Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Weight Roller Coaster

I was a skinny kid until I was 10 years old. Not being very athletic and exercising my imagination more than my body, I started gaining weight. I got my feelings hurt often as I would be the target of quite a bit of meanness and the butt of many jokes. This continued until I turned 21. At the time I weighed 260 pounds.

I had some coworkers who took an interest in me and were able to communicate in a way that sounded more helpful than hurtful. A change of eating habits and an increase in exercise, mainly walking, was instrumental in my losing of 60 pounds within a space of a year. Shortly after that was when I met Kathy.

I guess you could say that I lost 60 pounds chasing women but once I caught one I started putting it back on. Three years later Kathy was pregnant with our oldest child. At this time I decided to quit smoking. I was also around 240 pounds. Usually when people give up smoking, they usually pick up weight. I didn't, but rather lost over 50 pounds and when that was done, I went from a 42 inch waist to 34 inches. Unfortunately that didn't last. It would be another 15 years before I was successful in losing weight again.

In 1995 I had the first of three knee surgeries and weighed 250 pounds. My doctor told me that the best thing for me would be to lose some weight. I managed to lose over 40 pounds this time around, but this wouldn't last either.

The problem is that after I lose the weight, I feel invincible and don't notice the pounds going back on. I also fail to realize that I have to maintain a lean lifestyle. Now that I have diabetes to go with my obesity, along with a recent flare up of cellulitis to put a face on it, I'm hoping that this is a motivator to keep things going and maybe be able to maintain a one pound a week loss.

In my younger years I was on enough crash diets to know that these do not work. I have enough knowledge and experience to know that the only weight can come off is the way it went on, and that's ounces at a time.

I am currently fitting into 44 inch waist pants. I have some 40 inch pants in my closet. I hope to be bragging about getting into them soon!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Cliff health update

Another follow up at the doctor's office today. Leg is healed, although there is some swelling due to water retention.

My blood glucose is down and I've lost 10 pounds in the past month.

The doc wasn't happy with my blood pressure and has prescribed a now BP med, which also serves as a diuretic.

All in all I'm happy with the visit.

Maybe I can be happier at my next appointment in four weeks.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

More on the dehumanization of society

I was at Evil Big Box Store #1812(tm) this evening talking to a customer service manager, whom I worked with when I was employed there part time from 1996-1998. She was telling me that they don't hire people to work the hours I worked at that time.

She also told me that they don't want people making announcements on the public address the way I used to. Funny how businesses are all getting away from the personal touch. It seems the cashiers are getting away from the "thank you for shopping at..." more and more. Perhaps some of these businesses would quit losing customers to the internet if they would try personalized service a bit more often.

I also saw recently a situation which could have been avoided when I was cashiering. At another department store this man paid for about 4 dollars worth of merchandise with a fifty. The cashier handed him his change and the man claimed she shorted him 20 dollars. I suspect this was a scam by the customer. This could have been avoided if the cashier would have counted the change back to the man. But I was told later that company policy forbade that practice. So this store loses some money and the cashier gets written up.

Proper customer service, common courtesy, and some genuine appreciation goes a long way.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

From 1968-2009 in a few short paragraphs

This post is dedicated to my 7th grade English teacher, Mrs. Leiberman, who made us write a stupid journal, making entries in it every day. I hated it then, but I blog now. Go figure...

When I was reintroduced to Beth a few weeks ago, I was also reintroduced to some pleasant memories of my junior high and high school years. You see, Beth was everybody's friend and I was one of probably several boys who had a crush on her. I admitted that when we were reintroduced. Yesterday I was there getting my paper and pop on my way to work. The cashier had a problem getting the money out of my hand. I made a comment about it being rare that a woman has trouble getting money from a man. Beth then held her hand out, saying that she heard that. I told her that she missed her chance 40 years ago. She told me she never knew until I told her a few weeks ago.

