Iwo Gima

Iwo Gima
Marine Corps Marathon

Thursday, March 5, 2015

March 5, 2015

Another amazing day for all of us, as we continue to get back to our "normal" routines. Jason and I even went to Costco today, to pick up a few things. Actually that was a very strange adventure as we were in and out in less than an hour and we spent less than $100. I'm guessing we were abducted and shipped to a different dimension, and we really weren't at Costco. Honestly, I can not remember the last time we went to Costco and got out for less than $100. The people were friendly and even Gracie got to meet a new friend - another service dog was there and Jason took a moment to go say hello with Gracie.

Not much else happened today, other than my bike ride. I didn't quite make 20 miles, though it was still a nice ride. Jason and I will be taking the vehicles in to Ability Center for some adjustments, so I won't be riding tomorrow. We're taking both vehicles because Jason thinks the truck will be left there for a day and so we'll come home in the van. A little later in the day we will be heading up to Fallbrook, to check on the progress of the house and that's about it for the day. We all will be going up, as the girls will be with us and tomorrow is a no school day. As a side note, if you are interested in seeing more pictures about the progress of the house you can go to the Gary Sinsie Foundation web site, and find some there. I will continue to post pictures, but not as often as they do.

That's about all for this posting, as that's about all there is to report on. I do want to take a moment and thank all of you for continuing to read it. I find it kind of fun to do on a daily basis, and maybe even therapeutic. Thank you, for all the continued support and prayers. Take care and stay positive.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

March 4, 2015

Hello, Hello, Hello - We are all back from our travels and getting back into the grove of being in San Diego. We actually got back on the 2nd, but that was late in the evening, with both of us being very tired. Yesterday we had to get up early to get the girls to school, and then in the evening Jason and I went off to another event that we committed too. It was a nice event and the dinner was good, yet I think next time (if there is a next time) I won't plan on going to an event so close to returning from a week being gone, especially if that means coming back from the east coast. Today was much better, and Linda and I even had the chance to take a short nap in the afternoon. Jason was sleeping too, as I think the event wore him down just a little.

We went out to see Dr. Malone (see pic below) and to spend some time with the Bolder Crest Retreat (BCR), being hosted by EOD Warrior Foundation and Courage Beyond. Courage Beyond is focused on helping anyone who is needing help, and not just EOD, as EOD Warrior Foundation is. We had a great time playing in the snow, meeting some old friends and making some new ones. Ken Falke and his wife, Julia, run Boulder Crest Retreat (and own it) was someone we had met back in Bethesda, back in 2011, and even back then he was telling us that we should come out to visit his place - now we have and we look forward to coming back. The next time though we'll bring the girls and even have Jason come along with us, if it is possible. I encourage everyone to get out on the web an check out BCR, and heck, there might be something there for you as well.

While we were gone, Joselyn was here working with Jason and helping him wherever and whenever he might need it. From what she was telling us, though, Jason did most of the stuff on his own. As I mentioned, we left on a Tuesday, so that meant the girls were still with Jason when we left. Jason did all the cooking for the girls and made sure they were taken care of properly. Joselyn said she was impressed with how he just stepped right up and fixed dinner and had no problems getting around in the kitchen. Yes, there were some challenges, and he had to make a few extra efforts, but there wasn't anything that got in the way, to the point that it prevented him from taking care of the girls. He also made sure they got to bed on time and up in the morning. Jason had a pretty good time while we were gone. Joselyn helped to take care of his wounds while I was gone, and I am very happy with the quality of her work, while I was gone.

Yesterday's event, that Jason and I went to was more of a public relations type thing for the two of us, as it was actually at a golf tournament, and neither of us were playing any golf yesterday. We didn't show up to the event until just a little while before dinner, when everyone was socializing. We got to meet a few new people and saw that another friend of ours, Artum, received his own paramobile, and that is a good thing. He is also a bilateral amputee, and his wounds are considered high, though not as high as Jason's. His ability to get out and do more is now greatly enhanced. Jason and I went, and Linda and the girls stayed back at the house - Heck, it was Taco Tuesday, and the girls love Tacos. We got back home, from the event, at about 22:00 (10pm), and then Jason wanted his shower. As a result I was able to get to bed about 22:30(10:30pm).

