Balance Awareness Week..who cares? Nowadays…me.

There’s national days for everything nowadays…there’s even a National Bloody Mary day …and a National Hangover Day, go figure.  But there’s an awareness week coming up that I do give a hoot about…at least I do now. If you’d asked me last year if I had heard of “Balance Awareness Week” from Sept. 15th-Sept. 21st…I would have cocked my head like an owl. Who? What?

But if you’d ask me today…I’m aware. Fully, 100% aware, unfortunately. The kind of awareness that only comes when you’re personally suffering from a disease, or have someone close to you suffer.

National Balance Awareness Week’s goal is to raise awareness for those folks who have difficulty maintaining balance due to vestibular disorders. Meniere’s Disease is one of these disorders…a bad one. No cure. And lo and behold, that’s the one I got diagnosed with this past spring. And yes, I had to google it. Who can remember that name, anyway? Meniere’s? It’s hard to spell…..

Any vestibular disorder sucks. Period. To add insult to injury, people can’t tell you have it. It’s an invisible disease. Always there, but never acknowledged.  Well, until you have a bad vertigo episode. And if you have one in public, then everyone knows. At least, they  suspect maybe you’ve been drinking too much.  And that’s how I explain it to people when they ask what it feels like. Remember those fun bed spins after a long night of partying in the 1980’s? And what happens after the spins? That’s what it feels like. Sometimes everyday. And without the fun beforehand.

I’ve been lucky. All my vertigo episodes were at home. And I was by myself. Nothing like getting in touch with oneself while sitting in the bathroom all night feeling nauseous. Worshiping the porcelain Gods, we used to call it. (Except again, without the fun beforehand)

Like many, I keep my daily routine as normal as I can. I’m on a low sodium diet. Can only have #1 cup of coffee a day…Tragic. (and no caffeine after that cup). I still work out (although some yoga poses are out of the question now), I still bike, walk, do weights,  kayak, and yes, still swim. Although I have to be mindful at all times of being “thrown off”. My balance is comprised now -it just is. And will always be. My inner ear fluid doesn’t work like it’s supposed to. And the bonus with Meniere’s is, you usually lose your hearing in at least one ear-it’s already happened with my right. But hey, I wear aids that bounce the hearing to the other normal ear, so that’s something. Some have it both ears, so I’m grateful. Still vain as hell, though. I matched the aids to my hair so you can’t see them. Hey…baby steps. large_A-balancing-act

I’m so fired up about finding more about this disease, that I started a podcast called The Meniere’s Puzzle Podcast (it’s on spotify, breaker, radio public, google podcasts, and pocketcasts) Still waiting for the giant itunes/apple to pick it up…all in good time. Hopefully this will help me and the listeners put some of the pieces together.

So…this year, I’ll be sharing some stories and listening to other’s during Balance Awareness Week. After all, there’s 69 million of us that suffer somehow from some vestibular-something-or-other. We’ll band together. Hey….perhaps that will help us all stay upright.



Messy desk = Creative Mind? I hope so….

It is said that a messy desk can encourage creative thinking….Well, then my son must be another Picasso. Seriously. (the picture below was snapped this morning)

I do try and be “open” to creative flow and thinking. I’m a writer myself…and take the creative vibe very seriously. But I also have a stern, Swedish organization gene from my Mother (thank God), which makes clutter and dis-organization make me sweat. A little mess is OK…pic below is something else. In fact, below makes me think of my late father, who was a legend in his own right…Hall of Fame Iowa Girls B.B. Coach, Teacher, Outdoorsman…but by God, he did have a messy desk and den. That was legendary, too. Although he’s been gone 7 years now…Hayden remembers him well and fondly.

When asked to clean it up, my almost 17-year-old son informed me that Grandpa used to have a messy desk. And he always got a lot done.

Well played, Kid. Well played.


“Monsters are real…and sometimes they win” (Stephen King, The Loft Wordplay, May 11th, 2019)

Ever since I cracked open my first paperback copy of Carrie around 1980….I was a loyal King reader. (Carrie, was published in 1974, however I didn’t read it until I was around 10 years old. A respectable age to begin reading Stephen King, or so my older brother thought)

Reading was, and still is, one of my favorite hobbies. I’ve read hundreds of different authors and genres. But King has remained one of my favorites through the years. The reason is simple. He is one hell of a storyteller.

So when I read that King was coming to Minneapolis as part of The Loft Wordplay event this weekend, I figured this was my chance to get a glimpse of the man behind the stories. He isn’t an easy author to meet.

I headed out early to get a good spot in front of the stage. King was to take the stage, along with moderator, Benjamin Percy, at 10:00 a.m. I was skipping my high school son’s baseball game that morning. When I asked if he was OK with Mom skipping this one game he simply replied….”Mom…you have to see the King.” (yep, my son is a King fan, too-especially with the resurgence of the I.T. films)

I wasn’t the only one thinking of arriving early…and by 9:00 a.m. there was already a sizeable crowd in front of the stage. When he took the stage promptly at 10:00 a.m., the crowd was so large, it wrapped around and blocked some of the other tents and exhibitors.

My immediate take on King. He’s an even better storyteller in person. And he has the best laugh. (think classic Vincent Price-sounding. Cool yet slightly creepy) Mr. King did not disappoint. I ended up missing my sons base hit to right. (they lost 4-0) But hey, I got to see a storyteller legend. And tonight my son and I are having a King movie marathon, starting with I.T.   Long live the King.

Top Fav King Quotes:

If you can read, you can write. And if you can read and write, you can own the f***ing world.

I don’t know when I’ll get an idea, but I’ll be charmed by it…and I’ll think…I really ought to write about it.

My wife is a CNN junkie. I am a Price is Right junkie. You get a certain age man…you have to watch the Price is Right.

I like to write to write about people who are sort of falling apart.

Sometimes (ideas) they fall right through…and sometimes…they just stick in the filter

(King explaining his idea about writing Finders Keepers, a crime novel published in 2015) I’m not sure this is what people want from me…it’s about a cop and a serial’s not supernatural, and I remember very clearly walking and stopping and saying, ‘listen you dumb s***. You don’t exactly need to pay the mortgage this month. You’re doing OK. Why are you worried about whether or not you please people. This isn’t how you got here…you please yourself before you please everybody else.

The Outsider is going to be an HBO series next year (King’s latest book, published in 2018)

I even got a shirt, that say’s “Minnesota Nice”

Did you see the story this morning about the clown handing out candy? He was an old guy, does it every year on his birthday…everybody got scared and worried…and I thought ‘I did that.’ (and laughs-the crowd loved it)

I love an idea, and I say to myself, I want to write it down, and see what happens

I do my best thinking when I’m walking or lying in bed, drifting off to sleep.

(after Ben asks about a sequel to Salem’s Lot) Jesus…it’s like Led Zeppelin…or Lynyrd Skynyrd…Play Free Bird! But it’s great….

Monsters are real…and sometimes they win.