Category: Health and happiness

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You are entering the next zone, so adjust your velocity accordingly and watch out for the upcoming speed bumps. There's no stopping me now.

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For the third day in a row the sun is blaring and the temperature is rising. One wonders who in their right mind would be crazy enough to go to the gym and work out during such a heat wave.

That's exactly what I did. I worked out for a couple hours and must have sweat ten liters or more. As if that was not enough, I took a long hot sauna letting the extreme heat soothe my mind and body.

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Looks like I won't be playing in the club championship this weekend. This event happens to be the yearly highlight of my golfing life, so you can imagine how very disappointed I will be by not being allowed to defend my title. I have won the championship two years in a row and unless some miracle occurs the chance of a magical three in a row will dissolve into thin air.

So what in the heck went wrong? I decided to run my car through the car wash after filling up my tank at the gas station. When I returned home from the car wash I was in a pretty good and energetic mood. Diligently I crawled through the interior of my car ensuring that every crook and cranny was polished and spotless. Well you can imagine that certain spots behind the seats or under the dashboard are hard to get reach. Even for a limber and athletic body like mine.

Then all of a sudden my back froze up and I was floored by an excruciating pain. Some main nerve in my lower back was chaffed and exposed, screaming bloody murder from within the depths of my right buttocks. There was no way I was ever going to be able to get out of the car alive.

Fortunately my son Maarten came to the rescue and pulled me out. Getting from the car to the front door of the house took about ten minutes in slow motion, and then after that at least as much time to make it to the couch in the sitting. My wife Thea who is a gentle and loving nurse helped me upstairs. I felt really embarrassed screaming and crying like I was some weakling. Although it was hurting pretty bad, I figured that within a day I'd be pretty much back to normal.

Two days later I'm still in this stupid bed medicated and feeling pretty bored. I could become all angry and frustrated, but I have realized at this stage of my life that acceptance, hope and staying positive is what it's all about.

That's why I decided to compose this boring and complaining blog entry, which is also kind of funny and entertaining, don't you think? Now I feel much better, thanks.

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This is pretty funny. Some website about knuckle cracking gets re-launched and I get honorable mention on the front page. Internet can be scary sometimes, and the past can come back and bite you if you are not careful

The blog entry referred to is one titled Crackedty-crack which I wrote way back in 2002 and amazingly collected a record number of reactions.

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Jointcrackers.com launched

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Be very thankful for what you have and who you are.

Live one day at a time.

It's going to be a fantastic year, cannot wait.

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It's back to the healthy life for me. Don't want to turn out to be a lazy blob of cytoplasm. Instead I choose to be an all around athlete and top golfer.

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Now researchers are claiming that more than half the cases of cancer are purely bad luck and have absolutely nothing to do with eating habits, lifestyle or heredity.

The majority of poor folks have absolutely no way of influencing this unfortunate outcome of nature playing with dice. You will be unlucky and just get it or you'll dodge it and follow your fate as it was intended.

To be honest, it's hard to believe one way or the other as scientific research which provided fashionable results a decade ago are replaced by more modern techniques of applied research and statistical mumbo jumbo.

Live one day at a time and you will reach your end just as quickly, or slowly for the others. The roll of nature's dice will be fairly unpredictable so just get on with life and happiness or else.

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Over a period of nearly six months, consisting of several visits to the family doctor, some X-rays followed by more tests and an MRI scan, the results are finally official.

When I arrived at the doctor's office, he smiled and asked me if I was nervous. I answered no, but I was a bit afraid that after so much research they hadn't found anything. That perhaps it was all in my mind.

Don't worry he said, we definitely found something. That's when I started to get nervous. In the back of my mind, I feared that my golfing career was over. I'd have to relearn the sport from a wheelchair, and it would be frustrating.

Turns out that the diagnosis is a so-called a bone bruise. Like a normal bruise to the skin which turns black and blue, but this takes place inside of the bone tissue.

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This is exactly what it looked like in the scan picture.

