Monday, March 13, 2017

My vice no more?

   Let's face it, we all have something we don't want to give up. Me, well there are some, but nothing that one would consider unusual or dangerous. Well, as it turns out, maybe Yes, I am now told that coffee is causing me problems. Coffee, my reason for rising with the sun and not floundering between the sheets and covering my head with a pillow to avoid the morning rays!
   Me, the guy who takes care of himself, the guy who is always concerned about health issues. I am a light drinker, moderate on occasion, but not even that by most standards. I eat healthy foods, avoid too much red meat and sweets. I get my cardio, I monitor my blood pressure... I am careful about what goes into my body!
   I would have expected the Doctor to say "Randy, it's time to give up Softball" or Randy, this rock climbing is becoming too dangerous", maybe even "Randy, you work too hard, take some time off" I never expected that he would take away the one vice that I truly love and have been "addicted" to since I was 10 years old! Yes 10! I was drinking 4 cups a day at 12 years old, and leveled off there for...oh, say 40 years! I am a coffee drinker, a coffee junky maybe, but a coffee lover for sure.
   So, of all things, this Doctor wants me to "cutback or cut out" coffee. How? I won't want to do anything! I will become one of those "couch potatoes". I just don't see this as an option.. not me, no way. I find coffee to be so much a part of my daily life, my routine, that I can't IMAGINE the cup going dry! Can't! I could maybe cut back a bit, down to 2 cups? Maybe for a year and then, maybe one and a half cups? I think that may be a possibility. But not waking up to my morning brew? Are you serious?
   Now I understand the Dr. is looking out for me, and that he has no dog in the fight, But he sure seemed to enjoy telling me this news. He all but giggled!  Sometimes he does that, and most often when he is making me adjust to the aging process (I still think I'm 20), or explains why I need a test or exam. And yes, I do value his opinion, and his knowledge...his delivery could use some work. Imagine a straight face...with a crooked half smile, and you will get it. He is so smug, as he changes my mornings forever...
    I will keep you posted, and let you know how it goes. My going to stay with me, through these dark times, and this awful withdrawal from my addiction. Caffeine, my good friend...whatever happens...I blame you!

Friday, February 14, 2014

It's not a POLITICAL issue!

   There is not a more dangerous subject to bring up than "Obama Care". It's a conversation that rarely ends well, unless you know beforehand that you are in agreement . Let's face it, it has been overly politicized to the point of ridiculousness. You either believe in it, or you despise it, but nobody has a take it or leave it attitude about it. If you listen to "Fox" you think it will bring about the end of America as we know it. If, on the other hand, you listen to MSN, you think that it makes perfect sense, it will run smoothly and we should have done it sooner.
   I have news for you, it's neither. The fact that it is so strongly attacked, and so much anger is being generated by this subject, it is not allowed a chance to work smoothly. The fact that it is so necessary prevents it from going away. Yes, I said necessary. The argument that it is going to cost us more? Well that doesn't float in even calm seas. These people have been getting health care without insurance, now they will get it WITH insurance, and the discounts that come with it. 
   Do you really think that an overweight smoker who never exercises, has a heart attack and requires emergency care, was turned away? No, he was treated and the Hospital turned in an inflated tax write off! Let's examine that. Hospital visit, no insurance, no assets and no choice but to treat? That sounds like a problem to me...our problem. If you think that it's the Hospitals problem, you would be wrong. Hospitals are usually non profit. They are given great latitude in "write offs" compared to you and I. So they write these unpaid visits off at the FULL PRICE. A price that likely nobody ever really pays! Example, yes I do have one. I went to the ER with a severe pain in my side and did not have my insurance card with me. They treated me (kidney stone) and asked me bring my insurance card in later, which I did. I received a bill for over $5000, a couple of weeks late, and it reflected no insurance. With just a phone call and my insurance info, this bill magically became $2300! Nice huh!
   Not really. Why would a multi TRILLION dollar company need to receive a better health care rate than someone making a tiny fraction of their wealth? Why not have a price for the service, period. How about we just charge what it's worth, what it should cost, to everyone, and make the whole system less complicated? That will not happen. Like buying a car, it's designed to allow greater profit on the back of the less informed. We can't have a system that encourages a salesman approach in health care. The insurance companies have created this, cultivated it as a vehicle to protect themselves and the bottom line. To protect investors from a bad year, they will do whatever it takes. It's not "politics", it is quite clearly greed.
   As to the naysayers? They say things like "I don't want to pay for fat, unhealthy people to get medical care". That is no different than a childless couple who says "I don't want my taxes to pay for schools that I won't use". It's not about you! It's about Americans as a whole, the betterment of society. Don't buy into the propaganda about this subject. This may not be the final version, there is room for improvement after all, but it IS a good start.
   I know people who have been able to get health insurance for the first time, previously declined, not because they CHOOSE to have health issues, but because they were BORN with them. Hard working people that only want to have a chance at life. People who are born with seizure disorder, for example, need to have access to medical care and medication to treat their disease... or they could die! Can you honestly say that if it was your child, sister or friend, that you would discount this need? Of course not. Well that is exactly how millions of Americans feel about their loved ones and the medical needs they are presented with. It's not politics, it is lives. It's not about profit anymore, it's about fairness... it's about my Step Daughter (seizures), it's about my Employee (heart birth defect) and it's about anyone who deserves a better chance to live a full life.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

