Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Leaving nothing on the table....

There are some times in which you have to go over and beyond.  You have to give everything you have inside you to reach the goal that you want to reach.  When Patty was sick and dying, I put it all on the table and did everything in my power to help her survive.  When the battle was finally over, I knew there was not one more thing I could have done to help Patty.

Since that time it seems like my life has been one challenge after the other.  Some of them are clearly the results of my actions - others have not been.  So for the 20th or 30th time since Patty died in July of 2008 I feel like I reached rock bottom. I never understand why I can't climb out of this titanic black hole in which I feel that I have fallen.

For the last 6 weeks my life has been one hellish roller coaster.  Unfortunately the general direction that it has been headed has been straight down.  The first thing that triggered it was the surgery on my leg.  Throughout the 7 months that I lived with the stress fracture in my left fibula I was in a fair amount of pain.  The pain grew over time and by September when I sought a second opinion it was pretty damn bad.  I thought the surgery to repair the break would be easy and simple.  Which in fact the surgery was - as I was totally out of it for the surgery and I didn't feel a thing.  The real challenge started with the recovery.  I had no clue that I would be as immobilized as I was.  I had no clue how much pain I would suffer during the recovery process.

It is six weeks after surgery and my leg is fixed but I am barely able to walk.  Because of the constant use of crutches and staying off of one leg for so long, at least one disc in my back has compressed and now I am experiencing the worst pain in the world.  There doesn't seem to be any end in sight concerning this pain.  So I need to step up my game to go through PT despite the pain.  I need to work through it day and night just so I can do the things I need to do.  Whenever I heard of people having back pain and being on disability because of I always thought it was a scam.  Now I can tell through my own experience it ain't no scam.  I do have a high pain tolerance level, but the back pain is pushing me over the edge.  As a result of the pain it has changed my general outlook on life and my view of things is so very dark.  It is not a place I am used to being.

In addition to the pain related to the outcome of the surgery, I have reached a point where I am just exhausted by the amount of work that is needed to provide Zack with the direction he needs to go.  Don't get me wrong, Zack has made tremendous strides to overcome his anxiety and OCD issues but there is still a long way to go.  But I will never stop working with Zack and ensuring the expectations of him are the same as the expectations of any 13 year old.  I can never give up.  I have to put everything I have into this effort to get him where he needs to be.  I love my son so much - I can't allow myself to do any less!

Then comes an issue that I wish so much I didn't have to write about.  As many of the readers of this blog know I have had an on again/off again relationship with Shelly.  In the last three weeks a few very difficult things occurred in our relationship.  I don't want to get into the details but the issue was significant.  As a result of this issue we are now at a point where we are broken up yet again. 

I am a strong believer in the strength of love.  I don't believe that there are that many chance you get in life for a deep true lasting love that can form the basis of a long term relationship.  I have that love for Shelly and despite our discord I believe she has that same love for me.  I believe that we were made to be together, as I understand Shelly and what motivates her.  In the same way Shelly understand the most important aspect of what makes me tick.

So for now we are not together.  But I unconditionally love this woman and I am so willing to put everything on the line for her love.  It is going to take a lot of effort but I will win her back yet again.  I believe in the goodness of Shelly and the believe in the goodness of our relationship.  Yep it's been a difficult run of things, but there are reasons for why that has occurred and if we love one another enough we can resolve those issues.  Perhaps many people will call me stupid for this belief in having a relationship with Shelly.  But sometimes you need to really show your devotion and love for a person even when it is so hard.  Yes Shell - if you ever read this, just know I still love you and I am willing to fight and work for you, because you are worth it.  I believe in the grand scheme of things that love is one of the most power forces in the universe and I believe that true love will always win!

I am going to stand behind those words with my actions.  Perhaps I am stupid as I am sure I am overlooking other opportunities that won't be so hard or so difficult.  But this is standing for what I believe in and what I know is right.  I may be emotionally and mentally destroyed in the end run, but I am going to put it all on the table and do everything in my power to show Shelly that she is loved without condition and without exception.