He showed me the pictures of the MRI scan, and indeed I could perceive quite clearly a whitish blob. Quite large I would say, as the pain was pretty much localized to a smaller almost pinpoint area. Unlike a normal skin bruise, this type of bruising is more painful and takes much longer to heal, up to six months or even a year. Excess fluid fills up within the bone tissue, and the body has to work extra hard drying to dissolve and remove this minor blood spill.

So I guess that's positive news. Just have to be patient and let nature take its normal course of healing slowly but surely. Now that it's winter, I do not need to play that much golf, maybe just hit balls on the driving range once in awhile and putt around. Trying to swing a club from a wheelchair would not have been easy.

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This morning I had my appointment at Medinova Clinic which specializes in knee injuries in addition to a whole plethora of other sport-related problems.

They took several x-rays of my left knee: front, back, lying down, standing up, bent slightly. I wasn't that nervous until the female assistant asked me if I had been operated on before. Fortunately Marlies was there at my side and gave me comfort afterwards while we sat in the waiting room.

After nearly an hour, the orthopedic surgeon asked me into his office. He seemed like a nice guy and wanted to speak English to me (he thought I came from the UK). Turns out that there's 0.0% trace (nul comma nul) of any wear and tear. He showed me the x-rays and my bones looked perfectly sharp and smoothly formed, as if they had been created by a loving and perfect God only minutes before. What a relief.

He felt around my knee and made me move it around in various directions. Does this hurt? And this? How about if I do this? He was very quick and figured it out in no time. I think he had a very strong suspicion but was careful to give me the facts before there was proof.

Next step is to get an MRI scan done since the x-rays had not shown anything visible. It is more than likely an issue with the outside of my meniscus, some slight injury there which refuses to recover fully.

So what's the prognosis? The doctor couldn't say and needed more data from the scan. Probably arthroscopic surgery to repair the meniscus if possible. Something loose, a minute tear, who knows what.

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This is what Diclofenac looks like

For the time being, my daily dosage of Diclofenac will keep me going. It's a miracle drug which nearly kills off all pain completely.

Next week the MRI scan and the week after that the doctor's conclusion. Fortunately it's winter and freezing cold, so if I need to take a break from golf for a couple weeks it won't be such a sacrifice.

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In a previous post I complained about knee problems. Since then it has only been getting worse and worse. Now I limp around like an old man, and the pain is becoming so unbearable that I am starting to have serious concerns.

Rather than walk up the stairs I have to climb up each step by lifting myself with my arms. Going down the stairs is even more difficult, only possible one small step at a time.

Tomorrow morning I will go to the doctor and let him have a look. Curious what he has to say. Hope I don't have to go to the hospital for an examination.

There are still three golf tournaments left this year that I would really like to play in. Not to mention the few times I'm invited to play with others. Out of precaution I bailed out of a fun tournament for this weekend.

Maybe I just need some rest, but it's difficult for me being weak and giving up. I'm worried that by not practicing enough my game will go down the tube. Putting and chipping shouldn't be a problem though.

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Trust lies at the heart of a well-functioning and cohesive team. The members of the team should feel confident among each other that their peers' intentions are good. There is no reason to feel protective or careful around the group. Each and every teammate must feel comfortable being vulnerable and open to conflict.

The most important action the leader should take to encourage the building of trust within his team is to demonstrate first and foremost vulnerability himself through his own actions. This means that the leader will necessarily risk losing his own face in front of the team in order that the rest of the team will feel free to take similar risks themselves.

A true leader leads by example and creates an open and honest environment that fosters creativity and will never punish vulnerability.

See: The Five Dysfunctions of a Team

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In order to deal with stressful moments better so that you can remain focused on behaving effectively and doing what matters to you most, just follow these four simple steps:

  • Stop
  • Take a deep breath
  • Observe with an open and gentle attitude
  • Proceed positively
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That guy sawing wood in the distance is really starting to get on my nerves again. It started this morning and he's still going at it strong.

We have this neighbor whose hobby believe it or not is sawing piles and piles of firewood. Rumor has it that the poor guy has some kind of addiction where he needs to pile up more and more wood and cannot stop.

