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Ryan Cheney





 



Back Amongst The Living

Sun, 22 Nov 2009 20:25:42 +0000

For the one....two...all right, I'll be generous to myself, three that might have missed me, it's been a long absence from here. Unfortunately, I became the unwilling recipient of a nasty illness that took the better part of a year to overcome. One that wreaked complete havoc with me, both mentally and physically. There were many days where it took every ounce of energy I had, to complete the most basic of day to day tasks. What first seemed to be a simple bout of illness in September 2008, quickly turned into a debilitating one by late November. What I didn't realize until much later, is that I was experiencing what I have termed "sick-cycling". I would become ill, get well, and then become sick again. However, the time that I would be well between each bout was continually decreasing. The day after Thanksgiving, my body finally crashed and burned. When I went to bed that evening, I felt fine. Within an hour, my heart was pounding furiously, and I felt like I was two degrees from spontaneously combusting. It felt like all of my skin was on fire. This went on for several hours, as I fought to get some rest, having to get up at 4:30 a.m. for work. Finally, I fell asleep around 3 for a brief rest. I figured that with a few good days of rest, I'd be back to normal. How wrong I would turn out to be. In the midst of my sick-cycling, I had become so weak that I had to stop working out. Weights that were once easily lifted now felt like they were 10x their actual weight. It felt like I was in a mental fog much of the time. I could not move quickly in any fashion, or I would become light-headed. More than a few times, there would be a mind-body disconnect. My mind would want to do something, yet there was a felt delay, before my body would respond to the requested action. Neat on one hand, frustrating on other. No energy, light-headedness and constant mental fog, coupled with a painfully hacking cough, and the inability to keep food down. Sounds like a wonderful recipe of ailments, huh? Not! Being the stubborn New Englander that I am, I was in no rush to see the doctor. Don't get me wrong, I like my doctor. I just don't like going to the doctor's. However, I ended up having a little help in making my decision to go. For quite some time, my Better Half had been suggesting that I go see the doctor. And each time, I would tell her that I would give it a couple of weeks, and see if I got better. After awhile, her daughter, Miss M., became involved. I was now being tag-teamed into submission. It didn't take long, trust me. When the two most important women in your life are almost forcefully telling you to "Go to the doctor!", your options become limited. I made the appointment. It was easier to make the appointment, than bear the burden of knowing that they were worrying about me. For some bizarre reason, they love me. After being prescribed some heavy-duty cough medicine, antibiotics, and an inhaler, I started my way on the road to recovery. However, it was short-lived. By the end of February, I had a relapse, though not as bad. This one I decided to tough out. With this one though, I lost a good chunk of my hearing for several months. Considering that I wasn't throwing up anymore, and no longer had a hacking cough, I figured the trade-off was a good one. By May, my hearing had slowly started to return, and my energy levels had begun to increase. Mentally, I was still having issues. Though some would say that that's been a life long thing for me. It wasn't until sometime in October that I actually felt "right" again. Being sick for some 9 months, it was time to play catch up. My house was a mess, my yard was a mess, and I had gained a considerable amount of weight. I was back to the weight that I was when I first started ER4YT. As I told my Better Half after seeing pictures of myself at my niece's graduation, "The current version of me just won't do!". With that exclamation, I dusted off my workout routines, prepared a meal plan, and dove b[...]



