Wednesday, December 31, 2008

2008 - my best year yet

OK – this has been a very interesting/challenging/emotional/exciting year! It’s hard to know where to begin. Most everything that has happened this year centers around or is the result of my efforts to (A) lose 200 lbs in less then a year and (B) create a documentary film (my first) about the weight loss.

I guess I will start with the weight loss:
In March of this year I weighed 367.8 pounds, today I weighed in at 225.6 pounds, I’ve lost 142.2 pounds in a little over 9 months. No surgery / no drugs. My pants / waist size has dropped from a 54 to a 36. I was doing very little if any exercise - I’m now running 6+ miles a day (seven days a week).

The film:
I have acquired professional video and sound equipment to be able to shoot 24fps in HI-DEF. I’ve shot about 50 hours of digital film. I have scanned/collected/or shot nearly 2000 still shots (with Sarah’s help). I have plans for a dozen or more additional shoots/interviews/animation sequences. I have acquired music that I can and may use. I have established a relationship with a fantastic concert pianist to trade music for album cover and liner design. I’m approaching the worlds top musicians for music – big songs (I might be dreaming here, but I will know what the process is and at the least it will be a great experience in trying). I’m going to be getting a new editing system in January.

My goal is to make my first film, will it be any good? (it’d be nice if it was), but it’s tough work – it’s incredibly complicated, it’s my first try. I will do everything within my power to make it GREAT. But my goal is simply to make it. It’s challenge enough to lose weight, it’s been hard and time consuming and once I start editing it will only get tougher. But the film demands and the pressure of deadlines and the time involved promoting the film – bloging on the film / building a supportive site / all part of the game and also so much of the incentive that has helped me lose the weight. The two work together.

No weight loss – no film. No film – no weight loss. Art saves the artist - I think.

Surprises for 2008?
I’m surprised that I will have 40 lbs of excess skin (this will require surgery)

Hitting my first plateau – the first 120 pounds dropped like magic – almost exactly 5 pounds a week, for 6 months straight. The last 20 have been a battle! The next 20 will be too.

Complete strangers coming up to me to say I was inspiring them.

Complete strangers noticing my weight dropping.

How hard it is for me to talk in front of a camera.

How much social networking has added to my life.

Thanks for making 2008 my best year yet:
First to my family, my wife Kelli – (also an artist) working on dolls for a potential stop-frame animation sequence. I’m sorry for all the time away – hopefully this will change soon enough. My daughter Paige who I’m teaching to shoot – she’s done quite well, I can’t shoot myself. She’s a great actor herself and writer and artist. My daughter Sarah who has been shooting most of the stills. Sarah your work behind the camera is almost as stunning as when you are in front of the camera ☺. Max my son who is the “grip”, great work Max. To my Mom! She will surely get a Producers Credit. She’s funded a lot of the equipment thus far. Mom – that means if the film wins an Oscar for best documentary, you get the Oscar! Don’t hold your breath.

In setting up the whole deal – I have entered into the world of bloging and social networking. I did this as a part of the standard stuff you do to try to create hype for any film project. It’s my first time doing this sort of stuff. I’ve met some amazing people. I hesitate to call anyone out because so many have had such a profound positive effect on me. So much so that at the risk of offending all others (not my intent) I have to talk about three individuals.

First from Experience Project my friend BrokenBiscuit. You are an incredibly strong woman and I hope and pray that 2009 brings many blessings to you, I really appreciate your time and opinions and most of all I appreciate your dedication to your three sons. I’d pray for a blessing on them too but they already got that with you.

Star26 from Experience Project. You represent something rather incredible (even on a site like EP). You have walked through too many shadows and valleys for one so young. Your resolve to forgive others, to move forward in life, to keep a good attitude are all amazing. You have brought great perspective to my life in 2008. AND Snow Patrol! Thanks – Chasing Cars will forever bring you to my mind. One line in particular for which you set an example for us all - “I need your Grace to remind me to find my own”

And Jarka from Opera. The internet is full of so much junk, but as long as you are out there, going out of your way to be kind, bringing cheer and happiness, poetry, art, profound thoughts, photos of your adventures and your faith in Him – there will be some balance. Your friendship, kindness, encouragement and inspiration have been an important part of my 2008!