My Boys

Did I mention my boys?
I may have mentioned, or maybe not, but I have two grown (for the most part) boys. My first son came into my life when I was 30 years old, and I was ready to have a child. Many of my friends started earlier, some as early as nineteen years old. A father at nineteen, I can't imagine. So, I waited until I knew I was ready, 30 was my magic year.

June 12th 1986.

My first son's name is Sean Garrett S. (S. being, of course, the family name) and he was perfect. Every inch and every pound of that baby was just perfect, a beautiful child like no other. Now, since then, I have come to know that every parent feels that way, but at that moment, as I stared down at his tiny hands and beautiful eyes, my heart melted. I would never be the same man again, I was better, much better. As if this little man had removed a curtain from my eyes, everything became clearer, cleaner, pure and new again. I saw everything as if for the first time, as if I was a newborn, with my mind intact yet renewed, re energized.

Dec. 11th 1988

Two years and six months later, wow, another boy Tyler Lee S., another gem, just as beautiful as the first. Everyone told me "the second is different, you'll be over all that excitement". They were wrong, I was blown away, totally lost in this new child, I was sold, I loved every move he made, perfect. I was the father now, of two beautiful boys, and I was going to be the perfect Dad. I felt like the only one, as if everyone else just had kids, I had these two wonderful gems.

I realized soon that all parents thought their children were perfect, and at about that time, mine showed they weren't as perfect as I thought. Now don't get me wrong, they were still great, but I was seeing how real this parenting thing was going to be. They fought with each other, they broke things (most things), they got sick (I have stories that will make you cry) and they required so much of my time that I had almost no life outside of parenting (I gave up golf completely).

I made it through those early years, only to find that my boys were growing into desirable hunks to the girls in school, and at the soccer field (I coached them both). It was time for the talk, yes that talk, and I was ready. I had prepared for this moment for years, I was going to have well informed boys, they would know what they needed to know when the time came. At the last moment, I remembered, I have a client who is a child psychologist, she writes books about raising kids. I called her, just for some moral support, to confirm my ideas. Just a formality. Well, that's what I thought anyway, she said I should wait 4 - 5 more years, in her opinion 7 was just to early for this discussion. I was shocked! I had everything planned out, and now, now I had to wait until they were older.
Fast forward three years, my son Sean is invited to go into the boys restroom by a sixth grade girl. It seems she wanted to, well, (let's keep this a "pg" rating here) do something for him. He came home asking questions, now it was time. The same father who was so prepared, just a few years ago, was a blubbering idiot now. I stammered, fumbled for words and had no idea why. Finally he asks me "Dad, whats a bl*w J*b". It was here, the time to "man up" or "dad up" I guess. I did it, I told him everything I could possibly share with him, without once freaking out. I went into relationships and sex. I talked about love and I talked about lust, he was informed.

He wanted to know what made a girl a girlfriend, what he needed to know to be a boyfriend. What I told him may have shaped the man he has become, I felt it, I meant it and I saw it go deep into his mind, into his heart. I told my son " when you accept a girl as your girlfriend (wife or lovers included here), you take a small piece of her heart. It's only yours to hold, for as long as she is your girlfriend. When you, or she decides to move on, find another boy or girlfriend, you have to give it back. You have to give it back in as good or better condition, with as much or more love than it had when it was loaned to you".