Gelotology

Fri, 13 Nov 2009 03:10:18 +0000

No, Ladies and Gentlemen, Gelotology is not the study of gelatin. By a show of hands, how many had that as their first thought? Yeah, I thought so. For those of you that did, here's your quick study for the day. Gelatin is an avoid for A's, B's, and AB's. For us O's, it's a neutral. Now, who remembers the Jell-O jingle, "Watch it wiggle, see it jiggle"? All right, everyone out of Mr. Peabody's WABAC Machine, and back to the present. Gelotology is the study of laughter, and humor. and their effect on the human body. Laughter has also been studied from both a psychological, and physiological perspective. What I'd like to know is who first presented the idea of doing research on laughter, and who first gave money for the study? That must have made for an interesting study proposal! With all that has taken place in recent weeks, folks could definitely use a healthy dose of laughter. Political campaigns, the Wall Street meltdown, the mortgage meltdown, hijackings off the African coast, rising food prices, and a whole slew of other happenings. How we react to the events that go on in, and around our lives, are critical to our physical, and emotional well-being. When we allow the people, objects, or situations around us to dictate our thoughts, emotions, and physical behaviors, we are giving them our energy, our power. Why would we want to waste our energy on someone, or something, that we don't like, or that is out of our control? As Florence Scovel-Shinn noted many years ago, "All stress is self-imposed". We are only affected by that which we allow to affect us. If we are going to allow ourselves to be affected, let it be by laughter, and happiness, not anger, jealousy, or hostility. As more studies about laughter come to light, the physical and emotional benefits of laughter become evident. With laughter, stress hormones such as cortisol, epinephrine, and adrenaline are reduced. At the same time, healthy hormones such as endorphins, and neurotransmitters are increased. Laughter also provides a physical workout for the abs, diaphragm, and even the heart. So which is more beneficial, having a good laugh, or flipping the guy off that just cut you off in traffic? It's far easier, and better, to laugh at him, than to risk a road-rage incident. Back in February, I had pretty much given up on the radio, and televised news. Most televised news is doom and gloom. Every once in awhile, they offer an uplifting story, but not nearly often enough. My 700+ album collection just wasn't cutting it on my hour long commute to work anymore, either. So instead, I started listening to comedy music. Years ago, I used to listen to the Dr. Demento show every Sunday night. It was on past my bedtime, but I would put my head right up against my clock radio, and listen to it at a very low volume. The hard part was stifling my laughter when one of the more funny songs would come on. Imagine my surprise, when I found out that the Dr. Demento show was still on the air. Unfortunately, no one in my area carries the show anymore. However, I did find a radio station in California, KEGR, http://www.kegr.org/ that still plays older shows, and streams them online. So once again, every Sunday night from 10 p.m. to midnight, I'm tuned in to the Dr. Demento show. I'm just not cuddling with the clock radio anymore I had also found an internet radio station that plays comedy music, called DementiaRadio; http://www.dementiaradio.org This has become my go to station when I'm working twelve hour shifts on the weekends. There are D.J.'s with their own shows, but there are also large blocks of time where songs in their playlist are played randomly. You can even access the playlist, and request songs through their automated d.j.! Another place that I've begun to hang around is The Mad Music Archive; http://www.themadmusicarchive.com/ One needs to register to listen to their shows, but it is free. After spending some time listening, I've found a whole bunch of [...]



The Making of a Monster

Tue, 04 Mar 2008 21:46:00 +0000

Can you just feel the love, when that is how you are described by your Better Half, to her Mother? Well, that is how I was described not too long ago. But honestly, it was all her Mother's fault. Honest!

Because of scheduling conflicts, my Better Half's family aren't able to get together until after Christmas. And as one of my Christmas gifts, her mother gave me a genealogy listing of my side of the family. A long time ago, my step-mother had at one time done a genealogy chart, some time back in the late '70's, early '80's. Where the chart is nowadays, I have no idea.

Little did my Better Half's mother realize the firestorm that would be created by her one little spark. Within three weeks, I had completely burnt myself out, by the sheer amount of research that I had done in that short time span. For that time, my eyes were glued to the computer screen at almost every available moment, fingers flying across the keyboard, with the clickety-clacking of keys, a pause to write down notes, and the resumption of clickety-clacks. I was half expecting the keyboard to raise a little white flag, and squeak, “I give”.

In the beginning, I started out with the names of 22 ancestors. Within that three week time span until meltdown, I had added another 140 names. Births, deaths, marriages, professions. Farmers, teachers, clerks, a locomotive engineer, participants in both the Civil, and Revolutionary wars, and others. And even a shotgun wedding. LOL The date that the couple was married, and the date that their first child was born, was just a little too close. The more information that I found, the more information that I wanted to find. My research was taking on a life of its own. It was becoming all consuming, and that's just not healthy. I finally had to step back, put everything down, and walk away.

There are still many gaps in my ancestral history, as I have it charted now. In the not too near future, I'm sure that I'll pick up my charts one day, the fire will be re-lit, and I'll be off and running, until I burn out again.

All of my initial research was done with the information that my Better Half's mother had given me, and hours spent online. Much of my time was spent at www.familysearch.org This website is a great start for finding out about your ancestors. However, the information provided is only as good as the source of the information, and the person who submitted it to the website. Cross-referencing submissions took some time at first, but once I started to become familiar with names, and dates, I was able to cross-reference quite quickly.

I've done about as much as I can online for now. This spring, it will be time to visit the historical societies of the towns where my ancestors were known to reside, in order to learn more about them. I can only imagine what kind of trouble I can get myself into, as I try to delve deeper into my family's history.

With all of the snow that we have had in my area this year (109 inches so far), working on this project was a great way to keep cabin fever at bay.

So the next time that you want to learn more about your ancestors, or just have a morbid curiousity as to what kind of skeletons are hanging in your family's closet, click your way over to www.familysearch.org, and let the fun begin.




