Wiping the Multitude

My family and I were on our way home from St. Louis on a Saturday night. It was sleeting the entire way home and we were supposed to get bad snow back in Kansas City. But we legitimately needed toilet paper…we were down to one or two rolls at home and didn’t know if we’d be stuck inside Sunday and Monday. So we bought a cheapie 4-roll pack at a Flying J truck stop near Warrenton.

We didn’t have to buy more toilet paper until the following Friday…I’d like to think of that 4-pack as wiping the multitude.

(C) 2014 Terry L Blastenbrei Jr

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The Eternal Tree

The gold and brown flies past me at 75 miles per hour, but a lonely tree sits in a field near Alma. It’s the only tree around so it sticks out in the landscape. One would think it’s dead, and it probably is. But as you get closer to it, that may not be the case…at least in a spiritual sense: two large branches spring forth from the trunk, as if it is raising its arms to Heaven to receive The Lord. It has died, but will never die…its physical remains like a memorial to be visited and respected by the future.

(c) 2014 Terry L Blastenbrei Jr

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Hiking another comeback trail

You ever feel like you’ve gone uphill so many times that you’re like, “Whatever…bring it!”?

After going through a roller coaster health-wise in 2004, I was diagnosed with cardiomyopathy (an enlarged heart) in early 2005. Without going into boring detail, my heart function was about 64% of normal. So I went on a variety of medications, entered a cardiac rehab program, went on disability for 3 months and dropped about 30 pounds. My heart was functioning normally again within a year and I dropped the last of my meds related to the condition about a year ago.

I got the results of my latest echocardiogram on February 14th…they were not totally awful, but were not so good either. My heart function is about 80% of what it should be. Obviously, I was not pleased with these results; however, these results were due to poor lifestyle choices I made. I have no one to blame but myself, and I take full responsibility for what has happened. I knew that something was off because I was always so tired…like I was when I was first diagnosed in ’05. I was getting 10 or more hours of sleep a night and was still tired every morning.

I had already planned a trip to Springfield, MO and Memphis for that weekend, so I decided that I would splurge and get right that Monday, the 17th of February. I REALLY overdid it that weekend…I ate so much food…most of it probably unhealthy. And I paid for it on Sunday with a killer migraine that was probably due to not being properly hydrated. I don’t know how I made it back to KC hurting that bad.

(NOTE: This was NOT alcohol-related…I drank absolutely no alcohol that weekend.)

Starting out Monday was surprisingly easy. I didn’t really miss the soda and I ate pretty well. Living most of your day on the road can destroy your body…but I try to eat reasonably, eating lots of fruit and drinking lots of water.

Throughout the millions of attempts I’ve made to live a healthier lifestyle, the 2nd day of the attempt is almost always the hardest. This time was no different, but I was prepared. Lots of fruits and water again…and I felt like I had gotten over a hump by the end of the day.

And so here we are at day 7…I’ve let loose a little this weekend, but nothing too crazy. I’ve had no soda for a week now, which is a HUGE accomplishment for me. With today’s weigh-in, I’m down 1.6 pounds since I last weighed myself, which was on February 12th. I really should have weighed myself last Monday, because I’m pretty sure I added some pounds with my weekend down South. I’ve also reduced my caffeine consumption…probably by about 75%. Too much caffeine is not good for my heart, and I’m so horribly sensitive to it as it is…it was time to bring it down.

More to come…


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The new van

So here she is:

2013-12-21 09.15.40 HDR

Our unnamed new van is a 2014 Dodge Grand Caravan SE. This is the 2nd new vehicle I have owned, and the first time I’ve owned a new vehicle in a current model year.

Why a minivan? Well, the work I am doing was simply outgrowing the Impala…there were days when all my deliveries simply wouldn’t fit. 65 boxes in a full-sized car that doesn’t have fold-down rear seats…it was like playing Tetris. We owned a full-size van for 5 months, but with our business diversifying, we needed a vehicle that could haul people too. The liability insurance on the 21-year-old cargo van was also more expensive than full coverage insurance on the Impala (and the Grand Caravan).