And so...  I will climb out of this rock bottom that I have hit.  One way or another I will overcome.  By the time that spring comes (Spring is only about 110 days away) this rock bottom that I have hit will be a memory that is fading fast and is filled with the hope and promise of a new season and the coming of warmth.

I don't ask for this often - but please keep Zack and me in your thoughts (prayers if you say them) because we do need the inspiration and support!

Thanks and peace to all! ~J.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

A Song of Ice and Fire

This past summer I had the pleasure of watching a mini-series on HBO called "A Game of Thrones".  This mini-series is based upon a series of books written by American author George R.R. Martin and called "A Song of Ice and Fire".  Currently there are 5 books in the series that have been published and another 2 books are planned.

Two months ago I began the herculean task of reading these books.  It is a herculean task because most of the books are in excess of 1000 pages.  These books are extremely captivating so once you actually begin reading them, they have your rapt attention.  Often I will stay up at night until 1AM or 2AM reading as I just can't put the book down.  I am currently on the 3rd book and hope to finish it within the next week or two.

(The contested throne from the Game of Thrones.  All pictures are from HBO.)
"A Song of Ice and Fire" is in the fantasy genre and is based upon a world in a medieval state.  There are castles, knights, princes, kings, and epic battles.  There is also a bit of imagination at play as there are also dragons and undead creatures called the Others.  The world of Ice and Fire is a very challenging place to live due to the fact that the seasons will last for years.  When the story starts the world is in the midst of one of the longest summers that has ever been.  As the story progresses hints of autumn begins to arrive and every knows that the longer the summer - then the winter will be even longer and the entire world will be covered with snow and ice.

The main story line through the first few books is how 3 different families are vying for the control of the "Seven Kingdoms".  There is much treachery, murder and other horrible acts that eventually plunge the world into full-scale war between the three different camps.  Unfortunately for the people who inhabit this world, these wars and conflicts couldn't come at a worst time as winter is coming and the real threat to the world lies in the frozen wastes of the north where the "Others" are gathering their strength to attack the kingdoms of mankind.

These books are a very captivating read and many people have compared them to the "Lord of the Rings" Saga by J. R.R. Tolkien.  Additionally, when you start scratching below the surface of the books there are many lessons and important messages that you can pick from them.  Two of these lessons are represented by the declared bywords of two of the great houses that are battling each other - The Lannisters and The Starks.  The Lannisters are by far the most devious and evil family vying for power.  Their maxim is "a Lannister always pays their debts".  Unfortunately for those who are owed the debts it usually means a grisly ending to their lives.  Given the Lannisters represent evil or the antagonists in the book, you start to look at the meaning of paying your debts.  For me it caused me to think about what it meant to put someone in your debt and having to pay your debt.  I think the saying fits in very well with the overall theme of the fight between a good side and bad side.

For the Stark's their maxim is "Winter is Coming".  This is particularly apropos given the real danger in the story isn't the warring families, it is the common enemy of them all - "The Others".  The other point that this phrase means is that you always must prepare for the future.  Though things can be sunny and bright now, the challenges in the future will always come and you need to prepare for them.

If anyone is looking for a good series of books to read, I highly recommend these books.  However, keep in mind that once you start you are making a fairly substantial time investment to get them all completed.  I hope if anyone does start reading these books on my recommendation that they like them.

I wish I had a lot to write about from my personal life, but there really isn't anything to go into right now.  The holiday and our weekend were very slow as my leg was hurting significantly.  Tomorrow I am supposed to lose the "boot" that I have been wearing for the last month to help stabilize my leg.  I have physical therapy and I will work with my therapists to determine if I can let go of the boot for good.  I won't see my doctor for another week, but her timeline from my last visit had me losing the boot this Monday.

There is a lot on my mind that I wish to write about in the coming days.  Life continues to present me with many unusual and unique challenges.  I have been facing one of these challenges for the better part of a month and I really need to figure out what I wish to do.  Why can't heavy weighty issues resolve themselves?!

Oh well - I should sign off for the night.   I hope everyone has had a great long weekend and is prepared to face work/school/whatever tomorrow.

