I Guess I No Longer Have Bronchiectasis

I’ve been sheepish about going public with this but here goes … I think I don’t have Bronchiectasis, anymore.

Feels strange saying that. Especially when autumn and autumn-turning-into-winter and the junk food of Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas usually kick-start the coughing and wheezing and then I usually battle it until springtime when I can get back outside, exercise, and I typically make a promise to start exercising and eating right.

Something’s different this time. Earlier this year, my pulmonologist (that’s a lung doctor if you don’t know) retired and I got a new pulmonologist. Read More

My Updated Christmas Wish-List

I told someone recently to immediately forget the past. I wisely said, “turn the page,” and, “who you were yesterday and whatever you did or didn’t do, really has no impact on tomorrow.” It ain’t easy, but it’s true. For example, my whole life I’m been a procrastinator. But if I wake up tomorrow and say, hey, Don, stop procrastinating …poof. It can be that easy. It might take me a long time to convince the people who know me as a procrastinator that I’m not the same guy, anymore, but that’s OK. I can live with that. I made my bed. I’ll sleep in it. But anyone who knows me after November 14th, 2021 will think, hey, that Don-guy really gets things done.

Another example? I really dropped the ball on my Father’s Day Wish-List and my “I Love Don Week” wish-list and publicizing it, updating it, and allowing people to shower me with gifts. That was yesterday. Today …I’m getting a jump-start my “Don’s Christmas Wish-List”, which is the same list, but updated. We all know about the supply-chain problem which they’re saying will delay lots of things this holiday season, so getting my wish-list out, now, is super important.

It’s fully up-to-date. I’ve removed the things I’ve already gotten (or changed my mind about) and added new, relevant items.

The top item on my list is the OURA Ring Generation 3. I’m gonna make 2022 my healthiest year, ever, and having a ring that tells me my pulse rate, steps, sleep quality, and a ton of other stuff …it will really help. I’m pretty healthy but I can be much, much healthier and as a march towards my 50th birthday, I’m gonna embrace modern technology to get me the rest of the way to my fitness and health goals.

Oh, sure, I could just exercise and eat right, but I would have no documentable proof anything I’m doing is working. Luckily, there’s a very expensive ring that will prove I’m doing the right things.

Anyone who says you don’t have to spend money to be healthy obviously doesn’t have social media.

Simpletons.

Check back often because, well, I’m pretty sure I’ve thought about some other stuff I want and didn’t add it to the list. Shameful. Why have a wish-list if I’m not going to update it and publicize it. Right?

But it goes back to my initial point …just because I neglected the “I Love Don” Wish-List for nearly a year doesn’t mean, tomorrow, I can’t get back to helping people get me stuff I want.

You’re welcome. Order early and often.

Social Media, Part 1

My Mom read books like she was in a book-reading-contest. Easily a book a week. I’ve seen her read three books in a week and on vacation she’d bring a bag (a brown, paper grocery bag) filled with a dozen books and she’d read them all. I wish I inherited her book-reading speed (please don’t tell me that if I read more often and worked at it I would become a better and faster reader …you’re wrong and I don’t want comments with links to studies and articles trying to prove yourself correct).

Quick aside …she and my Uncle Jerry (her brother) were both voracious readers and he would also read books like crazy. 

I’m telling you about my Mom and her book-reading because the funniest thing about her was, sometimes, when she’d finish a book, she would close it and say, “well, that was a terrible book.” And when we would laugh that she just read a 300-page book that she didn’t like. She often would confess that, “I knew after about 50 pages I wasn’t going to enjoy it …poor writing …confusing transitions …but I had to see where it was going.” Read More

Q4 Kick Off

Don’t mean to brag, but …I’m in sales. I’m a sales guy. I sell stuff. I have quotas and budgets and I pretty much blow my numbers away. I get mad props from my bosses. It’s how I afford my Buick. Cloth seats, bruh. I say things like, “stackin’ ’em up and knockin’ ’em down,” and, “I could sell snow to an Eskimo,” and I talk loud at the bar and regularly check the time on  my digital Casio watch so everyone can see how I decorate my wrist – this watch has six alarms, bruh.