This morning Linda and I got up, feeling a little better, and that was a good thing. We got the girls up and it felt a little more like a "normal" kind of morning. After getting the girls to school we came back home and then Jason and I took the pets, both Gracie and Mr. Jingles, to the vet. It was a check up kind of visit, and both just happened to fall on the same day - made it a lot easier. Both of them are doing okay, and nobody needed any shots or anything... this made for a short visit. After we got back home Linda had a couple of errands and then needed to get Jackie over for an appointment of her own. While she was doing this I took the opportunity to go for a bike ride. It had been far too many days since my last ride and I really needed to get out. It wasn't a long ride, since it was getting started much later in the day than I usually go, still I was able to get in over 15 miles. Perhaps I'll be able to get another one in tomorrow, and get a few more miles in.

If feels good to be back home, and back into a more regular schedule. We have plenty of things to keep us busy and will be doing just that, staying busy. It feels a lot like Spring is trying to get going, and we would love to see it as soon as possible. Thank you, for all the continued support and prayers. Take care and stay positive.
Meeting with Dr. Malone

Dr. Malone showing us her new truck

George

Linda being silly (and cute)

George working a snow angle

snow angle

Linda playing in the snow

Linda making a snow angle

Linda's snow angle

Our cabin at BCR

The cabin's kitchen

The cabin's dinning area

Sitting area in the cabin

Part of the equine therapy (Clayton and Gabriel)

The labyrinth 

George out in the snow again

George getting ready to head down the snow on a sled

Linda shooting down the slop on a sled

Jason at the golf event with Amir a retired Lt. Col. in the Navy Seals

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

February 25, 2015

Linda and I are out in Bethesda, MD, visiting with some friends and stopping in at the Walter Reed Hospital just to see some of them. Dr.  Malone made herself available to us, for a good part of the day, and even took us to lunch. We got to eat at the new galley and the food was outstanding. I had a chicken and shrimp salad that was much better than anything I expected to find. We also were able to walk around and talk with a number of the other people who know Jason and/or worked with him while he was recovering there, and they all had very positive things to say about him. We ended up spending just about the entire day there, and we are soooo glad we did.

After the initial visit we went to one of the local restaurants and waited for a few of the EOD friends that knew Jason very well. Dr. Malone drove us to the restaurant, so that we didn't have to pay for a cab, and it was kind of on her way home ... okay, she lives in the opposite direction, and it was just very nice that she did it for us. The dinner at the restaurant was very good and more importantly the time with the friends was even better. We are already talking about how we can figure out a way to come back out. I won't be posting any pictures until we get back to San Diego, so I apologize for that, but then on the positive side is that you have something to look forward too.

Tomorrow we need to work our way over to the airport so that we can catch a ride (a van shuttle) to our next stop, at the retreat. Boulder Crest. It is supposed to snow tonight, and even again in the morning, though we have been told that the snow is supposed to have stopped by the time we're to be heading to the airport so we won't have to worry about it. We'll just have to wait and see how it goes. Thank you, for all the continued support and prayers. Take care and stay positive.

Monday, February 23, 2015

February 23, 2015

Today was an interesting day, in that we are flying out tomorrow, late morning, for Virginia, to attend a retreat that Linda and I were invited to, by the EOD Warrior Foundation. The retreat is designed to help specific caregivers deal with the day-to-day stress that can be experienced, in this situation, and when I say, "specific" it is because the target group is parents, as opposed to spouses or significant others. We're both looking forward to going and attending, as it is also providing us an opportunity to go back and visit with some of the first people we encountered after Jason made it back to the States and on to Bethesda Naval Hospital (now it is called Walter Reed). We've been in contact with some of them, and we have a day set up to visit with a bunch of people, then the following day move on to the retreat, and see what that is going to be like. We're both pretty excited about going.

A couple of the first groups of people we met at Bethesda, besides the Marines, was Semper Fi Fund group, who still continues to help us out, and the other was the EOD Wounded Warrior Foundation (Now EOD Warrior Foundation). Both of them helped Linda and I when we were having the greatest challenges, and still trying to figure out what had happened, and what was our life going to be now. We are so grateful for all the support these, and so many other groups have provided us, and when the opportunity presents itself I will do what I can to try to repay all the kindness.

