Iwo Gima

Iwo Gima
Marine Corps Marathon

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

December 31, 2014

Well, another morning without the bike, so I went over to the gym, again, to get some calorie burn in. To be honest about it, it was raining out so I don't think I would have gone out anyway. On top of the rain it was pretty cold, especially for this area. Only a few miles up the road (up I-5) they had some snow. It was on Camp Pendleton, and some of Jason's friends sent him a couple pictures, along with posting it on FB. Funny part is that while I was on the treadmill, listening to the weather channel, they said that 2014 will go down in the record books as the warmest year on record. Just struck me funny that they would say that, right after talking about the snow.

We made a few last preparations for this evening, and the girls even helped me clean the floors (they helped by staying in their room while I swept and mopped). I kept working on sections of the floor and then would let the girls come and inspect and they could play there, while I went on to the next section. I got it all done pretty quickly, and the girls thought it was fun.

Not much else was done today, except heading over to Costco to buy some gas and pick up a couple of things. While we were there I received a phone call from the bike shop and my bike was ready. When we were done at Costco we simply went over to the bike shop and picked up the bike. They put a new crank on and it really looks good, so I'm planning to take it out for a spin tomorrow. Yeah, it is supposed to be a little on the cool side again, but now precipitation, so I'll be okay. Later in the day I will be going out with the girls so they can ride their bikes a little more. I think it is a great way to start the new year.

We planned on having a simple New Year's evening with the girls and with that I just made some hamburgers for all of us, and we'll just waited for the ball to drop signifying a new year. The girls took a good nap today for the purpose of staying up to see the new year in, so we'll see how that goes. Thank you, for all the continued support and prayers. Take care and stay positive . . . And a Happy New Year to All!

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

December 30, 2014

We only have one more day left this year and in my humble opinion, it went way too fast. I remember last Christmas and thinking, wow a new year coming and now, here it is, nearly a year later and that year is just about gone. So much has come and gone and we've had some ups and downs, with ups being way ahead - - - fortunately. I probably won't be posting tomorrow, unless I happen to have some time that allows me to. We have already told the girls they can stay up until the end of the year (midnight) so I expect them to either be full of energy and excited or zonked out on the couch.

Today began with me heading over to the gym. My bike is in the shop so I have to do something else to burn those calories. This holiday season is no different from others, and I have struggled to avoid a bunch of extra calories. I dropped about 20 lbs. coming into Thanksgiving, and now, at the end of the year I have put about five of those back on. Come January, and a repaired bike, I should be able to get back into a routine and drop those five and hopefully a few more off quickly. Linda is the one who has been the real trooper, and has not only lost a bunch of weight, but has also managed to keep those pounds off. I am so proud of her.

Jason looks like he also dropped a few pounds and is looking healthier. His wounds are looking the best they have looked in a long time, and I am confident that he can get them fully closed over these next few months. There is still the challenge of finding him a seating solution that allows him to stay up in his chair, without putting undue pressure on those areas, and we have some very good folks working on just  that.

Tonight we went and saw The Hobbit, and really enjoyed it. They did a very good job of picking up just where they left off with the first part, last year. They also did a pretty good job of staying with the story, and I guess that's why it was made into a two-part series. We had a baby sitter come over to stay with the girls, and that worked out very well. Stacy and Jackie were already familiar with Caroline, so they felt they were getting a special treat and had no problems with all of us leaving them at the house.

Not sure what all is going to be going on tomorrow, since we're having a bit of rain here. I was hoping to get the girls out on their bikes, but that may not happen now. I'm sure there will be plenty of time for them to ride with the coming year, so we'll just take whatever happens. Thank you, for all the continued support and prayers. Take care and stay positive.

December 29, 2014

We've decided to keep our Christmas decorations up at least until the end of the first week of January. We thought about starting to take them down, and then recognized that the girls both really enjoy them, and so we will keep them up as long as they are with us, and that gets us to the end of the first week. We should have them all packed up by the 8th or so, and then look forward to the next major holiday ... Groundhog Day!

Today started with George and I going over to the bicycle shop and putting my bike in for some service and a tune up. As it turned out they suggested to have even more work than I thought was needed, but only because there is a part that is difficult to acquire (center ring on the front crank). I told them to go ahead and replace the entire crank, and it is going to cost $20 more, but then I'll have a new crank. I shouldn't complain though, I thought the total cost would be about $150 and it looks like it will come in, less than that.

