All the success in the world.

Now is a time of great trepidation and anxiety around our house. It is not easily detected and the cause is no ones fault. It is a function of a life lived that should not have been, and therefore every minute of it feels like a dream to me. And so when risks to the apparent trajectory present themselves, I have two choices–admit that I fear it could all end at any moment and drive on, or pretend that nothing scares me and act as if everything that happens was planned.

Time rolls on relentlessly in the background, and with each illness, each set back we are reminded that there is only so much of it left to accomplish what we have set out to do. I want to see my kids grow up in the snowy mountain paradise that I bought (and hopefully one day have space and time to meet some of the very people I have encountered through this endeavor there for dining and company).

Occasionally, when I am overwhelmed by that, I watch this movie clip:

You see, every moment of success I have had since finishing my associates degree has been experienced like Chris Gardner does here. Graduating from college, getting into and finishing graduate school (twice), buying a home, buying acreage in Montana, etc. The day I brought MY horse home, and placed him in a paddock that I BUILT on MY OWN LAND I did almost the exact same celebration he does at the bottom of the steps. It was a little more subtle, but Mychael caught the moment on camera:

You can’t see it, but under my sunglasses and bowed baseball cap, there is a tear. I had worked toward this moment for almost 20 years.

When they break ground on the house build in Montana, I will have another such moment.

By statistics, and based on the traits I inherited, I should not be here. I should not have made it this far. My divorce in 2000 devastated me. I got depressed, despondent. I was through. I should be working odd jobs and living with roomates in a rented apartment somewhere.

And all this brings me to the point. None of this matters without Mychael. Chris Gale:

Puritan Poetwife

Mychael is about to enter her eighth month of her eighth pregnancy (with four live births so far) and she is 44. I am aware of the risks involved. And I never really let on how terrified the thought of one of these births killing her is to me.

I would give up all the land in Montana to guarantee her safety through this risky time. Because I have already proven to myself I can rebuild my life in the face of whatever foils me. For what difference would it make if I built a mansion of logs in the great northwest and she was not with me?

If you are the praying type, she needs it. I know most readers here have very heavy hearts with lots of other things to worry about. But we need the push of every prayer we can get.

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Two days until Christmas on Main!

ljubomir farms

This week was crazy. We had to jam three weeks into one, because Scott was pulled away at the last minute for a two mission in California. So, we had to get out to Elgin Christmas Tree Farm and get our tree:

Scott and David tie the tree to the top of the car.

We had to get the house decorated, outside and in. We also had to pick up a couple of new Americanas, because we have had bad luck with chicks from the big chain stores (out of eleven, only 4 lived). So we went back to see our friends Gordon and Tiffany Lester at Hill Country Feed and picked up two that almost ready to start to laying. The local hatchers tend to take better care of their birds.

And all the while, Mychael picked up a couple of mid-week shifts at the hospital and continued to…

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“Jims” story rears its head again.

Well, since “The Courtship Pledge” was raised from the dead, one of the posts over there has once again proven to be the gift that keep on giving. Here it is, for reference:

The story of Jim.

It is pretty amazing how difficult it is for moderns in our fem-drenched “civilization” to engage honestly with this narrative. For the record, let me point out a few things about where this story comes from.

When I was in graduate school, I worked for an agency that delivered state-mandated, domestic violence intervention psychoeducational group therapy. I did this for three years, at 3 different locations in the bay area of California. The three areas it served were quite variant in the SES of the populations served. This gave me an idea that this was not a economic class thing. I racked up over 3,000 clinical contact hours with these men. “Jim” is a real person who I had in mind, and I just changed a few details to make it impossible to trace his identity. His story was modal. That means it was profile for the most commonly occurring type of story.

Now, I am a member of a FB group devoted to encouraging parental involvement in our childrens mate selection process. And in one of the posts, I shared the link.

The most common types of response to it are:

  1. It’s a crazy, rare horror story
  2. It’s false
  3. That’s just your experience
  4. Obviously Jim has anger issues/is not a truly loving Christian husband and if he had not slammed down the peas this never would have happened.

So I would like to address some of what I observed there (and continue to observe since I am a mental health professional on active duty, and I interact with the army’s version of this pretty regularly).

Mostly, I want to transfer some of my comments over here, just to make sure I capture it all.

