My Dad is Being Buried Today

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My Dad is being buried today. He took his last breath at about 8:30pm October 13th, 2013. He was 85. He would have been 86 on November 7th. He was diagnosed in early September with lung and liver cancer. He had had other cancers three times in his life and had beaten them without chemo. He decided against chemo this time also. I think he figured that at 85 chemo would really diminish his quality of life. I am sure he was right. As much as it pains our family, fortunately for him his battle with cancer this time was relatively and mercifully short. He didn’t have alot of pain and I believe he passed in relative comfort.  

He was of the World War 2 generation. He was a supply sergeant in the Army. He spent two years in the Philippine Islands in the South Pacific. After that, he came home and spent a couple of years hopscotching around the country doing odd jobs with a friend named Doc in a brand new Ford Coupe that my Dad had bought with money he had saved up in the Army. The late 1940′s was a time in America when a couple of young men could do that. My dad told me that he and Doc would stop in a town or city and find whatever odd jobs they could. When they had gotten together $50 between them they would take off for yet another town and another adventure. When I was a child my dad told me and my siblings many stories from this part of his life. Some of them were somewhat harrowing. They were all funny in some way. They were all very interesting to us no matter how many times he told them. We requested that he repeat them many, many times…and he always obliged.

Between 1948 and 1955 I don’t know a whole lot about my dad’s life. I know that when he met my mom in 1955 they were both working for an aircraft manufacturer in St. Louis, MO.

My mom and dad were married in February of 1956. He was 28 and she was 18. My brother Steve came along in August of that year. Over the next 10 years 3 more boys and 1 girl would be born to them.

He was an extraordinary man by all accounts. He was a good Christian man. He had more grace for others than anyone else I have ever known. He was a wonderful and gifted guitarist, singer, and songwriter.

Why am I telling you all of this? First and foremost as a form of self-therapy and healing. Second, I am hoping that this blog will help others that are dealing with crisis and grief in their lives. Third, because my life has been in many ways like his and in just as many ways not. And last but certainly not least, I want to untie as many of the “not’s” as I can and be much more like him. 

The death of my dad is really making me examine my life. Life is short and not for the faint of heart. It seems there is so much to do and so little time to do it.

POP, I LOVE YOU. I ALWAYS HAVE AND I ALWAYS WILL. REST IN PEACE. I KNOW YOU ARE.  

 

   

What I Got at My Local Farmer’s Market for just $70!

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The Complete Haul!

The first thing that my fiance and I have gotten and you probably will get also if you shop at the local farmer’s market is HEALTHIER. That is a priceless gift. All of the items that I got today are organic, non-GMO (genetically modified organism), no nitrate or artificial preservatives, grass-fed, free-range, locally raised, locally produced, and locally grown items.

My experience with the Rochester, MN farmer’s market over the last few years has been nothing less than wonderful. The first thing is that I actually have gotten to know the people who produce my food. Secondly, food from the big corporate grocery store just doesn’t taste nearly as good. No kidding! Two things really stand out to me. The egg yolks have much better color and the whites are more moist (less congealed). The meats all taste way better, in that they actually have real flavor. If you have never been to a farmer’s market you probably won’t know what I mean. Heck! Before I started shopping there I didn’t know what that meant!

Tastes like bacon!

The pork steaks I have pictured here above are from Vreeland Farms and they actually almost have the color of beef! That’s because the pigs weren’t penned up all their lives. They actually taste like bacon and the meat is much more dense! They are also antibiotic-free, non-GMO fed, and naturally cured with NO INFLAMMATION-CAUSING NITRATES. I believe these were only $3.25/lb too! Ok! Enough about the pork.

Where’s the beef?

Here’s the Beef!

Wendy’s (or any other fast-food chain) can’t touch the nutrient value or flavor of the beef I get from Don Buck of Buck’s Beef! Don has every cut of beef you can imagine. This week I got there a little later than usual and he was already out of butt and arm roasts. I had to settle for ground, which still tastes just as incredible as the rest! Did you know that the beef that you buy at the big chain grocery store is raised specifically for the fast food restaurant chains? Yep! Even the filet mignon or Porterhouse you buy at the store, unless it specifically states otherwise, comes from a factory-farm-operation-raised, non-organic, GMO feed eating, antibiotic-shot-up cow that is specifically raised to supply beef to our nation’s (and probably the worlds’) number one beef buyer, McDonald’s.

Now, onto the next food item. CHICKEN.

Organically raised, antibiotic-free, free range chicken.

Sweet Chicken!

I got this beautiful 4.33 lb. chicken from the same place that I get the awesomely scrumptious Coconut Craze Bars. Summer Hill Family Farms. All I have to say is that their chickens are really sweet and tender. I do them as a whole frier in the oven injected with one of my special butter herb sauces. They always come out juicy and tender. Oh yeah! I almost forgot to post the pic of their Coconut Craze Bars. My fiance insists I get these every time I go. They also sell lamb which I absolutely love!

I am really sorry that I can’t remember the name of the farm that I got these beautiful organic heirloom tomatoes and cilantro from.