We came back to the house and then we took George to the air port where he caught his flight back home. There were a couple of delays, and he took off about 30 minutes later than originally scheduled, but we know he arrived home safely, and that is the most important thing. Our friend Rick Edson picked him up and took him to his home, and now George will be able to get to work tomorrow. George is very dedicated to his job, and they love him for it.

We had a couple more errands, and then I took everybody back home. The last was the trip to Costco and I ran that one on my own. Linda was back at the house taking care of a few other things, and it allowed the girls to stay home and play, like they wanted. What was really good today was that Jason was able to basically just stay in bed, again today, and allow the wounds to progress a bit more. I am very pleased at how they are progressing, and actually look forward to our next visit to Wound Care, so they can see how well he is doing.

Tonight we had a roasted chicken and baked potato, with some carrots. It was kind of funny when the girls asked for dessert, because Jackie asked first and she wanted jelly beans (Jelly Belly). As soon as Stacy saw that we were okay with it she jumped in and said she was wanting the same thing. Linda allowed them to each have just a couple, and they were very happy to have it. I found it amusing that they were happy with that type of dessert.

Not much else going on other than we are looking to go see the Hobbit tomorrow. We have someone coming in to watch the girls, and then we'll go to the movie. It is a very popular movie, so I am hoping that it won't be too busy. Thank you, for all the continued support and prayers. Take care and stay positive.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

December 28, 2014

 We got up this morning, and thought it was going to be a laid back, relaxed morning getting ready for church. The challenge to this was that last night I decided to go ahead and list the Explorer (This is the truck that Jason gave me after he was injured. He was never going to be able to drive it again and it provided me with a vehicle, before Linda had come down) for sale. I woke up to a text message, and then another and then phone calls, and before 08:00 I had spoken to five potential buyers and had made appointments with all of them, for this afternoon. As it was, I still had time to get it down to the car wash  and back home again before church.

We went to church and it was very nice and relaxing. We took George with us, to meet some of the folks there, and to show him we were involved with a new church community. After church we headed home and just as we arrived the phone started going again. This time it was the same five folks and me telling them that the first buyer was going to be buying the truck. I kind of felt guilty that I wasn't able to let some of the other folks know sooner, and save them the trouble of driving up to a half an hour to get here, but it turned out as it did. The gentleman I sold it to, turned out to be a Marine, and that made me feel better, and he really seemed to know quite allot about vehicles and Fords in particular. He even brought some of his own test equipment and hooked up to find that the engine was in good shape and he was happy with the results. No haggling on the price, and in fact one of the other five offered to pay me a couple hundred more. I had already shook on the deal and the truck was sold for my asking price. The selling of the truck will help Linda and I with some upcoming expenses.

The rest of the evening was spent taking care of some paper work and then George and I took the girls to the San Diego Zoo. They are having a special Zoo-Lights event for the rest of the year and we wanted to let the girls see it. We did something different this time, too. We just walked everywhere, and didn't jump on a tour bus. The girls had a great time and we even visited an area we hadn't been to since last year - and that was the snakes and lizards displays. The girls were totally fascinated with all that they saw and managed to do a great deal of walking. We stayed until the lights, and then a little while after, then went home. When we got home, it was easy to tell they were tired. Linda had dinner just about ready, and then we sat down and had dinner. The girls went to bed, and this was Linda's turn to read them a story, and my guess is that they will sleep well tonight. Thank you, for all the continued support and prayers. Take care and stay positive.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

December 27, 2014

It has been a very exciting and different kind of day. We were invited to go view a private screening of the movie, Unbroken, by Trident Realty Group and Home Bridge Financial. Both organizations are led by veterans and have a special place in their hearts for other veterans. Jason and I met Mike Chiesl, of Trident, a couple of years ago, and the property where Jason's new home is being built was located by Tim Kirk, a member of Trident. Anyway, the theater was full and it was a very good movie. I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys historical stories, and doesn't need to have lots of sci-fi special effects. The acting was excellent and the directing was much, much better than I expected. Angelina Jolie did an outstanding job, from my perspective.

We had a young woman, from church, come do the honor of watching the girls. As it turned out, it was good for the young woman, as she is headed back to college in about a week, and this was a chance to do something different.