Obviously, if you know me, you know none of that actually happens. Yes, I’m in sales. I do OK. I make a living and provide for my family. It’s a living. I like my job. I only bring up my sales job because sales success is measured by monthly, quarterly, and annual performance. Each month, quarter, and year I look back on the previous month, quarter, and year and assess and plan. Read More

My name is Don, and I tailgate.

Hi. My name is Don. And I tailgate. I tailgate at Michigan State. I fell in love with tailgating, oh, around 1992. I got outta college, got married, got a job, and from 1997 until 2004 I was obsessed. I had season tickets. I never missed. Tailgating wasn’t a problem. I wasn’t addicted. I coulda quit any time. I finally did quit …sniff sniff …around 2005. I don’t remember exactly, but I know my wife and I had our third child in 2006. I think that made it three children under the age of 4 and I  . . . I . . . I just couldn’t do it anymore. Eventually these cursed kids got into soccer and dance and school and my Saturdays were spent far away from campus. No sounds of marching bands warming up. No loud speakers at tailgate playing Steve Miller or Pearl Jam. And I no longer drank a 12-pack of Miller Lite before Noon. Read More

The Camp Chef is THE GREATEST

A war is coming. I’m about to write something that, if I had more than 12 readers, would set off a firestorm of angry comments and Tweets more intense than a hundred year Trump campaign. A rage worse than an old-person and a young-person arguing over COVID (origins, treatments, and vaccines).

Ready? Stop reading if you don’t want to be part of the world’s next, heated (pun) debate.

The Camp Chef flat top grill is the BEST grill. Anyone who calls themselves a grill master or a foodie, and doesn’t have a Camp Chef flat top grill (or a Blackstone …which is NOT as good, but it isflat top, griddle, so I don’t judge those owners as harshly) is a phony and a poser.

It’s OK if you don’t (yet) own a non-Camp Chef grill, as long as you admit, money not an issue, you would have a Camp Chef and it is a superior outdoor cooking contraption to anything else.

Actually, what am I talking about. This shouldn’t be controversial, at all. The Camp Chef flat top grill (or “griddle” if you’re nasty) is the best. Everyone knows it. It’s like saying some other canyon is better than the Grand one, or that some other series of five lakes are greater than the Greats. To say something so absurd would get you laughed at.

What can’t the Camp Chef flat top do? I’ll wait. What? You can’t answer that question? Of course you can’t. Because the Camp Chef grill does everything.

Scrambled eggs? Check. Bacon? Check. Grilled veggies? Check. Pancakes, hash browns, burgers, chicken? Check. Check. Check. Check. Oh, and if you simply MUST have flames and grill marks on your steak or you think food smothered in BBQ sauce needs to be “caramelized” …if that’s your game, well, take the flat top off  and you have a traditional grilling surface.

Photo Jun 07, 8 17 05 AM

But you know the flames and that burnt, charred food is all full of Cancer, right?

Here’s what’ll blow your mind . . . it has no lid! That’s right. No lid, but don’t fret …some simple disposable (I re-use mine) foil pans can cover your food if you want that convection heat.

Why did I wait until my 48th birthday to get one? Well, because the Camp Chef is like a super secret society and nobody wrote an impassioned Blog entry like this one. It’s like Camp-Chef-anon for grillers and I’m not gonna lurk in the shadows anymore!

Camp Chef flat top is the best because…

  • It’s versatile and can cook anything
  • Even heat
  • HUGE cooking surface that can handle multiple items at once
  • It gets BETTER with time
  • the mess of bacon is OUTSIDE your house
  • you can CUT stuff right on it, like fajita meat, and seer the cut-up parts
  • unlike the Blackstone, this isn’t cast iron, this is cooking steel
  • it DOES have a traditional grill when you need flame and grill marks on what you’re cooking.

The only drawbacks are the extreme heat (which is why I built my Camp Chef it’s own altar (is it sacrilegious to say my grill is an altar, or I placed my grill on an altar?) and you need it almost perfectly leveled so the grease and oil runs off correctly into the drip tray. Luckily the feet on the legs are adjustable and under the steel cooking surface are little screws you and tighten or loosen and adjust the slope ever-so-slightly. Oh, Camp Chef …you thought of everything.

Here’s my quick video on how to know if it’s leveled and slopes correctly (I know, total genius).

