Monday, November 22, 2010

Funny Filler Post

I feel like my posts have been on the serious/emotional side lately. The holidays are traditionally a difficult and emotional time for me. Lucky for you (sarcasm), some of those emotions have transformed into words on this blog. I have a few posts coming up that I really let loose on, so that's why I needed a silly post. Something to lighten up the mood and remind myself of who I am most of the time. I am a happy-go-lucky optimist! Okay...sometimes I'm an optimistic pessimist, but I generally view my cup as half full. In fact, if I was to treat Joshland as an every day blog, you'd read a lot of silly posts like this one.

Joshland Note: The "daily thing" ain't gonna happen, so don't get your hopes up, people. I'm on the damn computer too much as it is.

Let the silliness begin courtesy of the internet: Here's few of my favorite television and movie moments that - even though I've seen them all hundreds of times - make me laugh so hard at I cry. Even thinking of them makes me chuckle...hee hee. :-)

Pee Wee's Big Adventure


and of course...

The Muppets

Monologue by Fozzie Bear with Kermit

Kermit The Frog™ | Myspace Video

I always laugh every day. Even when I feel like garbage, I try to find something that makes me happy. I know the examples above are all slapstick or cheesy comedy bits, but I'm not apologizing for it. I just figure if I think something is funny, then someone - at least one person out of the gazillion on the planet - must think it's funny too. I feel very lucky that I can find humor in the simplest things. If I didn't have that ability, I don't think I would have survived some of the stuff I've been through.

I've got more funny stories coming, but for now I'm in a somber mood. So bring the tears on next week...

I was talking to myself more than I was to you, dear readers.

Peaceful and Lighthearted Things,


Wednesday, November 17, 2010

A Brother's Confession...

I'd grumble and I'd was hard to be her little brother.

Sometimes Angie would feel the need to rearrange her room. Guess who got to help her do that? I would be in that little room for most of the afternoon shifting her desk from one wall to the other. Angie had me move her desk into the closet once, which required the removal and rearrangement of all the stuff within her closet. Other times she'd have me twist her full dresser into the tightest of corners, only to move it 5 minutes later because it covered too much of her Antonio Sabato, Jr. poster. It sucked. By the end of the day I really hated Antonio, that handsome, shirtless bastard. My payment for all this work? A hug and a thank you. I was so annoyed, but I grumbled under my breath and left the room.

One time while I was dead asleep, she put ruby red lipstick and blue eyeliner on me. I never felt a thing. It wasn't until I woke up to answer nature's call that I saw something from 'Rocky Horror Picture Show' looking back at me in the mirror. I woke my mom up grumbling, groaning, and probably crying about what my sister did. I could hear Angie snickering from her bed, which increased the pitch of my whine to an audible level only the dog could hear. Mom helped me remove the makeup and gently chided Angie. I only felt slightly vindicated.

In the constant battle of wits that was the cornerstone of our sibling rivalry, I was fighting a losing battle. It was as if she knew what I was going to say before I even said it. My only defense as her dimwitted brother was to punch my sister in the only place I could...the shoulder. Not in the stomach...that's where her button for her feeding tube and her porta cathe precariously lived. Not in her legs...that's where she had to give herself shots every day. Nowhere was "acceptable" but the shoulder, so I'd haul off and lay one into her. She'd recoup and counter with her vicious set of feline-like manicured nails that dug deep into my arm, penetrating several layers of skin and often drawing blood. I still have the scars. Who would get in trouble? Both of us, but I would get an extra talking to because I should've known how fragile Angie was. "Stupid sister." I'd grumble under my breath.

There was many a night that I laid across the end of her bed at home, squeezing her foot above the covers. She'd call my name in the middle of the night because she needed me to stay near by. I grumbled and groaned, but I did it. There was room next to her, but that was reserved for our dog Charlie, who stretched his little schnauzer body as far as it could go, so I was left with the end of the bed. The crimson glow of the numbers from her pink digital clock kept me conscious enough to hear Angie's chest rattle with mucus. Her I.V. pump was warning us of air bubbles throughout the night. It was enough to drive you mad if you weren't used to it. Angie slept right through it. It's amazing what you can get used to when you have no choice in the matter.