Observe, the Duluth Model “Power and Control” wheel:

What’s important to understand about that wheel (and the huge body of literature that preceded it) is that is 100% codified into the law, in basically all 50 states. Even the guidance (about how law enforcement should handle “domestic violence” calls) given out by the sheriffs departments and police departments is drenched in it. If you are a man, and anyone (not just your wife) calls the police, get ready to go to jail no MATTER WHAT YOU SAY or YOUR WIFE SAYS. By the time you get to the DV intervention class, if you so much as say “headship” you might as well get ready for a visit to the probation officer to explain why you are not “progressing” toward egalitarianism (which is basically female headship–see “the fall”). Once again, I was apart of this system. I did it constantly. I have made the phone call that put a man back in jail for saying he was the head of his home. Hundreds of times. Its not just “my experience.” It is the way the system is set up. We have taken the woman’s curse (of wanting to rebel against EVERYTHING her husband says or decides) and given her the power to punish him with one phone call. This is nothing new, it is as old as man and woman. Its just now the power of the state is behind the woman.

Every item on the power and control wheel is either decontextulized (WHY is he removing himself?) assigns hostile motives (not taking her concerns about [abuse] seriously–how do you know how “seriously” a person is taking something?) and is totally anti male. (Ascribing these things as if only men do them). To really get into the weeds here about how impossible it is to dislodge the anti male worldview is to go down a rabbit hole that pretty much never ends. ALL male authority is looked at as bad in the Duluth model, so it is useless for traditional families. When I was trained on how to use this weapon against men, it was pretty thick. We were told to look out for “covert abusers” who would say things like “what ever happened to father knows best?” THAT in of itself is considered grounds for concern and could cause the counselor to call the probation officer. It is a wrong-think reeducation camp. (That the man has to pay for out of his own pocket to a private, third party, for profit agency). You were not allowed to THINK bad thoughts (like you are the master of your castle). The Duluth model was created in a social work vacuum as well. That is to say, its original “research” was conducted by basically no other social science subspecialties. And when non-feminist non man-hating psychologists or other professionals in the past have asked about other confounding variables that might account for some of the variance (like personality pathology) the howling chorus is unanimously that we are trying to “excuse” abusive behavior by men. No other explanation can be allowed other than “man=bad” to account for some of the creepy stuff we see BETWEEN BOTH PARTIES in these weird unhealthy relationships. Any valid study that shows a virtual tie between who the initiators of violence in the home are (yes, a tie) is shunned as anti-woman. The more moderate, open minded psychologists, sociologists, etc have just stepped away from the snowballing grip that this model has on the DV industry (and it is an industry). From a Christian perspective, the Duluth model was caused by weak men (called “white knights” in the manosphere, allowing full on rebellion against any male authority (see: Eves curse) to become codified into law. Any woman–even the sweet, Christian wives who are on this page has the right to have her husband summarily dismissed from their home, from seeing his children, and can secure a portion of his income for the rest of his life. Just because she had a bad day, or got mad at him for not leading exactly right in that moment. Women are 100% in the driver seat of marriage–by law. It just takes one phone call. SO AGAIN. These are the risks men take in American marriage. Only a woman of particularly high character whom you trust to NEVER use the coercive power of the state to destroy your family should be considered for marriage.

The men I counseled at the agency were part of a statistical distribution, like every other population on earth. On the left end of the tail you would find, antisocials/psychopaths who were extreme violent offenders. But as you know, normal distributions mean that this group is VERY small. These men (and there were womens groups too) are monsters. They have no business being married, and their wives had significant personality psychopathology. This does not excuse them, but the relationships were just like something you would see on the show “Cops.” But this distribution is not normal. It was negatively skewed. That means, the right “tail” consisted of normal, working class dads/husbands like Jim, who might have been a little rough around the edges, but were not “abusing” anyone. They were operating in a system that is totally hostile to them–just because they are heterosexual married men who expect to have some place of honor in their homes and in their society. They were totally caught off guard when their pea slamming wound them up in jail. In the middle of that curve, (probably about 1/4 of the total–remember there is a negative skew in this bell) was a mixed bag of men who may or may not have done something untowards, but in no rational sane society in the past would their behavior be a matter of LAW. The government has injected itself into a place it does not belong, with disastrous effects, because the dominant female centric worldview. The government is now in the business of telling people with less than optimal marriages (like most people) that their failings are a legal matter, and the police must come, the lawyers must come, etc to straighten you out. This is the tragedy of the age of DV laws.

