Swimming with the Sharks – Literally

My sister has a long-standing tradition of watching Discovery Channel’s Shark Week. I don’t understand the attraction but I can appreciate the dedication to a tradition. A segment was dedicated to black tipped reef sharks which reminded me of time that I … ACTUALLY SWAM WITH SHARKS?! LITERALLY!?


When I was married a long, long time ago, my wife and I had a tradition of traveling once a year. In October 2006 … we traveled to the Bahamas. The hotel choice was the Atlantis Resort prior to all of their additions, etc. As a resort in a tourist destination, they offered kick-ass excursions.

Powerboat Adventures offered the best of all of theirs … Exuma Cay.

  • Your Own Private Island
  • Shark & Stingray Experiences
  • Our Famous Exuma Piggies!
  • Stunning Beach
  • Huge Fresh Cooked Lunch
  • Bahamian Conch Salad Show
  • Open Bar – ALL FREE, ALL DAY!
Powerboat Adventures

You had me at OPEN BAR. Regardless, as pictured, the powerful boat whisked about 15-20 passengers out to their as-advertised private island. We swung by Iguana Island, which I was convinced this was (is) the breeding ground for Godzilla (yes, I know that the “actual” place was in the Pacific)

A few minutes after disembarking, the company suggested the stingray feeding. I was brave enough for that action, so I participated while my wife watched.


Feeding them stingrays

Next, they feed us a wonderful on-spot-prepared lunch while we were still drinking from the open bar. But the “main show” was to witness a shark wrangler feed black tipped reef sharks!!

I honestly had no idea how that was gonna be facilitated. One of the “expendable” guides, dragged out from the beach into knee-high water with a chain, and at the end was a large fish head (assumed it was a grouper)

It wasn’t long before a shark or two wandered up. Then a brave or hungry shark clamped down HARD on his bait. With his massive build, the shark wrangler started to sway the chain in a back and forth action like a tug-of-war with a dog and bone!

And this guy managed to wrestle away the grouper head from the shark. Then he lift it above the water line about 2 feet so that the shark would launch up in the shallow water to bite it! This would never be OSHA approved.

He finally fed them with his hands (see below)

A Shark Wrangler In Action

After feeding those sharks, the company offered the impossible: swim with the very sharks that were fed! With a whispered, you only live once, I accepted their offer along with a dozen or so others. The guide demonstrates to wear a life jacket even though he isn’t wearing one himself.

He instructs us to not fight the current but travel with it. There was a point-of-no-return which would literally carry you out to the Atlantic Ocean and open water. AVOID that, he says flatly.

My wife knows I’m not a strong swimmer, but doesn’t object. Perhaps she was trying to kill me then as well as later? I don a life vest like an oversized orange shark bobber. I’m an idiot. Also added fins to my feet to aide in swimming like a 40-lb fawking anvil.

One guide leads us while another follows up the rear to make sure all the tourist are herded the correct direction. They explain the sharks are satiated so they are not interested in eating / biting you. Yeah, right!

I settled in about midpack so I can see and keep in touch with the leader yet see the rear being cattled along.

ALL was good. I was taking underwater photos with a disposable camera. The reef to my left, and open water to my right was a grip disconcerting … the seascape was beautiful! All the colors of the rainbow was represented there.

The sharks started to swim amongst us! Like an underwater freeway, the ocean current carried humans, fish, seahorses, and SHARKS. Then it happened. I pissed myself because a shark on my right about the 1 o’clock position and 20 feet away took an unexpected U-turn!

As he and I were playing “chicken” like a scene straight out of the 1984 hit, Footloose. I was Chuck in this recreation, though. As I banked myself to the left, and the ‘Ren’ shark glided by, I looked into that one eye.

I continued to watch behind me as scared swimmers darted out of the way of the ONCOMING SHARK. Next the damnable thing performed another U-turn in the middle of the crowd causing even more chaos! Finally, it settled down in a straight line all the way to the outside of the current and pointing towards the way everyone and everything was going.

I looked forward, and witnessed the guide and the others angle themselves left towards the beach. I was relieved as I casually swam with the crowd. Once I reached the beach, I thought that’ll be the first, last and only time I’ll swim with sharks.

I’ll stick to the corporate, suit-wearing, lawyer-like sharks thank you very much.

Would you swim with sharks if given the opportunity? Or just enjoy the yearly #SharkWeek like my sister?

Comment below!

‘los with the most

COVID-19 Chronicles: Day 556

On June 30, 2021, Washington State Governor, Jay Inslee lifted the mask mandate …

Gov. Jay Inslee today announced that the state is moving toward a statewide June 30 reopening date and that all counties in Washington will move to Phase 3 of the Healthy WA: Roadmap to Recovery reopening plan effective May 18 until June 30.