Thanks and peace to all! ~J.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

The Happy Place

Did you ever see the movie "Happy Gilmour"?  It is a movie that stars Adam Sandler as hockey player who takes up golf.  Of course with Adam Sandler in it, the movie is a comedy.  It's a very rough and somewhat vulgar movie, but it is a movie that causes me to laugh my ass off anytime I see it.

The relevance of "Happy Gilmour" to this blog post is about a concept that his golf coach uses to get him to settle down when he putts.  (Putting is Happy's weakness.  He can hit the long ball on the fairways but once he gets on the green he screws up.)  His coach tells Happy to go to his happy place - pun definitely intended.  Happy's happy place involves him mentally zoning out and imagining a perfect world for himself.  In his perfect world, there is a midget riding a wooden rocking horse, his grandma is there playing a slot machine and she hits the big jackpot and Happy's girlfriend is there dressed up in this slinky lingerie with two pitchers of beer for him.

Yeah - it is definitely a little bit strange I know, but it totally fits the humor of the movie.  For whatever reason I was thinking of this today and it made me think of "my happy place".  It it kind of weird but whenever I find myself under stress or feeling unhappy I like to go to my happy place and zone the entire world out around me.  I am probably a tab bit strange in what my happy place is, but I guess it has to be unique for everyone.

My happy place is imagined.  It is a combination of places that I have been in life for real, but it is not an exact place.  So my happy place is far in the wilderness - a place where there is no civilization or signs of mankind.  As I picture it in my head it reminds of a place in the Grand Teton mountains of Wyoming.  I imagine myself standing on a high bluff that is covered with pine trees and the land slopes down in front of you to a river far below.  If it is the Grand Tetons it would be the Snake River.  All you can see from the top of this bluff is an endless pine forest stretching away to the horizon.  There are undulating hills in front of me and each is covered by the think forest of pines.  Immediately in front of me at the bottom of the bluff is a wide but shallow river with lots of small rocks in the river bed and along the sides of the river.  There is probably a good 20 - 30 feet of flat land from the edge of the forest to the river that is covered by rounded smoothed river rock.  The day is cloudy, windy and cold and there is the hint of the first major snow storm in the air.  The clouds are scurrying across the sky as they are pushed by the strong wind.  As you look farther away from the point on which I stand, visibility decreases as there are snow squalls in the air.  There is an utter silence to the spot except for the sound of the wind whistling through the pine trees.  Yes - it is desolate and unforgiving, but it is a place where I can find peace and calmness.

I don't often put questions out to my readers but...  If you won't mind leave a comment and tell me what your "happy place" is like.  I would love to know how my happy place shapes up against what other people think.

One other note along that line - I know I get a fair number of visitors to this blog from other countries than the United States of America.  If you visit my blog from another country please leave me a comment as I am a travel and geography nut and love to hear where people are from!

As for our day - it has been a low key day for us as my leg, hip and back have been in agony.  I have less than 48 hours until I can take the "boot" off for good!  My physical therapist tells me things will start moving in a much better direction within a week of being out of the "boot".  I can not flipping wait!!  So with the colder weather today, we only ventured out of the house to do some shopping at WalMart for some supplies for around the house.  Other than that it was work time around the house and a good bit of relaxation.  I am so sick of the relaxation, but I can't do much about it at this point because I have a really hard time walking.  But that is going to change really soon!  Yippee!!

Well - I hope everyone had a great Saturday and isn't sick of turkey leftovers yet!

Peace and thanks to all! ~J.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Black Friday - A Social Commentary

Shooting in a parking lot of a Walmart in California....

A woman pepper spraying fellow shoppers so that she could get her hands on a Wii game for $20 as opposed to the normal $60....

At a WalMart in North Carolina a security guards pepper sprayed shoppers who were pushing and shoving because they felt a riot was going to break out.....

Over 10,000 people waited outside the flagship Macy's store in New York City for hours prior to the store's midnight opening....

These are just a few of the many stories in the press about the craziness of "Black Friday".  I am perpetually amazed each year how crazy things get with "Black Friday".

What does it say about a society in which it's citizens place such a high priority on buying things that they are willing to sacrifice sleep and more importantly time with their families and closest friends so that they can go out on a holiday and wait in lines for hours to be the first customers in the door of stores on "Black Friday"?