Thanks to all my friends for all the encouragement – and I wish you all a Happy New Year!

I weighed 225.6 today.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

missed blogging yesterday

When I came back in to blog last night the power in the building was out. I'm doing a quick blog this morning and will blog again tonight. I weighed 231.4 after the run last night and the same after this mornings run. I really want to be down into the 220's by the end of this year (just 2 days away) so I'm going to tighten up on the calories and increase the pace (may even do nine mile a day runs) for the next two days. I will not be able to run again on Thursday as the workout facility will be closed on News Years day. More blog to come tonight.

Part 2:

Well I got through a full 6 mile 2nd run. Glad that's over - I don't think I have another in me for tomorrow but that's how I felt after the first one last time. Actually I really hope it will not be needed. My weight is actually good right now. 227.6. It's late already and we have a car that isn't starting waiting for me to work on when I get home - it all adds up to a busy full night with less opportunity to over-eat. I'm glad about that.

I told Kelli today that I really wanted to be in the 220's before the end of the day tomorrow (the end of 2008). She told me it didn't matter that much. She wasn't saying that my goals didn't mean anything to her - rather that it wasn't a big deal - if I didn't make it. Not to worry about it. I NEED THIS THOUGH. Right now I'm down 140. 2 pounds from where I started. Tomorrow I hope to be the same or less. I can't really explain it - just have to be there.

I've been thinking a lot lately about my blog for tomorrow (for better then a week now), it's going to be a sumation of one of the greatest years of my life. 2008. It'll be an interesting day to view blogs! Not just mine (but mostly mine ! )

I weighed 227.6 today.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

not easy

Really feeling sick today - lost my sense of taste yesterday (that's a good thing I think). I'm taking a lot of Zicam to ward off the bad effects of the cold. For me these things typically result in painful sore throats and then coughing really hard for weeks. The Zicam really helps to eliminate that part of the cold for me. It tastes "not so good" - so not being able to taste it is a good thing. Also the lack of an ability to taste may also result in my not wanting to eat so much :) .

I wasn't sure I'd be be able to run the full hour run but got through it. Sore and aching all over, but not so bad.

I weighed 231.8 today.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Back from the run

Got through the run - just want to head home and paint some more. It was hard today as I'm getting a serious cold. Nothing felt right, must be the cold. I need to go shoot my progress photos now.

I weighed 234.6 today

Friday, December 26, 2008

didn't do well

All the positive thinking about getting through Christmas day without over-eating did little good. Not being able to run didn't help either. The weather went really bad yesterday (still bad today). We have a freezing ran - I still made it in, just could not miss the run again. Felt great to do the run - 6 miles all at once. Will do the same tomorrow and Sunday too.

Painted yesterday (a lot) THAT WAS GREAT! and will do more today. I will play with my new xBox 360 too! Nice having a little time off.

I weighed 236.8 today.

Here's a new poem (quite the struggle this one).

remorse for ONE last dance

an old horse-pulled plow sits turning to rust
it’s a three row Hollman cultivator circa 1932
it lies in a field it once sowed
a man of 72 years
drove it there in 1957 with a horse named China

he laid down 3 feet behind the plow
his heart could carry him no more
but he didn’t die alone
the horse who pulled the plow was there
she was 33 – too old to pull - born in 1924
the man lived alone for the last 53 years
the horse lived 5 more days harnessed to that plow

the mans grand daughter died in 1993
it was she who found him there,
his body covered in dew
the horses body too
she’s the one who held the bible
when they buried him
just a hundred twenty yards away
a top a hill
the horse was buried where she fell

what his hand found to do
he did with all his strength
where his heart would have gone
he never went
neighbors and family said of him he spent his days alone
never recovered from the grief of love lost so long ago