The announcement comes after the governor paused phase movement for two weeks to review an emerging flattening trend in statewide COVID-19 data. As of today, the plateau observed in COVID-19 activity has become a decline.

What we know now gives us the confidence to close this chapter in this pandemic and begin another,” Inslee said at a press conference Thursday. “This next part of our fight to save lives in Washington will focus on increasing vaccination rates and continuing to monitor variants of concern as we move toward reopening our state.”

The full reopening could happen earlier than June 30 if 70% or more of Washingtonians over the age of 16 initiate vaccination. Washington has administered over six million doses of vaccine, and 56 percent of Washingtonians have initiated vaccination.

Inslee also announced that Washington will fully adopt masking guidance issued by the CDC earlier today. He stressed that this guidance is for fully vaccinated people — meaning people who are two weeks removed from their second shot of Pfizer or Moderna, or the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine.


As Brian Flanagan would recite, The Last Barman’s Poem, in the 1988 movie, Cocktail:

Brian I am the last barman poet / I see America drinking the fabulous cocktails I make / Americans getting stinky on something I stir or shake / The sex on the beach / The schnapps made from peach / The velvet hammer / The Alabama slammer. / I make things with juice and froth / The pink squirrel / The three-toed sloth. / I make drinks so sweet and snazzy / The iced tea / The kamakazi / The orgasm / The death spasm / The Singapore sling / The dingaling. / America you’ve just been devoted to every flavor I got / But if you want to got loaded / Why don’t you just order a shot? / Bar is open!

BAR IS OPEN!

I am fully vaccinated as of June 7, 2021. I carry around my vaccination (vax) card to places where I might be asked. Only one place has: Lumen Field in Seattle. Other than that, carry on.

I am still finding masks that I’ve squirreled away in case I forgot the initial mask somewhere in pockets of various jackets, or jeans I previously wore.

It seems the goal of “flattening the curve” has been achieved! I won’t dare say the worst is behind us. I WILL say that it’s easier to feel confident with a large percentage of people that are vaccinated.

Unless the COVID-19 variants bloom into another global pandemic, this will be my final entry of the COVID-19 Chronicles.

Be good like you should, and if you can’t be good … be good at what you do!

‘los

The Power of Clarity

The adage, “hindsight is 20/20”, is never more apropos to describe 2020 A.D. and the #COVID-19 global pandemic than anything else.

For me the death of friends and family, the lingering health issues for those that survived, the lockdowns / quarantines, the massive cleaning effort, the business closures, and so much more provided a moment of clarity. The power of clarity that was more inspiring than any #TEDTalk.

The clarity was this: In life, there are priorities and excuses.


A couple of years ago a friend ( a “bro”) lamented to me about a woman he was interested in. He grumbled, “I text her, but she hasn’t replied in hours. I wonder if she’s busy or ignoring me.”

I suggested, “Oh, I’m sure she is busy but can prioritize to hit people back. She hasn’t reach her level of priorities yet. In life, there are priorities and excuses.

“Excuse me?” he fired back.

“Yeah, bro,” I answered. “You are either a priority or an excuse to her. If you’re an excuse right not, that doesn’t mean you won’t cycle up to a priority. We all have 86,400 seconds each day we’re alive. How we spend those seconds is different each hour, each day, each week, and each month as we shift priorities. Perhaps you’ll take some solace in the fact of being shuffled to priority status sooner than later.”

He stood there for a moment to absorb that, and mull it over. “I suppose so,” he muttered.

He broke up with her a week later. He wanted to be someone’s priority more often than someone’s excuse to ‘deal with’.

The Power of Clarity

I Can See Clearly Now

As soon as Washington State Governor Jay Inslee imposed stay at home orders i.e. self quarantine, I knew that action needed to be taken. I need to list my priorities. Then I was labeled an ‘essential worker’ of an ‘essential business’ (Costco) I knew I wouldn’t worry about gainful employment unless I did something terrible or drastic.

It was clear: unemployment will soar as businesses closed, drug and alcohol use will increase, perhaps even divorces would increase. Humans are just not accustomed to crisis management.

And folks … that’s essentially what the global pandemic was: an exercise of crisis management (see what I did there?)

So it was a priority to stay employed as I’ll need my house more than ever, especially if this pandemic escalates to an apocalyptic level.

Then gyms closed, such as the Monroe / Sky Valley Y.M.C.A. I have yet to return, as the only reason I paid that money was to dance to Zumba with friends.

Next the museum I volunteered at closed, I decided to use my time differently.