 (Photo courtesy of Wikimedia.)

To me it is a society that has lost it's direction.  To me it is a society in which the constant purchasing of "things" makes up for an intrinsic lack of purpose within it's citizens.  To me it is a society in which consumerism has been raised to the level of purpose and direction in life as opposed to personal goals that advance the mind, body or spirit of it's citizens.

It is sad because if you take away our focus on consumerism, our society would fall apart.  Consumer demand for all these things that we desire is what drives our economy.  When the American citizen stops consuming the impact is that the world economy grinds to a halt.

Are people's lives that utterly empty that buying things provides them with such satisfaction?  Whatever happened to the idea of saving money and providing for our futures instead of just buying stuff?

Obviously I am not immune to consumerism.  I buy stuff.  I buy stuff that I don't necessarily need - it's just stuff that I want.  But I am not willing to sit in the cold and wait for hours and hours for the store to open.  Consuming stuff isn't so important that I am willing to sacrifice my sleep or spending the time with friends or family.  I like shopping but - I just don't get it.

I really wonder if consumerism is going to be the force that pushes society over the edge.  Will it be the force that bankrupts our country?  Will it be the force that destroys the natural resources of our world and pushes our environment to a point of breaking?

I don't have any answers to the questions I am posing.  But society must take a step back and look if this is really the direction that we want to go.  My personal hope is that we can pull back from the craziness at some point, but I don't think any of us has the intestinal fortitude to make it happen.  How sad is that?

Needless to say, neither Zack or I were out shopping for bargains on this Black Friday.  We have had a very low key holiday week so far.  Zack was off of school on Wednesday.  We used that day to take care of a lot of errands and buy food that was needed for our contributions to Thanksgiving Dinner.  Yesterday we got up early and made pumpkin pies.  Every year I am tasked with making the pumpkin pies because of my special pie recipe.  It is fun to make them and it makes me happy when people love the task of my pies.  My secret with my pumpkin pies is that I use a ton of heavy whipping cream in them as opposed to condensed milk.  It makes all the difference in the world! 

Around noon I went to Cranbrook and picked up Nancy.  She spent the rest of the afternoon with Zack and me watching football on TV until it was time to leave for my brother's house.  We spent a good part of the day at my brother's.  There were a number of our friends there and it was in general a really good afternoon.  The food was great!  Nancy wasn't feeling the best so I took her home around 7:00PM.  Zack and I stayed at Tim and Celinde's til almost 9:00PM watching the Ravens/49er's football game.

Unfortunately due to all the walking and being up and about yesterday, my leg was in quite a good bit of pain so today Zack and I ran some errands early in the morning but then spent the rest of the day at home.  Nancy stopped by for a while when she was on her way to WalMart.  And Cole - my nephew spent most of the afternoon here with Zack goofing around.  They rode bikes and scooters pretty much the entire afternoon so I know Zack is definitely going to sleep well tonight.

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving and has a pleasant weekend ahead!

Thanks and peace to all! ~J.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Wordless Wednesday - Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone!

Thanks and peace to all! ~J.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Navigating through the Fog

Foggy days in Colorado seem to be very rare occurrences.  In Western Pennsylvania where I grew up, foggy days were extremely common, almost as common as they are at the ocean's shore.  For the last 5 - 6 weeks I feel like I have been living in one of those foggy days.  The world around me is gray and lacking of color.  The details of my every day activities feel washed out and far away - everything is lacking the details and my emotions seem dulled and listless.

(Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.  Picture was attributed to Florian K and used via the GNU Free documentation license via Wikimedia)

Much of this is a result of my physical condition as I continue to recover from the surgery on my left leg.  During the first month I was restricted in the fact that I couldn't put any weight on my left leg.  Hobbling along on crutches is difficult and it makes it hard to get around.  Though I have been allowed to walk for the last week, life still seems to be dragging on as the amount of pain I am experiencing as I resume walking is significant.  It is very difficult to get up and do a lot of stuff as within 10 - 15 minutes my left hip is screaming in pain.  So my ability to do a lot is severely restricted.  On top of that there have been several events that have emotionally tried me and put my mind in a state of apathy.