His house is surrounded by piles of neatly stacked blocks of wood, five feet high around the perimeter of his property. Instead of getting overly irritated by him, I guess I should feel sorry for him.

Could be worse, if he was my next door neighbor I would have become completely insane by now. Wonder how those folks next to him are able to deal with that continuous sawing.

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At long last the shortest day (longest night) of the year has come and gone. Exactly six months ago I was so thrilled withe the longest day of the year. Seems like only yesterday. The planet is now situated on exactly the other side of the sun. The cycle continues no matter what, planetary orbits constrained by the laws of nature and mathematical formulas defined by physics. From now on it's downhill all the way. Something to look forward to again, the other side of the sun.

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They say that running is good for the body and the mind, and I can attest to such a claim that at least in my case it is very true. For me it's not only about getting outside and putting in the distance as is, but pushing myself and forcing a slightly higher tempo than a causal jog. The first half kilometer is fast, and I sprint out the last couple hundred meters so that when I make it back home I am huffing and puffing and sweating profusely. Even when the weather is cold and windy, or the rain is pouring down and I have to dash through puddles and mud, I keep up the usual pace. As in work and as in play I like the challenges, achieving goals and doing my best. Not that I have to be a perfectionist and beat some personal records, though in my younger years I tended to push myself past all limits of reasonableness. My wife is worried that if I'm not more careful I might get a heart attack. Not if I can help it. She thinks I take things way too seriously, including sports. I'm rarely satisfied with my golf scores, and I finish my runs thinking it was okay rather than it was a great time. There is an element of winning in all we do, but it is not the most important goal. Achieving the finish line no matter what, if things go well or not, that's what it's all about. Even failing completely but still finishing is a noble achievement, a much more valuable experience in the lessons of life. Nine out of ten times one is unable to achieve exactly what was planned for, and it is this single time that does that makes it worthwhile.

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Last week I ran my jogging route seven times in a row from Monday through Sunday. That's a total distance of 7.7 x 7 = 53.6 kilometers (32.2 miles) in one week. I am feeling pretty healthy and only slightly sore which is good for the mind.

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This whole thing about the so-called higher power is really fantastic, that is as long as everything is going well. What a great idea! Why didn't I think about it earlier?

And then life takes a nasty turn. When things go sour and life becomes more frustrating, that's when the concept of the higher power suddenly becomes much less appealing. Oops.

Hey wait a minute, this wasn't part of the deal. Trusting completely in the higher power is supposed to solve all my problems, not to block my path with all kinds of new and unexpected obstacles. Must be a dream, but it is not.

Come to think of it, it could be a new challenge, yes it must be some kind of test. With a snap of the finger, I could easily forsake my faith in the higher power. Try and take control all over again. Fight things and force my way, in order to win.

Life is not about winning any more. Just remain positive and let it happen the way it was always meant to happen.

Some other time we will hopefully figure it out, but not now. Even if in the end we do not figure it out, that should not matter.

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This is my companion during those cold winter evenings. The white light soothes me and puts all kinds of creative and relaxing thoughts in my mind. It feels good being healthy, or at least thinking that I am being healthy. Normally it's the responsibility of the sun to energize me, but this miracle of modern technology is a good enough substitute for the time being. In the meantime, I anticipate the coming of Spring and hope it finally arrives soon. It's been taking long enough.

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By five o'clock I was ready to call it a day and go back home. It had been a busy yet fulfilling week, and the last five days had gone by quite quickly and with minimal effort. There were only two other people left in my department, and I waved goodbye to them through the glass as I walked by on my way to the elevator.

Once downstairs I passed through the turnstiles and braced myself for the gust of cold wind that would blow across my face when the sliding glass doors slid open. The guy at the reception was busy reading the paper and didn't notice me walk by. The doors opened with a swishing sound, and indeed the outside world greeted and engulfed me with a gentle cold embrace. I closed my eyes, took in a deep breath and felt invigorated, recharged, born anew. The hidden energies of the outside world were filling me with a sense of well-being and a feeling of anticipation. That path ahead of me was there and I would be following it once again.