Now more about why today was interesting. The girls went to school, as they normally do, and even managed to get to their respective classes a little early. When Linda and I made it back to the house we began focusing on making sure we had all the supplies we needed and clothes to wear. Here in San Diego, by the Bay, we don't get too much snow, or even cold weather or any kind. As a result all our cold weather stuff is buried in boxes, kept in storage somewhere. A year from now (I hope sooner) we will have most, if not all of that stuff unpacked and put where it belongs. For now, though we had to see what we have available and then purchase those items we need. I think we did a pretty good job of pulling it all together.

There were a number of other issues we needed to get done, and some logistics to make sure was in place, so that we could be comfortable being gone for so long - we'll be gone for about a week. In the past, the longest we've been away from Jason is three days, and then we were relatively close and could be back pretty quickly. This time we are headed across the country, and getting back quickly, would be a little more of a challenge.

Tonight Linda has been focused on making sure all our bags are packed the way she wants them to be, and that we don't forget anything. I've learned over the years to just get out of the way when she gets into this mode and do my best to be supporting (i.e. I go get the stuff she needs, when it isn't sitting at hand). We will be going to the airport in the morning, with Jason taking us, and then we'll be on our way. We come back about a week later and we should be all refreshed and recharged. I don't know how well we'll be able to keep up with the blog, so please don't be upset if there is a gap in posts. Thank you, for all the continued support and prayers. Take care and stay positive.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

February 22, 2015

Apologies to all you regular readers out there, as I was just a bit too tired to post last night - and below is why I was tired, as well as an update for today.

Yesterday began with us getting up and getting ready for Stacy's soccer game. We had plenty of time to do this, and that was good, because I made a wrong turn on the way to the game and spent an extra 10 minutes getting there. As it was, we made it to the game just in time for Stacy to "check-in" with the coach, and then get put on the field. Of course there was a silver lining to arriving late; some of the vehicles from the previous game had left, and that provided closer parking spaces, and we didn't have to walk quite so far.

The game was really quite fun and the kids (on both teams) seemed to have a great time. There was a solid improvement with their skills, and Stacy got in a couple of very good kicks, though there were no shots-on-goal. At the end of the game the score was either 3 - 2 or 4 - 3, and aside from a couple of the parents, I don't think anybody cared much. When the teams did their traditional cheers for the other team the parents all lined up to form "the tunnel" and all the players got to run through it. By "all the players", I mean all of them, from both teams.

After the game we were off to Linda's parents' house, so that we could celebrate Joe's 80th birthday. I know I reported on his birthday once already, but what the heck, he can have as many birthday parties as he wants, as far as I am concerned. By the way, his real birth date is February 24, so I may mention it again in another post. We arrived at their house at about 13:45 (1:45pm), and this gave us a chance to go in and wind down just a little. It also gave me a chance to eat some of the goodies before anyone else got there... I think I'm going to need to find some exercise time over these next several days, no matter how busy I get. At the party were 10 of their great-grand-children, with a few more unable to attend. Of the grand-kids, most of them were there also, and Linda was their only child to be able to make it. I'm sure there will be other opportunities to have the family all there, and that will be a very cool thing indeed. Jason wasn't able to go this time as there isn't a way for him to get into their home yet, though we're discussing ways to build a ramp so that he can.

Joe grilled a bunch of steaks and Jess prepared an amazing spread of food, and snacks and everything was very delicious. We did bring home some of the left overs, as did some of the others. It was really good for us to get to see and spend some time with David, Miriam and their two boys, Dylan and Ethan. We don't get to see our grandsons often enough, but then that's probably how most grandparents feel. This was also a great opportunity for all the cousins to get together, and finally get a chance to meet more of them. Funny part is, not all of them were there, so when we finally do get together, with the ENTIRE family, they'll have new people to meet again.

The party was still going pretty well when we had to get going. There was an hour-plus drive for us to get home, and it was after 20:00 (8pm) when we left. Both of the girls had a great deal of fun, and loved playing with all their cousins, and it showed shortly after leaving - they slept most of the way home.  When we did get home Linda carried Jackie and I carried Stacy in and they went straight to their beds. Neither of them were up too early this morning, though we did manage to still get up with plenty of time to get ready and get to church.