nothing could be further form the truth
he danced with her a thousand times in his mind
a thousand more across his floor
it was true love he had found
and though it ended way to soon
she died in 1904 – he buried her when she was just 18
it was for him enough – he was fulfilled though others never knew

the nagge died giving birth to China
this made the man love that horse all the more
he weaned it himself neglecting the crops in 1924
it survived as did his only child
both would thrive

a life lived 72 years will have regrets
when he lay on the ground he had his share
he wished he had written his grand kids back
he wished he’d taken more invites to visit with his son
he wished he’d not burned her photos in the first few days of grief
he wished he’d danced with her every night before she died

as he passed he felt just ONE remorse
that he could not stand once more, walk nine feet
and take the harness off his horse

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

dropping fast

Well this has happened before so I'm not surprised, after the run I weighed in at 230.0. Almost back to the 220's. I'm going to stay with the 600 or less today - maybe for sometime - who knows. It's working again. I've had a 9 pound plus loss in just 2 days time. It's all temporary water gain (in this case loss).

I may or may not blog tomorrow - I know I will not be able to run because the center will be closed.

Merry Christmas!

I weighed 230.0 today.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

dropping again

The weights dropping quickly again I've just got to keep with the calorie restrictions and running. Not much time to blog - got a little Christmas shopping to tonight.

I weighed 234.6

Monday, December 22, 2008

holiday coming

The holidays are upon us. The Abraham Center (where I workout) will be closed three days between now and New Years. This is going to make it rough. It's a good thing I'm going liquids only. Had a good day so far in that regard. Will have one drink tonight (I hope) and nothing more and will be under 600 calories for the day. I will not be partaking in any Christmas or New Years meals. I'm totally OK with that. Just so close to the end now I don't want to blow it. Especially critical since I can't workout three days. May go hiking on our land - maybe do some photography. Hopefully with some time off I'll get my site caught up also.

Lot's of work to catch up on tonight - oh well.

I weighed 239.4 today.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

weight up again!

My weight continues to go slowly up - got to really get this turned around this week. I'm going to go liquids only again - I should say I'm going to TRY to do the liquids only. We'll see how that goes.

I weighed 239.4 today

Saturday, December 20, 2008

I'm tired

Did the 1 hour/6 mile run pretty easily. I probably need to start to press for more MPH. Going to do a little Christmas shopping today. I know it's early, but I'm not one to put these things off till the last minute. Thought I'd have a new poem - but it's been nothing but a struggle. I'm really counting on starting a new painting today. The snow is coming down again, pretty heavy. I only got about half the drive done last night - I guess one of my neighbors came by with a plow this morning and finished what I had not - THANKS!

I'm tired - just everything I guess.

I weighed 235.4 today.

Friday, December 19, 2008

still so busy

Just a quick blog - I had hope to leave early so I could shovel snow and have been twice hit with new work (work - work). I just finished my run and will head home and attempt to hand shovel 10,000 pounds of snow. i had an interesting meal today. a jar of olives and a pack of Necco's! Just add a once a day supplement to any meal and you have your nutrition for the day covered!

I weighed 234.4 today.

Thursday, December 18, 2008


Just so busy working on the site today/tonight no time to blog!

I weighed 235.3 today

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

tried again - no way

As has been the case the last few days the weight keeps going up. Tried to do 9 again but just couldn't. Not sweating it.

I weighed 235.4 today.

Okay - one more poem then i'll need to write more - this one's deep;

dilly dally did the fish
for forty winks it was his wish
but God so wise
gave no lids his eyes
now insomnia's his dish

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Another 9 miles

I really don't think I'm quite ready to be running this much - but for some reason the weight drop slowed (actually it started going up???) the only thing keeping it from going out of control is the longer runs. Oh well. Right now it feels good, my feet hurt just a bit more then typical.

I weighed 230.8 today.