To give a quick statistics lesson, here is a very rough picture of a negatively skewed distribution. The right side of the bell is “standard, regular, working class, guy who has a beer once in a while when he comes home, sometimes yells but deeply loves his wife and kids” In other words, “Jim.” WAAAAAAAY over on the left is “violent, wife beater T-shirt, life looks like an episode of cops, drunk A-hole.”

There are overwhelmingly more Jims than psychopathic wife beater guy. And when you combine Jims and the “mixed bag” guys, the psychopaths are statistically insignificant. Almost NONE of them need police involvment in their marriages.

The people responsible for the Duluth model hate male hierarchy.

They would be absolutely livid if you pointed out that Eve’s curse was to envy and desire to rule over her husband (second guess every decision he makes).

They would love to burn the Bible and it’s description of the woman who nags and makes her husband want to live on the roof.

Or the woman who is so annoying to him like a dripping faucet.

Or what hell a man goes through when his wife decides she is in a bad mood (scorned).

How treacherous women can be when not taught how to fight against themselves is all over the text. Yet in my 46 years in church I have not once heard a lesson or sermon on any of those topics.

I am looking for orthodox daughters for my sons who do that kind of spiritual battle. Who at least acknowledge that fight must occur.

I have no problem teaching boys this battle.

Our culture pretends that the dark side of female nature does not exist.

 

 

 

Mostly off topic for this site, but I am interested…

I was looking at this infographic from the Heritage Foundation:

And the purpose of the image is to show how the big bad federal government owns way too much of the west. And I am honestly confused about this topic. I was, until very recently a right-leaning libertarian, and I thought I had it all figured out.

But to be honest, I have never really been able to reconcile the concept of private property “ownership” in the constitutional sense. I would probably have to look pretty closely at some founders writings (in particular the ones who were opposed to property taxes–which are now the law of the land in all 50 states).

For example, does the federal government pay property taxes to the states in which these properties are located?

If not, why not? I mean, look at Nevada. Seems like they could rake in a huge amount in property taxes from the feds since their whole state is basically federal land.

If so, what does “own” really mean? Who “owns” the land right under the land that I “own?”

I don’t really consider myself the “owner” of my properties in Texas and Montana. I rent those. If you are required to pay fee at regular intervals to stay there, you don’t “own” it. The landlord does.

BUT…

If I really did “own” it, in the sense that I mean, doesn’t that destroy national sovereignty? I mean, if its “mine” and no one can take it away for any reason, isn’t that kind of like a mini country? A nation can’t have a bunch of little sovereign nations within it, can it?

Interested if any real estate lawyers/constitutional scholar types have anything to add.

Why DON’T they?

This post should be considered part of a series in my ongoing attempt to develop a framework for a deliberately non-fem-centric therapeutic modality.

You will need a pass code for that one, and it is available if you ask for it through the comments section here or if you have my email.

First, I owe Rollo Tomassi an apology.  Some months ago, he offered me the opportunity to write the forward to his latest book, and I totally dropped the ball. In the army, we call it OBE (overcome by events). This just means time got away from me and I let it slide. Kind of bummed out about it, but that’s that.

Comes today this post about men and suicide. As usual, pretty much every sentence of the post causes a new thought to pop into ones head, so I will try really hard to stay focused here.

What strikes me as salient in this post is that he is describing something the literature contains, but never comes out and describes as primarily a function of the masculine internal sub-routine. That is, being “zeroed out” or losing your purpose and utility as a catalyst for rational suicide. Thomas Joiner has validated and replicated this factor as “Thwarted Belongingness” in multiple settings. It is one major ingredient in the concoction of a completed suicide, and a very powerful predictor.

I’ll come back around to that in a minute, but the second thing that this post follows is a fundamentally rational approach to understanding low base-rate phenomenon. In the behavioral sciences when we want to understand some contruct–say PTSD or depresison, we have (basically) two choices. We can look at factors that increase the risk or factors that decrease it. For example, for a long time the focus in the PTSD literature was on identifying those at risk for developing the disorder after a traumatic event. This is a perfectly rational approach. Then, the literature started looking at protective factors, by asking the basic question “of those who are exposed to trauma and DON’T develop symptoms, why not?” This is also a perfectly rational approach. Neither are wrong.

The post up at Rational Male is, for the most part one that resides in the first camp, describing in great, almost morbid detail the phenomenon of male suicide. The “why do they do it” (or what risk factors increase it) if you will approach.

But Tomassi does something different in his posts. He points out that men are idealists by nature and describes his theory about how that evolved. He then gives the men who read there permission to experience that idealism as a masculine trait and encourages them use it in a positive way:

Stay strong my friends, you can rebuild yourself even in the face of being zeroed out.