This time when I drove back home, I decided not to turn on the radio. I preferred to experience the next hour in complete silence, enclosed in the metal womb of the car, thinking about this and that. I let go of the recent experiences of the past and focused on what my body was doing at that moment. My heartbeat, my lungs filling and emptying, my fingers grasping the steering wheel, my elbows falling at my side. Living in the now as they call it but losing myself at the same time. Before I realized it, I was proceeding up the driveway of the house. I was a time-traveler and had passed through a wormhole, disappearing in the fabric of the universe and then reappearing again. The curtain was slightly open and I could see some human activity through the slit, our dog sleeping on the couch and my wife reading a book.

Being nowhere and everywhere at the same time is a peaceful feeling. Especially when you find yourself exactly at that intersection point where the body and mind come together for a split second, right before they fly apart again.

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Since I officially work thirty-six hours a week, every two weeks I get a day off, the so-called ADV day which is short for Arbeidsduurverkorting.

This morning at nine-thirty I had my first appointment with the haptonomist. I already had my speech prepared. After I introduced myself and sat down, I told her that my mind and body had gotten out of sync resulting in a number of physical problems, namely stiffness, tenseness, a sore back and a lack of energy.

She stared back at me for almost a minute without saying anything. I thought that she was going to tell me to go see a shrink, but instead she asked me what kind of work I had and how many hours a week I am in the office. Officially thirty-six hours a week according to my contract, but actually more like fifty hours a week it turned out when we added up all the times through the week.

She asked me a number of additional questions and after thinking a bit and bobbing her head side to side, she came up with a simple exercise that I could perform while sitting in my chair.

Basically, the idea is to get more in touch with your body, which is the receptacle in which your mind resides. Starting with your right foot, you feel it touching the ground, your five toes reaching into the earth's soul with deep roots, then you feel your leg, thigh, hands and fingers, shoulders, back across to the other shoulder (skipping the head), down the left arm to the hand and fingers, thigh, left leg and foot, back down into the earth's soul with deep roots, and then back around again to the roots going up to the right foot, until the circuit is complete.

After practising this with her, it became easier as my body learned to feel the flow. I especially liked the part where all unhealthy feelings and negative thoughts get flushed down the roots way down deep into the Earth, replenished by the sunlight and fresh air around me. Kind of like a plant but backwards.

I can do this at work, while sitting behind my desk, at the table during a meeting, or in another quiet room with a nice view of Rembrandt's Park and the blue sky. I will give it a good try for the next two weeks and see if it helps.

What is Haptonomy?

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Boy, was my back killing me last night. I am not quite sure what happened, but starting around one o'clock I spent several sleepless hours in excruciating pain, rolling around, getting in and out of bed, and moaning a lot.

No matter which position I tried, nothing helped to relief that pain in my lower back. Curled on my side, lying flat on my back, turning around on my belly, bending my arms and legs every which way, contorting myself.

Fortunately my wife who is a nurse went to her secret stash, pulled out one of her magical pills, and handed it to me with a glass of water in her other hand. Such a tiny pink pill couldn't possibly help, but I gulped it down anyway.

Within ten minutes I could feel it working, as the pain slowly but surely began to subside. It was like this localized cloud of negative energy was dissipating into thin air. I drifted into a deep sleep, and when I woke up again I couldn't believe how much better I felt.

I've been told that it has a lot to do with stress, but I do not think that that can be the reason. Lately, life has been treating me well, and though my work is busy it is challenging in a fun and exciting way. Hopefully within a couple days I will be back to normal, at least physically that is.

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I figured out that there are three reasons why we die:

  • We have to make room for the younger generation, so that they can take over, and try and clean up the mess that we left behind.
  • We have to call it a day, atone for all our mistakes and come back later in order to keep improving ourselves.
  • We have to make haste because there is an inevitable end coming soon, meaning that we are challenged to do as much as possible before it's too late.