I am working as hard as I can to resolve the pain associated with my leg.  My physical therapist has given me regimen of exercises and stretches to do everyday to improve my flexibility and get my muscles back into the state that they need to be.  I am doing these exercises as many times per day as I can.  However, the therapist did tell me that my muscles are some of the tightest and least flexible she has ever seen.  She used that as a warning to let me know that my recovery is going to be lengthy and that I shouldn't plan on skiing this ski season.  That is a bummer to me, but I am going to continue to roll with the punches and make the best of the situation.

In some ways the fog is lifting from my life. The way fog lifts from the environment is that at first it slowly rises from the ground and the color slowly seems to flow into the landscape from the ground up.  I feel like there is some clarity and sense returning.  Yes - I am still very much laid up with my leg recovering but it seems as though there is some light at the end of the tunnel.  It seems as though I will have many weeks of recovery a head of me, but I am starting to accept it a lot more than I did in the first place.  I realize that for the foreseeable future hiking and doing things that require a lot of walking are out of my reach.

The other events that left me very apathetic are still very much in my thoughts, but I don't think there is anything I can do to change the direction of those events.  They have happened - I have sought to address them but they are for the most part out of my control.  So I need to practice acceptance and come to grips with them.

Zack and I are also getting very used to our life in the house alone.  The way we relate to one another is changing and growing.  Nancy's move to Cranbrook is allowing Zack to grow and take more responsibility.  It seems he and I are much more effective in our communication and Zack is doing more and more to grow to the responsibility of a 13 year old.  You can see it in how he is handling school, how tends to argue with me less and how he has taken responsibility for doing things around the house since I am not able to get around as much as normal.  As always - I am so proud of Zack!  He is showing a much greater ability to face his fears and be more independent.  Good job Z!

For the most part things continue on their normal path - though we did have a bit of a health scare with Nancy on Friday.  I was pretty certain she was going to end up in the hospital, but her doctor took a "wait and see" approach and today Nancy seems to be doing a little bit better.  Given she was feeling so badly yesterday I did have to step in and help her with a bunch of things yesterday.  She spent most of the day with me here at the house prior to going to the doctor at 3PM.  Hopefully things will continue along a positive trend for her and this entire health issue will go away.

Changes are also afoot with my work.  I found out on Thursday that come January 1, I will have a new position within my company.  The work that I will be doing in 2012 is close to what I did this year, but I will have greater responsibility and will be working with a group of clients for whom we provide services out of India.  It's been a number of years since I have been there, but it looks like I will be traveling back to India in 2012.  My boss and I talked about the need for a group of us to travel to several Indian cities in January.  During my previous trips to India I have only traveled to Bangalore and areas within a hundred mile radius of Bangalore.  This trip would involve visits to Bangalore, Pune, Mumbai, Gurgaon and possibly Hyderbad.  With the exception of the far north of India, we would be visiting cities all over India.  If my trips to India become a regular feature of my job, I will try and get Zack to go on one of those trips with me.  It would be a great benefit for Zack to see how the majority of the world lives in such extreme poverty compared to how we live in the United States.  I hope it would teach him not to take so much for granted the way he does now.

I hope everyone is having a great weekend.  It is hard to believe that next week is already Thanksgiving.  Gees - where does the time go??  Zack and I are looking forward to the short work/school week and having a relaxing holiday.  Hopefully by Thanksgiving I will be able to get around a little bit better than I have this week.

Enjoy the rest of your weekends and thanks for reading!

Thanks and peace to all! ~J.

An Article on the Penn State Scandal that Really Caught My Attention

Ex-PSU grad assistant: Scandal isn't surprising - College football- NBC Sports

(Umm...  I don't know what happened with this post.  I wrote earlier in the week and published it, but for whatever reason it didn't publish.  I just noticed it as I logged onto to blogger to write a post for today.  So this post should have published on November 15th.)

After reading the article that is referenced in the web address above I felt that I had to comment on this story of the football sex scandal at Penn State.  When this story first broke several weeks ago I did not pay any attention to it whatsoever.  At that time it seemed to be just another run-of-the-mill college football scandal. But as the story started to get more traction in the news media felt I had to really understand what was going on.

