Tag Archives: Health Week

Fight Week: Freaky Friday: Waaaay Too Close

Health Week: Freaky Friday: Waaaay Too Close

Well, my post about Man Cards went up on WordPress’ Freshly Pressed page this morning, and there are now a lot of new people wading around in the Shallows.

A note to new visitors: Please keep your hands where we can’t see them.

I forewent the usual creepy quote from my kids (OK, the scary stuff all comes from my firstborn) today because the freakiest thing about this Friday is that there’s a whole mess of people reading about and commenting on an opinion of mine regarding the nature of masculinity.

And then, in theory, these same people are perhaps browsing around and learning my daily underwear selection process.

One of the weirdest things about writing is that it’s such a personal, solitary pursuit, but it’s frequently—not always—intended for a wider audience of readers. The idea is to make a connection and maybe spur someone to action, whether that’s prompting them to reconsider gender-based stereotypes, help fight prostate and testicular cancer (I know you’ve seen my moustache, but have you seen my Movember page?), or choose Batman-themed boxer-briefs over plain, white jockey shorts.

Words, to me, are about connections, and my hope is that this blog would be a conversation, not a monologue. To all who’ve been reading since I started and to the folks who’ve just dropped in for a quick look, thanks for sharing this freaky Friday—and your words—with me.

P.S.—I’m also taking weekly theme suggestions.

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Health Week: Breakfast

Health Week: Breakfast

My wife made pumpkin spice pancakes for breakfast this morning, and I ate 10 of them. With butter and syrup. I don’t know if I’m pleased to say that or if I regret it.

As I put a cap on Health Week, I felt it important to mention that, in addition to Movember, October is also American Diabetes Month. While my moustachioed face is meant to raise awareness of and money to fight prostate cancer, testicular cancer, and mental health issues, I figured I could also mention a disease that almost 26 million people in the United States—adults and children—deal with, and another 79 million or so are at risk of developing.

I’m certainly not an active or especially healthy guy. I used to be: walking everywhere, playing Ultimate a couple of times a week, eating OK. But then I got a desk job and married a woman who, as you can see, cooks stuff. Good stuff. Great stuff.

My gut is certainly not her fault. I tend to eat quickly, so I’m full far before I actually feel full, meaning the “maybe I should stop now” feeling kicks in sometime around seconds or so. Plus, I’ve never been a team sports guy, and I tend to spend the time I could be running or enjoying some other sort of exercise reading or writing.

So I’d like to be more active. Wife, when you read this, hold me to it. You all hold me to it, too, if you don’t mind.

And even though I’m prepping to move on to a new theme (I take suggestions, by the way) for next week, I’ll keep talking about Movember throughout the rest of the month.

And I might just have carrots for dinner.

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Health Week: Bonus Post: Waxy

My wife surprised me with a date night alone last night, for which we walked around the local farmers’ market and held hands. We held hands! Normally when we display even a hint of physical affection, one or more of our children will rush in to either get in on it or try to break it up. My middle daughter will literally clamber up my body and stick her head between our faces as I lean in for a kiss. Of course, she’s also held conversations like this when she sees us smooching goodbye in the morning.

Her: I hate it when you guys do that! It always takes longer!

Wife: But we love each other!

Her: Remember when you do it in the kitchen? Oh, I hate that!

As part of our date, my wife also surprised me with a small tin (you might recognize it as once having housed Trader Joe’s green tea mints) of moustache wax, in honor of my Movember moustache-growing efforts. The wax, I then learned, came from comb I harvested from some bees I helped relocate to a friend’s property about half a year ago, a process that netted me about 25 stings because I’d put the suit on wrong. Since they managed to get into my headpiece, most of the stings were on my neck and throat. I don’t recommend that. It’s like shaving, but with a blade that’s mad at you and wants to cut you over and over again, sometimes even by getting into your shoe and then down into your sock and waiting until you arrive at home to get you one more time.

My moustache won’t be waxable for some time yet—probably not till long after November—and she doesn’t really want me growing it out that far, so the tin was mostly symbolic, a sort of “keep it up!” made out of bee vomit and castor oil. Which, really, are two of the most motivating substances out there.

Thanks, Wife, for the wax! You may or may not find my chest hair sculpted into the Batman symbol when I take off my shirt tonight!

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Health Week: Freaky Friday

Health Week: Freaky Friday

I chose today’s Freaky Friday doodle with one of Movember’s three main causes in mind: mental health.

While my oldest daughter said today’s quote in relation to a show she was watching—I don’t remember which one now—out of context it looks more like a line from a kids’ version of Milgram’s Obedience Study.

I’m keeping this morning’s post short because I have more to post later. Thanks for reading with me throughout the week, and for the support I’ve been receiving in my Movember campaign.