Bars and clubs closed, so I wasn’t paying money for beer and food at those businesses. The power of clarity was starting to focus my mind … My priorities were work, maintaining my dance skills, and as silly as this sounds, #Geocaching for the self-care aspect.

No longer was I spending my time on tasks, and priorities that I THOUGHT I needed. I look back over the past year and an half, I stayed disciplined to those priorities.

New Normal

Many folks were worried that the ‘new normal’ would incorporate mask wearing until we perished. I wasn’t worried, or even convinced of mask wearing beyond an effort to vaccinate the population.

Now, in June 2021, many states, businesses are operating as they were prior to the global pandemic known as COVID-19. It seems like the media, and general populace regard it as a bad nightmare that we are now waking up from.

Except those that have contracted the Delta variant of COVID-19. And those still very ill from the COVID-19 virus in hospitals now.

Ya know, people are still dying of this disease. 352 people died from it yesterday. 352 families effected by their loved one’s passing. They were mothers, fathers, brothers, daughters, old, young, in-between.

We should still focus on prevention as part of our clear path of priorities.

‘los

Thrown Under The Bus

This past weekend was the first time I had visited in-person my family in Spokane since the global pandemic of COVID-19. It reminded me of the story when I was thrown completely under the bus by my Uncle Steve at an Outback Steakhouse in Spokane. Wait! What happened is probably what you’re asking me, or yourself? I’ll tell ya in the following passage.


Wait! What Happened

You need some background information in order to truly appreciate this story. Charlene and I had been dating a few years when this occurred. Her family in Spokane invited us over to enjoy the holidays – pretty sure it was Christmas. We always drove over to them, and in return they would host us while we were there. The collection of us is a epicenter of funny inside jokes, sarcasm, and physical comedy. Every visit had a “Wait! What happened” moment, too. This visit was no exception!

Aunt Nancy usually cooked for us, but this particular night she didn’t want to cook, and neither did anyone else. The suggestion and what we landed on was the Outback Steakhouse off of Division Street. We all piled into cars: Aunt Nancy, Uncle Steve, Cousin Jenny, Cousin Sami, Uncle Bruce, Charlene and yours truly. With a party of seven, we were gonna wait some time. Our table of 10 was ready as the hostess approached us with a smile and an armful of menus.

We filed in behind her lead, single-file. It was 70-inch round table situated very close to the square and rectangular tables. The hostess abruptly stopped to negotiate some chairs, which touched off a chain reaction. Well, Uncle Steve reached and patted the butt cheek of what he thought was his daughter, Jenny. The hostess in a floor-length, flower patterned, yellow dress whipped her head around so fast with a look of shock.

Without missing a beat, Steve whipped his head around and I happened to be following Steve. He blurts, “Carlos!”

I was stunned – wait! What happened? She aggressively turn around and started to slam down the menus for the seven of us. As I sat down, I asked him. “Why was she instantly pissed?”

“Oh,” he shrugged his shoulder. “That? I thought it was Jenny’s butt so I patted it to coax her along. Lord, imagine my surprise when it wasn’t. Sorry, Los. I had to throw you under the bus.”

“WAIT! What happened? Oh, Steve. I’m screwed.”


The hostess was young, and I mean very young, like 18 years old or so. I’m sure she was judge, jury, and executioner for me, as she approached her co-workers at the hostess station. As you can imagine, I was public enemy number 1. Eventually, I needed to use the bathroom. Unfortunately for me the restaurant was laid out in a U-shape with the apex of the U at the front entrance and hostess station.

We were seated at one side of the U, and the bathrooms were on the oppose side. Great, I thought sarcastically. As I walked by, I didn’t even look their way as I felt the laser eyes of disgust trying to burn a hole through my head. Then I rounded the corner near the bar, and of course, the bartender and bouncer were mean mugging, too. I grumbled mentally, “I owe that man a kick in the shin.”

When I sat down, and blurted out an idea. “Since this is Steve’s fault, but I got blamed for it, I have an idea. As we leave we should pat the butt of the person in front of you and in line-of-sight of the hostess. Cool?”

The table laughed and agreed to my idea. Finally, dinner was consumed, and the bill was paid. We marched out in single-file order, and as we crashed into each other at the door, we gleefully patted each other on the butt.

The hostess, you ask? Still unimpressed.

Be careful of the butt you pat today as it might be attached to the ass who’ll sue you later … Not sure, that’s a saying, though. Until next time, be good like you should, and if you can’t be good, be good at what you do!

Mic drop *bOoM*
‘los; out

What’s The Difference: Memorial Day and Veteran’s Day?