You’ll need a cover for when you’re not using it and when you’re using it, keep it away from your house (just like a regular stupid grill) because it kicks off alotta heat and can melt vinyl windows …don’t ask me how I know this and why I built the altar. OK? Many videos will say use vegetable oil but here’s my pro tip …get some old fashioned Crisco. It doesn’t have a lid, but foil pans solve that problem. It takes discipline and a little extra time to clean …it …each and every time. Very important. But worth it and when you clean it and season it. Cook on it, clean it and season it. Cook on it, clean it, and season it …oh, it gets better and better.

Photo Jul 12, 6 28 37 PM

That’s enough for now. Just one guy, crying out in the night, begging the world to join him in flat top grilling bliss (unless you count all the YouTubers with thousands of videos about flat top grilling). 

There. I said it. I ain’t afraid to take a stand. 

Are Green Peas Healthy?

I think a healthy obsession is, well …healthy. A great thing about this modern world is, if you suddenly get an idea in your head, you can deep dive into that thing and be consumed by it. Can you think of anything topical from the last year-and-a-half that people researched online and became experts in?

Whether you want to learn to knit, fix your lawnmower, research green peas, or cultivate an expertise in infectious diseases …well, my friend, you can join Reddit groups, read articles, read Blogs, follow Twitter accounts by prominent experts in that thing you’re interested in.

For the past 48 hours, I’ve been looking into whether green peas are healthy or not. No. I haven’t joined a green pea Reddit group and haven’t looked (but I bet there is one).

Some recent (healthy) obsessions have been… Read More

Getting Old, Part 1: Celebrating it

I’m getting old.

Sometimes getting old is a bad thing. Sometimes it’s GREAT.

Welcome to my 8-Part series on getting old, embracing getting old, what to do about it (no, it won’t involve a “blood boy”), and bragging about why I’m awesome being old.

I’ll start by bringing the room down (great way to start a Blog). If you made it to 48-years-old, like me, CONGRATS!. Actually, if you’ve made it any age and you still (mostly) get out of bed without groaning and haven’t “survived” anything major, CONGRATS, again. If you’re not struggling emotionally and mentally …again …CONGRATS. If you have a family, friends, and you laugh out loud (I mean REALLY LOLing) at least once a week, and you have wrinkles near the corners of your eyes because you smile alot … YOU’VE ALREADY WON. You might know this, already, and if you do, I’m happy for you.

It ain’t easy being cheery and counting your blessings, all the time, but if you work at it and practice, your life, attitude, and optimism will improve.

Which brings me back to, well … me. Which might also be you … a little. I’m in my late 40s. Is that “mid life” and should I be having a “crisis?” I would have to live into my 90s for this to be mid-life …oh, no. That means I missed my actual “mid-life” and never had my crisis. Why? What happened? Why didn’t I freak out when I turned 40 realizing the best-of-times was behind me and I hadn’t written my best seller, hadn’t done a full triathlon, and wasn’t the CEO of a company I founded (after founding two other start-ups and selling them for millions)? 

Why didn’t I have my mid-life crisis?

I’ll tell you why? I was too busy having a mid-life awakening. I’ve said for years that “life” doesn’t even begin, maybe, until we’re 25. Think about it …for the first 18 years of our lives, most of us live out the same script as everyone else. We don’t make our own choices. We don’t have adventures. We mostly do what everyone else does in order to get to 18 and then most of us do the next thing everyone else does (college?) and that takes us to 23 years old.

Oh, sure, you can mix in some pretty awesome stuff during that time, but mostly it’s the script. Let me guess …you made your lifelong friends? You fell in love and got engaged. You won something great in high-school and you bought your first car? My point is, whatever you did, mostly someone else was guiding those decisions.

Life, my friends, begins at 25. And I could actually argue that it doesn’t begin until 30 (I was pretty much an idiot throughout my 20s, but don’t worry, my kids weren’t born until I was 30 and got smart).

And if life begins at 30, and I’m going to live until I’m 80, that makes my “mid life” actually 55 years old and that means I have 7 full years to be care-free until I FREAK OUT at mid-life.

