Thursday, September 22, 2011

New Themes

Sitting back and reflecting is a key element to writing - especially when writing a blog.  Maybe that is not one hundred percent true as you can always write and blog in real time I suppose.  You can write about what is happening at that very minute.  Kind of like many of the news site do today - they have a continuously updated blog that contains what is happening in their area of interest.  For example - CNN.COM has their politics blog in which the CNN reporters who are following candidates keep up a constant flow of information and report what the candidates are saying in real time.

Most of my writing takes place after I sit back and reflect upon something.  Today I have been reflecting upon my writing.  Perhaps my interest in writing is waning.  Perhaps I haven't done enough reflection on things that are import to me.  Perhaps I am not a very good writer.  Whatever it is I feel that my writing style and quality of my writing have diminished over time.  Thinking through how to address this quality problem I had determined I need to go back to the roots of my writing.

When this blog was started the focus was on the adventures that my son and I got up to.  Since then it has morphed into a day-to-day recitation of what I do. The end result - the blog has become boring reading and the quality has suffered.  So I am going back to how it started and will refocus this blog on several themes.  The first theme will be documenting all the adventures our small little family gets up to.  (Hopefully we will begin to have a lot more adventures again when my leg finally heals!  The stress fracture I suffered to my left fibula during the Canyonlands Half Marathon in March is still not healed.  A second opinion is needed to determine if a cast or surgery is required to get this thing to finally heal.)

A second theme I will heavily concentrate upon is this beautiful state in which we live - Colorado.  There are so many wonderful experiences to be had in Colorado.  Some of the best blog posts I have written have described the nature wonders of this state.  This theme will also allow me to write about my favorite hikes, mountains, state parks and so many other interesting subjects.

The third theme the blog will concentrate upon are stories about the world and history.  I am somewhat of a geography fanatic and describing a country or an area of the world in which I am interested is a lot of fun to me.

Given we are approaching 2012 and it is a presidential election year there will be quite a few stories about politics, the recession and the wars we are fighting.  If you have read this blog for a while you know that my political views tend to run towards the liberal side of things.  As a result there might be some things said that are disagreeable to some, but no personal offense is ever intended.  I believe in political discourse without rancor, anger or the politics of personal destruction.

One last note before I sign off for the day.  Several weeks ago I mentioned that we were going to buy a new house in our current community of Willow Creek.  Unfortunately that deal fell apart.  The deal fell apart because the house had been significantly renovated - it was utterly gorgeous - however the work was done by the owner and there were issues in the fact that permits had never been pulled for the work that was done.  Given the majority of the work was sealed behind walls I felt that if I went ahead with the purchase I was opening myself up to a lot of potential liability if things were not done right.  So I pulled out of the deal after the results from the inspection came back.  Oh well - there will always be another house or we will get this house updated!

Thanks and peace to all! ~J.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Watching a Bird Feeder

For the last 5 months I have worked at something I have never talked about on this blog.  In April of this year I became a volunteer at hospice.  Every other Wednesday I work at the hospice for 4 hours help patients and doing pretty much anything that needs to be done.

Over the last 6 weeks there has been a patient by the name of Alice at the hospice.  I first met A. in early August shortly after I returned from vacation in Wyoming.  At that time A. was pretty strong.  She was in hospice because she was old and had a heart condition and wasn't expected to live that long.  As a volunteer I don't have access to the patient's medical records and I really don't know all that was going on with A.  She had a lot of tremors so the first week I met A. I helped her eat dinner.  She had a horrible set of shakes like she had Parkinson disease.

That first week I sat there and helped her eat dinner and talked to her.  We both looked out the window and laughed as we watched a squirrel get into the bird feeder that was mounted on a pole outside her window.  The squirrel was so determined to get the food out of the bird feeder.  He/she hung from their hind legs from the top of the feeder and stuck their head into the holes that the birds were supposed to go into.  It was hilarious to watch this squirrel perched precariously from the top of the feeder.  A. got a tremendous amount of enjoyment from watching "her friend" try and get into that feeder!

Tonight around 7:20PM A. died.  She was the first patient who died while I was on duty at the hospice.  It wasn't unexpected as she had gotten weaker and weaker over the last 2 weeks.  She was old.  She was sick, but still the place that A. held in this world is now empty.  It gives me a lot of pause to think about what life is about.  It gives me a lot of pause to think about what is important.

I never had any kind of detailed conversation with A. and I really don't know that I knew much about her.  Regardless I am glad that I spent those few scattered moments with her over the last 2 months.  Despite her death it just makes you realize that all life is good.  If A. could lie there on what became her death bed and laugh at a squirrel, you know life is good.  No matter what - as long as you breathe and have life - it is all good!!

