Iwo Gima

Iwo Gima
Marine Corps Marathon

Thursday, November 27, 2014

November 27, 2014 - Happy Thanksgiving

Today is a day that you're supposed to reflect back on the past year (and maybe farther) and think about what it is you're grateful for, and I can honestly say there are many, many things I am grateful for. On the top of that list is my wife and family. I wouldn't be anything without them. We have had our challenges and some of those have been great, indeed, however the blessings continue to out shine and support where ever and whenever I need it.

We had a great Thanksgiving with our son David, and his family, and it was over at his mother-in-law's home, along with Miriam's mother, brother and sister. There were others there as well, close friends and some new ones who all made it that much better.  Jason was also able to enjoy the visit as we put together a means for him to get into the house (there are steps all around the house), and he was able to just roll on in, with a little help from David. The drive down this morning was one of the easiest drives I've ever done, between San Diego and Los Angeles, and I've done several. We even stopped along the way and had breakfast with Linda's parents, Joe and Jess, and that made the start of Thanksgiving all the more special. It was great seeing them and getting a chance to sit down and have a conversation with them. It is another thing I am grateful for, having great parents we can always call on.

I got to speak with our other son George, who had to work today, as he works retail. He was still able to enjoy the blessings of the day, in his own way and was happy. I didn't get in touch with Sean, our youngest son, though messages were left. Sean also works retail and no doubt worked today, and I hope he had a great Thanksgiving. The other person I was able to speak with was my brother Bruce, he was enjoying his Thanksgiving with Sharron, his wife, back in West Virginia. He sounded good and we had a great conversation.

There are plenty of things to be thankful for, and I'm happy about that. Thank you, for all the continued support and prayers. Take care and stay positive.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

November 26, 2014

Today was a nice crazy kind'a day, where we got up early and played around with the girls for awhile and then we all got ready to go have a family picture taken, for Christmas Cards (we hope to send some out this year). Everything was going great until we attempted to get into the van - the new van. I had extended the lift, and since there really wasn't any easy place to do it, I extended it over the curb, across a small section of grass. No problem so far... Everyone got into the van, and then I went to stow the lift and that's where the challenge came in. With the extra weight of everyone in the van, plus the weight of the power chair it apparently lowered the van enough that the ramp would not move from the down position. That is, it would not retract. I attempted to get enough leverage to "lift" the van a little and get the ramp moving, but apparently it was too late. The ramp was down too far.

Fortunately, our neighbor, Paris (also a Marine), had just gotten home from his shift (possibly on his lunch break) and I was able to ask him for some assistance. He was able to sufficiently lift the ramp and it started to move and retract. I thought it pinched his fingers some, when he did it, but he was alright and we were on our way. It did delay us about 20 minutes, but the folks at the Picture People were kind enough to save our place, and we got right in. They were pretty busy too. The shoot took place; the girls were great; and, we now have some very nice pictures.

After that we came home and got the girls over to their mom's place. They will be having Thanksgiving with her this year, and so they won't be heading up to Los Angeles with us. Jason was able to get back down on the bed and relaxed and Linda and I went to a movie (we needed some time for just  the two of us - it wasn't much, but it was a nice break). We say the new Hunger Games movie, and I have to admit I was pretty ignorant of the story line. Linda, on the other hand knew what was going on, and filled me in, whenever I had a question. The movie jumped a bit for me, but I think that was because of my lack of knowledge. Still, it was enjoyable.

The rest of the evening was spent putting things together for our trip tomorrow, and making some updates on the various means of communication (Face Book, email, my blog...). I also have a few pictures from the Gary Sinise Golfing event, so I'm putting them on tonight. We will be leaving early tomorrow morning, in the hope that we can avoid some of the traffic, so please pray for us. Thank you, for all the continued support and prayer. Take care and stay positive.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

November 25, 2014

To be honest, I didn't know if I would be able to get to this post tonight, as I wanted to catch up on my two days of emails first. Fortunately, a bunch of them were just advertisements, so I was able to get through them much faster than I thought I would, so now on to the blog and to let you all know where we were, and what we were doing.

Jason and I were invited to participate in the Gary Sinise Foundation Golf Tournament, at the Porter Valley Country Club, in Northridge. We went up a couple of days ago, with Linda and the girls, and had a great time. Jason and I were honored to have been placed to play with the foursome, including Gary Sinise, himself, as well as Billy Wagasi, a Navy Seal who is also connected with the foundation. The course was laid out nicely, and by that I mean not too many challenging hills, though there were some. Jason was able to get around in his paramobile and he was able to stay out for a full 9-holes. The previous times we have gone out he wasn't able to get out past the 8th hole. We got in 9-holes and then we had lunch. Gary and Billy continued on and I got Jason back to the hotel to lay down for a little while. Afterward there was a dinner and gathering, where they awarded prizes and did some recognition, including a chance for Jason to address everyone (they gave him the mic and he did a great job), there was also an auction, and I guess it went pretty well.  We drove back home today, and the drive/ride was much better than the one going up.

