Day 5 – Too Much Hank: Progress?

I’m purposely not weighing myself for a couple of weeks. If there’s progress, I want it to be dramatic progress. If there’s no progress … um.

But today when I went to the gym, two things happened. One, when I lifted my feet one at a time to tie my shoes, it was slightly — but noticeably! — easier. I felt a teeny bit more flexible.

Then when I went upstairs to the indoor track, I bounced up the stairs. Up until just 2 or 3 years ago, I always took stairs two at a time, but these days I just trudge, one at a time. Today I bounced. It wasn’t much of a bounce, but it was a definite bounce.

Later, I was sitting in a deep chair that I almost dread getting up from, just because it’s such an effort. But today I got up from that chair easily. Hmm.

All this might be boring as hell to everybody else. But to me it’s exciting.

Something is definitely happening.

Honoring the Sense of Loss

ranger.jpgI looked at my calendar today and noticed an anniversary coming up next Tuesday. January 29, 1998 – ten years to the day Ranger died.

Ranger the Valiant Warrior, my German shepherd pal of 12 years and a bit. Puppy who slept on my bed, big bony boy who played fetch and tug and chase, magnificent friend whose companionship I wore like a second skin for more than a decade. He rode with me in my truck, went on hikes with me, waited avidly outside whatever building I was inside, left the house and came into town looking for me whenever I was away too long.

Ten years gone.

I’m over it. Sure. The misty eyes brought about by noticing that date on the calendar are just silly. I mean, who pines over a DOG??

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ledger.jpgFred Thompson out — good. I think.

Heath Ledger dead? — Bad.

I’m hoping this was an accidental overdose rather than a suicide. I liked the kid. I thought he was a pretty good actor. I loved “A Knight’s Tale.” And just when he’s breaking new career ground as The Joker in the upcoming Batman movie, he’s gone.



Day 4 – Too Much Hank: Invincible Spring


Whew! Sure was a lot of gravity last night. I think it may have gusted up to 1.5 Gs or so.

I felt heavy, anyway. Coming out of my newspaper office last night, I noticed how tired I was, and how “compressed” I felt. For a moment as I thought about it, it really did feel like I was carrying a 45-pound backpack.

Yet I woke up this morning thinking how good I felt.

Which is a topic all its own: I should tell you I have this weird ability to maintain tension even when I’m sleeping. I developed it over the course of years, I think mainly because I read in bed at night. When I was younger, I’d fall asleep and drop the book, but over the years this came to happen less and less, until finally I’d wake up hours later still holding the book in position for reading. My subconscious had learned gradually to hold the book in place without dropping it. The ability generalized to my whole body eventually, so that if I went to bed clenched up from the day, I’d maintain the tension all night long and wake up the same way.

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Day 3 – Too Much Hank

care-bear.jpgThis was a good day. Ate light, had a really good workout at the gym, and then got to visit with my good friend Carl Buell, the world-class wildlife illustrator and all-around great guy. 

Argh. It’s like I’ve been zapped by Care Bears.

I do feel indefinably lighter, though.

I have these sayings I make up, stuff I call “Wise Old Sayings I Just Made Up” — which I sometimes refer to by the clumsy acronym WOSIJMU.

I’ve been wrestling with one about the subject of getting back into the gym after an absence of months or years. The beta version goes:

In 3 days you’ll be stronger.

In 3 weeks you’ll feel better.

In 3 months you’ll be changed forever.

It’s meant to encourage people to get back into the gym.

Are you encouraged?

Picky Eaters


In full diet/exercise “get back in shape” mode, food is ever on my mind. A fellow blogger writing recently about a picky eater in the family sparked this:

I remember how EASY life got after I just started trying all the new foods I was presented with. And damn! Some of them – sushi!! – were GOOD!

I have friends back in Texas who have never had sushi and never will – you couldn’t get them in the same room with it – and darned if that isn’t a tragic loss for them. If I was 12 years old and you presented me with a foot-high chocolate sundae with a gallon of whipped cream and a pound of walnut sprinkles, I couldn’t love it any more than I love sushi. This weird-looking, conceptually freaky – OH MY GOD IT’S RAW FISH!!! – stuff is food so great poor people like me shouldn’t be allowed to have it.

And I never would have known it if I hadn’t tried it.

For me, there was a pivotal moment in trying new things, and it actually came in reading about a dog’s sense of smell.

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Day 2 – Too Much Hank: Farewell to Sugar

saccharine.jpgI had the obligatory withdrawal headache last night. I’d been waiting for it. Anybody who’s ever gone cold turkey on sugar or coffee (in my case, both) probably knows about it. It’s this dull pain that just hangs on for hours, a headache that seems to extend down into the back of your neck. You can’t even lie on a pillow comfortably, but the only hope of getting rid of it is to sleep it off. Which I did, finally.

I feel good this morning! Whoo-hoo! Not as alert as I might with coffee, but all-in-all not too bad.

Someone in the comments suggested I try a sugar substitute, rather than giving up coffee because I was giving up sweetened creamer, and I started to explain in a reply comment my feelings about sugar substitutes. I couldn’t find a short way of explaining without sounding like a luddite, so I thought I’d go into it here. So:

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Day 1 – Too Much Hank

As Day 1 of my Too Much Hank campaign winds down, I recount my successes. Today I went to the gym — yay, me! The computer thingie hooked up to the machines I use said I “lifted” more than 8 tons in my workout. Since the action of each machine isn’t always a lifting one, I prefer to think I “moved” 16,000+ pounds … a very, very short distance. But it was a good workout. I went through the regimen twice, and I feel good about that. I also did a one-mile walk.

This morning for breakfast, I had a fruit smoothie, something I tinkered up a month or so back: In a big plastic pitcher, toss one banana, 5 frozen strawberries, 4 frozen peach slices, 3 tablespoons of frozen blueberries, two cups of milk and a scoop of protein powder. Crank a wand blender down into it and blend until the fruit’s all pureed. Pour into a glass and guzzle, smacking lips and making appreciative “guy” sounds. If you’re aiming for a daily 6-8 servings of “F&V” — fruits and vegetables — you’re starting the day with three already accounted for.  

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Too Much Hank

Too Much HankYeah, I know the color balance of this pic is lousy. I’ll post more later with better color. But I wanted to get this one up today.

On January 19, 2008, this is me at 190 pounds. The guy you’re looking at is 5 feet 3 inches tall. I like to say “I carry it well,” but the truth is, from inside, being like this doesn’t feel good at all. I DON’T carry it well. I gasp, I labor, I trudge. It’s like I’m carrying around a 45-pound backpack, 24 hours a day.

When I go to the zoo, the lady rhinos come over and wink at me. I kept  swatting at an annoying fly a few days ago before I realized it was a small moon in orbit. I was backing up yesterday and heard a beeping sound.

I want to change that. I’m going to do it publicly in order to put myself on the hook in front of everybody for actually accomplishing it. Which makes me nervous. What if I fail? I mean, *I* know I’m a complete doofus, but I don’t necessarily want everybody else to know it.

Anyway, here I am at Day 1. My expression looks like “I’m going to eat you and your entire family,” but it’s really me laughing at the ridiculousness of being this big.

The last straw was when Macy’s contacted me and asked me if I’d like to be in this year’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. On guy wires.