As I read more about the background of the story I began to feel extremely disturbed by it. You really wonder how people could let this kind of situation knowingly go on.  Could none of these men in leadership positions at Penn State look at the situation from the viewpoint of a parent?  How would these men have felt if one of the abused children were their son?  Was there no compassion in their hearts for these children who were being abused?  Was it more important to win football games than to prevent a child's life from being destroyed?

I find the situation to be particularly galling in context of the article referenced above. When you think that a predator like this looks for children who are vulnerable and do not have a support system for themselves it makes you want to puke. I put this in context of my own life and where Zack and I have been in the last five years. I think of some monster trying to weasel their way into Zack's life because they know he is vulnerable and has lost his mother. It makes me so angry to think that people would do that kind of thing.

When I think of things like this it makes me want to protect Zack all the more. Zack is a trusting and loving individual and someone certainly could try and take advantage of him.  You just feel so bad for those children who were abused by a monster like this. In many cases  these children were coming from difficult family backgrounds. And then they were abused! Dear god how badly would this mess up their lives?

Abuse of children can never be tolerated or swept under the rug. As a result of what happened at Penn State I hope there are significant cultural changes in how college football is viewed. The same rules must be applied to everyone. College football coaches or players are not above the law and need to be held to the same level of conduct and standards that the general public is held. Hence I am glad many people have been fired at Penn State and hopefully everyone who had anything to do with this cover up is eventually fired and prosecuted.  I say all this having grown up in Pennsylvania and being a fan of Penn State.  But as you look at the situation you realize that Joe Paterno stayed in the job way too long and thought of himself as a god.  He really needed to go!  And with that I will step off of my soapbox and move on to a more prosaic subject.

Yesterday I was able to take my first steps since having my surgery four weeks ago.  I never imagined how difficult the recovery from the surgery would be. As a result of only using my right leg last month, my body has become very unbalanced. The muscles on the left side of my body have become so tense and rigid it has made it very difficult for me to start walking again. These muscles were so tense yesterday that my physical therapist decided I needed to undergo acupuncture to relieve some of that tension. That was one the most unusual experiences I have had in a long time. I did not feel the needles being stuck into my skin, however as the therapist worked the needles back and forth it caused my muscles to spasm and release much of the tension. It was very weird.  I am not totally sure I liked it but it did seem to do some good.

For now walking is very painful. I am hoping by the end of this week much of the pain will be gone. Once the pain associated with the muscular tension is gone I think things will get back to normal quickly. I will be sure to do a blog entry about the first hike we take once I can walk normally.

Nancy continues to settle in at Cranbrook.  The jury is still out on whether or not this is been a good move for her.  I expect it will take up to two months for Nancy to totally settle in and adapt to this new life. She is definitely having a lot more social interaction than she has had for a very long time. Additionally she is spending much more time up and about and getting a lot more exercise.  But there is one factor - which I don't really want to go into which tends to balance out the good things that are happening.  So for now it is just a wait and see kind of attitude.

I hope everyone is having a good week so far!

Thanks and peace to all! ~J.

Friday, November 11, 2011

The Silly Little Goose

Today was a day off from school for Zack.  It was a non-contact day for parent teacher conferences.  Zack was extremely luckily in the fact that his "team" of teachers didn't schedule a conference for us since we had a meeting in late September concerning his IEP (Individual Education Plan).  This made the entire day a free day as we had very few commitments other than appoints with both of Zack's psychologists. 

Besides these appointment we spent a good part of the day running around taking care of things that had slipped over the rest of the week.  At the end of it all, I needed some peace and quiet and so we headed out to Chatfield State Park in the late afternoon.  Since I am still on crutches we weren't going any place to hike, I just wanted to get outside and being in nature - so I took us to one of the wetlands overlooks far into the park.