We got home at about 14:30 (2:30pm) and the girls were asleep. This is probably a good thing as we had a couple of things to do, and time was needed to finish everything up. We could have gotten home a little sooner, but we wanted to drive by the property, where Jason's house is being built, to show George just where it is, and what the property looks like. We hadn't been there is several weeks, and one of the big changes was that the lot next to Jason's is being worked on right now, so we'll have neighbors, I think, when we move in. Well, actually there are some neighbors already, just this one is right next door and shares a property line.

Not much else happened tonight, except that I fixed a nice dinner of salmon and rice. We had pumpkin pie for dessert, and I usually don't eat dessert. Not sure what we'll be doing tomorrow, other than going to church, so I might just take a little time to get the girls out on their bikes. Thank you, for all the continued support and prayers. Take care and stay positive.

Friday, December 26, 2014

December 26, 2014

Christmas Day was excellent, and very tiring. Linda and I stayed up late on Christmas Eve and then the girls got us up very early the next day. We would have liked to have been able to get a nap in there, but it just wasn't to be. By the end of the day we were both very tired and went to bed a little on the early side (about 21:30, or 9:30pm). That is why there was no post yesterday...

Gifts were exchanged and we had great fun watching the girls open their gifts, and despite our best efforts, there were still several gifts for the girls. We had agreed that the number of gifts this year was going to be kept at a minimum because there just isn't much more room here, and we already have too much stuff to deal with. When we get in to the new home it will have more space and more importantly, it will have storage room. Anyway, the girls were all very excited about all their gifts and then Jason brought in (he actually had me bring them in) the big ones. He bought bicycles for the girls and they were very excited about it.

And that actually brings us to today. This morning we had a big breakfast and then a quick visit by the young woman who will be watching the girls tomorrow, while we are out. We wanted to have her come by, so the girls could meet her and we could meet her and it all worked very well - but more on that later. Around 11:30 we all went over to the school's parking lot and let the girls try out their new bikes. Stacy was a little nervous at first and then got used to it very quickly. Both bikes have training wheels and they are going to be needed for a little while. Jackie had a little difficulty with the peddles and after a few minutes of helping her to get them to go around with her feet on them she began to do a bunch more riding on her own. She still has to master the use of the breaks, and I think that will be done before the end of next week. Stacy wants to go for a ride with me, so I have something to look forward to.

The rest of the day was spent with Linda taking care of some of the returns she needs to get done, and a few other tasks around the house, like taking care of the animals and cleaning Mr Jingles' cage. Then tomorrow we will be going out to a "private" screening of Unbroken, the movie about Louis Zamperini, and his life. This is why we need the help of the young woman who will be taking care of them while we're gone. Jason and I had the opportunity to see Mr. Zamperini a couple of years ago, and would have loved to have gotten to know him, but that wasn't to be. Tonight, Linda, George (as a reminder, our son George came down for a visit) and I watched a movie that George received for Christmas - The Guardians of The Galaxy". It was the first time for both George and Linda, and I enjoyed it when I saw it - just a funny and silly movie from Marvel Comics. Thank you, for all the continued support and prayers. Take care and stay positive.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

December 24, 2014

It was the night before Christmas, when all through the house, not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse ... okay, maybe a few creatures were stirring, but somebody had to get the last of the preparations done. The girls didn't get to bed until after 21:00 (9pm), and that is late for them. I guess we could have pushed and gotten them to go to bed earlier, but that just didn't feel right tonight. Linda is still running around taking care of the last little things, just like when Jason was back at home with his brothers. She is happy and feeling like this is the way it is supposed to be - normal, if you will.

I actually began the day with a quick 15 mile ride (only took an hour), and Linda was getting some early morning exercise in as well. Because George is here, the girls have another adult to go to with questions, and both Stacy and Jackie think their Uncle George is great fun. This also gives us a little bit of a chance to take care of some last minute stuff, without worrying about hiding stuff from the girls.

