Welcome to Harvey Millican!
On this page you will encounter the writing of a man who loves writing, loves his wife and kids, loves pop culture, and loves his faith.
Here you will find:
-faith & spirituality
and a whole lot more!
By the way, don't take me too seriously.
Harvey’s Cast of Characters
New to my blog? Wondering who all these people are whom I so lovingly mention from time to time? Here's a handy guide to the characters in Harvey's universe!
Harvey: That's your's truly. Not my real name. I'm a faithful Catholic, husband, father, teacher, former TV producer, and writer who's just trying to make a difference in this little piece of earth I call home. I have a penchant for coffee, disco, gin, and anything fun.
Mrs. Harvey: My lovely wife since 2007. Why she married me, I'll never know; but I'm sure glad she did. Love of my life, mother of my children... She puts up with me, expecting nothing in return. So far, she's gotten a pretty good return on her investment.
Son/Sonny Boy/Young Man: Our seven eight-old son. Loves (currently) machines, Legos, Star Wars, the History Channel, weather phenomena, his sister, and chicken nuggets. Apple of my eye, he reminds me of why I am so proud of my former reproductive abilities.
Baby Girl: Our seven year-old daughter. She has my eyes, my heart, and my birthday (even to the exact minute!). Loves girly things, her brother, and expressing herself artistically. Takes after her dad in appearance but that doesn't seem to have affected her beauty. Reason #2 I'm in awe of my siring capabilities.
(My) Mom: Amazing woman who brought me into the world. Doesn't get to visit us much in person due to trans-continental distance but she and I speak via FaceTame almost every day. A native New Yorker, she and I laugh at the same twisted things. If you like this blog, thank her. She knows her kids and encouraged me to write years ago.
Wilma: OK, so that's her real name. Texas born and bred, Wilma is my mother-in-law, cancer-warrior, prayer partner, drinking buddy, and one of the most genuinely awesome human beings on the planet.
le.Rheims: My baby sister and fellow blogger. She writes far better than I do and never lets me forget it. She prefers to be known as a well-known socialite and composer of light verse but I think sister, wife, and mother of 8 suits her better.
More to come...
I’ve often remarked on these pages that a good title will write a good blog. The both of you, my loyal readers, know this to be true. The rest of you who swing through to gaze upon the wreckage like so many standers-by drawn to a train crash will also note the lack of many decent titles.
Tonight I want to write.
I want to write for the joy of writing.
I just finished watching a movie. It was a silly flick starring Kevin James. In it he plays a writer. Actually he plays an actuary who is also working on a novel. I mention that because my late father was an actuary.
A note about that… Growing up, none of us knew how to answer the question our friends would inevitably ask. “What does your dad do?” I remember asking the old man once. I think I was six. “Daddy, what do you do?” Reaching deep into his brain he quickly shot back, without raising his eyes from behind the Wall Street Journal, “Well son, an actuary is the man who brings a bomb on a plane. Because while the chances of there being one bomb on a plane are negligible, the probability of there being two bombs on a plane are infinitesimal.”
A few years later I had cause to ask him again. I believe I was 11. “Dad, what’s an actuary?” Releasing a puff of smoke from the pipe clenched between his teeth he said: “Well my boy, an actuary is place where they bury dead actors.”
Finally when I was sixteen I asked yet again. “Father, what exactly is an actuary?” Putting the remote down for a brief moment while switching between Jeopardy! and Crossfire he rejoined: “An actuary, lad, is the guy who uses the last urinal in the men’s room because he knows it cuts in half the statistical likelihood of getting his shoes pissed on.”
And I finally understood.
I went back to all my friends and said: “He does something with math.”
In the movie, James’ character, working on a novel, remarks that he writes to escape life.
Not me. I write to document life. I sometimes feel as though if I didn’t write down some of the crazy things that have happened to me no one, not even I, would believe them. So what crazy things have happened to me lately?
I went out to visit the school where I am soon to begin work as an assistant principal. I met with my spine surgeon and discovered that I’m in pretty amazing shape. My kids appeared in a couple of short plays at their music school.
None of these things are amazing by themselves. Take the job, for instance. Lots of people start new jobs and lots of people work in school administration. But standing in my new office the other day looking around, being called into meetings with the principal to decide important matters… A few short months ago I really would not have believed this is where I’d be. In the back of my mind I had a goal that had almost vanished. I wanted to be an administrator before I hit 40. Here I am. I still can’t believe it.Sitting in the office with the doctor today and looking at the CT scan of my spine all brightly lit up from the contrasting dye I was convinced he was going to tell me I had some kind of condition, maybe even a spinal tumor. Instead he said: “Both fusion are holding great and the disc height at the level above is incredible. Your spine is strong.” He even tossed in “In fact, you’re looking really good. What are you doing?” Hear that? My spine is strong! And I’m looking good. Must be doing something decent. OK, with those two plays… Nothing really remarkable here except that my babies are growing up. There was a time not long ago when I would hold them and read to them and take care of them. Now they’re entertaining me. They’re memorizing lines, looking so grown-up in character on a stage. How did that happen?