The overlook has a number of benches that are built up on a raised area of land so that you can see a long distance out into the wetlands.  I enjoy sitting there in the silence of the outdoors watching the birds come and go from the swampy wetlands and open water.  Watching large flocks of geese and ducks come in for a landing or take off by running over the water is enjoyable to me.  The manner in which these birds use their wings and muscles to take flight or come to a rest in the water just amazes me.  Their wings seem so delicate and graceful but they give flight to these birds and are so strong as they come in for a landing.  It is something that I just can never understand how they do it.  To me it is a mystery of nature and it is captivating.

Due to the season there are lots of geese migrating through Colorado at this time.  They arrive over the wetlands in great V's sounding as through they are a highway of trucks bearing down upon you with all of their honking.  Once they decide to land the lead goose will pick a glide path that will bring the entire flock down in an open stretch of water.  As they glide closer and closer to the water the ducks begin a braking motion with their wings that slows them down dramatically til they practically just plop down into the water.

Watching the geese take off is adventure of another sort as you always wonder if they are going to pick up enough speed to take off.  They will run along the water, furiously flapping their wings until they gain enough momentum to leap into the air and start flying.  Each time I see a flock of geese do this I get chills down my spine just because of the natural beauty of the act.

Occasionally you will see what I always call the "silly little goose".  It is the one goose that seems to get separated from it's flock.  You can see his one goose flying off in a direction different from one of the V's and you wonder where it is going.  For me it always funny as I watch the "silly little goose" I always get a lump in my throat and wonder if it is OK?  I always feel a sense of warmth and great concern come over me for that silly little goose and I worry about it so much.  Today as I sat there on the bench I saw one of these geese and so I thought a lot about that "silly little goose" and just hoped it was OK and that it would find it's way back to where it supposed to be.

As I write my blog post today I am exhausted and my left hip in is agony because of the crutches.  I walked so much on them today that so much of my body has been totally thrown out of shape.  So for the rest of this evening I am going to rest my body and ready it for another busy day tomorrow.  After Zack and I finish a number of errands early tomorrow I hope to take the rest of the weekend and rest and hibernate to allow my leg to continue it's healing.  This should be the absolute last weekend of rest as I am supposed to be able to start putting weight on my left leg at the beginning of next week.  All I can say is I can't wait!!!

I hope everyone has a great weekend ahead.

Thanks and peace to all! ~J.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Big Changes and a New Website -

I am not sure where to really begin today's blog posting.  Stating the obvious, there has been a big change here at 8642!  Yesterday was the day that Nancy officially moved into assisted living at Cranbrook.

Due to the fact that I am still not able to put any weight on my left foot, I had to rely upon my brother to do the final moving to get Nancy into her new home.  Thankfully there wasn't all that much to move yesterday as we had already moved a lot in the previous weeks.  I am especially thankful to both Tim and Shelly for doing all the work that has been done in the previous weeks to get everything moved in and set up.

Zack had an appointment with one of his psychologist's yesterday so Tim did the moving while Zack and I were out of the house at the appointment.  After the appointment Zack and I took a drive so that I could keep Zack from getting under foot during the move process.  We left his psychologist's office and headed west from Denver along I-70.  We went as far west as Idaho Springs and then headed into the the mountains along the Mt. Evans Highway.  Because of the start of the winter season, the Mount Evan's Highway is closed at Echo Lake, so we continued on Highway 103 over Juniper and Squaw Peak passes until we came out at Bergen Park.  From there we hooked up with I-70 and drove home.  It was a beautiful drive as there was a major snow storm swirling around to the west and we saw some really great cloudscapes with snow spilling out of them.

The change with Nancy's move offers us all opportunities for lots of positive change.  It is funny as I spoke to Nancy via the phone early today and she probably had more to say to me in one conversation than she had had to say in months.  I know at this point she is depressed and missing the environment here at home, but she had a lot of activities today that I think did her a lot of good.  She spent time talking with numerous people her age, she got to know her way around Cranbrook and she spent a bunch of time looking out her window.  Her unit is on the 3rd floor of Cranbrook and it directly overlooks the main entrance.  So just by sitting there and looking out the window she can see all the of the comings and goings - which is certainly a lot more than she sees going on around here on Otero Place.  Even just watching what is going on I think will help keep her mind sharp and engaged with what is going on.