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To the Rescue

To the Rescue

My son has two middle names.

One is Atticus, because we like the old-fashioned sound and Atticus Finch from To Kill a Mockingbird is an awesome guy.

The other is Michael, because it’s a family name, and my wife’s uncle was an awesome guy. More than that, he was a hero.

Mike McGroarty worked for many years for the La Habra Fire Department, ending his time there with a seven-year stint as chief. Then he moved on to become deputy chief of the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services. He also helped lead the National Disaster Search Dog Foundation, which sends animals into dangerous situations to seek out people in need of rescue.

Through his work, Uncle Mike saw things no person should ever have to see, but for him, it was just part of the job. He fought on the side of life, whether his opponent was destruction left by an earthquake or hurricane or rubble caused by an act of terror. He worked to rescue victims of the Oklahoma City Federal Building Bombing, and he coordinated California’s rescue efforts in New York after Sept. 11, 2001.

After he was diagnosed with prostate cancer, he continued to fight on the side of life, though this time that life was his own. Despite harboring a disease that constantly sought to break him down, he pushed for positive progress, and he maintained an attitude of success.

He died on June 7, 2010, never once backing down from his battle.

When my wife and I found out we were having a third baby, she confidently told me it was a boy (we didn’t know for sure until he arrived), and then, with realization dawning on her face, said his middle name would be Michael. (Atticus had been a contender for a first name that we ultimately didn’t choose, but the girls wouldn’t stop calling their baby brother by that one, so we tacked it on, too.)

Even though I felt in my gut that we were having a third girl, I agreed with her.

Now, I can’t wait for my son to get to an age where I can tell him about Uncle Mike, and show him photos, because here’s the other thing: Uncle Mike grew and maintained an amazing moustache. A handlebar moustache. A big moustache with waxed points that curled up at the ends.

I can’t think of a better Movember inspiration, since the month is all about growing moustaches and fighting prostate cancer. It’s like the effort was started with him in mind.

If you want to join me, Uncle Mike, my (clean-faced 1-year-old) son, and an amazing number of men and women around the country and world in raising awareness of and combating prostate cancer, testicular cancer, and mental health issues—if you want to join us in fighting on the side of life—visit my Movember page and consider leaving a comment or making a donation.

You can also tell me about the heroes in your life, because I know you have them.

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Health Week: Worry Wednesday

Health Week: Worry Wednesday

So, I’m going to New Orleans for my birthday.

Which is awesome. And stomach-churningly freaky.

If there’s one thing I worry about—more than germs, more than personal financial collapse—it’s air travel. I am terrified of flying.

When I’m on a plane, I’m sure I’m going to die. I’m not worried I will. I am positive I will.

When I flew to New York for a wedding some years back, I stayed up for 36 hours before the red-eye flight to ensure I’d be sleepy. Then I took double the recommended dose of sleeping pills the proper amount of time before departure. And I washed them down with alcohol.

None of this is medically recommended, by the way. In fact, I don’t recommend any of it in any way, since I spent the next eight airborne hours death-gripping my armrests like I was being Tasered and staring with pupils the size of Susan B. Anthony dollars at the little airline icon slowly creeping across a map of the United States. My panicked body apparently immediately synthesized every gram of narcotic and ounce of booze directly into glutamate, which is the chemical your brain starts pumping when you’re threatened and need to decide whether to choose to fight or flight. Fight or flight? On a plane? Ha!

I’m not proud of my phobia, which makes me a miserable travel companion before, during, and after any air travel.

So why am I planning to willingly step into a pressurized cabin that has no business being several feet above the ground, let alone 30,000?

About a month ago, I decided to enter a haiku contest to promote Cottonelle toilet paper and wipes on Twitter. Why not, right? I got to make a joke about butts, and I won a $200 gift card to Amazon when my entry was selected to be one of seven winners.

The winning text, by the way:
“Cottonelle sheets, wipes—
Like yin and yang for your butt:
Two forces, one whole.”

Suddenly, new people were following me, probably eager to see if I had anything else funny or insightful to say—about butts or any other topic. And I realized my Twitter account was linked to a web page to which I last contributed content in March 2011.

Since there seemed to be a hot iron in front of me, I decided to strike by launching a blog based on a concept I’d developed at around the same time I stopped posting elsewhere. Standing in the Shallows went live on Oct. 6, 2013.

Then …

Last night, my phone rang, and at the other end was a voice telling me I’d been randomly selected out of the seven haiku winners to get plane fare, a hotel stay, and conference registration for the Dad 2.0 Summit in New Orleans, set for Jan. 30 through Feb. 1, which coincides with my birthday. And here I am with a blog and everything!