No much else going on.  My personal life over the last 2 weeks has been somewhat hellish but I am hoping that will resolve itself shortly.  Zack is doing really well when it comes to school.  For the first time since he entered middle school in August of 2010, he has really, really good grades.  He seems to really be getting the importance of maintaining good grades and doing well in school.  I am so proud of my Zack!!

Anyway - time to go to bed.

Thanks and peace to all! ~J.

Monday, September 12, 2011

An Unexpected Post

This post is pretty unexpected.  Given that I am the author that is saying something.  Today is September 11, 2011.  (Well I suppose by the time I post this it will be September 12, 2011.)  There are lots of memories associated with this day - 10 years ago.

We all seem to remember where we were 10 years ago today.  It's kind of odd, but my memories of September 11, 2001 were filled with lots of good things at the beginning of that day.  You see, 10 years ago today was Zack's first day in preschool.  Patty and I had looked all around at various places for Zack to go to preschool and we had decided upon a place called Creme de la Creme.  It was supposed to be one of the best preschools in the Denver Metro area and it was only about .75 miles from our home.  It wasn't supposed to get any better than that.

The day started with a lot of excitement for us as we took lots of pictures of Zack as he headed out for his first day away from home and Mom and Dad.  We had no idea of what was taking place on the East Coast as we prepared Zack to go to school.  At the time I was working in downtown Denver at PricewaterhouseCooper Consulting so Patty and I took 2 different cars to drop off Zack at preschool.  Back in those days I was still in post-2000 election (when Boo-boo was handed the presidency by the supreme court) shock. 

Each day I listened to conservative talk radio to get my blood pressure in an uproar.  As I drove to Zack's preschool I listened to the radio and it seemed all odd.  Instead of the normal conservative talk show that I would cuss at, there was an ABC news broadcast.   At first I couldn't make any sense of it as they were talking about all flights in the US being grounded.  It took about one half of the drive to Z's preschool for everything to sink in.  Patty and Zack were right behind me so when we reached the preschool I told Patty about what was happening.  Even to this day I clearly remember telling her that we were at war.  Patty had a hard time believing it.  But confirmation was soon upon us as we walked into the preschool and were greeted with news of what was going on.

Patty stayed at the school for a while to see how Zack would do.  Instead of heading into the office I headed home to watch CNN and see what was happening.  I called our group secretary to let her know that I wasn't going to be in and she informed me that the office was closing for the day.  So I sat there and watched the news unfold on CNN.  I saw the second World Trade Center tower fall in real time - that kind of sucked.

There wasn't much to do that day as I sat in front of the TV and just watched all the news coverage.  Patty came home after a bit and joined me though she really didn't want to watch what was going on as it made her sick.  Around 11:00AM we got a call from the preschool saying come and get Zack as things weren't working out for him. (For the next 5 days we kept trying to see if he would adjust to the school, but in the end run things didn't work out and we ended up pulling him from the school.  More accurately he got kicked out!)

Around 3:00PM I decided to take a ride on my bike along the E470 trail which goes right by Centennial Airport which is one of the busiest private aviation airports in the United States.  It was so weird as there wasn't an airplane in the sky.   That is the first and only time I have seen that happen.

Today I have remembered all these things.  It seems like it was ages ago and I suppose it has been given that it took place 10 years ago.  Wow - how time has flown by!!

I can tell you even though it has been so long I still miss Patty.  This evening I sat on the couch and I watched what was one of her favorite movies - "The Lord of the Rings - The Fellowship of the Ring".  It just made me realize how different the world was without her.  When Patty was alive everything was organized and in it's proper place.  There weren't lots of churning emotions and difficult times.  Even 9/11 wasn't as much of a trauma with Patty around.  She grounded me and made things right.  No matter what I could turn to her and the world came into a perspective that was right and good.

Today I stand at a precipice wondering where life will take me.  I don't have any answers and I feel more confused about my direction in life than I have felt in so very a long time.  Where should I be heading?  What should I do?  I wish so much I had answers to these questions.  I know if Patty were here she would be able to provide guidance and maybe even some answers to these questions.  I don't know but I just wish for that sense of normalcy.  I know I didn't go through the trauma that so many other families did on 9/11/2001 but I still wish for that sense of normalcy that was taken from me and Zack on 7/14/2008.

Peace to all and particularly those who have dealt with the trauma that was created 10 years ago today.

Thanks!  J~.