2013-12-21 09.15.19 HDR

I wasn’t really concerned about any stigmas attached to owning a minivan, though I did look at a variety of vehicles. In the end, the Grand Caravan simply offered the most bang for the buck. It has power, gets good gas mileage, the price was right and it has the space I need for people and cargo:

2013-12-21 09.24.38 HDR

The Stow ‘n Go seats may have been what fully convinced me. If you don’t need them, you fold them into their bins for a flat load space. If you use the seats, you then have deep storage spaces. The things people come up with…

2013-12-21 09.16.05 HDR

I also chose one with a hands-free package that includes a year of SiriusXM. Those will be very nice additions given how much time I spend in the car.

2014 is shaping up to be another big year business-wise…bring it on!!!

EDIT: I failed to mention how awesome the folks at Schram Chrysler Dodge Jeep in Manhattan are. I hate new car dealerships, but these guys were straightforward with me from day one. Their website is not a hot mess, the prices listed are straight MSRP and they list the incentives available for each vehicle without trying to slip them into the actual price. The whole process was laid back…it was merely a matter of Michelle and I pulling the trigger. Ryan, Brady and Josh were great…highly recommended.

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Goodbye, Bella

3 years, 2 months…the longest amount of time I have ever owned a car…

277,000 miles…9 states…many towns visited…4 places of residence…billions and billions of dead bugs and animals…

The purchase of my 2009 Impala was not overly researched or planned out. My Cobalt was “repossessed” at midnight on a Sunday/Monday, and I had the Impala by 11am that Monday morning. When your life is driving and you don’t have a car, well…you have to hustle. The last generation of Impalas have a horrible resale value due to their extensive numbers in fleets, so you can get a year-old one for about half its original price. And it’s a good car…a damn good car…the best car I have ever owned. It was roomy and fast and got good gas mileage…qualities that do not always go together in a delivery vehicle. I named her Isabella, and called her Bella for short…this had nothing to do with freaking Twilight.

As business has grown and diversified this year, I have literally outgrown the car. I’m glad I was good at Tetris as a kid, because trying to put 50-65 boxes in the car could be a real challenge. And some days, it simply didn’t happen. The Mrs. and I owned a cargo van for several months, but we needed a cargo shuttle that could also haul people and get better gas mileage. After a couple months of false attempts and debate, we pulled the trigger and traded the Impala in today for a new minivan (photos soon).

I don’t know what will become of Bella…she’ll be sold to an auction house probably. Hopefully they will be amazed at her good shape for being a 5-year-old car with 320,000 miles. And hopefully she will drive 320,000 more miles.

Perhaps I shouldn’t get emotional over a car…but I don’t give a shit. I love that car and will miss it dearly. But it is time to move forward.

2013-12-20 13.25.59 2013-12-20 13.26.17


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Hey gang!

So after many years, I decided to part ways with my former hosting company. Unfortunately, for reasons of which I’m not totally sure, I was unable to import the old blog over to the new server. HOWEVER…thanks to the magic of the Internet Archive, almost all the old posts have been preserved and I will begin importing them over here soon.

More to come…

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Thank you

Wow…where to start here…

Thank you to everyone for the well wishes…

Thank you for all the wonderful gifts and money…

Thank you to Bonnie, Gary and Vickie for handling the financial end of things…

Thank you to all that attended…we sincerely apologize for not being able to have more of you join us.

Thank you to Erin, Kelly, Brian and Tim for being part of our special day…

And thank you to Michelle for making me the happiest man alive.


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Freeman Bosley, Sr.: Genius

Freeman Bosley, Sr. is a long-time St. Louis Alderman, and was recently re-elected to another 4-year term. He ran for Mayor in the mid 80s, and his son (Freeman Bosley, Jr.) was the first African-American Mayor of St. Louis, elected in 1993. I have never cared much for either of them, but the elder Bosley did something this week that both disgusted and inspired me.

I’ll let the Nick Pistor from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch lay this out (story):

Alderman Freeman Bosley Sr. says he “dug as deep as he could” to pay for his daughter’s college education.

So the longtime city politician sent an unusual letter to friends and supporters, asking them to provide $14,274 he says is the outstanding balance of his daughter’s upcoming bill at St. Xavier University in Chicago.

“Although the help from scholarships and grants has paid for nearly twenty-five thousand dollars, the remaining balance is still a challenge,” Bosley wrote in the undated letter obtained this week by the Post-Dispatch.

