out.

What Do You Say?

I was having a discussion with a coworker the other day and we got to talking politics. We were specifically discussing some of the underlying dynamics that often lead people to believe into crazy conspiracy theories. Mostly, we talked about how people often reason based on emotion not logic.

I used an example of my little brother. Not because my brother is a crazy extremist, just the opposite. The story perfectly illustrates how even well-meaning people end up on the wrong side of things at times. So the real question is how, in an age of sensationalized media, truly fake news, and bias, do we encourage every day folks to move beyond their base feelings and examine a solution with logic? How do we get people to realize what they “know” is often based on very limited exposure to the world at large?1

Let me get to my example. My little brother grew up not really “seeing” racism. To him, it is something he knows exists but in more pronounced examples. For lack of a better description, he sees it as a very black and white issue. I tried to explain white privilege to him and found it a frustrating struggle. As a white man he has never had to experience the frustrations a person of color endures daily. Because he grew up poor and busted his tail working hard to get to a point where he feels stable, he doesn’t understand how a black person doing the same thing faces many more obstacles. I explained many of the very real world examples to him and while he sort of ‘got it’, because he lives in a rural environment where these ideas are usually avoided, it doesn’t become ‘truth’ to him.

It is hard for people who spend everyday just worried about trying to put food on their table to rise above the squabble and focus on bigger issues like politics. And when they live in an environment where biases are constantly reinforced, it’s easy to see why so many fall prey to the machinations of political hacks who want them to stay poor and ignorant. People who are poorly educated as a whole are easily manipulated by their emotions. Quite simply, their emotions are used against them.

And this is one variable of many leading society towards a calamity. So how do we overcome that? What do you say to someone to get them to truly open their mind and listen? If we could figure that out I think the world would be a better place.

  1. How many “experts” do you encounter on Facebook or Twitter these days  LOL []