Monday, August 29, 2005

A Kind Soul

About 11:45pm Sunday Night, August 28, I was setting my computer up to do some maintenance before going to bed. Nancy had just put the 'lampshade' on our dog, Belle -she'd had surgery to remove a large cyst just 10 days before, and we had to keep her from licking it- and was getting ready for bed herself.

A few minutes later, I was ready to go to bed. I walked through the family room. Belle was lying on the tile. I asked if she wanted to come to bed with us. No reply, as usual. I said, "You can sleep here if you want." Still no reply. That wasn't usual.

I knelt down to rub her head and kiss her goodnight. Her eyes were bloodshot, her tongue was out, and as I looked back, she'd wet on the tile.

"Nancy!!" I yelled. "Nancy, come quick! Somethings wrong with Belle."

Nancy came, saw Belle, and made a shrieked like a Banshee (I had to look it up too). We both knew. Belle was gone.

We rushed her to the emergency vet clinic. She was limp, but we had to, just in case there was any chance. But there wasn't. She was gone.

Chemical assistance was the only way we got to sleep.

Today, we went to Apopka, to Greenbrier Memory Gardens for Pets, and made arrangements. We'll bury her on Thursday.

I didn't know what happened. I thought maybe she fell, and broke her neck from the collar. The vet at the emergency clinic said that was highly unlikely. Maybe she drank something poisonous on the morning walk. Nope. She would have shown signs far earlier. Belle seemed fine all day. Even played with the new puppy, Chilli, teaching her the 'tug' game. She had even scolded the puppy early, for some dog socialization infraction. The puppy did the 'I'm sorry' thing, and Belle did the, 'okay, go play now' thing. It was fun and interesting to watch.

On the way back from Greenbrier, we called to cancel the appointment to remove Belle's stitches. Wasn't necessary now. They'd got the lab result back from the biopsy over the weekend. Cancer. Bad cancer. The vet said it had probably spread throughout her lymph system. She probably died from heart failure, or brain aneurysm. Either way, she'd passed quick, with probably only a moment of pain at most. For her, it was probably the best way.

For us, it sux. Sux bad.

Belle was unlike most animals I've known. She had a very strong nurturing instinct. When we brought Abby home from animal control two years ago, Belle took her under her wing. Belle showed Abby kindness; something Abby probably hadn't experienced with other dogs. Abby was timid, but Belle was kind, and showed her the ropes. They became inseparable.

Abby is on the left, Belle on the right

Before Abby came along, Belle helped me with my aged and ailing ferret, Lucky. When I cleaned her cage, I would let Lucky stay outside for a short time, and Belle would watch over her. If she tried to crawl too far, Belle would nudge her with her nose, helping her back to where she could watch her. Belle was so gentle with her. Lucky was almost 9 years old when she died, very old for a ferret. During her last few weeks, when she couldn't see or hear, and had little control of her back end, Belle watched her like a mother would.

Belle's gentle nature was evident with children, too. If she saw them on our walks, she would pull toward them. Neighbors who knew us knew Belle's gentle nature, and the children got to pet Belle. Belle really liked 'human puppies'.

Of all God's animals I've known, including most humans, Belle was the kindest of souls. Her love made everyone around her smile. Her love made me a more kind and gentle human. I hope I can live up to her example.

I miss her, really bad.

Saturday, August 27, 2005


I start school on Tuesday. I'm taking just one class this semester; Introduction to Micro Computers. I'm nervous.

I'm love learning new things. I'm actually very good at learning. I taught myself some Russian and Norwegian. I've learned how to do many things with computers, out of the necessity of independence. But, school has not been the best place for me.

I'm not good at learning at the pace someone else has set. I learn best at my own pace. With some things, it's superfast. With others, it's slow. Long ago, I learned that the classroom is probably the absolute worst environment for me. I also learned that approximately 50% of the population is much like me. The classroom education method is designed for failure. Hopefully, not my failure.

I do have an advantage this time; I've learned how to learn. My challenge this time around is to apply the methods I know that work for me.

I'm still nervous, but anxiety is simple part of my life. I deal with it, sometime very well, sometimes not so well. When I was a gymnast, I learned how to channel that anxiety, and make it work for me. I hope I can apply that to school.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Burying the Dead

Last night, Doug called and said he rather go ahead and take over the clients for the rest of the month. I wanted to finish up a few clients that were going to be done at the end of the month, but it seems a 'computer glitch' had the workouts wrong, and most of the clients were done. That, and I think it was probably in Doug's best financial interest at this time. Either way, I'm completely done with Body Coach. Well, except for the email address (, but I've had that for years. Coachdanny is taken. Besides, the internet knows me as bodycoach2. Seems I've become a personality in the Super Slow/High Intensity Train crowd.