We had a very nice dinner, that was relaxed and loaded with all kinds of conversation. Later in the evening I helped the girls create their cards for Daddy, and both of them did an outstanding job. I really didn't have to do much to help Stacy, she is developing so well. Tomorrow should be a fun day, filled with all kinds of things, and I probably won't be putting a post out tomorrow. Thank you, for all the continued support and prayers. Take care and stay positive.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

December 23, 2014

Today was a very busy day, and if you manage to ignore all the traffic, it was a very pleasurable day. We had one appointment today, with the VA, and also a need to get over to the DMV so Jason could get the permanent plates for his truck. The previous time we were at the DMV (Department of Motor Vehicles) one of the clerks told Jason that he would have to come back in with the plates and exchange them for the Purple Heart Plates. We said, "Okay." Then went home to wait. The original plates finally showed up and Jason took them in to exchange them, only that didn't happen. This time we spoke with another woman working the window and and she said the Purple Heart plates should have been ordered with the last attempt to get them. Bottom line is that Jason should finally get his license plates around the end of February.

Out oldest son George, flew in today, from Livermore. A big hug to our friend Chris who drove George to the airport and walked him to the gate of departure. George has special needs and requires assistance when traveling alone. He will be staying with us for a week and then he'll be headed back home. George was pretty excited that Jason let him sleep on the cot that Jason used in Afghanistan. We are happy that he wanted to spend Christmas with us, it's been about a year since I saw George. Linda was able to see him this past summer after she attended the Blue Star Mother's Convention in San Francisco. Stacy and Jackie love when their uncles come to visit. It would be exceptionally wonderful to have all four of our son's with us for Christmas; maybe another year. I'll do my best to get some pictures posted, from the visit.

As you can imagine the girls are counting the days until Christmas. Tonight at dinner Jackie told me that I was Santa (I guess I look a little like the guy) and Stacy said that I wasn't because my beard is too short, I love being a Grandpa. I think I'll bake some cookies tomorrow while Linda finishes up wrapping some presents. Thank you, for all the continued support and prayers. Please take care and stay positive.

Monday, December 22, 2014

December 22, 2014

The day started early for Linda and I, today. She got up to take care of some personal things and I was up so that I could get in an early and fast bike ride. It was only 15 miles, and I did it in just over an hour. It was probably one of the best I have had along the harbor, and that was because there were few pedestrians around. I was able to get up a nice cruse going and didn't have that many people to dodge and slow me down.

When I got back the girls were both up and having fun with Jason. Linda was in the kitchen getting their breakfast ready. I sat down to cool off a bit and then a short while later Linda took off for most of the day. She had a bunch of things she wanted to get done before George came for his visit tomorrow, so that we could spend the time with him. I also had a few things I needed to get done, and I also had promised to take the girls to the park. There is a small local park that they enjoy going to, and it is within walking distance of the house. When we arrived there was another gentleman there with his two grand sons. He and I sat on a bench and watched the kids running and playing. It was nice just sitting back and talking with him, while also monitoring the girls. We stayed for about an hour or so and then came back to the house.

Actually, about that time was now lunch, so I fixed a nice and easy lunch for the girls and after that they wanted to lay down and rest. This worked for me, as I needed to run over to the Wounded Warrior Project to pick up a Christmas dinner they were offering to the alumni, and we are a part of that. It looks pretty good, and we'll probably actually have it on Christmas, so that we don't have to do too much to prepare dinner.

The rest of the day was just getting the last couple of things done and taking care of some of the stuff around the house. Dinner tonight was fish sticks, and everybody was happy about that. After dinner we watched a couple of old Christmas movies, one with the girls before they went to bed, and then Linda and I watched another one after they went to bed. With the second one we fell asleep on the couch and when I woke up I said I think its time for bed. Thanks, for all the continued support and prayers. Take care and stay positive.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

December 21, 2014 - Happy Winter

Today is the first day of winter, and it really showed down here. I actually got the light jacket out of the closet and carried it with us tonight (didn't put it on, but I had it just in case). We went out for a nice dinner with another couple tonight, and it was very enjoyable. They took us to a Mexican Sea Food restaurant and the food was excellent. Afterward we went to another place and had dessert, which was also very good. Needless to say, I need to get some exercise in tomorrow to "pay" for all this - I must have gained 5 lbs.

But I'm getting ahead of myself. This morning we got up and decided we really needed to finish all the Christmas cards, and we did. The challenge was that today is Sunday and the Post Office is closed, or at least that was what I thought. It was still early, almost 08:00 and I decided to go for a ride. On my way out I rode over to the local post office and they have a notice on the door that said they were going to be open today, after 10:00 for four hours. I immediately stopped and got on the phone and called Linda to let her know that we could still get the cards to the post office TODAY! I got my 21 miles in and felt pretty good, when I got back home. Jumped in the shower and the two of us were off to mail the letters. The oops I made was that I didn't see that our local office was still closed and we needed to go to another one. We stopped to get some gas at Costco (gas is continuing to go down, and that is a good thing) and then headed out to the next closest office.