Monday, December 15, 2008

9 miles today and a poem

The weights been acting odd. Who can figure these things out. I went ahead and ran a full hour tonight. That's plus the 3+ miles this morning. This might actually be doable long term - nine miles a day. There are people who do that. It takes too much time though is the problem. There's way too much stress already time wise.

Another poem? Oh well here goes:

angel of my waking dreams

come stand near me
i want to breathe you in
place your hand in mine
and i will hold the universe

whisper you love me
and i will fold, doubled over, dropping to my knees
i will collapse to the floor

true love will we ever meet?
will our paths ever cross?
our lives intwine? hatch our plans our schemes?

come stand near me
i want to breathe you in
angel of my waking dreams

I weighed 231.8 today.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Part 2 on SEMVA - Magic

Our gallery is located right downtown in Rochester Minnesota. It’s in what people call the “Peace Plaza”. It’s a large courtyard surrounded by many shops and one of the most unusual Barnes and Nobles book stores which is housed in an old movie theater. This summer was marked by the completion of a major renovation project to the courtyard itself. That night there was a good deal of commotion surrounding the reinstallation of a fountain that was taken down at the start of the renovation and was being reinstalled (this time it was moved right in front of our gallery!).

An elderly woman rode into our shop on one of those three wheel mobility chairs. She was dressed very “artsy” and she was so thrilled to have found SEMVA. She said she had lived here for 20 years (just a few blocks away) and never knew we were here. She looked at some of the clothing our artists make and jewelry but mostly she and I talked. She described the evening as magical. Finding our shop was a thrill for her. Our doors were open, the summer air and music moved wonderfully through the shop and there were cranes and workers and news stations outside the door attending to the reinstallation of the fountain.

I finally asked if she was an artist herself (she dressed like one) – she said no, not any more. But there was a time 30 years ago when she lived in New York City that she studied sculpture with a master. She went on and on about this gentlemen who used a 12th century technique in bronze. She was so sure that if she could only remember his name I would have heard of him. The only damper to the magic of this evening was that she appeared very stressed that her memory would simply not give up the name.

At that point the fountain installation had reached its peak. The fountain is, itself, a bronze. It has doves flying up together and the water comes out of the top. I think the term Peace Plaza may have come from this fountain. I felt it was a compassionate diversion to point her attention to the activity outside since the name wouldn’t come. I was also interested in watching the installation myself. She was very interested and said; yes I think I’ve taken up too much of your time already, thanks for the wonderful conversation (she was there for nearly an hour). She assured us she’d be coming back regularly to the gallery and she quickly joined the crowd outside the door.

There were hundreds of people filling the plaza from local news crews to diners to people there just to watch. I think that it had been down for two years or so during the renovation. With the war and all it was an emotional moment.

The artist who designed the sculpture flew in from New York City for one evening to supervise the reinstallation of the fountain. His name is Charles Gagnon it was her old instructor and she quickly met up with him. She came back into the store so excited to share his name and to let us know that he was out there and that she got to talk to him again. Pretty magical evening indeed.

I weighed 231.4 today

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Poetry killed the weight loss blog

I missed blogging at most of the places I blog yesterday because I worked at SEMVA last night. There wasn't much work to do though as no one came in! It's was so cold last night! Even in the gallery. We sit at the front by these big windows and the net result is that it's cold indoors too.

Anyway, last time I worked at SEMVA I wrote two poems. I was in the habit of bringing my art to work on while at SEMVA but it's easier to just write. I wrote two more last night. I've shared some of my poetry at, and have been encouraged by some to include it in the blog. EP has a place for poetry (and a million other things) so it fits there quite comfortably!!!

I blog on / / / / / - it's all the same copy - I'm just shamelessly trying to get as much PR for the movie as I can. I guess art is a big part of my life, and it has been a part of my blogging thus far - so I just hope that "how bad" the poetry is doesn't kill the blog! Not ready to call myself a poet yet. I was also going to share a wonderful story about something that happened at SEMVA this summer but I'll save that. So here goes any critique is certainly welcome, I'll spare you all by only sharing one of them:

Sweet you

It's sweet to dwell on you
easy to lose myself
in the thought of your smile

I want your hand
to have
to hold
I want to walk with you
in sun
in rain
To stand with you
against the winds
the tides
and time

It's so sweet to dwell on you
and to lose myself in the thought
of us together

I weighed 228.2 today

Friday, December 12, 2008

Worked at SEMVA tonight.

