New & Improved by Chaz DeSimone


Ever noticed how manufacturers of all stripes and colors trumpet their products as being ‘New And Improved’?

Ever the contrarian, I’ve been asking myself, “How can something be both new and improved?”

Clearly we’ve been duped into complacency with heavy and frequent doses of illogical syntax.  Either it’s new or it is better than it used to be.  It cannot be both…which got me to thinking.

The possibility of having had past lives notwithstanding, the chances of me ever being new again (e.g. physically reborn) are pretty slim.

And only having one remaining option, the choice thing is pretty much off the table.  But the choice I do have is whether I will act (or not) to improve.

What’s new in my Life of late is fraught with world-class hassles.  What’s more, I don’t really have much say in the matter.  Life comes at you fast…and there you are.

For me, when the first lightning strike hit, I stood there stunned.  To have someone in the family suddenly go missing is something I hadn’t experienced before.  And for all the paralysis it brought, my impulses somehow managed to go frantic.  One moment I was calling all over town and the next, sitting catatonic on the couch.

I’ve heard it said that lightning never strikes twice.

Lightening Strikes barn by Randy Moore

They lied.


Another family member down.  The swirling thoughts in my head suddenly took on an icy quality.  It strikes cold to be confronted with the reminder that each one of us has an expiration date.  These carbon-based carrying cases we walk around in don’t last long in the larger scheme of things.

And the strikes have just kept coming.  Rick’s away handling his part of things while I’m here, handling my part.

Shakespeare said something about Life being but a stage.  For me, each new lightning strike has brought a whole host of strangers into our lives.  Doctors, lawyers, social services people and a legion of other beleaguered folks just doing their jobs in the midst of the chaos raining down on my House.  It feels very lonely to be in such a crowd.  And all the paperwork? Cruel.

My old Life, my familiar Life has stopped.  I had no choice in the matter.  We were not consulted.  So much so fast to be scared of; no one day like the one before it.  Freeze frames in the midst of battle, yet Day and Night passing in an instant, almost without notice.

Depression knocks on the door and I get off the sofa to answer.

All I could hear myself saying as I reached for the door was ‘Make it stop’.  And it hit me.  I called halt.

H  HungryHALT4U

A  Angry

L  Lonely

T  Tired

I remember HALT from my recovery days.  He’s helped me before.

And before I could say “Dr. Bombay, come right away”, he was there.

I knew what to do.  I needed new routines.  I needed to be very deliberate with myself as I moved through a new and tangled landscape.

I insist on eating something at least three times a day – every day, no matter how I may be feeling.

I decided to channel my rage into washing the walls and ceilings of the living room, the dining room and the kitchen.  I cleaned the stove and planted the hanging baskets outside.  I swept the patio and the bathroom?  It gleameth!

I do not negotiate with myself about sleep.  I go to bed about the same time every night and get up the same time every morning.  The only difference is on Friday and Saturday nights, I don’t set the alarm…I get up when I get up.  And while my body clock wakes me up about the same time anyway, the difference is I don’t have to get up, which in turn, has surprised me as an unanticipated routine marking the passing of another week.

When I get up, I do some leg lifts on the bed or sit on the edge of it and curl the two one-gallon milk jugs I’ve filled with water as my weight set.

Then I meditate and I breathe.

Every morning.  I’ve budgeted for the time.  I spend it…on me.  Why?  Because ‘me’ is what I take into the week.  I go to work and give it my all.  After work or on the weekends, I go and visit. I am the one who’s having to make tough calls every day.  I’m the one I have to live with whether those decisions prove to be right…or not so much.

I’ve been listening to a lot more classical music lately; a lot of it.  I’ve been doing flash-meditations three or four times through the day when it feels like Life is closing in on me – again.  I have charted our bills on a piece of paper and forecasted the cash flow – I do it every Saturday morning.  And best of all, I talk to at least one of my loved ones on the phone every single day.  It is my act of defiance.  It is my choice to not fold.  It is my chance to improve.

I don’t know where any of my ramblings find you right now.  So much of the load I’m carrying right now is new and not of my choosing.  But the Life that I’ve lived and the people in it have taught me things; things I can do to make it through and that, is an improvement.

It’s good to grace your screens again.  Thank you for the privilege.  And if your life is kicking you in the teeth right now?  Join me as we all shout together, “Saddle up Buttercup.  It’s time to ride!”

See you on the trail.





Two value-adds this week.  One is a coupon.  The other is an open invitation to dance.  Enjoy



Halt Coupon


radio d4k inverse

Earth, Wind and Fire


A personal fave when I need to be lifted.








So many have passed since my last post.  As I return to posting (another good habit), the department will return in the coming weeks as a regular feature.





Banner Coastal Redwood Forest by Eric E Photography is used with permission.

Visit Eric and see his other work at: or

New & Improved by Chaz DeSimone: Another WordPress Blog by Chaz DeSimone: “AmperArt is a personal design project by graphic designer & typographer Chaz DeSimone. Featuring “the ampersand as fun & fabulous art” Chaz releases a new AmperArt piece every month. For Chaz it’s fun & for you it’s free.” Visit:

Lightening Strikes barn (Credit: Randy Moore | from article “How to Survive a Lightning Strike” By Marc Lallanilla, Assistant Editor   |   July 19, 2013 02:14pm ET in Live Science:

HALT Coupon by dan4kent – Clip it and Save more than one might think.

NUandIMP: Pic sources from another cool blog I’ve just discovered called mosaicsynapse. Theology. Ministry. Life. What a fascinating combination. Take a trip over there if you’d like. BLOG:   PIC:






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About dan4kent

Born and raised in the Midwest, Dan lives in the Chicagoland area. With a grown son from a previous marriage, he has since built a committed relationship of 33 years with his partner Rick, the Love of his Life. Having written his whole life, he blogged for years because he has to write…he can’t help it. Know the feeling? There’s ‘good‘ to be found in all of it. “If all I do is leave someone (or something) better than I found them, then I’ve done my part. Thanks for letting me grace your screen, if only for a little while.”
This entry was posted in Hope, Inspiration, Life, Life Lessons, Love and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to NEW AND IMPROVED

  1. wisejourney says:

    Life doesn’t stop for us to get off when things are not that great..that we can be sure of but I see you have the strategies from a lfe lived and wisdom learned to better deal with the down turns Dan.
    Remember you are loved and heard and that tomorrow when you wake the journey continues and it will be alright.

    I am awake in the middle to the night but that’s ok. I accept these times and in 3 days my darling daughter is to be married and we celebrate a future and I hope that thought gives you a smile inside

    Best best Dan


    • dan4kent says:

      Andrea, I value the sagacity (?). Point is you’re right. And to hearing from you on the eve of a wonderful event…Wow! Quiet grin is in place. It’s your fault ;-D
      Travel well and remember every nanosecond of the big day. It will fly. Until then,

  2. melanie says:

    I was so happy to see a post from you and then I read it, and wished I hadn’t had to. I am not exactly sure what’s going on in your world but I can tell there is a lot of pain. I’m so sorry, friend. Stay strong.

  3. katecrimmins says:

    New and improved but with your usual skilled writing style! Good for us. I am sorry things have been tough. Hang in there!

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