Actually, when I think about it more closely, there's one more good reason, namely:

  • We have to be thankful and appreciate as much as possible during the finite time that we can live in this wonderful paradise.
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Migrating birds ...

Most everything comes and goes randomly although it may at first appear otherwise, it's nothing more than an illusion.

Depends on where you are, what you perceive and what you think. Three orthogonal realms each of which contains three or more dimensions.

At any given time the mixture may vary significantly, one moment mostly in the first realm, and then the following moment in the next or even the next after that.

In total at least ten dimensions, but this could be many more. It could even be (much) less for all we know.

Only when we die do these variegated realms of reality fuse into a single element and then it disappears altogether, like a wisp of a smile.

This is the ultimate purpose of everything including you and me. Life is wonderful because it is long and complex, but it is short and simple at the same time.

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Way over there near to the horizon I could see a long sliver of blue, and it was coming my way slowly but surely.

If I timed things perfectly I could just catch this chance dryness with the forty minute window I had for my daily run through the countryside.

That is exactly what I did. I had my jogging outfit on in no time and waited under the overhang in front of the garage door for the sliver to intersect the sky above me.

The minute it became dry, the second the last measly raindrop hit the ground in front of my feet, that's when I took off speedily and steadily, I had a goal to achieve.

I figured that if I cranked up my tempo slightly above average, I would just make it around the eight kilometer loop back in time before the sliver of blue had passed by. If I was not careful nature would punish me.

As I made the turn at the half way mark to head back home, a gust of wind arose and tried to fool me into slowing down. I made it back home before realizing it.

Sweating and puffing, I entered the code with four beeps and the electric garage door opened to let me inside.

The sky darkened suddenly and it rained down like nothing I had seem before.

The sliver of blue had completely dissipated and there was no signs at all remaining that indeed this fleeting figment of my imagination had ever existed before.

Probably hadn't.

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For some strange reason, I kind of like running against the wind. Even when it's blowing really hard and I have to push myself that much harder to keep up the right tempo and reach the final goal. You also feel very thankful that you are healthy and in good condition, physically as well as mentally.

Pushing against the elements is alot like life. You live day by day and move forward, sometimes with the wind at your back and other times in your face. If the wind is not blowing at all, that's the nicest and makes you feel the most relaxed. But that's also very rare and should be cherished whenever it occurs.

You push a little bit harder and when the running loop has been completed, you feel that much better. Tomorrow will bring yet another loop to finish, and be sure to appreciate it as well as the rest.

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What most people seem to forget is that we have more influence over our immediate surroundings than we at first may want to admit.

We definitely have control over our own thoughts which means that we are masters of our own moods. Own moods result directly from thoughts, the way that other thoughts interact with each other. At least logically that makes sense.

I guess that what I am trying to say is that we create the world around us. The environment is nothing more than an infinite collection of energy and movements. It is influenced by the objects moving around within it and the way those objects interact with each other. These are contained and constrained by the laws of nature, many of which can be described using simple mathematical formulae, others to a lesser degree.

People are also objects, complicated and unpredictable I agree. We might not be able to control completely the actions and interactions of others, but we can influence them in a positive way. Even minor actions on our part can result in a chain reaction of complicated events, feeding back on us and improving us for the better.

Think positively about yourself. Have confidence in your actions, and expect the best of all possible worlds, even if disaster may strike you down once in awhile. Find a path through the world of interacting objects which does justice to your beliefs, desires and ever-changing moods.

Next year is full of new opportunities. My challenge at least will be to make the best of things and remain positive at all times.

An interesting book:
Mind Over Mood: Change How You Feel By Changing the Way You Think

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Most people of sound mind would find it extremely difficult to understand that inner urge of mine which keeps making me want to go running despite the icy cold air and the less than ideal circumstances outside.

I have to admit that getting mentally prepared beforehand takes a bit more effort compared to those sunny and pleasant days of summer times past. The goal is what attracts me more than ever, mostly because it's more of an obstacle and therefore when it's all over with, I will feel much better about myself and what I have achieved.