It 's late again, blogging from home. I had to work at SEMVA tonight, didn't have a chance to blog earlier. I hope to have a good (low calorie) weekend! It would be good just to maintain the 220's even - we will see. Two of the 6 mile runs ahead, always tough to do. It's so slow here as we only have dial-up in the country. I have been writing poetry while working at SEMVA. I was bringing in art to work on - but it's much easier to just bring a pad of paper and a pen!

I weighed 229.8 today

Thursday, December 11, 2008

nothing but extraordinary kindness

Another great day - I guess my spirits are still up. It's a lesion - someone extends you an extraordinary kindness and it can carry you and make you light on your feet, head in the clouds, etc. In the same way, being mean spirited can cause folks to suffer well after the act. I have friends my age (that's really old) who were bullied in HS and are still talking about it. Still hurting over it.

Pretty simple lesson I guess - extend extraordinary kindness and nothing but extraordinary kindness CONSTANTLY!

I weighed 228.2 today.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

What an encouraging day!

Just an amazing day, in the morning when I got on the elevator a very nice lady told me she had been reading my blog and that I was an inspiration. What a nice gesture and nice to know folks are reading the blog! Then after my second run a friend and colleague here at Mayo said the exact same thing - that I was an inspiration.

But the biggest honor!
I've had the privilege of acting as a mentor to many artists and designers over the years and most are appreciative of the advice and encouragement, today my friend Jarka mentioned me in the dedication of her new/first art and poetry book.

Jarka I'm truly honored. It will be fun to watch as your talents and gifts are recognized and appreciated by the rest of the WORLD!

I will weigh 219.6 by Jan 1st.

I weighed 229.6 today.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

In the 220's!!!

OK - I'm REALLY happy. I'm in the 220's again. Not sure what the deal is but the weight has really started to drop fast again. On Saturday I weighed 237.6. That's just 3 days ago. I weighed 228.6 tonight. 9 pounds - that's fair, I've had my gains too. I'm going to stop at the grocery store and buy some Kippered Snacks (canned herring), douse it in Kikkoman sauce and drink a few cups of skim milk to celebrate!!! Sound gross? Not to me! Sounds like a meal right out of a Miyazaki movie!

This is going to be a great month. I'm starting to feel that I may just make the goal of 219.6 by Jan 1, Nanette Burnstien (genius) has her documentary film American Teen coming out on the 21st, I was invited to facilities Christmas celebration as an honored guest - that's on the 17th, someone told me there'd be like a thousand people there, I have to make brief comments and then there's Christmas. Just got to keep the calories in check through out.

I will weigh 219.6 by Jan 1st.

I weighed 228.6 today.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Bad weather is here

I'm here blogging but should have been on the road home hours ago. We are getting hit again with yet MORE snow, this time maybe as much as 10 inches. I drive a jeep so I'll take it easy and slow and should make it home fine. I'm worried more about getting in tomorrow. I've decided I have to be here, I have to make the run (plus I have so much work to catch-up on). The weight dropped again, I think I may actually be at a new low (if not close). I’m almost in the 220's again. That's going to be NICE! Just 3.5 pounds away!

I will weigh 219.6 by Jan 1st.

I weighed 233.4 today.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

long weekend

Back from my run late again, had a good art show over all - lots of good things will come out of it I believe. Very late, very cold out - more snow again today!!!

I will weigh 219.6 by Jan 1st.

