Saturday, December 31, 2016

A Year, ALREADY???

Where did the year go...?

Hello friends!
Where oh where has the past year gone? I was just looking and discovered I have not posted a THING this whole year!!! What the Hell?!?

So, right off the bat let me say I have no excuse!
The past year has brought some changes to my life, both at work and personally, none of which should have affected my writing.

As those of you who have been long-time readers know that I tried my hand at some fiction challenges over at a little site called Yeahwrite. I did very well, winning top slot in only my second entry. But as I continued to place highly in the comps I noticed a change in the vote counts, taking me from consistently at the top of the boards to the middle and then the bottom. Now I'm not saying everything I posted was great, it wasn't. But I started hearing from people that DID vote for me, loved my piece and couldn't understand how I got such a low number of votes when the number was already higher when they voted than it ended up. A couple of emails to the "editors" (note the quotation marks) clarified the problem. Unless you were an editor yourself, you could not accrue a fan base, because they monitored the IP addresses of the voters and anyone that voted for your pieces more than three times would have their votes thrown out! Well, let's say that left a nasty taste in my mouth for comps. I was not the only one to complain or leave, and now they no longer even do the micro story competitions. 

I have some ideas I'm kicking around, and I promise this coming year I WILL write some fiction...whether it will be any good I'll let you folks decide.

At work, I changed positions at Flint Assembly. More a lateral move really, and against my will, but it has worked out in my favor, and I've not been this happy to go to work in quite some time! I have a GREAT crew, and that makes all the difference! The only downside is that I use my computer much more for work and can't just knock out a blog. Perhaps with my new 2 in 1 laptop/tablet my lovely wife got me for my Birthday I may be able to.

On a personal note:
Those of you that have never met me, or not seen me in years may or may not know that I let my weight get away from me. I've always been a bigger guy, at 5'11" not really tall, but wide. I was 255 lbs. When I graduated high school, wore 36" pants and 2XL shirts.
Five years later, when I got married, that had climbed to 275. 
Eventually, through changes in jobs, so injuries and just plain not giving a shit, I ballooned up to 387!!! 
So I took charge, joined Weight Watchers and dropped 153 lbs.!!!
Took me 18 months.
Again, change of job and circumstances and 9 months later I had put back all but 10 lbs. of what I'd lost!!! Talk about depressing!!!
There I stayed for the next 12 years....
My health deteriorated, diabetes became a very real issue...
As did high blood pressure, high cholesterol, sleep apnea, and hormone problems. While I didn't "feel" bad, I was headed down a slippery slope. My Doctor pleaded with me, cajoled me, eventually threatened me that my next step was insulin dependence as I was maxed out on medication.
"But overall, I'm pretty healthy..." I retorted "I'm rarely sick, and can do most things a guy my age can do!"
"Joe," she said, "you're on 9 DIFFERENT medications, a sleep apnea machine AND you need Hormone are the DEFINITION of unhealthy!!!"
Well, I had to agree.
 January of 2016, I made a conscious effort to get back. I changed the way I ate, started being more active, watched what I ate, and started losing. But, it was too little too late, despite my best efforts my blood sugar continued to spiral out of control.
I broached the subject of Bariatric surgery (which I'd contemplated for a long time), and she agreed that I should look into it and referred me to one of the top surgeons in the state.
 I went for a consultation, that's all, just a consultation. By the time I'd left I had made up my mind, and scheduled my surgery. I managed to drop 50 lbs. by the date of my surgery. Had my surgery on 5/24/2016. Three days later I was home, my wife took this picture.
About 337 here...
Let's fast forward to today.
No longer do I wear size 58 waist pants, I'm in 36's.
No more 5Xl shirts, some XL's are a little big on me.
I am off ALL Diabetes Meds and blood sugar is normal
Last cholesterol was 117 combined.
Off one and looking to lose another High blood pressure med, but it runs in my family, and I may never be completely off them.
I'm going to the gym, eating around 1000 calories a day and today, weigh in at 221 lbs! 

I put off surgery for years, through a combination of fear and a feeling that doing so was "cheating" and that I would be a loser that needed such intervention. I wish now I had done it sooner!
We took our first Carribean cruise in November, I was still a little over 230 then, but the difference is dramatic, see for yourself.

I still have at least another 21 to go, but I'm confident I'll get there.
So That's what I've been up to and like I said I have no excuse for not writing. Some have told me I should have been chronicling my journey all along. Perhaps they are right, but it has been a deeply personal experience that I wasn't sure I was even going to share. Guess the cat's out of the bag now...Lol.
Got this in with time to I can say I wrote SOMETHING this year! Goodbye 2016, Hello 2017!
I hope the new year brings health and wealth to you and yours, and all the joy you can stand!

The Bear is Back!

Be well folks!!! Much love to you all!

The Beastly Bear.


  1. YAY!!!! I'm so happy you're back!!! And wow! What a post! Very powerful and wonderful and, as you know, I'm just so very, very happy for you Joe. Happy New Year hubs. May this year be the best year ever!!!

  2. Happy New Year!!
    Happy to see you on here again, missed you & your stories. Looking forward to reading them.

  3. Wow Joe! Great job on the weight loss!!!! Good for you! Happy New Year! Hope to see you posting more often.

  4. Happy New Year Joe! You look amazing, simply amazing! The crap that goes on at Yeah Write is utter BS. Your stories were all good and you deserved top spot. I got fed up with it too and quit writing and blogging all together. I haven't posted since March 1, 2016. I don't miss it one bit and have moved on. I still enjoy reading the occasional blog of my favorites. Who knows, maybe someday I will go back to writing. You never know. I can't wait to read more of your stuff. It is good to have an update about you. Happy New Year!