Now I had this conversation with both boys, and yes they both are wonderful loving young men, who love deeply and are not afraid of giving. I have watched closely as they have grown, as they matured into the men they have become. I believe in those words, in the idea that two people commit to one another. I know things change, that people change. Not every relationship is forever, few are. Let's just try to "give it back" in the same or better condition. Return the person, that you shared so much with, to the "whole" person or a better person, for having come into your life, for having shared their heart with you. Love goes on, even when the "in love" part seems to be gone. Let's love stronger, let's show love, give love without fear.

I am a proud father, a proud friend of those two men, I shared my feelings with them, my "heart" with them, and it became theirs, they felt it, knew it was so. I watch them, I know who they are and what they are, and I love what I see, not perfect anymore, but good boys,no.... good men.

Sometimes the gift you give your children, is the best gift you can give yourself too, words of wisdom, words that will impact their lives and yours. That may have been the greatest gift I have ever given and received. Yeah, my boys are good men. I hope they live long happy lives and love well.


Wednesday, May 22, 2013

The Eye of the Beholder

   Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. What, exactly does that mean? Well, to start with, who is the beholder? Let's assume it's you, for the sake of this blog. So, beholder, what is beauty to you? Is it a field of flowers? A stream running through a mountain crevasse? A 57 Chevy in Candy Apple Red? Anything that you think is beautiful, anything at all. Just let your mind go...imagine.

   Now, let's turn to the human form. A manly form, muscles and broad shoulders? Slender hips and a great smile? Healthy, toned and tanned? Sexy, sweet and well dressed? I think we can all agree on at least one of those, right? How about women? Close your eyes, imagine... 5' 10"? long legs? Slender hips, perfect make-up... I can see her now... 115 lbs.? Oh yes... ribs and skin, no muscle tone at all... finger down her throat, laxatives in her system? The perfect model!

   What? Not the finger down the throat? Not the laxatives? Does this reality make you uncomfortable? So, how do you think the girl feels? The one who requires this extreme, just to "make the grade"? The one who hears, constantly... your putting on a few pounds, your looking "chunky", or "are you pregnant"? Simple comments, sometimes innocent, sometimes hateful... always without compassion or caring. Strange huh? We are just coming around to the idea of muscular, healthy, strong spirited women. Women who work their bodies and eat well? Women who have REAL confidence. Confidence that comes from knowing that you can take care of yourself.

   While some men may be intimidated by this, even angered by this blog. Are those the men you want your daughter to be with? Those men, who want to control, dictate to and demean women... in an effort to make themselves seem bigger, better or stronger? The men who will tell her (or you) what to do, how to act and what and where to work? Hold you back to prevent her/you surpassing their careers? I doubt that's your goal, but is it your future? Do you have the strength to take control? Be who you can be? Go where YOUR life allows you to go?

   It's time... time to set the stage for the future, for women AND their mates. It's time to expect your man to accept you as a partner, equal in life. Not bully, not dictate, not expect dinner on the table, but plan life AND meals... together. Not judge your weight, your size or your style, but encourage each other to ALWAYS be the best that you can be. Together, as a team, with common goals and dreams. Can you see it? Can you do it? Will you accept less?

   I want this for my own children. Not just the girls... all my children, boys and girls. I want my sons to love, like I do, with their hearts first. Let the eye see the person, not the "body",  let the heart give freely, and welcome love in return. I want them to inspire, to motivate and drive their partner with kindness and encouragement, not threats and ultimatums. I want them to love and be loved.

  I want my daughters to feel confidant, loved and appreciated. I want them to encourage, and motivate their partners too... it's a team effort and both need motivation and encouragement. I want them to be happy. Is that so bad? Is it so unimaginable? Yet it is so rare, so unlikely... so unexpected.

   So where do we start? How do we change this mindset? Can we change nature? Is it nature that men try to dominate women? Is it society? We can change that... right? I don't have all the answers, but I do see all the problems. I see that women try to live up to unrealistic expectations? I see men who are out of shape, yet demand that their woman lose weight and wear makeup. I see women compete with girls, trying to look younger, sexier and skinnier... to "keep up".