I weighed 236.6 today.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

good day

Just got back from my run - did the 6 miles all at once - didn't have time to do a run in the morning. I spent most of the day at the art show, no sales but I really don't expect any (my stuff is way to expensive for this show). What was really great was having the entire day to paint! I nearly finished a large painting, will be painting again tomorrow. I was told I was being anti-social by two of the other artists. I had my headphones on and zoned out everyone and everything. There were many people who came despite more heavy snow. I just sat in the middle of the room painting.

It's really bad when artists tell you you are being anti-social! I guess that's me though!!! I don't care because the painting is coming out so good.

I will weigh 219.6 by Jan 1st.

I weighed 237.6 today.

Friday, December 5, 2008


Blogging rather late tonight - will keep it short. I did the 6 mile run again but struggled through it. Will likely do two 3.25's tomorrow instead of a sixer. Got all the show stuff done for now - need to do price tags in the early morning. Feeling very cold all night. Sat in front of a small space heater at the SEMVA Gallery all night and left my winter coat on the whole time. I think it's the lower calories are leaving me colder - it's only in the 20's tonight. I will need to start dressing in layers! Maybe I just need to cowboy up!

I will weigh 219.6 by Jan 1st.

I weighed 236.4 today

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Did the 6 miles straight again

Had a great run this morning - one of the best to date. I credit it to the fact that I kept my stocking cap on. I used it to position my iPod headphones in such a way that they were way louder. Helps a lot to have the music up so you here less of the treadmill and the other people around you. I'm at work today only long enough to blog and send a few e-mails out. Then it's home to paint and figure out what all I'm bringing to the art show.

I wrote this poem about the color red and I'm planing to "paint it". The panels will be quite large 4 feet by 4 feet each and I'll need 8 of them to do the entire poem. I think I may bring those to work on at the show. I always like to be getting something done at these show if at all possible.

I ran the 6 miles in one one hour session again today so I wouldn't need to come back later. I may do that again tomorrow, I know I'll do it on Saturday and Sunday before the art show. That will make 4 days in a row. I think that'll be good for me at this point. Hopefully being at the show all weekend will help me to control my bad habits over the weekend.

I weighed 234.4 today.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Taking tomorrow off

I decided to take two days off before the art show this weekend. We got a bunch more snow last night and through the morning. Last year during the show it was a major ice storm. Not too many people ventured out. It was still fun hanging around with the other artists. I have to finish at least one painting before Saturday and get another started to work on at the show this year.

I'll likely end up doing a 1 hour run in the morning tomorrow, maybe Friday too, well see.

I will weigh 219.6 by Jan 1st.

I weighed 237.2 today.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Very thankful

Just dawning on me the last week or so that it's Nov/Dec - back in March when I started and even more so in April when the weight started dropping consistently, I would calculate that by December I'd be done. Back then or at the start of any diet it's easy to think this way. Just need to stay the course I'm on and by this or that date I'll be thin again. Thing is though, for me, I have had these "crystal ball visions" hundreds of times, typically I'd go a week or two and fail, often only a day or two and fail, one time four years ago I went three and half months and lost 85 lbs only to fail and gain it all back.

I'm not thin yet (I have 70 lbs to lose) but it's a done deal at this point. No going back. In theory 40 lbs is excess skin (surgery will take that away), about 30 lbs to lose 20 of that will be gone this month. I'm thankful to be at this point. It's not just the weight loss or the exercise routine I'm maintaining, I've simply reached a point of no return.

To anyone wanting to lose weight I wish this upon you with all my heart!

I will weigh 219.6 by Jan 1st.

I weighed 237.5 today.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Dec 1st is here!

Well I guess posting the goal in every blog doesn't guarantee you'll make the goal - oh well. I'm at 239.6 today. 10 lbs. down for the month not 20. I got a late start (my own fault) and I'm thankful to be in the 230's at this point. I am going to give myself another 20 lb goal for Jan 1.

Now I need to focus on an art show coming up this weekend. It'll be my third year in row for this one. Should be fun, don't expect much in the way of sales though with the economy as is.

I will weigh 219.6 by Jan 1st.

I weighed 239.6 today.