A few years ago, there was a viral Facebook post about a woman getting a haircut before Memorial Day weekend. She had lost her husband in a Navy helicopter crash months prior. He died on deployment, never having met their youngest son. So, when the smiling receptionist wished her a “Happy Memorial Day” after she had buried her spouse, the words cut extra deep.

Before you tag every veteran and service member on Facebook and wish them a Happy Memorial Day, remember that, in this community, Memorial Day means something much, much bigger than the start of summer. The day feels fraught with memories of those we’ve lost, mixed with gratitude for the times we’ve had.


While it is true that every day is Memorial Day for the families of the fallen, they aren’t asking that you stay inside and wallow.

But we do owe it to them to pause. Reflect. Remember. Honor.

Gold Star wife Krista Simpson Anderson, who lost her husband, Army Staff Sgt. Michael Harrison Simpson, in Afghanistan in 2013, said, “I get upset when people scold others for enjoying the weekend or having BBQs. What do you think our service members did before they died? Mike sure did enjoy his family and friends. What better way to honor them than to be surrounded by family and friends living. But we are also so grateful for your pause and reflection as you celebrate our heroes and the lives that they lived.”

Memorial Day and Veterans Day are different holidays with unique purposes — and unique ways to honor each.

How to Honor Veterans Day

Veterans Day is the day to tag all your people, posting photos with your brother in uniform or the selfie with your bestie before he or she deployed. Veterans Day celebrates the living who served our country. Offer veterans a discount at your business. Call your favorite vet on the phone and thank him or her for their service. Attend a parade. Celebrate a veteran.

How to Honor Memorial Day

Memorial Day is about remembering and honoring every single man and woman who has died for our freedoms — men and women who were mommies and daddies, sons and daughters, husbands and wives, brothers and sisters, patriots, incredible Americans and really, really great friends.

You want to honor and celebrate patriotism and the military this Memorial Day? Then you have to honor the complicated feelings surrounding it. Express your knowledge that this day is about remembrance.

Attend a memorial service at a national cemetery. Run or walk a mile to benefit the non-profit Krista Anderson started in memory of her husband, and then pledge your mile for wear blue: run to remember.

Talk to your kids about sacrifice, about service and about what this three-day weekend really means. Observe the National Moment of Remembrance at 3:00 p.m. Monday with a minute of silence.

And then, like Krista said, live. Live because freedom isn’t free.

‘los

The COVID-19 Chronicles: Day 506

The light at the end of the tunnel doesn’t SEEM to be a train coming in the opposite direction when speaking about the COVID-19 global pandemic.

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) recently announced that suggested a lifting of the mask guidelines for those that are fully vaccinated AND feel comfortable around non-vaccinated folks. Therefore Washington State’s Governor Inslee adopted the same.

Of course, the words heard were: you don’t have to wear a mask anymore.

Farthest from the intention of the announcement! Businesses retain the right to require masks on patrons prior to entry!


The Land of (Mask) Confusion

I don’t understand why there is confusion. The workflow chart starts with: are you vaccinated? If yes, then you have the option to opt-out on mask wearing. If not, then continue to wear a mask.

Anti-vaxxers, and anti-maskers have been itching for this moment – they know they will not be questioned or requested to prove their status! So they rip off their masks with the zeal of a woman with 38 DDD bra taking it off after a long day.

Of course, Americans will refuse to make it easy. For me, I’m not fully vaccinated. The 2nd shot of the Moderna is due soon (as of this writing) That said, once fully vaccinated I’ll continue to wear a mask until it’s awkward by societal “norms”.

Statistically speaking, I’m confident that if I was predicted to contract it … I would have by now. I’ve known co-workers to have ‘got the ‘rona’, and in one case, a poor soul got it TWICE. Also, friends, and co-workers having adverse effects from the 2nd shot of the vaccine.

I considered myself blessed.

Meanwhile, Back at the Ranch …

COVID-19 is still indiscriminate on who it ravages. Washington State statistics are 27th in of all the United States. As of yesterday, May 19, 2021 – total cases 427,372 (907 new cases), total deaths 5,733 (20 new deaths)

But those deaths shouldn’t be discounted. Those folks were mothers, truck drivers, loved members of their community. Now? They are gone forever. The finality of it all upsets me.

So while the end seems near, it’s not over until the fat lady sings. And … she’s not even warming up.

Tequila, El Capitan and The City: Cancun Craziness

It’s #TacoTuesday and it was recently Cinco de Mayo here in the United States! I thought I would re-live one night in particular on a business trip to Cancun, Mexico …

Cancun Craziness

In my many years with a travel company, I was given the opportunity to visit and rate several destinations. One of them was Cancun and it’s craziness. I spent five days there and it was more than enough to experience it. The last night was the epitome of Mexican craziness – it was all my fault, too. Based on my observations of the tourists, this was the Las Vegas of Mexico. And I love Las Vegas.