Bosley asked for the checks to be made out to St. Xavier University and mailed to an address in the 3200 block of University Street.

Bosley, a Democrat, appeared indignant when first asked about the letter on Wednesday morning. He told a reporter that he didn’t use any city resources and was just asking for money from friends. The letter wasn’t sent on city stationery or campaign letterhead.

You can also view the actual letter sent out when you read the full story.

After this letter made news…national news…Alderman Bosley decided against this latest campaign (story):

Alderman Freeman Bosley Sr. says he will return any donations received in response to a fundraising letter he sent to solicit help paying for his daughter’s college tuition.

“I won’t even open the damn envelope, if that’s what it is,” Bosley said Thursday. “I’ll just send it back.”

Bosley came under fire Wednesday after the Post-Dispatch reported he had written a letter seeking donations from “friends and supporters” to pay the $14,274 he says is the outstanding balance of his daughter’s upcoming bill at St. Xavier University in Chicago.

“Since you made such a stink out of it, I’ll return any money,” Bosley told a reporter, adding that he had not yet received a donation. “You really have blown that thing well out of proportion. I did nothing wrong.”

Let me tell you how I interpreted the initial letter:

“I decided to send my daughter to an expensive high school, and now she’s going to a private university. Rather than live within my means or teach her a lesson in finances, I’d like my friends to pay for it.”

Is he or his daughter aware of student loans? Or all the websites and guides out there that point out the ridiculous amounts of scholarships and grants available? Or did they consider one of the great public universities in this country? Or even a great private school close to home like SLU or Wash U? One where she could live at home?

He may have done nothing wrong politically, but…wow…and this guy was just re-elected in March…

But the good Alderman has inspired me…he has inspired me to shoot for the stars…and I will do so right now.

We want to send Kiddo to a private school…because he deserves it. But we simply can’t afford it right now. Would you be willing to sponsor and support our darling boy? Please contact me for a mailing address.


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June 21, 2013

Sometimes you’re moving along in life, and things seem to be going well…then you run into a brick wall. You’re shaken up, your life is totally changed and you’re badly hurt. But then you begin to recover…and your life becomes better than it was before…much better.

As many of you know, I moved permanently to Kansas City in December 2010, having been here on business off and on since July. A few months after I moved here, I met Michelle…at a really obnoxious bar in the Power & Light District. I wasn’t even looking at her in “that way” until my friend Troy broached the subject. We went on a date 2 days later and have been together ever since.

These years in Kansas City have been the greatest of my life thus far, with a lot of that due to Michelle in my life. She is the greatest woman in the world, and I am very lucked and blessed to have her. And I am now something that I never wanted to be or thought I would be–a parent. Alex is a great kid, and I love him as if I helped create him myself. And I love being a parent.

If I could, I would give Michelle the wedding of her dreams…but we are realistic people that don’t want to spend a fortune and/or take on debt. So we’ve talked about having a simple wedding for some time now…and now the time has come.

I am pleased to announce that Michelle and I will be getting married on Friday June 21st. It will be a small simple ceremony with just a few family members and friends. However, my hope is to have gatherings in both Kansas City and St. Louis to celebrate this ridiculously awesome union in the coming months. I hope to see you there!

I love you Michelle…and I can’t wait to make you my blushing bride. :-*

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22 Things Happy People Do Differently

Someone posted this list over at The Cellar, and I’ve seen it in a couple of other spots as well. I try to do these things as much as possible, though it’s easier said than done. Maybe it will help you too.

1. Don’t hold grudges.
Happy people understand that it’s better to forgive and forget than to let their negative feelings crowd out their positive feelings. Holding a grudge has a lot of detrimental effects on your wellbeing, including increased depression, anxiety, and stress. Why let anyone who has wronged you have power over you? If you let go of all your grudges, you’ll gain a clear conscience and enough energy to enjoy the good things in life.

2. Treat everyone with kindness.
Did you know that it has been scientifically proven that being kind makes you happier? Every time you perform a selfless act, your brain produces serotonin, a hormone that eases tension and lifts your spirits. Not only that, but treating people with love, dignity, and respect also allows you to build stronger relationships.