I learned the spring before, going to another school district, when you were the fat kid from the other side of the tracks, that you had to be very careful in admitting you liked a girl. I admitted that I liked this girl who happened to be one of the most popular girls in class. When she had found this out, you would have thought I carried the plague and for the rest of the school year, I was known as "that thing."

So anyway, we had just moved right before school started. Nothing new for me as we moved after 2nd grade, third grade, during fourth grade during sixth grade , then before seventh grade. New school, but same district I went from K-2. For most, I was a new kid though. Some kids learned how to get my goat then play on the fact that I had a bad temper. A few kids befriended me. Beth was one of those, but by her admission, she was everybody's friend.

Beth had also told me about another girl in our class who also had transferred from another school system. Carol was one who seemed a lot more mature than others in our class. She was protective of herself but also extremely protective of the underdog. During our school years together, Carol went to bat for me, so to speak, several times. She also put me in my place a few times. To be honest, those times I deserved it.

What I didn't know until this morning was that Carol was snubbed by some of the more popular in our class. She didn't deserve that. No one does. I hate it when people look down their noses at other, but unfortunately, it happens in all places and situations. And at all ages.

According to Beth, Carol still sticks up for the underdog even though life hasn't dealt her what we would call a fair hand.

We need more Beths, who manage to find the good in others, and Carols, who is willing to fight for you to get a fair shake. Not to mention the fact that Carol is also one to forgive without a second thought. I know that first hand.

I also want to end this with a special Cliff Note: Although I had my interests in school, I have been in love with the same young lady since December, 1977 and have been married to her since March 10, 1979.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

From the Pressbox-St. Vincent-St. Mary Band Show

September 12 saw the Rittman Indians Marching Band at the Fighting Irish Band Show, hosted by the St.Vincent-St. Mary High School marching band. The emcee for the show was Tim Daugherty from WONE/WAKR.

Appearing in the show were bands representing the following schools: Central Catholic High School, from Canton, Cuyahoga Valley Christian Academy, Rootstown High School, Springfield High School from Akron, Woodridge High School in Peninsula, and of course Rittman and host St.V-St.M.

The WIXYcam was there and following are some photos of the show. Enjoy!

Small Town USA

This morning Beth and I had a conversation as I stopped for my morning paper. We both appreciate the fact that we were raised in small towns. I spent most of my formative years in Hinckley, Ohio and Beth spent her childhood in Sharon Center, Ohio. I have lived in Rittman for the past 26 years. Beth had mentioned about some of her siblings who moved to metropolitan areas, but she had always enjoyed life close to home.

One thing I always enjoy about living in Rittman is that although the town is small, population about 7000, major shopping areas are no more than 20 minutes away. Even the ride to work is easier due to the freeway being close to my home.

I lived in Cleveland for two years in the late seventies. There was quite a lot within walking distance, or accessable by public transportation, but there was also this thing about being lulled to sleep at night by police sirens. I decided it was not for me.

It's also nice to be able to brag about being heard all over town on Friday nights during the football season:)

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Now I need time to rest......

It's been one of those weekends where I've been quite busy and cannot wait to get to work on Monday just to get some rest.

And as of this morning, I'm about three "From the Pressboxes" behind. Hopefully I can get to my keyboard early enough today and start catching up.

In the meantime enjoy some of my photos from the weekend!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Some Thursday Observations

Stopping for my newspaper today, I had a brief, pleasant exchange with Beth. She had told me that she had been meaning to tell me if she were to go gray, she hopes her color would turn out like mine. Easy for her to say as she still has much of her youthful good looks. Me, I never had youthful good looks. But this convenience store is a very pleasant place to shop in the morning. I love the enthusiasm shown by those working there.

Looking around the blogs, I read a post by Diane Ferri, of Coexist fame, that really blessed me as a Christian. Diane shares a testimony about how she would share her faith, only to see her life crumble around her. During all this, she made it a point not to blame God for her struggles.