So my plan started earlier in the trip. I built a quick rapport with our driver, Juan, which I dubbed him as El Capitan. Then I started asking him about the night scene, and his connections there. I told him I would love a site inspection / behind-the-scenes tour of the most popular night club. He quipped that he knew somebody at The City Nightclub, so he would be happy to arrange that.

Now?

Now, I’ve gotta convince the trip leader into this plan of Cancun craziness. I suggested we do it as a group on the last night, as a last-hoorah. She readily agreed, since there was only one site inspection, and … it was at the very hotel we were staying at.

Finally, it was our last night. We dressed up to the nines, and were picked up by our faithful driver, and tour guide, El Capitan. An area was roped off with velvet for his VIP guests; us! We did a quick tour of the club, prior to opening of Cancun craziness of tequila shots, dancing and loud music. Most of the group only did it at my request, so I knew within a few hours of this they would wanna return to hotel.

I pulled El Capitan aside to advise him to leave myself and my new friend, Fabian, behind but be on stand-by to return to pick us up.

We stayed to dance, and drink. Well, I was drinking at any rate. Picture this: Flashing lights cutting through the dark dance floor like a lightsaber duel, with Latin music blasting through the joint, and dancers on pedestals around the dance floor. Tequila girls would wander through the crowd with their whistle blowing, and the bottles of tequila flowing into the eagerly anticipating patron.

After what seemed like hours, and too many shots, I peer at myself in the bathroom mirror. I mentally grumbled, “Man, I’m tore up from the floor up. I’m quickly running outta cheddar, too. Better grab, Pescado, and bounce out ASAP.”

As I stepped back into the crowd, one of those tequila girls blocked my path. And with a whistle blow, and a Pavlovian response, I tilted my head back into her chest, as she pour tequila into my gapping mouth. I paid her, and moved on. I found him dancing, so I escorted him outside.

I turned on my mobile phone to contact El Capitan. I read the time; midnight or what I like to call the Cinderella hour. I’m all for customer service, but requesting a ride at this hour is terrible idea. I remembered that it’s only a peso to use the green bus line to get back the hotel.


This is when Cancun craziness started for us. We boarded the bus. Since we had some time to kill, I was gonna call my wife. She was vacationing in Hawaii therefore some 6-hours behind me. I tell Pescado, “Ok, when you see the McDonald’s come into view, pull the cord. That’s our stop. Got it?”

“No problemo, boss,” he answered.

As I talked to her I kept a mental timer on how long it would take to get there. I finished up my conversation, and looked at Pescado. “It’s been too long. Did you see the McDonald’s?”

He whipped his head back, “Yeah. It was back there.”

“Oh my god! How long?” I cried.

He answers casually, “About 5 minutes ago.”

I was bent! The bus stops, and the doors opened. Driver says “Last stop.”

I yell out, “How much to turn around to Omni Hotel?”

“Forty pesos. EACH!” he barks. It was then I noticed his buddy no longer passed out on the bench seat next to him.

“Never mind then,” I say deflated.

The driver and his friend growled, “Then you fight us.”

HOLY SHIT. “No, thanks,” I whisper. I roughly grab Pescado, and unceremoniously toss him through the quickly shutting door. I squeezed through at the last second before being crush, like Indiana Jones.

I could’ve sworn that they were laughing as they departed in a plume of diesel smoke. It’s the dead of night, and just as quiet – no longer the Cancun craziness that we were rocking.

Where Are We?

We were in the middle of the road. “Wow. We’re effed,” I grumbled. I walked further to a guard post at the nearest hotel, presumingly the last one on the hotel strip of Cancun.

After an awkward Spanglish convo with the guard, I determined we’re either 5 miles or 5 kilometers from the Omni.

So we set off down the road in sweaty dress clothes, and dress shoes for footwear on this hike. Eventually, I needed a bio break. I made my way up a sandy embankment, and told my sidekick to be on the lookout. I wasn’t versed in the international laws of public urination, and didn’t wanna find out. I kept hiking down the back side of the embankment to be out-of-sight.

Just as I was finishing, Pescado yells, “Policia! Policia! Los, get over here.”

I drunkenly pull up my pants enough to walk, but as I hit the crest, my drunk legs on sandy foundation had me rolling a**-over-tea kettle down the embankment. Sand was flying up as I tumbled to a rest at his feet. I pop up, collect myself, and survey for the cops. Nothing but Pescado laughing and pointing hysterically at me. I could’ve killed him in that moment. I roll my eyes, and we keep walking.