We all have some change and transition to get used to as a result of Nancy's move.  But it obviously provides us an opportunity for positive changes.  I can't speak for Nancy, but for Zack and me there is some sadness with the change, but I really think it is going to provide the platform for a lot of really good things for us.  I know already it is allowing Zack to take more responsibility.  Since I can't use my left leg he is having to do a lot more around the house now that Nancy is at Cranbrook.  Today I taught him how everything there is to know about washing clothes and he washed our laundry for us - how cool is that.  Zack is learning lots and lots of responsibility and for that I am very glad and I am very proud of him!

Over the next several weeks Zack and I are going to do everything we can to make Nancy feel good, positive and happy about her move to Cranbrook as I believe in the long run, living in Cranbrook is going to add years to her life and life to her years!

On a totally different note as I write today's blog entry I am watching NFL football on the TV.  Have you noticed how many NFL players have these absolutely absurd looking beards.  What kind of fashion statement is that?  These beards are so absolutely out of control that a bird could make a nest in there and no one would be any the wiser.  Personally, I have never been a big beard person and having a beard the size of some of these guys beards would drive me nuts.  It has to be so darn itchy and scratchy! Their beards put the Amish and Mennonites to shame!  Take a grooming hint guys - those beards look silly - get rid of them.

And I can't forget some big news for me....  I launched my own website this week.  It isn't a blog, it is a website dedicated to the mountain passes of Colorado.  As you all know I am kind of rabid about being outdoors in Colorado.  I wanted to launch a website that had something to do with the outdoors of Colorado and so many other areas are written about on websites I wanted to start something that no one was writing about.  Please check out the new website about Colorado Mountains Passes.  The address is

I hope everyone has had a great weekend.

Thanks and peace to all! ~J.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Words to Accompany Wordless Wednesday

Technically I shouldn't be adding any words at all to describe Wordless Wednesday - but I can't resist.  I won't make this a habit in the future.

The picture is from 2 years ago when Shelly and I went to NYC at Christmas time.  I choose to put this picture out there for Wordless Wednesday because I really owe Shelly a major debt of gratitude.  As you all know from my writings I had surgery a little over 2 weeks ago to repair the stress fracture in my left fibula.  All-in-all the surgery - though long and more complicated than originally thought, went really well.  The recovery on the other hand hasn't been the easiest.  The recovery hasn't been the easiest because I totally and completely underestimated the impact of the surgery on me.  And add to that the fact that I am a very active person and I just can't handle being immobilized.

Without Shelly and all the help she has provided in the last 2 weeks I just won't have been able to do it. She worked tirelessly to do everything she could to make me comfortable and take care of all the things around the house that needed to be taken care of.  She did a marvelous job helping Zack with all he needed to be ready for school and to make sure he got his home work done, etc.  She also made sure Zack had a wonderful time for Halloween by taking him with her on her yearly trip to Phoenix.  He loved the trip and there is no way Zack would have had any kind of fun over fall break without Shelly - she did it all!

Shelly has been a like a goddess to me throughout this entire time and has done so much to help me.  She even took Nancy out shopping one day to help her buy stuff for her assisted living apartment. 

Given the history that Shelly and I have had for the last 2 years I haven't done a lot of writing about her in this blog.  We have been on-again, off-again for a long time now and so I have really kept most of our stuff to ourselves.  But I simply couldn't let this situation go without saying a very big THANK YOU to Shelly for all that she has done.  Zack, Nancy and me are so grateful for her.

Shell - THANK YOU and no matter what I love you!!  Thank you!!!

I just had to say it all because Shelly has been a blessing to us and she was worked herself to the bone to help me during this incredible tough time.  And she has put up with a lot of whining from me as I just do not do well being a patient and being laid up.  Shelly you a true gem and I owe you so much!!

Thanks and peace to all! ~J.

Wordless Wednesday

I picked up a new blog theme from a fellow blogger.  It is called Wordless Wednesday.  The point of it is to put a picture out on your blog that expresses something without any words.  These words are just an intro to this subject and I won't be publishing any further words with these photos.  Anyway - here's my first wordless Wednesday posting.

Thanks and peace to all!