I see a salsa in their immediate future!

The tomatoes are actually ripe even if they don’t really look it.

And the last item (but definitely NOT the least) that I will mention here are Monica’s Jalapeno jam and Blueberry Rhubarb jam. At 4 somolians a jar these are a bargain!

Monica Jams!

Monica really jams!

Monica also does a Swedish pastry called Lefse and all manner of other pickled and canned things!

I am going to end this post with some recommended movie viewing for those that want to learn more about the American food industry.

Food, Inc.: http://wideeyecinema.com/?p=5752

Fast Food Nation: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zc_z623Wsro

The Future of Food: http://www.thefutureoffood.com/Trailer.html

Supersize Me!: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I1Lkyb6SU5U

Thanks for reading and have a great day! Come back soon!

Borderline Diabetes and Sugar Addiction

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I woke up this morning at about 6:30 and once again felt physically horrible and not well-rested at all. As of late (basically for the last month or two) I have been experiencing alot more physical fatigue than usual. This can be attributed to two major factors: Borderline diabetes and anxiety. I am going to start by addressing the diabetes issue.

I was diagnosed a few years ago with borderline diabetes. I am 48 years old, 6’2″ and 265 lbs. Add to that a family history of type 2 diabetes on my mom’s side of the family and you come up with one very bad combination.

Why am I blogging about this?

1. I am hoping others will read and learn from this and share their stories, experiences, and what worked for them.

2. I need to hold myself accountable for the life changes I must make.

3. I know that I am far from alone in a country in which there is an epidemic of diabetes that is growing everyday.

4. I need to use this as a way of keeping track of my progress to make sure the things I am doing are really giving me results.

The two most important things that I can begin doing today is to detoxify my system and become more active. I have a gym membership for $22/month that I haven’t used in quite a while.

First things first! I need to get my blood sugar tested again. For me that means a trip to my local Veterans Administration health clinic on Friday. I need to get one of those testing machines so that I can figure out what my baseline is for about two weeks a couple of times everyday.

Why do a body system detoxification?

The bottom line is that Americans in general are addicted to all kinds of different sugars in much higher amounts than other populations around the world. It is in almost everything we eat and drink. I am lucky in that my fiance owns and runs a wellness center and she is a very knowledgeable massage and wellness therapist. I have the right tools at my disposal but I haven’t taken advantage of them because it was just too easy to keep doing the same things and stay in my rut. Today all of that changes! I have gotten tired of being sick and tired! Now I am going to do some studying up on diabetes, sugar addiction, and the effects of sugar on the body and get back to you soon with what I have learned. Stay tuned….

Thanks for stopping by to check this out. Have a great day and may God bless all of you!

The PBS NewsHour, Entertainment News, and You

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I have once again taken to watching the PBS Newshour for my TV news as often as possible. It’s not pretty. Their set is pretty basic and their anchors aren’t mostly attractive young people. It’s not glamorous. It’s not exciting, exhilarating, or slickly produced. It’s not packaged to “entertain” me. Compared to Fox, CNN, or MSNBC it is kinda dry and a pretty straight-forward reading, but that’s because IT’S THE NEWS! It’s not supposed to be entertaining! It’s supposed to be INFORMATIVE! Believe it or not the issues our country faces sometimes take a little longer than 2 minutes to explain and really dig into! Picking 4 stories and doing 15 minutes on each one is sometimes even a little long for me if it’s something I am not generally very interested in. Many times if I hang on for a few minutes even to those less-than-interesting stories I learn something I didn’t know and come away with a better understanding of exactly why that story SHOULD REALLY matter to me and then it does. The longer stories also help me combat and lengthen my ever-shortening American attention span.

What does this have to do with the high bitrate lifestyle? I am glad you asked. Try unplugging from the corporate media for a while. You might just be surprised at how much less stressful your life may become. Maybe try sitting down with your beverage of choice and your dinner (if you so choose) just a couple times a week for just one hour and watching The Newshour straight through (OK…bathroom breaks are acceptable… :) ). I bet your stress level will thank you. And, last but definitely not least, you may just be better informed. Oops! I almost fell off of my soapbox! :)

On another note, my fiance Tina and I are going to visit Stillwater, MN this weekend for “A Taste of Stillwater”. It sounds like fun. I will report back on Monday 7/16. Also be on the lookout for a remodel of the blog.

Have a great weekend all!

Dean

Alaskan Brewing Company Amber Alt Style Ale

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Wow! This is one of the best and most drinkable amber ales I have ever tasted. A true session beer for the person that is not afraid of a real ale. It’s not too heavy or sweet. The IBU rate is 18. It has just enough hops to give it a little bitterness on the back of the tongue. It also has a great refreshing mouth feel too. ABV is 5.3.

Home Page

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Visit Brian’s Belly’s Home Page.

Steve Jobs: How to Live Before You Die

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One of the best and most candid TED talks. http://www.ted.com/talks/steve_jobs_how_to_live_before_you_die.html

If you have any thoughts on how to live before you die please feel free to express them in the comments section. Thanks, Dean

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