Minutes later, a lone car drives by. Then it abruptly stops in the road, and it’s reverse lights are on as it backs up to us. The passenger side window is down. “AMIGOS! Hey, jump in. I’ll take you to girls, and tequila!”

Um, no thanks. I’ve had my fill of that. “No dinero!” I yell. He lays rubber as he leaves us. After about a hour or so of walking, we stroll through the lobby of our hotel, thankfully alive.

The hotel staffer eyes us. “Enjoy a little too much of the craziness of club in Cancun?”

We simply nodded.

“Well, what happens in Cancun stays in Cancun. Unless you say something,” he smiles.

Until next time Spaceship Earth, be good like you should and if you can’t be good, be good at what you do!

‘los; out

In-And-Out of Trouble

WCP and I were casually talking on our recent road trip, when she mentioned that the closest In-And-Out Burger location is Keizer, Oregon. That reminded me how I was in-and-out of trouble one particular sunny day in Las Vegas …

Sin City In-And-Out Burger

I love In-And-Out Burger, but none are in the Pacific Northwest, specifically the Seattle area. So it’s an absolute foodie treat to consume it for me, because I’m usually on vacation at some sunny destination that has it. For example, Las Vegas! That’s right, Sin City!

My crew and I traveled down for our annual “brodown”, which always includes at least one stop to In-And-Out Burger. The location of the restaurant is off-off Strip, so that means a pain in the ass to access, the parking lot is not big enough for the demand, and it’s popular to boot.

Coincidentally, a couple of female co-workers of ours were in Vegas as well. We arranged to meet up there at the In-And-Out Burger. All was well, right?

After we purchased our food, we withdrew to the outside patio area to nosh tough on our food of shame, while basking in the dessert  sun. About mid-meal, a car alarm was set off by a passing patron. We’re all accustomed to hearing the blaring noise of a car alarm. That wasn’t the disruptive part. We’re also conditioned that after a few seconds a car alarm will cease as it resets itself or the owner turns it off.

Not this time!

It kept blaring for a full 30 seconds more. The entire patio area was subjected to this annoying blaring.

Then I snapped.

I gently set down my 4×4 animal style burger (a not-so-secret, but definitely off-menu choice), stood up, and grumbled, “That’s IT!” My crew of guys peered up over their burgers, shrugged their shoulders and continued. The girls gasped at my words.

My teeth were gnashing in my skull … I didn’t travel a thousand miles, spent hundreds of dollars, negotiate vacation time from my work to have burger time at my beloved In-And-Out Burger to be ruined by some idiot’s car alarm!

As I walked into the building, I stopped in what I thought was the middle, and tried to isolate the sound of the car alarm. Amongst the conversations, the machinery sounds and all the sounds resonating throughout the building, you couldn’t hear anything else.

Much less a blaring car alarm outside …


“GOOD AFTERNOON EVERYONE!” I announced. The place was silenced, like some drunk person bumped the DJ’s table with a record on it. “Will the owner of the gray Dodge Charger, license plate xyz,” as I pointed towards the now-everyone-can-hear the car alarm, “please turn off your car alarm? It’s been going off for several minutes, and disturbing the patrons outside.”

The manager behind the counter practically pushed the silent alarm button under the counter, as I caught him in my sightline trying to locate the owner.

Seconds passed with no volunteers, but it seemed like minutes.

A little girl piped up that is literally the table beside me, “Dad! Dad! That’s our car with the alarm.” And she points towards the same car.

The man withdraws a car alarm fab, and grumbles, “It’s not an alarm.” But the tell-tale chirp of it being turned off told me differently.

I announce loudly, “Thank you so much for your cooperation. Enjoy the rest of your meal and day.” I turn on my heel. As I took a step, a stranger grabs my arm. “Thank you, sir. That was needed.”

As I tried to continue to return my food of shame, another stranger stands in front of the exit door and myself, “Thank you so much, as I was trying to find a manager to make an announcement like that.” I shook my head, and shook their outstretched hand, “No problem, ma’am. Just doing what needs to be done.”

I casually walk back to my table of friends, quietly sat down, and returned to noshing on my burger and fries. The two girls stared at me in amazement, with the mouths agape.

“What?” I grumbled with a mouth full of food.

Melvin asked, “What did you say to get that to happen?”

“Whatever what was needed,” I stated plainly. “Now eat your food,” I commanded. The girls looked at my bros trying to confirm the same reaction as they were having. The boys simply continued on.