Jason spent most of the day laying down and continuing to rest. He did get up from time to time and even this evening the two of us went to Costco. It was starting to drizzle out, just as we were leaving and Jason made the comment that the drive to Costco was probably going to be fun, since most of the people around here don't seem to know how to drive when the rain starts. As it was, it wasn't too bad, and we managed to get to and from Costco without any traffic problems; and, on top of that, we also managed to get out of Costco for less than $200.00, and that usually doesn't happen.

The rest of the day was spent trying to figure out what we, Linda and I, need for our Virginia trip that is coming up in a couple of days. Linda had to run down to pick up a couple of things, and most of that is related to winter, or cold weather clothes. Funny thing is that a store she called said that a large shipment of winter items arrived late in the season, so they have a large selection still, and that made Linda's efforts a little easier. Some of our dinner tonight was left overs from the party dinner that we had last night, and I wish we had taken more of the potato salad, Mom always makes it and it is always sooooo good. Thank you, for all the continued support and prayers. Take care and stay positive.

Friday, February 20, 2015

February 20, 2015

Jason got out and spent some time doing one of his favorite activities... Shooting. I've gone with him a couple of times in the past, but not today. Today I had a few other chores I needed to get done, and also I needed to pick up the girls today, after they got out of school. Anyway, Jason had fun and I can just imagine how things went.

Jason is a bit of perfectionist, when it comes to a few things, and one of those is his shooting. While others can be seen, on either side of him shooting and squeezing off shots about one ever two seconds, Jason will spend 10 seconds (even more) with each shot, just so he knows his sights are tuned in correctly. Once he is comfortable with the setting of the sights then he will begin shooting more rapidly, but the first part can take up to a half an hour, and those he shoots with are always standing back just watching him. Its funny too, because none of them are bothered by him taking the extra time, as his shots are very accurate and he is amazing to watch. The irony that today was when he was shooting his M-1. While he was using it, it went to automatic rapid fire and pretty well shocked him  at first. Fortunately, the range master was right there and checked out his rifle and was puzzled a bit afterward. There is no setting for automatic, and it shouldn't be able to do that kind of fire, so everyone was puzzled. As it turned out, Jason just put the rifle away and will be working on it tomorrow, after he takes it apart.

Tonight Linda and I took the girls over to visit with our cats, and that was kind of fun. Both of the cats are very well cared for by  their wonderful foster family; Anne, Glenn and their son, Nick.  Candy is still stand-offish and Pumpkin is as friendly as ever. We're so looking forward to the house being finished, so we can come and live with us again. I think once that happens Linda will begin to feel a little more complete.

After the visit we came home, and it was late enough that the girls went straight to bed after a story. Jason was already asleep, so we didn't bother him, and now we're making our way to bed, ourselves. Thank you, for all the continued support and prayers. Take care and stay positive.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

February 19, 2015

Just a quick post, as it is getting late and I am honestly kind of tired right now. Linda and I got up before 07:00 and I went down to fix Jason some breakfast. He wanted some cream of wheat, so that's what I fixed, and since I was making it, I made sure I had enough for me, too. Afterward I decided that I needed to get out on the bike and went for 30+ mile ride, up over Mission Gorge. It has a series of hills that are very challenging and I'm glad I went - my legs, on the other hand, would rather I had stayed home and did some reading or something. Anyway, it was a fun ride and I still managed to get back home before noon.

A little while later - after lunch and a shower - Linda and I went to do some errands, and to look at a couple of consignment stores that she found. One in particular has all kinds of neat stuff in it, and I think we will be going back there again, probably a few times. One of the things I mentioned to Linda, while we were driving back to the house is, "This is what retirement feels like." Today we were not rushed for anything and just simply enjoying spending some time together. I think I may do this retirement thing for a number of years.

The rest of the day was also relaxed, and even Jason got out to take care of a couple of errands he wanted to do. He was supposed to go to an appointment but was contacted shortly before the appointment, and it had been cancelled. The time of this call couldn't have been better, as it allowed him, and Linda, to get out and go do some other shopping (this actually happened while I was out on my ride). They came in to the house, shortly after I got back from my ride, and both of them were in very good and positive moods.

Tomorrow should be like today, as there really isn't much scheduled, other than to get out with some friends and go shoot at the range on Miramar Marine Air Station. I have to get back in time to pick up Stacy and Jackie from school, but I will be able to be there for most of it. Thank you, for all the continued support and prayers. Take care and stay positive.