Before you’re 30, you don’t even know what you want or what makes you happy. Only after that do people start to realize what really makes them happy. Like for me, happiness is a summer vacation at the same spot every year. It’s taking 5-minutes to make a cuppa coffee with quality beans. It’s writing a Blog that only a few people read. It’s building bonfires in my backyard. It’s having a perfect lawn. It’s buying the perfect grill. It’s a black car with black leather interior. It’s quality audio equipment. It’s a whisky & ginger ale. It’s a good beer. It’s a cheap beer. Happiness, happiness, happiness. 

I’m not saying life won’t have sad, heartbreaking, and disastrous moments that make it awfully hard to be happy but when bad things happen, I remind myself I’m not the first person going through a bad time, and some people have gone through much worse and sometimes they do it alone and don’t have the family and friends I have. Oops, there I go, again …turning negatives into positives and sadness into gratefulness.

If you’ve read this far, thank you. I hope you haven’t had too much tragedy in your life and I hope you don’t leave a comment like, “well, easy for you to say, you’re lucky and you can say that because only good things seem to happen to you.”

Trust me. Every moment of my 48-years hasn’t been Ozzie & Harriet or Leave It to Beaver. I’ve had my moments.

But I’m glad for them. They make me appreciate the things in my life, now, and those sad moments help me understand what makes me truly happy and . . . I’m just getting started.

Day 1

There’s always a Day 1 and any day can be a “day 1”.

This is my “day 1” of getting back to my Blog.

My life, at the moment is full of Day-1s. My wife just took a new job teaching a new grade and subject. My youngest daughter just started high-school. My oldest daughter is about to start college. My sister-in-law took a new job. My brother got promoted. A friend is about to retire. Another friend started 75-Hard. Dozens of my daughter’s friends are moving their own sons and daughters off to college.

Day-1s are exciting. Nerve wracking. Full of unknown. Full of hope. Sometimes better than the day before. But sometimes worse. I’m sure I’m not the first person to write about the Day-1 phenomenon, but I’m not going to Google it.

The truth is, every day can be a Day-1 for something. Like, Monday was also my Day-1 of journey to getting myself healthy, fit, and strong enough to attempt an American Ninja Warrior course. I see dudes my age (48) and older on TV doing amazing things and I think, “whoa, the human body can DO THAT!?!?!?!”

So I turned off the TV and started. I did a plank. Did some sit-ups. Wrote down a plan. And the next morning I lifted some weights and did one pull-up. Not bad for Day-1.

What do I mean that any day can be a Day-1? Think about it. If today you decide you’re going to be more organized and you start …it’s your Day-1 for that.

Years ago (I think 45 years, in fact), when I was a toddler I came up to my Dad with a cigarette butt in my mouth and I guess I said, “look, Dad, just like you.” He crumpled up his pack of cigarettes and never smoked one another day in his entire life. I have no working memory of my Dad smoking a cigarette …only stories and a few photos.

He had a Day-1 thrust upon him out of the blue. He didn’t wait for “after Labor Day” or “January 1st” …he just did it.

And this is my point I’m trying to make to my nervous wife and daughters …Day-1s aren’t easy. And if Day 1, 2, and 3 aren’t great? Start again with a new Day-1.

  • Day-1 of being nicer to people.
  • Day-1 of exercise.
  • Day-1 of avoiding sugar.
  • Day-1 of writing daily
  • Day-1 of drinking a gallon of water per day

You can have a Day-1, right now! Day-1 for your book? Day-1 for your positive outlook and avoiding gossip and negative people. Day-1 for turning off cable news and not looking at Drudge and instead downloading Podcasts about healthy eating and fitness. Day-1 for developing a great night time routine that will let you sleep better and improve every part of your life (yes, I’m obsessed with sleep, but most of you know that).

Mainly …I just want to say …I hope you’re having a great day (one).

Dad Stuff: Dad Decree 1

No shoes to be worn in the house.

Today, on the 28th day of April, in the year of our Lord 2021, I, as Dad in our household, decree that shoes are not to be worn around the house.

This will be the first of many. I’ve been a Dad for 18 years and I have many rules, and ideas for rules, but I’ve never written them down. It’s like anarchy around my house now that I think about it. Lack of written rules is no way to run a household.

I’d like to thank Dr. Joel Kahn who works so hard to make the world free of Cancer and heart disease. He does this in many ways, and one of his ways is smart, insightful Instagram posts.

To my wife and kids… you’re welcome! For making our lives better.