Melly (changed the name to protect) turned to face my bro, “Did you know he was gonna do that?”
“No,” he replied. “But I’m not surprised either.”
She pressed further, “Why?”
“Because that’s what Los does.”
“Which is?” her curiosity drove her.
He smiled. “Whatever and whenever is needed.”

So Seattle and Spaceship Earth do you have a friend, or loved one that is tenacious? Are they fearless in most situations? Please comment below with your story!

As always, be good like you should and if you can’t be good, be good at what you do!

Mic drop *bOoM*
‘los; out

COVID-19 Chronicles: Day 475

Aiight, y’all … we’re more than one year into this situation. Total cases of COVID-19 in Washington State: 389,143. Total recovered: 186,165.

Then there’s the total number of deaths: 5,443.


Thankfully a concerted effort has been done to roll out COVID-19 Vaccines. As you can imagine, there was a scheduled vaccination deployment with the priority given to those that would be most harmed by contracting the virus which causes the COVID-19 disease.

The Pfizer-BioNtech, and Moderna vaccinations are 2 needle shot injections separated by 28 days. The Johnson & Johnson vaccine is 1 shot, however, as of this writing it’s on emergency pause based on the 6 women who developed blood clots after the injection.

Unfortunately, one woman died due to the blood clot, another one hospitalized.

Vax Time

So … all I’ve done is reposted statistics, and facts. Big deal, you say. I have yet to seek out the vaccine because I was slated for vein ablation surgery which I badly needed. I didn’t want ANYTHING to negatively impact that, such as becoming sick.

Healthcare workers, friends and family commented I am (was) being overly dramatic by being so protective. My rebuttal is, it’s my body, and my future so I’ll do as I please. End. of. story.

Varicose Veins

The reason for the vein ablation surgery was to treat the “wicked” case I have (doctor’s words; not mine) The team that accompanied the doctor assured be that the procedure was a success!

However, time will only tell just how effective it was. I’m currently recovering until I return to work on April 26, 2021. The ironic item was I am to not sit for long periods of time, and move around – this was the one time my orbit of friends and family thought I would be laid up in bed for days on end.

NOPE!

I decided on 45-minutes of activity, then 15-minutes of recovery. It seemed best to accommodate the request. In fact, I’ll be getting up from my office chair to motor around.

Now, I feel comfortable receiving the COVID-19 vaccination. That’ll be a different post, and later.

‘los

Truth or Dare: Dare To Tell The Truth

Recently a conversation topic was discussed with a good friend of mine about lying, and dishonesty, and being able to say you’re an “honest person”.

The following from Martha Beck was some powerful insight about this topic …


“Does the truth always set people free?” a friend asked me recently. “Or can it be a huge, crazy-making pain? If I want to lie a little to get along, am I betraying my authentic self?” This is a dilemma we all face virtually every day, whether we articulate it or not. The answer is, the truth almost always sets us free. But not all situations demand the same level of openness.

For example, if you’re reading this from a dungeon where a psychotic dictator has imprisoned you for singing his praises too feebly, tell any lie necessary to get the hell out of there. Lies create distance and destroy connections, and that’s just what you want in such a sick situation. But if you’re hiding bad behavior—say, lying to your loving spouse about your night job cooking methamphetamine—beware. After decades of coaching and weeks of binge-watching Breaking Bad, I know that meth fumes can be ventilated, but lies will destroy your life.

Even those of us who don’t run meth labs face a contradiction between our need for honest relationships and the temptation to lie about our failings, desires, and pain. It may seem that lying is easier than honesty—that it has the magical power to spare feelings, preserve comfortable assumptions, and make us appear less flawed than we are. But truth is like fresh, clear air, while lies are like smog that poisons our psyches and interactions. The amount of truth you must tell to any given person depends on how much healthy intimacy you want with that person. The more intimate you want a relationship to be, the more truth you must tell. It’s that simple.

The Truth Target

Picture a sphere with yourself at the center—a kind of three-dimensional target with you as the bull’s-eye and your closest relationships the next ring out, followed by friends, acquaintances, strangers, and psychotic dictators. In the realm nearest you, you want pure, healthy, honest air. Moving away from the center, the clarity of truth becomes less necessary—as illustrated by the following four rules for determining which truths are worth telling and which aren’t worth the bother.

Rule 1: Always tell yourself the truth.

The most intimate connection in your life is the one you have with yourself. Dishonesty in this relationship is at best counterproductive, at worst catastrophic. If you want your life to work, tell yourself the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.

Of course, this can be difficult. Denial, as they say, ain’t just a river in Egypt. We all engage in it, whether occasionally or habitually, often without realizing we’re lying to ourselves at all. Fortunately, we can always locate our own untruths: Just follow the fumes of suffering. Believing lies makes us miserable. That’s why all effective counseling, from therapy to chatting with your nana, focuses on trusting your gut and owning your thoughts and feelings.

