My father never had a music lesson in his life and he couldn’t read music, but he could play anything with keys or strings. And I don’t mean just pluck away and make noise, the man could really play. Hand him a fiddle (Dad was never sophisticated enough to play a violin), a guitar, a banjo, an accordion, or sit him down at the piano and he could make absolutely beautiful music. A long, long time ago when I was a youngster I watched him sit in with the Sons of the Pioneers a couple of times. Yeah, he was that good.
I inherited none of my old man’s musical abilities. On a good day I can get my Amazon Echo to play the songs I request, but that’s about it. I love saxophone music and a few years ago I decided I was going to learn to play the sax. So, in typical Nick fashion, I acquired not one, but two, used saxophones. I bought some DVDs and books on playing the saxophone, I watched some You Tube videos, and the best I could do was scare the hell out of the cat. It didn’t take me long to realize that while I wanted to play the saxophone, I had absolutely no interest in learning how to play it.
Something else I’ve always wanted to do was to be able to draw or paint, and I really admire anyone who can. I am particularly fond of pen and ink drawings and anything with a nostalgic or nautical theme to it. I have made a few attempts over the years, but alas, I’m not an artist, either. My best work wouldn’t compare to what a kindergarten student brings home from school for his mom to stick on the refrigerator.
In our travels around the country we have seen a lot of beautiful murals, everywhere from this whaling scene in Newport, Oregon (top) to this bridge in Frederick, Maryland (bottom). This is just a plain concrete bridge. The stonework, ivy, and recessed fountain are all painted on its flat surface.
The other day we noticed this mural on a shop that sells honey here in Edgewater. Very nice! Anyone who can create something on that grand of a scale has my admiration.
Besides having a lack of artistic ability of any kind, I’m also a complete failure when it comes to diet and exercise. I live a pretty sedentary lifestyle, spending hours a day sitting in from my computer writing, and my main form of exercise has mostly been a brisk walk to the refrigerator for a snack. For most of my adult life I routinely to drank at least four Pepsis a day. And not diet, the real stuff! I’m talking real, high-octane Pepsi-Cola. Combine that and my love of sweets and pastries, and it’s a recipe for disaster.
After I was hospitalized in November of 2015 for an attack of acute pancreatitis, I stopped drinking all sodas and have not had one since. Somebody suggested diet soda, but I can’t stand the taste. And besides, to me that’s like drinking nonalcoholic beer – they make that stuff for people who don’t want to get drunk, but do like to pee. No, if I’m going to drink something, I want the real stuff. Since I don’t drink any kind of alcohol, and sodas are now off the menu, for the last 18 months or so, I’ve been drinking a lot of unsweeted iced tea and zero-calorie flavored water. Sometimes I still really crave a Pepsi, but I think it would be like lighting that first cigarette after stopping smoking – it would not be the last and before I knew it I’d be right back where I started.
I’ve also cut way back on my junk food intake. I won’t lie to you and say I don’t slip up once in a while, but there are a lot more days that I don’t than days that I do. A while back I decided that I really need to lose some weight. Of course, like any fat guy, I’ve decided that at least a hundred times in my life. As it turns out, losing weight is like learning to play the saxophone. There are no shortcuts.
However, I found something that has been helping a bit. The previous owners of our house left a NordicTrack treadmill when they sold the place, and for the last couple of weeks I’ve been spending some time on it every day. Starting out at the slowest pace, about ten minutes was all I could do before getting winded. I know, pathetic, right? But within a couple of days I was able to up the speed a bit and do 20 minutes twice a day. And for the last four days or so I’ve been doing two half-mile sessions a day, gradually working up the speed.
I can’t do nearly as much or as fast as Miss Terry does on the treadmill, and I think that gives her some comfort; not because she doesn’t wish me well, but because she likes being able to out-run me if she has to. I’m not foolish enough to ever think that I’m going to become thin, but I would like to get back to my old fighting weight of dwarf portly.
Be sure to enter our latest Free Drawing. This week’s prize is an audiobook of the paranormal romance Midnight Moonrising by my friend Kristie Haigwood. To enter, all you have to do is click on this Free Drawing link or the tab at the top of this page and enter your name in the comments section at the bottom of that page (not this one). Only one entry per person per drawing please, and you must enter with your real name. To prevent spam or multiple entries, the names of cartoon or movie characters are not allowed. The winner will be drawn Sunday evening.
Thought For The Day – Wisdom comes with age, but sometimes age comes alone.