I’ll let that just sit there for a moment and let readers pause.

Now, on to the question, what about the men who DON’T do it? Why don’t they? 

I have been zeroed out. In that moment, when my masculine idealism told me that the only life that made sense to me was one where I accomplished all my goals in the context of being married and growing old with my first wife, I chose life. I thought about killing myself, and decided against it. Why?

Because in that moment, I could imagine a day in the future when I would not feel this way. A future that I could create for myself with our without her. It was not a clear picture, it was open ended. But that future, however opaque existed in my mind and kept me alive. 

Future orientation is, in my opinion the holy grail of NOT committing suicide in your darkest hour. Press on. Imagine, no matter hard it is to do so, something better that awaits.

Joiner and Tomassi both give us a picture of why losing a sense of purpose (or belonging to something now lost) can lead a man to end it all.  But Tomassi gives men the permission they need to idealize a yet unseen future reality and accomplish it. That’s why they read there.

 

Man stuff

Right before I was interrupted by a last minute trip to California, I took some more deer into the processor.  I was not able to go by Sulpher Creek Taxidermy to collect my harvest until today. I picked up another huge load of meat and…

One axis deer and one white tail.

As you can see, David felt this was worth stopping in the middle of his Halloween candy snack (all over his face) to demonstrate/assist with the display.

Lessons Learned — The Courtship Pledge

For about two years, Mychael and I had a blog called “The Courtship Pledge.” The site went down in early 2015 because the host server crashed and all of the content was lost. I had no backup, and it was not retrievable. At the time it went down, the site had just started to generate interest and traffic, but I was so discouraged by the loss of the material, I just did not have the heart to try and recreate it all.

The purpose of the site was simple enough. I had looked around at the modern mate-selection process known as “dating” and saw it for the utter failure it was. By failure, I mean — it was not producing life long, Christian marriages that sustained and perpetuated values and culture into the future. This is the purpose of marriage, in a nutshell. (There is also an intergenerational weatlh/property transfer component to it, but that is not the biblical part). I had envisioned a site where married couples with children of all ages were willing to at least discuss the possibility of introducing an alternative path to marriage to their children. No guarantees, no commitments. I imagined that these couples would contact each other on their own for the possibility of doing nothing more than introducing their kids to each other–simply exposing their children to other kids their age being brought up the same way. Just put them in the same room together and see what happens. What I got was almost pure resistance.

And so I sit here this evening, at an airport where my 2 hour layover has turned into a 6 hour one, and I was invited to join a closed Facebook group called “Orthodox Christian Arranged Marriage.” This post is primarily for that audience, but I am going to leave it open–no password protection. I think it may be a good contemplation of what was learned at that site. With some time passed to process what happened, and an opportunity to talk about it with like minded folks, I will try to get it all out here.

In no particular order, this is what I remember:

My research revealed that over ten thousand years of recorded history, the norm in every culture was to have at least some level of parental involvement in the mate selection process. 

This was true whether it was an arranged marriage between aristocracy and nobility for political reasons, or just plain old down to earth folks. The parents have always had a say, until very recently.

The very first “date” probably occurred some time in the early to mid-20th century, with a “date” being described like this: A boy gets in his vehicle and drives to a girls house for a pre-arranged outing to somewhere else, totally unsupervised by adults, and then brings her back to her home later that evening. Maybe they just watched a movie, maybe she’s pregnant? Who knows?

Right away, you can see that a “date” is modern innovation that requires certain technological advances to be realized. Like, for example, cars. We look back with nostalgia at the soda shops, hot rods, wearing your boyfriends letterman sweater because you are “going steady” and so on, as if this is some kind of wholesome, tradition from a bygone era. But the modern date was the result of the perfect storm of cultural and technological advances–some of which were not necessarily good for humanity.

Cute, right? But is this form of mate selection compatible with Christian principles?

And Americans absolutely love this image. It is damn near impossible to erect an argument in opposition to this as a sound way to find a potential mate. This entire perspective on mate selection is based on the idea that romantic love sanctifies and purifies marriage. Which is also related, in an indirect way, to why women initiate the vast majority of divorces today. Because they are seen as the divining rod, the enlightened “true love” detectors, and when the love goes away, the marriage is no longer valid. Which brings me to the next point.

Marriage provides the moral context for the pursuit of romantic love, not the other way around. 