You might tell yourself that letting in only cheerful thoughts (My mother is a saint) invariably creates happiness, but you’d be lying. I can’t count the times I’ve heard clients voice something unpleasant (“My mother can be atrocious”), then breathe a huge sigh of relief—not because they’re being negative, but because they’re allowing themselves to admit what they already know. Continued investigation reveals more subtle lies (“Mom owes it to me to stop being atrocious!”), which cause suffering until they dissolve into an even deeper truth (“I have no control over Mom, and no idea what her destiny might be. I can only observe her behavior and choose to respond with integrity”). The more we align ourselves with our deepest truths, the clearer, saner, and happier our inner lives become.

Therapists and nanas are all well and good, but I suggest that you learn to counsel yourself—by noticing when you’re feeling terrible, allowing yourself to feel those negative feelings, then asking and answering the questions below. For maximum air cleansing, sit quietly with each question until an answer arises, then write down that answer so you won’t slip back into denial. The questions are reiterative, because different words elicit different responses. See which works best for you.

Questions for Clearing Denial

  • What am I afraid to know?
  • What am I hiding?
  • What do I almost know?
  • What knowledge am I avoiding?

Warning: The truth generated by this exercise may rock various boats in your life. But to continue lying is to doom yourself to endless misery. Sit and breathe the truth for a while. Feel how clear and bracing it is.

Rule 2: Tell your loved ones as much truth as you can.

A 2012 study found that when subjects told just three fewer white lies per week, they reported noticeable relief from tension and melancholy and fewer physical ailments like sore throats and headaches. Maybe that’s because lying, even to please someone, means giving up the chance to be genuinely known, understood, and loved as we are. Conversely, if someone’s lying to us, then no matter how much we adore him or her, we’re loving a fiction. Without honesty, people feel emptiness and disconnection. People grow apart when they don’t share what’s happening to them as they grow.

If any of your valued relationships feel strained, you must determine where telling more truth will clear the way to more intimacy. Maybe you’ve been saying “I’m fine” when you’re not fine, concealing problems that affect your mood, or feeling that your loved one isn’t being open with you. If you continue to follow rule 1, you’ll know that your only job is to tell your truth, then respond honestly to whatever happens next.

If your loved ones match your truth telling by telling more truth themselves, you’ll grow closer. If they lie, you may have to accept—and grieve—the distance that will continue to open between you. The good news is that as long as you never lie to yourself, you’ll have the clarity to heal from broken connections with amazing speed and form new bonds with more honest people.

Rule 3: Tell acquaintances enough truth to maintain optimal connection.

Sometimes your life is full to the brim with significant others, and adding more intimacy from more people would be like stuffing in six slices of pie after Thanksgiving dinner. At other times you may be hungry for more friendship. Remember, intimacy increases with honesty. Share less to keep people away and more to draw them closer.

For example, say you’re coming out of a rough performance review with your horrible boss, and a coworker asks, “So, how’d it go?” If you don’t want to connect more closely with this acquaintance, go ahead and fib: “It was okay.” But if you’d like a closer relationship, tell the truth: “I’ve had colonoscopies that were more fun.” Now it’s your coworker’s turn to deflect or invite friendship. If she doesn’t want to know you better, she’ll lie politely: “Sorry to hear that—oh, there’s my cell phone.” If she wants to cultivate you as a friend, she can open up about herself: “I once had a performance review that put me in a three-month coma.”

The key to this dance of openness is to reveal just a bit of the truth at a time. There’s no need to blurt out your life story to everyone who says hello, or to embrace every acquaintance who decides to share details about the time she got her sinuses scraped. Tell a bit of the truth, evaluate the reaction, then tell a bit more—or not. You’ll decide as you go, reevaluating with each new interaction. This gradual approach allows you to adjust your relationships without undue drama, oversharing, or hurt feelings.

Rule 4: If you’re desperate to kill a relationship, lie.

Only in relationships that are already weird and awful is lying an ideal communication technique. So again, if a tyrannical dictator has you in captivity, go ahead and lie. Kill that connection right now. But if you think lying will “protect” a person or relationship you value, go back to rule 1. Your own heart will tell you that no matter how protective lying may feel, it always poisons connection.

You possess an innate ability to know when you’re breathing easily and when you feel choked by secrets and falsehoods. Let yourself know what you know. Open up to the ones you love most. Maintaining honesty and clarity at the center of your world will help you know how much truth to tell in every situation you face.

And that’s no lie.

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