We arrived at El Cajon post office and there was just one other person in line. We basically walked up and another clerk came up to the counter and we were served. He was extremely helpful and since we had 90 Christmas cards, that all had to be checked individually, with one of the also being international, we needed the extra attention. As it turned out most of the cards needed an additional $.42 of postage (they were slightly over weight and they all had a special handling because of size), and he came up with the easiest solution for stamps. We got the cards mailed and we felt pretty good, since this was the first time we had sent out cards in almost five years. When we got back home we realized that we had forgotten a few so we'll end up getting those out tomorrow, and they'll probably be a little late in arriving.

Once we were done with that we decided to head back home and get things ready so we could get out tonight (the dinner I talked about, above). We needed to make sure Jason was taken care of and he had a dinner ready for him. I did a dressing change and the wounds are looking better again, and that makes me hopeful for the rest of the year. We went to dinner and had a very enjoyable time and came back home, with some time to spare. The girls were coming over at 20:00 (8pm), or so we thought to stay with us a night early. They showed up about an hour later and we were all happy to be together again. They had been fed, bathed and were ready for bed, and this was excellent. I read them a nice bed time story and Linda and I put them to bed. Jason had fallen asleep by the time they came, so he'll have to wait until morning to see them. Thank you, for all the continued support and prayers. Take care and stay positive.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

December 20, 2014

Well, we didn't finish the Christmas Cards, like we wanted to. Tomorrow is Sunday so we'll just have to wait until Monday to get them in the mail. That means some of them (most of them?) won't make to their destinations before Christmas. May be that's a good thing, as people will still be receiving some mail after Christmas... ;-)

Linda was up early this morning, and that's after staying up late last night, working on the cards. I had pretty well done most of what I needed to get done, and because Linda wants to be sure they all get done the way they should be, she is doing them. Guys, and I'm one of them, have a tendency to want to just get it done, and women, Linda in this case, want to be sure everything is done correctly. The mistake we made was not getting started on them soon enough. Next year should be better.

I did get a short bike ride in today - Linda needed a paper cutter (her's broke) so I rode down on my bike to buy one. I got it back to the house and then decided to ride out to Costco to pick up a couple of things that would simply fit in my back pack, also for Linda. Apparently, when I made the first of the two trips I must have run over a small piece of steel, because I noticed the rear tire being a little low when I was getting ready to take off for the second trip. I didn't think much about it, as the tires tend to loose a little air over time anyway. By the time I had another 8 miles down the tire was flat, so I stopped to put more air into it and then another 1/2 mile and it was flat again. I ended up calling home and Jason came to pick me up in the truck. I did make it to Costco though, and I did pick up the items for Linda.

The rest of the day was spent finishing the cards and basically staying at home. Tomorrow we will be relaxing a bit and Linda and I are being taken out to dinner by a couple of friends of ours. I'd let you know where we're going, except I don't know; just that it is a nice restaurant. Thank you, for all the continued support and prayers. Take care and stay positive.

Friday, December 19, 2014

December 19, 2014

Today was really a fun day for Jason, Linda and I (girls are with their mother). We went up to speak with the builders of his future home, and we discussed interior issues, as well as some structural ones. Effectively, the house is designed. It is a matter of getting all the permits done and some of the minor other issues done and lined up. The house is being built to make life easier for Jason, and with the idea that the house is more than just a house, it is his HOME. It is a place where he will be able to do all the things anyone else can do in a house, and he will know he is safe. We are so excited about what is happening, and Linda and I are so very happy to be a part of this. For those of you who are able to find me on Face Book you will see a new video that was recently released by the Gary Sinise Foundation, and it explains the house better than I ever could. Please take a moment and view the video.

The trip up to the meeting took us about an hour, and that was because we (I) got lost (I was driving), so it wasn't too bad. We spent another 2 1/2 hours talking with the team and then we headed back home. Traffic was building up some now, and it still took about an hour to get home. This means that Jason was up in his chair for about 5 hours total, with a couple of those hours being bounced around a bit. That bouncing is what I get concerned about the most. Actually, I found out later from Linda, that the freeway we came back on was now nearly solid bumper-to-bumper and moving very slowly. Linda was out at Target and came right back when she was done. We had lunch and then Jason went to sleep, and that was good.