The hat tip here goes to protestant blogger Dalrock who clarified this for me like a lighting bolt as I read his posts on the topic. This culture takes the above principle and turns it on its head, with devastating consequences. If romantic love legitimizes marriage, then there is no standard for what makes it a successful marriage outside of the subjective feelings of the individuals involved. My wife and I are bonkers for each other–like a couple of teenagers–but we have worked through some really rough times to get there. Because divorce has not ever been an option, we were forced to recognize that this marriage is the place to “pursue” each other romantically, and have all the fun in the world doing it. The problem is that the idea of being struck by cupids arrow first and above all other considerations is so ingrained in our thinking that no one even notices anymore. 

In the final analysis, the only way you can “know” if it was true love is when one of you dies. That may sound harsh, but when someone says “aw, it must be true love” I can’t help but comment “but you’re not done yet. You’ll know it was true love when you are lying there on your death bed, surrounded by your children and grandchildren and your husband/wife and close your eyes for the last time. At that point you will have perfected your love for each other. You finished the journey of actively loving each other all the way to the end.

As Orthodox, we believe the marriage is made valid through the sacrament of matrimony. That sacrament might as well be voodoo magic to the secular world. This is why, what the state now calls “marriage” is of absolutely no value to us today. The advent of “same sex marriage” and all the permutations of ridiculousness that actually started with “no fault” and birth control is just the logical conclusion to everything that was ever “traditional” about marriage, including the way you chose a mate to begin with. We Orthodox are (supposed to be) aloof to the culture. The sexual dystopia we are experiencing now is one of the reasons we need to be particularly disengaged from it.

Most people pine for the aesthetic of days gone by, but not the actual values that the aesthetic was based on. 

Even if you can argue that those old images are “good” and compatible with Christian values, it must be in the context of understanding why the rituals existed. Picture a boy on a door step, he has just knocked on the door, behind his back are some flowers.

Who is going to answer the door? In a moral, sane and rational world, it would be the dad. The boy is waiting/hoping to make the grade with dad before he lets him near her. This is because neither the boy nor the girl are trusted to make these kinds of decisions by themselves. In patriarchal cultures, the girl is literally the fathers property and responsibility that he must take care and not give away to just anyone. 

Got that? Yeah right. Boy on the porch with flowers? Check. Girl must have permission from her dad to speak to the boy? Misogyny!

I don’t know if we need to go that far back, but I do think there are ways to provide at least an atmosphere where she might actually listen to us (mom and dad) before proceeding.

Expectation management is important, and in this culture still might not work. 

In just about any context, I can imagine a use for expectation management. Have you heard the phrase “under promise, over deliver?” Of course you have, and that is a form of expectation management. You literally say to the person. “I will probably have this done by Friday.” And when you get it done by Wednesday, the customer thinks you are a magician.

It is absolutely imperative that you explain to your children what is most likely going to happen in this regard, thereby priming them for the best possible outcome. Talk to your kids TODAY about all the things you will do to help them find the best possible mate. Do not offer it as an alternative, but the way things are going to go, all things considered. You explain it to them as the way this is done in this family. 

You will have to do extreme heavy lifting against the ambient culture for this to work. They are bombarded with romantic love uber alles. Every. Single. Day.

And for God’s sake, show it to them. Me an Mychael are very “lovey” in front of the kids. We are not gross, or inappropriate, but we pursue each other romantically, in the moral context of marriage, all the time. Our kids learn that this is the way married people behave. They learn stability. They learn that mommies and daddies are in love with each other, all the time. They will not settle for less later.

Several things have made the pool of likely suitors seem invisible. 

In your search for suitable mates for your kids, how restrictive are you going to be? Let me tell you, if you have narrowed it down to “only traditionalist Orthodox from an intact Orthodox home, with no divorces within a 5 square mile area,” good luck with that. And that’s fine, but be ready to put your money where your mouth is. Be willing to make friends and take long expensive trips to see people all over the country.

We are a mobile nation of people who are totally drenched with individualism. Unless you have the means to start a deliberate community like the Amish, (and you can fill that community with fantastically fertile women in their 40s like my wife) you are are going to have to compromise on some of your must haves. I won’t tell you where, that’s your business.

All of those friends you have at homeschool co-op, piano lessons and American Heritage girls, as “conservative” as they think they are, belive you are crazy for even trying to introduce something like this to your kids. They have drunk the “dating” cool-ade. After all that’s how they met! So it must work, right?