Going up to Northridge was fine, until we got to San Juan Capistrano. That is where there was some sort of residual affect of a couple of traffic accidents. The 2 1/2 hour drive turned into almost 5 hours and by the time we pulled into the hotel (we stayed at the Raddison), Jason was feeling pretty worn out. Fortunately it was still early enough in the evening that he was able to get some rest, and we were able to get to the event in the morning.

One of the nice things about this trip was that it allowed us to travel as a family in the new van that the Gary Sinise Foundation, along with the Wounded Warrior Family Support Foundation, made possible. It is a full sized van and we were able to hook up a trailer so that we could bring his paramobile along with us, and the entire family was comfortable in the van, even with the luggage. I think even Gracie was happier with this van, though she really doesn't like riding in vehicles much, so "happier" may not be the way she would describe it. Speaking of Gracie, Jason let her run a couple of times, while out on the course, when he saw there were no other golfers (or anybody else) around. I would get ahead of him, 30 ror 40 meters and she would run to me and then turn back and run to him. She was very excited about that and she seemed to want to run all the time, once Jason allowed her to do it.

We are now back home for a day, and then we're going back up to be with our son David, and his family. This time we don't have the girls with us, and we won't be pulling a trailer. He has invited us to Thanksgiving, and we're looking at a great couple of days to spend with them. Stacy has asked a couple of times when she will be able to go up and see her cousins, and that means we will just need to plan a trip early next year. I will be posting some pictures tomorrow, or for those that can find me on Face Book, you can see some there. I didn't take any of those pictures, but they do include us. Thank you for all the continued support and prayers. Take care and stay positive.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

November 22, 2014

There are just far too many ways of communicating today, and then trying to tie them all together makes it even that much more difficult sometimes. I do my best to keep up on my email accounts, and occasionally put posts out on Face Book, and even get comments back. My favorite spot though is right here on my blog.

Got up this morning and decided to go for another bike ride and got in a bit over 16 miles. I think I might have gone farther if I hadn't been thinking about all the stuff I wanted to get done. That's when riding is the most difficult. I start thinking about all the things I'd like to get done and then I start to think about how much time I am using to ride, and it spirals down from there. The good thing though is that my rides are beginning to become more consistently over 15 miles, and I'd like to build them up to over 20 - I just need to keep riding.

We had some visitors today, Dan Figlenski and his two daughters Zoey and Faith. Unfortunately his wife, Jessica, was not able to come, so we'll just have to wait for the next opportunity. We did get some pictures (see below) and I even managed to get in (I took the picture that had Dan in it, and he took the picture with me).  I did forget to mention yesterday that I had another surprise, and that was a call from Bob West. We hadn't talked in over a year, and it was really good to hear his voice. He sounds like he is doing well, and we set some tentative plans to get together, as long as things don't get too crazy and prevent it from happening.

Tomorrow we'll be heading up to North Ridge, to participate in the Gary Sinise Golf tournament, and we're all looking forward to that. We'll be riding up in the new van, and that will kind of be the maiden voyage for  the van. From the short rides we've taken so far it seems to ride pretty well, so I think it will be a good trip. We'll be gone for a couple of days and we'll have the girls with us, and that should make it all the more fun. It is a continuation of the busy month of November, and If I recall clearly, last November was a busy month as well. I guess one crazy month a year is alright, and it might as well be this one. Thank you, for all the continued support and prayers. Take care and stay positive.

Friday, November 21, 2014

November 21, 2014

The day began with me getting up and going for a bike ride (18 miles) and then Linda coming down a short while later. Jason was kicking back as much as he can, so that the wounds get more chance to heal up (more about that later), and he was ready for breakfast. Actually, before going out on my bike I fixed Jason a bowl of Cheerios (Honey Nut), and then I had a bowl of them as well. I prefer to eat an apple and have a yogurt, but since we're out of both I also had a bowl of Cheerios.

The ride was probably one of the best I've had, considering that it was still on a workday. Maybe some of the people have already taken off for Thanksgiving break or something. The number of vehicles on the road was much less than what I'd expect and when I ended up down at the harbor I didn't have to dodge a bunch of pedestrians. I was able to maintain a nice steady pace of about 14 mph and the ride was very enjoyable. The fact that it rained last night made it a little nicer too. The air is always so clear and clean after a rain, and it just feels good.

Jason had to take care of a couple of errands, and an appointment, so he wasn't able to stay down as much as he wanted. When he gets up it always has the potential of causing a little damage to the new skin, and today there was a little damage, rather than healing, and we don't like that. I'm still hopeful that there will be continued progress with this, so we will continue to push forward.

One of the errands that Jason wanted to get done was to make a holiday purchase for the girls, and since we had the time we decided to go. There was also the appointment that he had to take care of, and then the final "errand" was to go pick up the new van. Yes! The van is finally finished and we have it home now. I went with him to pick it up and we are very happy and excited with how it looks and how it works and how it rides. Now we get to use it for our up coming trip up to Los Angeles, at North Ridge. The van is a gift from the Gary Sinise Foundation and Wounded Warrior Family Support Organization, and it is going to be so much fun to finally show them, and to tell them, "Thank you!" in person.