Linda and I also decided to take care of some of our other important tasks, and that happens to be the need to get the Christmas Cards out. They will be in the mail, in the morning.... Hurray! We ended up sending out nearly 100 cards, and basically stopped at that point. We've compiled as many addresses as we could; Linda had packed our address book and we haven't been able to locate it within the boxes in storage. We sincerely apologize if you were looking for a card from us, and we didn't get to it. We wish you a very Happy and Merry Christmas, as well as a Happy New Year. The rest of this evening is going to be spent just relaxing and getting ready for the weekend. Thank you, for the continued support and prayers. Take care and stay positive.

December 18, 2014

Getting the post out a little later than I usually do, and actually it is after midnight so it is now the 19th. We just got back from the movies, and I just wanted to be sure to get something out here for the blog.

Jason and I went to Balboa this morning and he had two appointments. His first appointment was with Wound Care and it was an early one - about 08:50 (usually we're going in at almost 11:00). They were very pleased with how both wound areas are looking and so am I. We will continue to minimize the amount of time he spends in his chair, and thus give it more opportunity to heal. After the Wound Care Jason had an appointment with the folks at Physical Therapy. I told Jason that I would be getting a hair cut while he was at that appointment, and I would meet him there.

As it turned out there was no waiting at the barber so I was in and out a little faster than usual, and that was a good thing. That gave me a chance to go over to the ASYMCA (Armed Services YMCA) and go say, "Hi!" to a couple of the folks there, and also wish them a Merry Christmas. I then walked over to where Jason was and he was getting close to being done. Jason also brought along Christmas cards and was handing them out to people, and while we were at Balboa (Linda and I need to finish up our cards tomorrow). Finally we went over to Bldg 26 and Jason had to take care of a couple things with the VA, and then we went back home.

The next thing was that I was needing to get up to Oceanside for a Caregiver meeting. Linda and I drove up and found out that the meeting, again, was cancelled. We weren't the only caregivers to be there and there were a number of the VA people a little embarrassed that we were there. It really wouldn't have bothered me so much except that the drive up was almost an hour, and now we had to turn around and go back home. I guess with all the stuff going on this week we needed a little extra rest so we just laid down to take a nap.

We got up from the nap and decided we wanted to go to a late showing of Exodus. We fixed dinner and cleaned up and then the three of us went to the 21:00 (9:00pm) showing of the movie. It was a pretty good movie, but the movie The Ten Commandments I felt was much better and told a better story. Besides, the newer one left a few things out that I felt were important. I'm not going to say what they were as you might want to go see it, and I don't want to spoil it for you. Bottom line it was a different slant on the story, and basically it was the same. We came back home after midnight and we're now getting ready to go to bed. We have to get up early tomorrow as we have a meeting about the house, and want to be on time, if we can. I'll go over this more tomorrow, or should I say later today. Thank you, for all the continued support and prayers. Take care and stay positive.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

December 17, 2014

First a recap of yesterday - since I didn't post yesterday...

Monday ended with everyone getting to bed at a reasonable hour, and I had expectations of sleeping very soundly through the night. At about 01:10 I received a call from Jason, who was up with Stacy. She was having some very tough pains in her lower abdomen and we soon decided that we needed to get her to the ER, at Balboa.

We arrived there at about 01:40, and by 02:00 (I happened to look at a clock) a nurse was working with Stacy, in the ER. They diagnosed that it was severe constipation and after taking some X-rays decided that they were correct. I was worried it was an appendix problem, and I was very glad when I found out I was wrong. They also ran some cultures and found out that she had a urinary infection (UTI). Total time at the ER was just about 3 1/2 hours, and though it was now almost time to be getting up, I felt like it wasn't a long stay. We left with the antibiotics and went straight home.