3. See problems as challenges.
The word “problem” is never part of a happy person’s vocabulary. A problem is viewed as a drawback, a struggle, or an unstable situation while a challenge is viewed as something positive like an opportunity, a task, or a dare. Whenever you face an obstacle, try looking at it as a challenge.

4. Express gratitude for what they already have.
There’s a popular saying that goes something like this: “The happiest people don’t have the best of everything; they just make the best of everything they have.” You will have a deeper sense of contentment if you count your blessings instead of yearning for what you don’t have.

5. Dream big.
People who get into the habit of dreaming big are more likely to accomplish their goals than those who don’t. If you dare to dream big, your mind will put itself in a focused and positive state.

6. Don’t sweat the small stuff.
Happy people ask themselves, “Will this problem matter a year from now?” They understand that life’s too short to get worked up over trivial situations. Letting things roll off your back will definitely put you at ease to enjoy the more important things in life.

7. Speak well of others.
Being nice feels better than being mean. As fun as gossiping is, it usually leaves you feeling guilty and resentful. Saying nice things about other people encourages you to think positive, non-judgmental thoughts.

8. Never make excuses.
Benjamin Franklin once said, “He that is good for making excuses is seldom good for anything else.” Happy people don’t make excuses or blame others for their own failures in life. Instead, they own up to their mistakes and, by doing so, they proactively try to change for the better.

9. Get absorbed into the present.
Happy people don’t dwell on the past or worry about the future. They savor the present. They let themselves get immersed in whatever they’re doing at the moment. Stop and smell the roses.

10. Wake up at the same time every morning.
Have you noticed that a lot of successful people tend to be early risers? Waking up at the same time every morning stabilizes your circadian rhythm, increases productivity, and puts you in a calm and centered state.

11. Avoid social comparison.
Everyone works at his own pace, so why compare yourself to others? If you think you’re better than someone else, you gain an unhealthy sense of superiority. If you think someone else is better than you, you end up feeling bad about yourself. You’ll be happier if you focus on your own progress and praise others on theirs.

12. Choose friends wisely.
Misery loves company. That’s why it’s important to surround yourself with optimistic people who will encourage you to achieve your goals. The more positive energy you have around you, the better you will feel about yourself.

13. Never seek approval from others.
Happy people don’t care what others think of them. They follow their own hearts without letting naysayers discourage them. They understand that it’s impossible to please everyone. Listen to what people have to say, but never seek anyone’s approval but your own.

14. Take the time to listen.
Talk less; listen more. Listening keeps your mind open to others’ wisdoms and outlooks on the world. The more intensely you listen, the quieter your mind gets, and the more content you feel.

15. Nurture social relationships.
A lonely person is a miserable person. Happy people understand how important it is to have strong, healthy relationships. Always take the time to see and talk to your family, friends, or significant other.

16. Meditate.
Meditating silences your mind and helps you find inner peace. You don’t have to be a zen master to pull it off. Happy people know how to silence their minds anywhere and anytime they need to calm their nerves.

17. Eat well.
Junk food makes you sluggish, and it’s difficult to be happy when you’re in that kind of state. Everything you eat directly affects your body’s ability to produce hormones, which will dictate your moods, energy, and mental focus. Be sure to eat foods that will keep your mind and body in good shape.

18. Exercise.
Studies have shown that exercise raises happiness levels just as much as Zoloft does. Exercising also boosts your self-esteem and gives you a higher sense of self-accomplishment.

19. Live minimally.
Happy people rarely keep clutter around the house because they know that extra belongings weigh them down and make them feel overwhelmed and stressed out. Some studies have concluded that Europeans are a lot happier than Americans are, which is interesting because they live in smaller homes, drive simpler cars, and own fewer items.

20. Tell the truth.
Lying stresses you out, corrodes your self-esteem, and makes you unlikeable. The truth will set you free. Being honest improves your mental health and builds others’ trust in you. Always be truthful, and never apologize for it.

21. Establish personal control.
Happy people have the ability to choose their own destinies. They don’t let others tell them how they should live their lives. Being in complete control of one’s own life brings positive feelings and a great sense of self-worth.

22. Accept what cannot be changed.
Once you accept the fact that life is not fair, you’ll be more at peace with yourself. Instead of obsessing over how unfair life is, just focus on what you can control and change it for the better.

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