Today is a good example of that. About one third of the way around my usual jogging route, I was huffing and puffing and wondering why the heck I was putting myself through all of this misery. The cold breeze was blowing in my face, my finger tips and toes were tingling, and it was getting dark quickly. Realizing that such potentially negative thoughts are mere distractions and therefore unreal, I refocused on the task at hand, and then felt much better.

Learning to run, acquiring a good tempo, and making it all happen is what life is all about. Having a good healthy workout like this mirrors the basics of life, improves your physical condition as well as re-wires and re-lubricates those inner thought processes. Aging is a myth and inner spirit is where the energy all comes from.

Some people have to climb high mountains, others travel around the world, and still others spend a whole lifetime acquiring perfect harmony with nature. That all seems inefficient to me. So much extra time and energy needed when similar adventures can be made by simply running around the countryside for an hour or so a day.

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I try to make it a point everyday to have my daily run. The total length is 7.7 kilometers, and depending on my mood and how fit I feel, the route takes me about forty minutes to cover.

Now that I have so much free time left over, I fill my days with golf in the morning and running in the afternoon. As of today, I have run eleven days in a row, which means that I've covered 84.7 kilometers. Supposing that I had done that in one stretch, it would have taken me all the way to Amsterdam and almost back again.

The route takes me through the wonderful flat countryside, in the middle of nowhere, along lots of water and past farmland. The last leg does take me along the highway, but the amazing view on the right makes it much nicer. If the sky is clear blue, I see the giant orange ball of the sun setting in the distance.

Each day closer to winter brings the sun lower and lower as the orange sliver gets thinner and thinner. When the new year returns, the orange sliver widens in glimmering beauty, welcoming my return and the return of the approaching warmer weather. But that will take some time, and now I will have to bear with it getting colder and the waterways freezing over first.

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Google maps

Starting next month I'll be working again, in Amsterdam coincidentally. That means that there will be much less time for running, let alone for golf. I will have to figure something out if I want to keep my youthful figure and my single digit handicap.

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Being more positive about life really isn't that difficult, and with a little bit of effort, one can greatly increase the quality of life.

The impact is pretty powerful, meaning that the more you do it, the more it becomes a part of you. You actually do feel happier.

After having had to stand the whole hour in the crowded train to my work and feeling angry about life, I was pleased to discover this article which describes the following simple five steps:

  1. Come up with a positive response to every situation you meet.
  2. Look for the good in other people. Rather than seeking to identify the negative traits in the people around you that you interact with, look for the positive ones.
  3. Act happy, even if it's a painted dayglow smile. You don't have to be happy - often, that's an impossibly tall order. Instead, just act happy.
  4. Drop the sarcasm. Sarcasm can be a lot of fun, but in the end, it's just negativity wrapped up and packaged as a joke.
  5. Get plenty of rest and eat a good diet. This along with exercise is one sure way to naturally elevate your mood.

Reference: Benefits of a positive attitude.

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This morning I read an interesting newspaper article. In it scientists claim that their research indicates that the happiest period of our lives is between the ages of fifty and fifty-three.

Not sure sure that I believe this, but just in case, I guess I will have to live it up now while I can.

Assuming that the average age is eighty-years old, that's less than four percent of your total time on the planet. The window of opportunity is now my friends.

Might as well maximize one's potential for happiness, that three year sliver of time is too short and too precious.

(I still remember when I was about ten years old calculating how old I would be at the turn of the century: forty-two years old, that's sure hard to believe)

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Information

This personal weblog was started way back on July 21, 2001 which means that it is 7-21-2001 old.

So far this blog contains no less than 2309 entries and as many as 1877 comments.

Important events

Graduated from Stanford 6-5-1979 ago.

Kiffin Rockwell was shot down and killed 9-23-1916 ago.

Believe it or not but I am 10-11-1957 young.

Began well-balanced and healthy life style 1-8-2013 ago.

My father passed away 10-20-2000 ago.

First met Thea in Balestrand, Norway 6-14-1980 ago.