Betty Ann had been doing some remodeling at her blog, renaming it From New Utrech to Figurea Avenue-Recovering in Al-Anon and ACOA. New name, new template, same great content. Also same good hearted supporter of many.

My leg continues to improve...

Wednesday, September 16, 2009


I saw this at the Evil Big Box Store(tm) yesterday and I had to take a photo with the WIXY/at&t phonecam(tm). The sign reads:"Save even more. Was $6.98" Current price is $6.98, so I'm wondering where is the saving is? I know where I was saving money and living better. I did not buy any of the product.

The rumbling sound you hear is Sam Walton turning over in his grave.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Cliff Health Update

I went to the doctor yesterday and he was pleased with my progress. Redness and swelling was down. I have a followup appointment in a couple of weeks when he will discuss other things, namely my bad cholesterol and blood glucose.

Suffice it to say that this cellulitis has been a wake up call of sorts for me. My daughters have also taken notice of this, as they realize that diabetes runs on both sides of the family.

Hopefully with the use of my blood glucose meter and scale, I can motivate myself enough to stay the course this time.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Not always about you, Mr. West

What I heard, then saw on a Yahoo video, what Kanye West did during Taylor Swift's acceptance speech during the MTV awards, it makes me wonder why some people think their star is so big that they say or do whatever they want?

I want now to direct you to my friend, Sue Wilson's blog. She posted last week how down to earth Taylor Swift really is. If anyone would know about being down to earth, it's Sue.

Maybe someone could send Kanye West that way. He could learn something.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Sunday Musing: Do you eat to live, or live to eat?

The thinking for today's musing is twofold. The first thought is the cellulitis that has currently flared up in my lower right leg, as it's largely a result of my not properly taking of my diabetic condition. I have been telling folks a lot the past couple of days that I will look at my right leg and now say to myself, "say no to donuts."

Second thought is that we are heading into the holiday season, and what better to say "I love you" than with tasty food full of carbs, sugar, and saturated fats?

Here in the United States, we sometimes identify parts of the country with the types of food served there, most of the time unhealthy foods, especially when taken internally. The landscape is also dotted with many monuments to excess, McDonald's, Burger King, Taco Bell, etc. The town I live in has three pizza places for a population of 7000. In our quest for a more convenient life, we are gradually losing sight of our toes.

And the all you can eat buffet is another phenomenon of our times. There are many places where you can come in, pay a set fee, eat until you get sick, then eat some more. Or you can eat healthy and just hit the salad bar. Get a little lettuce, some tomatoes, celery, cucumber...ham chunks, bacon bits, croutons, egg, then top it off with a cup of ranch dressing then a lot of shredded cheddar cheese. By the time you're done, you are eating a lettuce sundae.

But as I mentioned two paragraphs ago, we have some very notorious holidays coming up in regards to our culinary health. First up will be Halloween. The little beggars go around saying trick or treat and getting enough sugary delights to make sure their dentist can keep up on his BMW payments. I suppose the people could pass out things like granola bars, but then the next few days there will be a shortage of bar soap and toilet paper in most stores.

The fourth Thursday in November we give thanks that the Lord has brought us safely through another year and has provided our needs.We celebrate this by eating trukey, dressing, mashed potatoes, green beans, corn, candied yams, cranberry sauce. For dessert we have some pumkin pie with a large dollop of whipped cream on top. We then take a nap, watch football, get out the leftovers, and start all over again.

Then all during the month of December, as we argue whether to say "Merry Christmas" or "Happy Holidays", we are also getting into the holiday spirit by going around enjoying all the sugary delights that everybody has to offer. Every church I've belonged to pass out goodie bags after the Christmas program, complete with a sample of every candy known to man. And yes, baked goods abound. And on that big day, the family once again gets together for a food orgy.

Before we know it, it's New Years Day, and after we have our saurkraut and pork, we make our resolution to lose weight and join the gym to try to lose all these pounds we put on in the previous months. Only problem is for these memberships to work, we have to use them.