Rollercoasting into 2008

Fri, 11 Jan 2008 21:40:00 +0000

Happy New Year!It’s hard to believe how sometimes, time can pass by as slow as molasses, and at other times, streak by like lightning. It’s been a little over two months since I last wrote, and yet it seems like it has been so much longer. Life, and the holidays have kept me busy, and maybe that’s been a good thing. With all of the losses that I endured in October, it was probably a good thing that I was kept busy.Having known depression before ER4YT, I recognized the oncoming signs in early November. I wanted to just curl up on the couch, and block everything out, so that I could grieve. But I also knew that if I did, it would be a fast spiral down into depression. When I last had a bout of depression pre-ER4YT, I did curl up on the couch, and shut out the world. I didn’t care to answer the phone, I didn’t answer the door when friends came over to visit. I didn’t even care about getting up, and eating. Even taking a shower required a great deal of effort, just to get there. All I did was crash on the couch under a blanket, and either sleep, or mindlessly watch tv. It’s not a pretty place, and not one that I care to revisit again. At one point in November, I did want to lay down on the couch, and immediately recognized my trigger point. I knew that if I did, it wasn’t going to go well. I turned away from the couch, and found a number of things to do. It didn’t matter what I did, as long as I was moving. In a short time, the feeling passed, and I was able to process my grief in a better way. Had I not had a good support system in place, consisting of my Better Half, and her kids, or had been in a mental fog due to the large consumption of avoids like in the past, it probably would have been a fast crash. The house has been quite empty, without the pitter-patter of paws by Shorty and Nixie. Beser could sometimes be seen looking around the house for them, which brought memories of them to the forefront of my mind. In time, she has realized that she is at the top of the kitty hierarchy, and is sucking up attention for all it’s worth. She has now taken on some of their habits, such as demanding to be let in the bathroom after I’ve taken a shower, taking over my lap, and laying across the computer keyboard shelf. The cutest one that is all hers, is that she will lay on my chest and put a paw on each of my shoulders, and stay that way for awhile, kneading her paws, while looking at me. With such sharp claws, it becomes painful after awhile, but I let her be for as long as I can. Even though she is a constant reminder of Shorty, Nixie, and Miss Piggy, she’s also the one that has been a great help in getting me through the recent upheaval.The last year was like a roller coaster. The months preceding October were like that long slow climb at the start of a roller coaster ride. Clickity-clack, clickity-clack, as you were pulled to the very top of the first hill. The month of October was that first steep drop. Short, sudden, and took your breath away. Now that the first drop is passed, life has leveled off, and things have been a bit better.In the span of a week around Christmas, I saw three owls, including a gorgeous Snowy Owl that spent about 20 minutes outside my Better Half’s house on Christmas Day. Even with all of the hours I spend on the road during the night, I have never seen so many owls in such a short span of time. I recognized it as a sign of sorts, even if I wasn’t quite sure what it meant at the time. Life has started to return to a certain level of normalcy. My energy levels are back up, my twisted sense of humor has returned with a vengeance, my penchant for creating mischief is up, and my ability for quick, and witty comebacks has resurfaced. With those traits back in action, I know that life is on the upswing. As Florence Scovel-Shinn put it, “It’s always darkest before the dawn. But the dawn always com[...]



Heartache and Hell

Thu, 08 Nov 2007 16:51:00 +0000

In my last entry, I described how I must have missed the road sign that said, “Life Changing Detour Ahead”, when I had to say goodbye to Shorty. Apparently, I also missed the signs that said, “Rough Road Ahead”, and “Bridge Out”. The past 30 days have been the rollercoaster from hell, and I will never look at the month of October in the same way again. Adjusting to the void left by Shorty’s passing was tough enough as it was. Little did I know at the time that it was merely the beginning of what would be a very painful month. A week after Shorty’s passing, it was time to mourn the passing of the pet hamster that belonged to my Better Half’s kids. She was a cute little thing, and her and I would sometimes “chat” with each other. And every time that I would, their Chocolate Lab would get insanely jealous. Two in two weeks. I figured that that would be enough. However, I would soon find out that their passing was merely the calm before the storm. Nothing could prepare me for the 24 hour whirlwind that was fast approaching. The Friday before last, I received news that my Brother-In-Law had passed away some time the night before. As if that wasn’t enough, I came home from work that Saturday night, only to find that Nixie no longer had any control over her hips. Ah yes, nothing like feeling the weight of the world crushing in upon you. In spite of Nixie’s obvious disability, she tried not to let it slow her down. She was still whipping herself around the house, pulling herself with her front legs. A small blessing, having wood, and tile floors. Between the two events, the sledgehammer had struck. I called work, and told them to have someone cover for me on Sunday. I slept with Nixie on the couch that night, and whenever she would need to get something to eat, or use the litter box, I would help her to where she needed to be. Her spirit was still strong, but the body would no longer cooperate. Sunday was a very quiet day at the house, so that she could enjoy her last hours resting, and in peace and quiet. I would jump at every sound, and go to make sure that she was still comfortable. Monday morning came, and for one last time, she wanted up on my bed. Lifting her up next to me, she curled up on the bed, and we enjoyed our last hour together. As soon as the vet’s opened at 8, I made the phone call, and arranged to take her in. Just like Shorty, Nixie was a trooper to the very end, still purring away until her last moments. Having done what I needed to do with a heavy heart, it was time to turn my attention to my Brother-In-Law. In most families, when they lose a family member, the family pulls together. In my family, this was not possible. My sister, his “wife”, had burned too many bridges between us siblings. We each had our various reasons for not wanting to be around her, as well as for how poorly she had treated our BIL, but also how her actions impacted our nephew, and the relationship with his father. My sister had gone to school, and after school was completed, decided to stay down south, keeping my nephew with her. Our BIL remained here to work on the farm. Their marriage has pretty much been in name only these past few years. Our BIL had been so beaten down by this time, that he didn’t have the energy to fight, and he was afraid that he would see his son even less than he already did, if he had. I have not seen, or spoken to my sister in seven years, and I certainly had no desire to start now. But it was also important for me to go to the funeral, to pay my last respects to my BIL, and to honor him for his service to our country. My other sister and brother would not go to the funeral because of our sister’s presence, and that of several others. I chose to go in spite of them. On the day of the funeral, my Better Half accompan[...]