The hardest part of leaving a facility, and not having the clients come with you is that I probably will never see most of them again. I'm not one to say, "See ya later," when I know it's probably not going to happen. I've made relationships with these people. Some, I see more often than their spouses. I know more about some of them than their spouses. It's part of the job. Working with people's physiques sometimes helps them get into their own head, usually for the better. Some people face things about themselves they dared not look at before working with me. I get tears, frustration, embarrasement, and sometimes anger. But, they always improve. The best thing about this job is that by helping people with their body, it also helps their mental and emotional life. Sometimes even their spiritual life. My job is to help people have the confidence to do things they just wouldn't, or couldn't do before. Confidence tends to increase in other areas of their lives. I see it in writing classes, too. To help people improve their lives is why I keep doing this. The money is worth it, even during the times it's not much money.

I'll miss them. To all of my clients who get to read this, and I never see again, "Have a good life. I'm glad I got to be part of it, even for a short time."

Wednesday, August 03, 2005


It's probably the hardest thing, for all of us.

People, and most other animals, are by nature pattern oriented. As a species, it's what got us this far. We adapt patterns based on our surroundings, our environment. Up till about 100 years ago, our environment changed very slowly. It gave us time to adapt. Island people, Eskimos, desert nomadic people, and people who lived in forest gained skills based on their surrounds. They developed patterns of action, and habits that helped them survive. These skills were taugh, not by words, but by example, and experience. Education used to be mostly immersion.

Back then, people had to work very hard just to make it day-to-day. Your next meal was dependent on your skills. Free time was rare. Very rare.

I believe a big part of our emotional, physical, eduational, and even spiritual problems are based on one thing; too much free time. It's hard to be depressed when you haven't eaten for three or more days. Desperation is the primary motivator. Anxiety doesn't happen when you spend all day doing something that requires physical exertion, and your and your family might not survive if you don't do that task. Everything you need to learn has a very apparent reason, and you're highly motivated to learn. Just ask a child who's floor is dirt, and walls are made from mud.

We live in a society of abundance. We hit the genetic lottery being born here. This is not necessarily a bad thing. We just haven't adapted yet. We abuse the abundances we have because we don't have a reason not too. Someday, there will come a time when we have to change, and we will.

Social change happens on it's own. It has an inter-dependent nature, it own momentum. But what about personal change.

Personal change often requires a level of courage and determination that few people have learned. We see these attributes in our heros, but many people rarely see them in their own lives. They have no example to follow. For those people, personal change is a heroic effort.

As a trainer, the most difficult job is to get our clients to even believe they need to change. Many people worked very hard to achieve what they have. They worked with the lifestyle they wanted as their goal. To hear me tell them they need to change their ways is a slap in the face to their previous years of work and sacrifice. But their new lifestyle is exactly what caused them to seek my services. It's easy to get results when you know you need to change, but when you're comfortable with your life, change is harder than climbing Mount Everest.

People change when they need to, and don't change when they don't need to. It's that simple.

What is the one thing you know you need to change? Now, here's the question that makes all the difference:
Why do you need to change?
"If your reason is strong enough, nothing can stop you. If it's not strong enough, anything will stop you.

'Scuse me now. I need to change my oil.
Coach DANNY!!

A view of our street after Hurricane Charley

Tuesday, August 02, 2005


Over 100 years ago, consumption meant tuberculosis. You died from it. A pretty uncomfortable way to die too. It seems we haven't progressed much.

I've spent the last few weeks examining our consumer society. I watch people around me, and see how transfixed we've become by stuff. Fast food is a good example of this. People wear the effects of that type of consumption on their bodies, especially around the waist. Waist - waste. How appropriate. Because of our over-consumption, we produce more waste than any other society on earth.

With regard to fast food, many people say, "We have a choice. They don't force it down our throats." This is true, but I'd like you to consider this: Choices are not made in a vacuum. They are greatly influenced. I've certainly been influenced.

In todays life, avoiding overconsumption takes a conscious effort. Sometimes, a heroic effort. Companies spend billions researching ways to influence our 'choices'. They seek to become the default setting when you think about their products.

What comes to mind?:

Athletic shoes

Are you getting my point?

Why do we have all this consumption? Why do we need all this extra stuff? This year alone, how many items of 'stuff' have you thrown away? How many of those items did you really want?

It's been said, "What you do shouts so loud, I can't hear what you say." I hear people talk about what they believe all the time. Personal trainers get to hear that everyday.

Our TRUE beliefs come out in our daily patterns of action. It comes out in how we live, not what we say.

Does what you say, and how you live really match? I can't honestly say it does with me. I'm just as guilty as anyone else. I certainly can't 'cast the first stone'. Besides, with a torn rotator cuff, it would hurt. I've fallen for being 'the customer' myself.

My vow to myself is this; I will try to find ways to consume less, and waste less.

At the very least, I might save some money.

Coach DANNY!!