Remember that our mindset should be that we eat to live, not live to eat.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

From the Pressbox:Sandy Valley

Cliff Note: I apologize for the poor quality of the band photo, as I was shooting it through a screen. I promise to get some good quality ones tonight.

Last night your ailing favorite high school band announcer traveled with the best bunch of student musicians to Sandy Valley High to cheer on the 1-1 Rittman Fighting Indians, as they faced the Sandy Valley Cardinals. I could feel the enthusiasm of the band as I rode the bus with them.

The team started the evening on offense, but eventually gave up the ball to Sandy Valley who converted it to an early score. The rest of the first half showed the Rittman offense holding their own, while the defense was overmatched.

Halftime saw the Rittman Indians Marching Band performing before a polite Sandy Valley audience, opening with the majorette feature, Led Zeppelin's "Rock and Roll". Next the band rocked the house with the rolling Stone's "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction."

The musical "Chicago" provided the closing number to last night's show, And all That Jazz."

Last night's program provided a preview for what should be a very entertaining night of marching and music tonight at the St. Vincent-St. Mary band festival. Show begins at 7:00.

The football team returned to show some heart during the second half but fell short, the final score being 32-22, advantage Sandy Valley.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Not going as planned

Well, this week's almost a wash. I was supposed to be working 7 extra hours, but my body had some different ideas.

First started Monday night when I maybe got an hour's sleep before getting up Tuesday going to work. I then got ready for a day's work, but by the time I got there, I was sweating very profusely. I then turned on the air conditioning in my office. I had to turn it off at lunchtime when I started shivering, which I continue to do for the next 45 minutes. I figured at this point that I had a touch of the flu, as I also had some aches in my leg.

I had been keeping Kathy abreast of what was happening, so she knew that I wasn't intentionally avoiding her when I got home and parked in my recliner. I also figured taking some acetaminophen PMs at 6:30 would give me plenty of time to sleep it off. Sleep went well with the exception of getting some chills.

Wednesday started well, and I was thinking that what I had was a touch of the 24 hour bug. Later I realized why I'm not a doctor, as I noticed swelling and stiffness in my lower right leg. I also noticed red splotches on my calf, which was also warm to the touch and getting tight. My next thought was blood clots. I then went against company rules, got my cell phone and called my doctor's office, who called me back to tell me that they had an appointment available in the afternoon.

Once in the examination room after checking me out, my doctor sent me to the hospital for an ultrasound test to ensure that it's not a blood clot. If it were, I would be eating my next meal in bed. I went home to get Kathy to ride with me just in case. Fortunately that wasn't the case and it was determined that I had celluitis, caused by an infection. How I got it, I don't know.

This I do know: Kathy and I have had a very rough summer and taking care of others has compromised our health, Kathy emotionally and me physically. Sometime during October, I plan to take some vacation time where we take care of each other.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Number 9, Number 9, Number 9.....

Long before the rumors surfaced about Elvis being alive, a prevalent rumor was that Paul McCartney was dead. Today's date-09/09/09- brought that to mind. The Beatles did quite a bit to perpetuate this rumor.

Album cover-Abby Road:In the photo, the Beatles were walking across the road. All had shoes but Paul, some said that was a sign of death. There also was a car with the license plate "28 IF". Paul was 27 at the time, but some said that in the Eastern religions age also included time in the womb.

Inside photo-Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Band. Paul is photographed with a patch on his uniform that said "OPD". Some speculated that meant "Officially Pronounced Dead". Paul said that really meant "Ontario Police Department."

And now a couple of songs with hidden messages:

Strawberry Fields Forever: At the end of the song, a you hear "I buried Paul".

And now why this date is significant to this post. On the White Album is the song "Revolution Number 9". If you play "number nine" backwards, you hear "Turn me on dead man."

Sunday, September 06, 2009

From the Pressbox: Bridgeport

It's a new season. The Rittman Fighting Indians have a new head coach, and the Rittman Marching band, for the first time since 1978 have new uniforms.