I don’t know much about New Orleans beyond the fact that bodies can’t be buried there due to it being below sea level, and of course the levee situation, and Mardi Gras, and beignets, and that Simpsons episode where they make a musical out of A Streetcar Named Desire and refer to the city as the Sodom and Gomorrah on the Mississipp’. I don’t really like jambalaya or gumbo or muffalettas, but I do like visiting new places, even if getting there isn’t so much half the fun as it is all of the bladder-emptying terror.

But thanks, Cottonelle and Dad 2.0! I’m looking forward to learning a lot in Louisiana—assuming I don’t plummet to my doom.

(I’m still playing the long game too, life-wise, just in case, so don’t forget to weigh in on my Movember moustache style in yesterday’s post, and visit my Mo Space if you feel like leaving me a comment, making a donation, or just seeing what’s what.)

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Health Week: Day 5

Health Week: Day 5

It’s time to get serious about my Movember moustache.

I considered giving shaping-idea rights to folks who donated to the cause via my “Mo-Space” (yes, that’s what they call it), but instead I decided to open it up to anyone and everyone. Anyone and everyone who reads my blog, that is.

My current front-runner idea is shaving the Batman logo into my upper lip, with help from the soul patch below. I can’t connect anything, according to official Movember rules, because a connection would make it a goatee, and this isn’t Goavember.

Like that idea? Have a different one? Let me know, and I promise I’ll consider each suggestion. But make it soon, since I need to take this stubble from an on-the-way full beard to a moustache in progress pronto.

But for now, Batman seems like the best option. Who better than a superhero to help fight testicular cancer, prostate cancer, and mental health issues? (Hint: The answer is you and me.)

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Health Week: My Many Faces

Moustache Week: Faces

I don’t know about you, but my moustache-growing efforts for Movember have put me in a mind to reminisce about the different kinds of facial hair I’ve had over the years.

I’ve done a lot with my face since I first started getting a beard in junior high: I grew out my sideburns to play Elvis in a musical in high school. I sculpted a Johnny Depp-esque goatee so I could be Jack Sparrow one Halloween (I know, I know—who didn’t?). I cultivated some Victorian muttonchops for my masquerade wedding (I know, I know—who didn’t?).

In fact, every depiction in today’s accompanying illustration is a real style I’ve sported. Yes, that includes the Wolverine sideburns, the half-face beard (I only had that for one evening, and surprisingly few people noticed—or were willing to admit they’d noticed), the bald-with-a-‘stache combo, and the bleached-white look, which a stylist did for me for Christmas for free one year when I was playing Santa for a bunch of kids at my wife’s work. The bleaching process took two days, and when I was just halfway through, my long hair and full beard were a buttery yellow. I looked like a harvest god or like I should be in the corner of an antiquated map near the compass rose, blowing ships toward the place that says, “Here be monsters.” I was scary looking.

I take a lot of pride in my ability to change my facial hair at will, and it’s something I hope my son will someday be able to do as well. I already mentioned this in my introduction to him on this blog, but I enjoy shaving, and I look forward to teaching him how to maintain anything from a bare face to a full beard someday, depending on his preference.

Well, his preference and his growing ability. To that end, I hope he takes after my side of the family—at least for the facial hair side of things. I also hope that, for the rest of his body, he doesn’t take after me at all. I’m pretty well covered, if you get what I mean. It’s like that scene in Jaws when Richard Dreyfuss opens his shirt to bare his chest and Roy Scheider says, “You’re wearing a sweater.” But from the back.

I also also hope that I’ll be around to see my son grow his first goatee or moustache or whatever he chooses. This Movember has put me in a mind to think not just about hairs of faces past, but about my health for the future.

In researching the roots of this month-long men’s-health-awareness-and-fundraising effort, I learned that testicular cancer is most common in young and middle-aged men, which—at 34 years old—is a category into which I fall. Cancer.org reports that about half of all testicular cancer cases are in men between the ages of 20 and 34. I apparently have about a 1 in 270 chance of getting it in my lifetime (and a 1 in 5,000 chance of dying from it). Those are pretty good odds—but if you’ve been reading this blog with any sort of regularity, you’ll know that I’m a worrier, so odds don’t really matter to me.

There’s a self exam I recently learned about—it involves a shower, a thumb and fingers, and a familiarity with, well, the typical lay of the land down there—but I’ll spare you any more details. If you’re a guy and you’re older than 20, though, it might be a good idea to familiarize yourself with the specifics. And to roll with them about once a month. You know, for your future, too.

Sorry if this post got a little graphic, especially since I started by mentioning how hairy I am and literally went south from there. I should warn you, though, that I’ve set aside this whole week to talk about Movember and its focus on testicular cancer, prostate cancer, and mental health, so it might not be pretty.

Hopefully, though, it will be good.

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