Another development that contributes to the invisibility of good mate prospects is that open hypergamy is now enshrined in western culture. If you don’t understand that the absolute worst of female nature is encouraged (while maintaining all the harshest restrictions on male nature) you will not be able to see what is going on. You will have to read about that elsewhere. But this development has created a bottleneck of sorts where many good, hard working, loyal Christian men with favorable manly attributes have zero chance at meeting and marrying a sweet, kind, Christian girl. They are invisible because there is a great disturbance–an artificial confound–that has been introduced to the natural formula for assortive mating processes.

All of the above–and more–have conspired to make large, committed, Christian, stable families for longevity a very low probability. And none of them are an excuse to stop trying.

And remember, I am not even advocating for arranged marriages, or anything like that. I have always simply asked “what can we do to get our kids to voluntarily include us in the most important decision they will every make?” and my idea was crushed under the weight of “YOU CAN’T CONTROL WHO YOUR KIDS FALL IN LOVE WITH!!!!”

I hope this will bring to life the discussion that I thought was dead.

Take care, Scott.

 

 

 

 

When life gets in the way

Recall, in my previous post about getting motivated to start a program, I pointed out:

6(b) People do what they want to do. 

Well, two weeks into my latest start, life threw me a last minute curve ball and the army sent me to the simulated combat environment known as NTC. The National Training Center at Fort Irwin, CA is supposed to simulate desert warfare. I was not scheduled to go this time, but they needed me for the  middle two weeks of a four week exercise. I had two days notice. Drop everything, cancel all your patients, miss Thanksgiving and get to NTC. I did not actually go into “the box” this time, but I was in the rear with the walking wounded.

This is the kind of stuff that crushes my motivation to stay with a program. There is a high risk of boredom/stress eating. The living conditions are pretty much like a refugee camp:

About 100 people living in basically a warehouse.

Cots are lame because my pillow keeps falling off the back.

I shouldn’t complain too much, because the guys who actually go out to the simulated battlefield have it much worse. At least in the rear, I had access to a shower and gym. I had to get a ride from the TMP (the medic van) when I wanted to work out, but that’s not a big deal.

In an aid station, there is a lot of crap food lying around to temp you:

Shitty carb table

But I was determined to stay on target, so I was a good boy and brought all my workout food:

Clean and semi-clean snacks

In the morning, it was in the 30s, but I went running anyway. I would get up and take all my supplements in the dark because I was up before everyone else. I tried to be as quiet as possible. For breakfast, I ate the exact same thing every morning for 2 weeks:

2% milk, scrambled eggs and grits.

The cooks look at you like you are crazy when you say “no” to french toast, bacon, sausage, and all the other stuff available. But I carried on. For lunch, an MRE:

Menu 5–Chicken Chunks, White, Cooked. You know its super healthy for you because it has the Department of Defense official seal.

Generally, I didn’t eat the MRE at all. I would take the stuff out that I thought I could make work (tortillas, peanut butter, stuff like that) and donate the rest to the “box of MRE stuff” that all field environments tend to collect.

I would go the gym every afternoon, without fail. I was on call 24/7 in case a psych patient walked into the aid station, so I had to be willing drop what I was doing and come back. But I made it through every workout, no short cuts, no cheating myself.

Memorial Gym, Fort Irwin, California.

Now, I have to admit–I get away with a lot of shit because of rank. As a field grade officer, I care very little about rules like not wearing headphones while running, and when I say to the medics “take me to the gym” they take me, right then, and so on. I admit this kind of treatment makes it a little easier. The main obligation I have in that context is to not abuse those privileges. And I think I am pretty gracious and unassuming. I really don’t like throwing rank around because its poor form. I always thank junior soldiers for their accommodations and I never assume.

But there is a lot of sitting around waiting for stuff to happen. That kind of boredom is what gets me off the wagon.

Medics draw really weird things on the walls when they are bored. Like, for example, “the lady junk.”

I spent a lot of time looking at the Calorie King website to keep me focused:

Online food and exercise journals are free and time consuming.

After two weeks, I managed to stay on target. I did not eat one calorie I was not supposed to. I did every set, every rep I needed to get in as part of the program. I shredded about 7 lbs of fat in 13 days, (25 workouts). The total is about 11 lbs down since the start, almost a month ago. And now, coming off the heels of that kind of success, I am on target to be exactly where I want by Orthodox Christmas (January 7th).

But, as motivation rule number 6(b) states, I wanted to do this, so I did.