The other night I brought up the trash can from the end of the driveway and I was out of breath. It hit me from out of nowhere. I had a moment where I knew what it felt like to be Angie. I cried. It's a blessing and a curse to realize that someday I will know exactly how she felt. I grumble and groan while I continue to cry.

I can't even remember what she sounds like anymore. I try my damndest, but I just can't do it. I think of her every day and selfishly wish she was still here, even though I know she is peaceful. That helps heal my heart a little, but I still grumble and groan.

I miss my bright, witty, charming, practical joker of a sister. I want my passionate, caring, and thoughtful sister back. I still grumble and groan.

I am peaceful. I am positive. I am who I am thanks in part to my sister. I grumble and groan a little less. I miss being her little brother.

Do me a favor, readers? Hug your siblings or your really close friends extra tight next time you see them.

Peaceful "Little Brother" Things,


Tuesday, November 9, 2010

One Phrase That Bugs Me...

Joshland Note: When I posted this, I didn't expect it to receive the amount of commentary it has. My position has not changed. I do not like the phrase and probably never will. That being said, I want to make sure that everyone knows this post is not an indictment of those who follow this frame of mind. We live our own lives the way we choose and that is a great thing.

This post has turned into a wonderful, respectful, and amazing conversation. I'm so thankful for the brave people who have commented on this blog post. I'm so proud to have the readership I do. Please join in and post a comment if you feel compelled. I would be honored. Much love and peaceful things. ~ posted at 8:00 PM CST on 11/9/2010

This might get me into big trouble, but I'm writing it anyways because it's in my heart and I wear that on my sleeve...

I don't care for the phrase 'no excuses' . To be clear, I'm not knocking those that use this phrase. Yes, I realize it's meant as a motivator and not a disincentive. I know that there are amazing people doing amazing things in the world. Their perseverance is remarkable and they should be commended. Here is a question though: What about those whose minds are willing, but their bodies are weak beyond their control? The "no excuses" mantra can crush their spirit. I know because I've talked to some of those people.

Here's another question:

What if I wouldn't have finished my 5K a month ago? What if my leg just gave out and forced me to quit? I am currently fighting a chest infection that has physically wiped me out. What if that would have happened in the middle of my training? Would it have been an "excuse" to quit? Would you think less of me? I certainly hope not. I am human. I have limitations just as we all do. If we didn't, then we'd all be pro athletes, Nobel prize winners, or millionaires.

I prefer to use this anonymous quote as my motivation: "I'd rather try and fail, than fail to try."

I think it shows just as much character to get knocked down and try again tomorrow. I've failed at A TON of things: college classes, certain jobs, and relationships. Hell, even these "Moganko Projects" have been filled with countless delays and failures. The point is that I'm living proof that you can screw up and still be successful. I've got a few success stories coming in future blog posts, so I won't be giving them away right now. Guess that means you'll have to come back and read them, huh? (Shameless blog plug ;-)

The greatest example of perseverance in my life was my sister. Angie always challenged herself to make it up a flight of stairs. Sometimes she didn't make it, but she always tried. She always tried to go to school, but sometimes her body wouldn't let her. She always tried to be happy, but sometimes life was overwhelming. I will always be proud of Angie for doing her best everyday and in her heart Angie knew she did her best too.

I have a clinic appointment today. What if my numbers are low despite taking my antibiotics, doing my therapy, and staying active? What's my excuse for "failing"? I don't have one because it was out of my control. I'm not afraid to fail if I know in my heart that I gave it my best effort. I don't need to justify anything to anyone else. Only to myself because I'm the one that has to live with it.

Do YOUR best. Don't worry about anyone else. You have your journey and they have theirs. Be your own motivator and lean on those you love to support you. At the end of the day, that's all you need.