Fortunately, Linda was able to get back to sleep with Jackie, at least for a couple of hours. I didn't wake either of them until it was time for Jackie to start getting ready for school (we decided Stacy should just stay home and rest). Since Linda also had an early appointment to get to I let her know I could take Jackie to school, and I would let them know what was going on with Stacy. We actually thought that for the most part, everything should settle down now. But it didn't - Stacy had an appointment with her doctor (it had already been scheduled previously), and it is important to know this, for the next issue. She was up a couple hours later and still complaining of stomach/ abdominal issues. Because of the rain, and the time of the appointment, it was decided that I would take Stacy to see her doctor, and let them know about the ER visit earlier in the day. When we arrived the exam led them to believe, again, it might be an appendix issue. In order to have the right tests Stacy was going to have to go to the ER at Rady Hospital, and so began our next ER visit on Tuesday.

This visit proved to be a bit more painful for Stacy, as they had to draw blood this time, and she really does hate needles, and tests were run. The final outcome was, again determined that she was very constipated and backed up, and needed an enema. Of course this took several hours to figure out and, in their defense, there were multiple labs to be done, and all these take time. Their first blood test was some how messed up and they had to come get more blood, which Stacy really didn't want to happen. Finally, everything done, the enema was given and a short while later Stacy was cleared and she felt much better, immediately. Stacy was back in her own bed at about 23:30 (11:30pm). Needless to say, we were both tired, and I was out.

This morning rolled around and at 05:20 I am up again, and I need to help Anthony get to the airport, to catch a flight. Not sure why I wake up like that, but when I know I need to be up at a certain hour I tend to wake up very close to the hour, without using an alarm clock. When I was done with that I was back in bed at about 06:10, and trying to get some rest when Jackie came up and wanted to get in bed with Grandma, where I also happened to be. She was very happy and full of energy so we got up and did our regular routine of getting her ready for school. Before we went to school Stacy came out and also stated she wanted to go to school - the Christmas show was set for tonight and she wanted to be a part of it. Jackie was ready to go so I took her and came back and then took Stacy.

The rest of the day was pretty relaxed, and I even got in a short bike ride. This was quite nice considering that it was raining when I took Anthony to the airport. Jason had a couple of appointments, so he took off, with Gracie, and Linda and I stayed at home. We took care of a couple of little chores and things around the house, and then I took a little nap. While napping Linda was able to get out and do a little shopping.

The evening came and we all got ready to head over to the Christmas program, where both girls were going to be singing. It was a nice program and very enjoyable. It didn't take too long and it is always fun to sit back and watch the children stand up, so proud of themselves, and listen to them sign. Even better is watching the parents when their kids are singing as they all get up as close to the front as they can, so they can get that one better picture. For the most part they attempt to be courteous but some of them really don't seem to realize just how silly they look. It was a nice program and we were glad we went. The girls went out with their mother this time, and we came back to the house. Thank you, for all the continued support and prayers. Take care and stay positive.

Monday, December 15, 2014

December 15, 2014

Well, we had a great weekend and made the most of the relaxing time. The weather improved from the rain storm we had - and we really do need the rain, so I am hoping we get some more. We made a little progress with our Christmas Cards, and who knows, we may be able to actually get them out this year, before Christmas (I was hoping to have it done by today, actually). On Saturday I got in a nice 25-mile ride, and then on Sunday to switched to a faster pace and put in 15 miles, so I'd be back home in time to go to church. Now all I have to do is be able to get in 30 miles at the 15 mile pace, and I'll be ready for the longer rides... ;-)

Also on Sunday we went over to our friend's home, Anthony and Angelica, and enjoyed a nice relaxing time with them. We made it back to the house about 19:00 (7pm) and within a pretty short amount of time had the girls bathed and in bed. All quiet at the house by 20:30 (8:30pm) and shortly thereafter we were ready for bed ourselves. Sofia, from Serving Spoons, had left a very nice dinner for us, and it was waiting, hidden, when we got home. We had actually communicated with Sofia the day before so we kind of knew where to look.

Today began a little on the rough side. Both Stacy and Jackie had gotten us up a couple of times, through the night, and as we result we're both kind of worn down tonight. Perhaps we'll be able to get to bed early and be able to get the full 8-hours in. Anyway, we were up at about the same time as we usually do, and we were able to get the girls to school with a few minutes to spare. Afterward, Linda had a couple of errands to run; Jason had a few errands to run; and, I had a couple of things I wanted to get done. I think the extra errands is a direct result of the holidays that are upon us right now. Linda went one way and I went with Jason, to help him out with some of his Christmas shopping. After we returned to the house I went back out, on my own, to take care of the two little errands I wanted to get done.