Life Changing Detour Ahead

Mon, 08 Oct 2007 03:09:00 +0000

As we all travel down our own personal highways of life, road signs often present themselves to us, guiding us in the direction that we need to be going in, should we decide to heed their advice. Somehow, I missed the sign that said, “Life Changing Detour Ahead”. Either that, or someone forgot to put the sign out. Reflecting back over the last few weeks, I saw the sign. I just didn’t expect to come upon the detour quite so quickly. I had planned on making an entry last week, but this certainly isn’t what I had in mind.With great sadness, I had to make the decision to have one of my Clan O’Kitties put down on Thursday. Within hours, my week went from going well, to truly heart wrenching. I knew that the time was coming for Shorty, by certain behaviors that I have seen all of my animals exhibit, shortly before their health started to deteriorate. However, she was still shaking the house with her earth moving purring, and I thought that she still had time on her side. I was wrong.Shorty was my Maine Coon cat, a black, brown, and white beauty, with big green eyes that would just suck you right in. Give her five minutes, and you’d be wrapped around her paw. At 16 ½ years of age, she still acted like a feline that was many years younger. And with thirteen pounds packed on to her frame, she made a presence that you could not long ignore. From hearing, and feeling her trot down the hallway before seeing her, or having her crush in my chest as she went to lay on it for some one on one time, you couldn't help but notice her.Shorty came to me in early 2003, along with her mother, Miss Piggy, who passed away in January 2006. A friend of a friend was going through a divorce, and needed to find a home for her kitties. Beser was my only cat, and I thought it might be nice for her to have some company. What I hadn’t been told beforehand, was that of the four kitties in need of a home, one was a mother/daughter pair, and the other was a mother/son pair. As they were all older cats, there was no way that I could bring myself to split up a family. Yeah, I’m like a Charms Blow Pop. A hard outer shell, with a soft, chewy center. After taking on Nixie at the age of 16 in 2004, I became known as the ryan Cheney Home for Geriatric Kitties. *chuckle*To some people, animals are just animals. To others, they are like members of the family. For people like myself, they are something far more. On more than one occasion, my Better Half has commented on how much she enjoys watching me interact with the kitties. After much observation and interaction, the kitties and I have developed a definite connection, and bond. Which made it all the more painful, when I had to make the decision to put her down.Treatment was not an option. As I spent time with her in the hours before taking her to the vets for her appointment, I found that she was neither eating, or drinking. To attempt treatment would have only prolonged her suffering. Remarkably, after a series of poking and prodding, and up until a few moment before the Doctor came in to do what she had to do, Shorty was still purring away. But she knew it was her time. And she accepted her fate gracefully, not even so much as a flinch when the Doctor inserted the needle.The days since her passing have not been easy. Even though I try to focus on other things, my mind always finds its way back to Shorty. Memories of the past come flooding through, and thoughts of what will no longer be. No more of her meeting me at the door, after coming home from a 12 hour work day. No more of her laying sideways across my stomach, with her big paws stretched out. No longer will she be party to cornering me on the couch along with Nixie and Beser. Shorty would secure the left flank, Nixie, the lap, and Beser would commandeer the right arm of the couch. Pinned in, I could do nothing but offer attention, a[...]