I'll leave you with this:

On March 20, 2011, there will be a Virtual CF Run created by The Rock CF Foundation and CysticLife that coincides with the Rock CF Rivers Half Marathon in Grosse Ile, Michigan. Sign up and walk a mile or walk a block. Run 31.1 miles or 3.1 miles. Go up and down your stairs. Just try your best. If you try your best and are not afraid to fail and try again tomorrow, then that is all anyone can ask of you. It's what you should always expect from yourself.

March 20th is my sister's birthday. I wish my leg was better so I could run for her. Maybe it will be better by then. If not, I'll do something to be active. Angie would've liked that.

Click here to sign up for the Virtual CF Run!

Peaceful, Honest, and Blunt Things,


Monday, November 1, 2010

My Perfect Day WITH CF

It's a crisp fall Sunday...

I wake up and my chest isn't hurting. There isn't 15 minutes worth of green and brown mucus expectoration from the moment I open my eyes. Instead it's maybe one or two minutes of clear and clean stuff. It's thankfully one of those mornings I feel rested because I went the whole night without waking up to cough out the junk that blocks my upper and lower lobes or hunched over in pain because my stomach feel nauseous from swallowing all the crap that drips down my throat.

After a productive lung treatment, I'm focused on the tasks at hand and am able to start them earlier in the day. Yard work is refreshing. I look up to the sky and smile while the wind chaps my lips and makes my leaf blower obsolete. I think the wind is Angie having some fun with me. Anything to make me look foolish. If the sight of me chasing leaves around with leaf blower on a blustery day isn't foolish, I don't know what is.

After my yard work is done , I head to the backyard where my puppies make me smile as they chase those stupid squirrels from the yard and they roll in who knows what just to get the "clean bath stink" off of their fur. We run around the yard and drive the neighbors crazy with our barking (yes, I bark while I play with my "kids".)

"The Boys" and I come inside where my wife gives us all big hugs and softly cup my ears with her hands to warm them up. A quick smooch and a pat on the backside sends me downstairs to the man-cave where I watch the Vikings whup the Packers into oblivion. At halftime my closest buddies show up and we analyze the first half while we play some video games and I fit in another treatment.

After the game, all the important people in my life stop by or call us just to say hello and tell us that they love us.

In the evening, I dance in the kitchen to some oldies music with my wife while we wait for the pot of spaghetti sauce and meatballs to simmer. Then we watch a funny movie snuggled on the couch. After one more treatment it's an early bedtime because I wouldn't feel stressed about the scary parts of my life that surround me every day..

You see, my perfect day is simple. It has nothing to do with material or financial b.s. You can't take that garbage with you. It has to do with love. That perfect day is something I can experience any day of the week because it's always right at my fingertips. It's the little things that make life perfect.

For example:

Yesterday I held my little goddaughter in my arms. She was a giraffe for Halloween. It made me smile when I called her name and she waddled over to me with open arms. I picked her up as my chest was aching from coughing for 3 weeks straight and nuzzled her neck until she made that heart-warming giggle I love so much. I've saved that one in the memory bank forever. I have moments like that every day because I look for them. Do you?

My perfect day with CF is everyday I can wake up and see how lucky I am to be loved, whether I'm in a hospital bed or just living my normal life. When I die, I promise you I will die happy because I will know that I did the best I could with every day. I wasn't perfect. I made mistakes, but I've done my best to make up for them by being good to others and appreciating everything I can.

The past few months have been hard for me, but I am making it through my tough stuff thanks to the little moments, my family and my friends. At the end of the day, if I don't have those three things...I have nothing.

Much Love and Peaceful Things,


What'd You Think?

One of my favorite things about my blog are the comments I receive on my posts. I am so thankful that you take the time to write them. I may not respond personally to everyone, but make no mistake...I read every single one.

If you'd like to leave a comment, but don't have an account that's listed in the drop down menu, choose the "Name/Url Anonymous" options. Then write your comment, fill in the word verification and click "Post Comment". I will receive an email and post your comment once I've approved it. :-)

Peaceful Things ~ Josh
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