It was parent's night in Rittman. Before the game, most participants of fall sports, cheerleaders, and band members were escorted on the field by their parents. Cliff Note:I felt I had to get my obligatory photo of Brenda here, so here's a photo of Brenda and her husband Tom escorting daughter Rachel across the field.

Saturday night was a beautiful night for high school football. The game was also broadcast on WQKT/104.5, so high school football junkies tuned in to the action from my small town. And the listening audience was treated to the Rittman Marching Band version of our national anthem.

Although the Rittman Indians football team is much improved this season, they were overmatched by the Bridgeport Bulldogs, a team which were in the state playoffs last season. They were overmatched but did not give up, going into halftime with a 14-0 deficit.

During halftime, the Bridgeport band performed three tunes for the faithful Rittman audience, which included the Abba hit "Dancing Queen."

And then it was time for the Rittman Indians Marching Band to take the field to the thundering applause of those who appreciate homegrown talent. First selection was "Espana Cani', featuring a trumpet duet. Next on the list was a song made famous by a Mitsubishi commercial, a song by the British electronica/hip hop duo, the Wise Guys, "Start the Commotion". To end the evening, the the band performed "The Hit onFowl's Leg-Baba Yaga". The performance was exceptional for it being the band's first show of the year.

This year, the band is marching 51 student musicians, the largest of any band I've announced for.

The football team scored a touchdown during the second half, but Bridgeport proved to be too much for the revitalized Indian foootball squad. Good news is these young men showed a lot of heart this evening.

Friday, September 04, 2009

It's the weekend!

As this day comes to a close, I can breathe a sigh of relief. I made it. First, it feels good not to have a tired pair of eyes. I got my new glasses yesterday. I also decided to wear my diabetic shoes, which are more comfortable than my athletic shoes. Even though I started an hour earlier, I don't feel near as tired as usual.

I was also told that I could work ten hour days next week, as the production people will be doing that. This means I could be getting 7 hours more pay for next week. God is good. All the time.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

One day closer to weekend

The official end of summer weekend is coming up and after this summer, which I have designated the "Summer from Hell," I welcome fall with open arms. But there is some real neat things coming up. But first some good news: I get my new glasses tonight and since one of my eyes has changed, I have been getting tired just reading lately.

Saturday night, the surging Rittman Fighting Indians bring their one game winning streak home against Bridgeport. This will also be the long awaited debut of the 71st edition of the Rittman Indins Marching Band. Look for From the Pressbox sometime Sunday.

I also have some western style ribs in my freezer. I plan on taking care of that situation. I want to see how the grandkids look with barbecue sauce on their faces. I find they like to eat whatever I cook when they spend time at my house.

I'm mainly looking forward to some relaxation.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Blessed Happy Birthday

Today's a very special day
For two of my favorite bloggers
One who resides in my town
The other in a home for loggers

They both can lift my spirits up
Their comments full of praise
One spent her Mondays A's to Z's
And now it's Z's to A's

The other one has been my friend
It seems like quite a while
She always has a good word for me
Which always makes me smile

I figure you have made your guess
Now please go and then please say
To Brenda and then to Jen
Have a very happy birthday

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Tuesday, thy name this week is Monday...

...Or the other way around. Took a vacation day yesterday as I had my annual physical. Things turned out fine, well at least until the bloodwork comes back.

Something I thought about as I was mowing my yard yesterday afternoon was how my blog was taking care of itself. This is in regard to Tim helping Brenda out with directions to Sandy Valley. Rittman plays there a week from Friday. Perhaps if Tim decides to return to his alma mater, he will come over and introduce himself to myself and Brenda.

Kinda nice having two three day weekends in a row. Even nicer having blogging friends who help each other out.

And since I mentioned Tim, I also want to mention his blog, Cleveland Classic Media. He has a real passion for local media and does a very thorough job in his research of his material. Although his target readership is folks from Northeast Ohio, there is something of interest to anyone who has ever liked television.