The rest of the evening was relaxed, and focused on making sure we didn't start any new food dishes, so that we wouldn't have a bunch of left overs. We're not going to be home much the rest of this week and we don't want the food to just go bad. Anyway, we're going to be headed out, one more time. Thank you, for all the continued support and prayers. Take care and stay positive.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

November 20, 2014

Good day around here, and we even had some rain... not much, but at least we had some.

I got up and went for a bike ride. It was nice out, though a little cooler than normal (probably down to the low 50's or something). All it did was cause me to decide to put on a t-shirt underneath my otherwise single layered top. After I was out on the street, Linda was up and exercising too, and Jason was playing his video games, and enjoying himself. Of course, before I left he made sure to let me know that he had an appointment, so that I wouldn't go for one of my longer rides.

I got back and chalked up a 13.5 mile ride - took me an hour to do, so I didn't think that was too bad. I had to deal with some commute traffic and a few stop lights. Linda was just finishing her work out and Jason was ready to get his shower in, so that we could get going to his appointment. The appointment was with the urology doctor at the VA. We managed to get in and get seen in a short period of time, and that was a very good thing. I went in with Jason and the doctor's name was... (are you ready)... Jason, Dr. Jason Woo. Seemed like a very nice and intelligent kind of guy and I could tell that he had a great deal of respect for Jason. They talked about what Jason wanted to have done, and it was determined that Jason would continue to see the folks at Balboa, at least for now. We finished up and headed back to the house, and about an hour after leaving the house we returned. I was totally impressed with how fast it went.

The rest of the day was pretty relaxed and not really a great deal of things to be done. Of course we had a friend coming over this afternoon - Chris Greenlaw (see photo below). Before Chris got here there were a couple of other things we needed to take care of. Linda was going to a meeting with Joselyn and I had an appointment with the VA, for the Caregivers, up in Oceanside. Linda took off for her meeting and I took off for mine a little while later. When I arrived at the VA, in Oceanside, I asked where the meeting was, so I walked over to conference room A. There was a nice little sign on the door - "Sorry, the meeting is cancelled - Rescheduled to December 18."  It also said there was some sort of emergency, and that they hoped we didn't have too much inconvenience. I turned around and went back home; heck I don't mind driving 1 1/2 hours just to do nothing.

When I got home there wasn't much going on, so I went up to the computer and checked my email, and then in a few minutes Linda came walking through the door with Chris. It has been months since we've had a chance to see her, and on top of that she was bringing a gift from a mutual friend. Okada-san, a fellow Boy Scouter, only in Japan, had sent over a nice gift for me, so that was pretty cool. We all had a great time visiting and catching up on what they're doing, as well as telling her what we're doing. Finally we went to dinner and then Chris had to get going. She was down visiting her son, Craig, and his family, and we'd already kept her out later than we should have, but it was so good to see her. Thank you, for all the continued prayers and support. Take care and stay positive.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

November 19, 2014

You know, sometimes things get going so fast that I loose track of the days, and suddenly the week is gone. Like today, I had to look at a calendar three times before I accepted the fact that it was Wednesday. On top of that we're headed back up to Los Angeles (up by North Ridge) again, to be a part of a golf tournament, and then later in the week we are going to be going to our son David's mother-in-law's place to enjoy a Thanksgiving dinner. I think that will be the last of the trips to Los Angeles, at least for a little while. One of the things that make this next trip kind of special is that we are going to be heading up there in Jason's new van - it looks like it is finally going to be completed.

There were appointments today, at Balboa, and then Tae (her actual name is Octavia, we just know her as Tae) Harris took us to lunch. Basically, she wanted to catch up with the two of us and to talk about the Wounded Warrior Med Conference coming up on December 4. Jason, Linda and I have been asked to speak, along with one other Wounded Warrior. It should be fun and the support it generates for other patients is going to be truly valuable. Most of the folks at the conference will be in the medical field, and we hope others attend as well. Linda and Tae will be going to lunch separately, and I think they're both looking at it as a "girls afternoon out."

Jason and I went over to the Ability Center, to check out the progress on his new van, and they are just about finished with it. Being able to finally pick up the van is going to be wonderful, and besides I think the folks back at the Wounded Warrior Battalion would like to get their Semper Fi Van back. We've had that van for the better part of three years and we have put most of the miles on the van.

Linda and I finally went to see a movie - Interstellar - and we both thought it was good, but not a great movie. It presented some interesting ideas - that I hope never come to pass - and the special affects were very good. It also had some big names in the movie, and I think I'll stop at this point, to make sure I don't spoil it for anyone who might want to see it. After the movie we went over to Costco and picked up a few things, and then came home. The rest of the evening was basically just relaxed, and doing nothing. I promised some pictures from the past couple of days, so here it is. Thank you, for all the continued support and prayers. Take care and stay positive.