   How do we change it? Where do we begin? I started by letting my wife know that I love her. That I love HER, not her weight, her breasts, her butt... not her hair, her cooking, her smile... just her. The woman behind the face, the body and the smile. The woman I met and fell in love with. The woman I will help to become the best partner she can be, the person she wants to be and the happiest person I can help her to be. I am the beholder, and she is beautiful.

   If we can all do that, we can change anything. Most importantly, we can be happy, together with someone we love! Let's start there! Who knows, we may start a new trend... let's hope.

L. Randy Smithhart
Human, Man, Husband, Father, Employer, Friend, Mentor, student of life and love...always.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

It's a Size Thing

It's a size thing...... WHY?

I am sick and tired of these anorexic looking "kids" like Paris Hilton, Nicole Richie and all those twigs being passed off as the only "desirable body" type. TO WHOM? I am not even slightly interested in that body type. How could a mature man look at those little girl bodies and get turned on? Nicole Ritchie and Mary-Kate Olsen look surprising like every 12 - 13 year old child (female) I've ever known, except for the drug and alcohol ravaged skin. I have seen healthy, mature, naturally thin women that I find attractive, but the key word is naturally. If you eat well and stay thin, fine. Let's get it straight here, if you don't eat well, you WILL NOT look good...period. If you are not healthy, you can't look healthy.

Who decided that Calvin Klein had it right, with Kate Moss and all those models like her (which he uses almost exclusively)? It's a joke. It is appealing to no one (that I know) and seems to target pedophiles. Our society tolerates this and even, to some extent, encourages it by buying their wares. We're beginning to recognize what's happening to us, but the damage is done, and at some point we need to be able to tell our children "hey it's OK to wear a size 10" or 12 or 14", who really cares? Since when is everyone cut from the same mold (or gene pool for that matter)? And this BMI crap, I'm 6' 0" tall and I weigh 180 or so. At recently I was, that was 192 of solid muscle and very lean (rock climbing 3-4 days a wk) and yet, I was told that I was overweight....(you don't want to know what I said). Now if you saw me...well you would laugh about that, I am considered slender by most....I've heard skinny, but I am not overweight. It's crap!

Now, I do understand that even a little extra weight COULD be harmful to your health. I also recognize that our children may not eat as well as they should. We all should see, however, that anorexia and bulimia are on the rise. We should note that a large percentage of the children today have serious self esteem issues, mostly concerning perceived body flaws, fat being the number one concern. Adults are affected also, but it's the children who are most susceptible to these pressures. I, for one, am over it. I have seen young girls torture themselves to "make the weight", otherwise beautiful girls reduce themselves to skin and bones. I have friends whose children are literally killing themselves by purging daily, in fact several times a day. It's enough already, it has been for quite some time now.

I have not bought clothing, fragrances or anything I know comes from Calvin Klein. I will in the future, try my best to boycott any line of clothing that I believe promotes this unnatural body type and/or uses "women" like Kate Moss, who need to starve themselves or use drugs to keep their unhealthy bodies so ridiculously thin. If it's natural, I have no problem with it, if a doughnut.

I certainly hope this is taken as it is intended, as a positive statement to those who suffer each day, suffer because someone told them they were "thick" or "chunky" or just a little "heavy". It's time to speak up, it's time to let those people know "I like the way I look and I am happy with who I am...period". The body police should maybe get a clue...and while we're at it, let's just hit the "fashion police" too. Let everyone be who they want to be, not who some small group of people think they should be. I paint outside the lines....and I run with scissors, and I don't dress like everyone thinks I should... so sue me.

I have spent most of my adult life helping people look their best. I help everyone feel the best that they can with no preference given to "smaller" people. I believe that each person that I see (professionally), every day, deserves to be happy and feel as beautiful as I can make them feel.

I truly believe this, and I truly do my job that way, every client, every day. I find those who would attack another person for a perceived "imperfection" to be disgusting, even when it's disguised (she would be so pretty... if she'd just lose a few pounds). Judge not, lest you ...get ugly and lose your teeth.

L. Randy Smithhart
Human Being, Man and Lover of Beauty... in many forms.