So the title of this post is so generic I didn’t even have to write it.
Nothing amazing happening here except life.
And life is pretty damn awesome.
I’m working on a couple of posts with some exciting developments. In the meantime let me take a moment or two to update those of you who care to follow along about a recent goal and my progress.
A few weeks back I set a personal goal of getting really “good” at pull-ups.
Thanks to a friend who fabricated an awesome pull-up bar for my back yard I finally had the right tools, so to speak. The other tools would be my arms, shoulders, and back. I’ve kind of had them since birth but you know how that goes.
My “progress goal” was to do 25 pull-ups every day in a span covering no more than 5 minutes.
In the first few days I accomplished this goal just barely by doing a set of 5, then resting a minute, then continuing with additional sets until I had hit the magic number.
It was tough going and the subsequent sets (after the first) were of a lesser quality in terms of form and required greater exertion on my part.
But I did it.
Last night – I am happy to say – I knocked out 3 sets of 10 in under 2 minutes!
I include the exclamation point there because this is a HUGE deal for me. What’s more, each set, in my opinion, saw proper form and was exponentially easier than those weak sets from the first day. And that was just 3 weeks ago.
I am demonstrably stronger, bigger, and, ironically leaner than I was when I started. My mom, in town for a few weeks, commented, when she saw me coming in from a workout with my shirt off, that I had bulked up. I’d like to think mom’s tell the truth more often than not.
At the same time, I am continuing my BodyBeast routine of lifting heavy weights every single day. I could not be doing that without the help and support of the same friend who made the bar for me. He’s a good man and I greatly appreciate working out with him. His friendship is invaluable and the motivation we provide each other is priceless.
I’d like to think this proves the theory I was testing. If you want to do pull ups, then do pull ups.
By the way, in addition to the 30 pull ups, I’ve been doing more. See that, another friend (JB) challenged me once to always go father when working out. Only a minute after finishing the 30 I proceeded to do 15 chin ups (underhand grip, working different muscles) and 15 “scapula pull ups” designed to specifically target the muscles of the upper mid-back. These last movements actually contribute to being able to do more effective pull ups.
If you’re reading this looking for inspiration, let me know if I’ve helped by dropping a comment. If you’d like advice on any aspect of this plan, send me a message.
Otherwise, I’ll be back on the bar.
Earlier today I drove some Missionaries of Charity nuns to the airport.
In the half-hour I was in the car on my way to pick them up I wondered where our conversation would take us. These nuns are talkers and I’ve always enjoyed our chats before.
Well, I must have picked them up in the middle of a Saturday devotion.
I made my first turn toward the highway and Sister Passenger whipped out her beads. In fairly decent but somewhat broken English she said:
“We pray rosary now.”
Five decades, a chaplet of Divine Mercy, and nine Memorare’s later I had safely returned the remaining nuns to the convent.
Honestly I’m glad the happy talk took us to prayer. Truly just being in their presence I feel holy. Tack on a whole lotta prayers and, well, I stepped out of my car one foot closer to heaven.
I heard someone say once “If you want to write well, simply write.”
The implication is that in order to become a better writer one has to first write anything at all and, more to the point, write a lot.
Likewise I heard a former Navy SEAL say that when he first joined the Navy he thought he was able to do pull-ups. He was humiliated to discover that the “half-up and half-down” method he was great at wasn’t really a pull-up. “How am I ever going to be a SEAL,” he thought, “if I can’t even do a pull-up?” He discovered what good writers have known for some time. If you want to at least try to be great at something you just have to get it done. In other words, to be good at pull-ups, do pull-ups.
I just finished 25 in 5 minutes. I’m not satisfied. Some who know me know that I rarely ever am satisfied. I see that as a good thing. These 25 pull-ups? They were in sets of six. See that’s I pushed myself up one from the sets of five I did the other day. But they weren’t great. I admit toward the end I wasn’t going down all the way. But somehow it seems to be coming together. I’m squeezing the right muscles in my back and noticing my forearms working a bit more (taking the strain off my biceps). For those who are interested I watched a YouTube video yesterday on how to improve form. It involves hanging from the bar and just raising one’s head up and down to focus on strengthening the scapula muscles. This is apparently a key to doing phenomenal pull-ups. I did it. Don’t know if it helped or not but it couldn’t hurt.
Enough about that. I think I’ll try to knock out another 10 before heading inside. Thanks for following along.