Tonight we ate the Serving Spoons dinner, and it was excellent, as always, and the funny thing is, is that she is looking for another family or two, in this area, to help in the same way. I need to connect with another family that would appreciate this gift. I also made some Toll House cookies, with the girls. It is the first time that they have made cookies with me, and both of them had a great time. The cookies came out very nice, only I didn't make my usual double batch. I told Jason I was anxious to get into the new kitchen of his new house, so I could make more and possibly get some other baking and other cooking done. The rest of the evening was getting the girls to bed and Jason's dressing changes in, and then that was it. The really good news is that once again, Jason's wounds are looking pretty good, and we might see some significant improvement before the end of the year.  Thank you, for all the continued support and prayers. Take care and stay positive.

Friday, December 12, 2014

December 12, 2014

I felt kind of special today... It actually rained most of the day here, and at times it actually rained kind of hard. Most of the time it wasn't very hard at all, though. Unfortunately it doesn't look like it will rain tomorrow, but that's okay, we have some things to do and the rain would make some of them a little more difficult.

We took the girls to school today, and we still walked, and they got to wear their rubber rain boots. They were pretty excited to do that. What I found out later was that the school administrators truly considered closing the school down today, just because of the rain. "There is a concern for the standing water caused by poor drainage." I just kind of felt numb when I heard that. Now I know the folks in So. Cal have a slanted view of the world and reality, but come on, a little rain and you shut down the school? Fortunately, there are enough people around that over road that line of thinking.

No problems with the van today, as we did take it out for a short spin, and went over to Balboa. There was a Christmas luncheon today, put on by the ASYMCA (Armed Services YMCA), and the kids who registered received some gifts, along with the lunch. Stacy and Jackie both got to pick out a little something and were very happy with what they got (Stacy a very nice Barbie Doll and Jackie wanted a Play Dough set). I'll post a few photos of the event, like Jason with Santa, tomorrow. A little later in the day we took them to a birthday party at Chuck E Cheese. It was one of the girls in Stacy's Kindergarten class. We got there at about 16:00 (4pm) and left at around 19:30 (7:30pm).

Tomorrow we hope to have a nice relaxed day, and should be able to stay dry. Thank you for all the continued support and prayers. Take care and stay positive.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

December 11, 2014

Today started out with Linda and I still getting up before 07:00 and looking at all the different little chores/tasks we wanted to get accomplished. One of those was for me to get a 25 + mile ride in, and I did it with some morning left over to spare. I was really kind of surprised that when I got back home I felt pretty good, and I figure it was all related to my diet. Prior to the ride I ate an apple and a yogurt, and then on the turn around, to come back home I stopped and had a banana and a small packet of honey. I think the honey was the most important thing for energy. I'm going to continue working like that and work myself up to even longer rides.

Linda went off with a friend of hers, to go look at thrift stores and do a little shopping. It was one of those girls days out, kind of things. I guess it had the effect needed because she came back with only a few things purchased, and she was in a great mood. You might wonder where was Jason in all this, well he was relaxing in his room playing his video games, and that was okay by us. Of course he did do other things, and took care of a few on line needs and communications, but most importantly he didn't put any stress on the wounds.

One thing that happened today, and it was kind of expected, was that the van has returned! They got it fixed and made a minor change in the dash board (the average person would not even notice the difference), and now it works again. The problem was a blown fuse. 

Tonight we went out to visit with the cats, as we hadn't seen them in a few weeks. It was fun and we even had the girls with us. Where the cats are staying, there are a few dogs in the house as well, and they all seem to get along okay. The girls were initially interested in seeing the cats, but as soon as they saw the dogs the cats were almost forgotten. The dogs are cute and small, so it is the perfect size for them to play with, and they did. Jackie didn't want to come home! Anyway, that was pretty much the day, and it was a nice relaxing day. Thank you, for all the continued support and prayers. Take care and stay positive.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

December 13, 2014

Today was another of those days when things just go right. It began with Jason having to get ready to go to PT, at Balboa, and at the same time I took the SemperFi van back to the Wounded Warrior Battalion. The SemperFi van was great having, since we really did need it, just to get around, and now another family will be using it. We made sure it was clean and had a full tank of gas. I also spoke with Terry, from the Ability Center and found out that our Ford van should be ready tomorrow, and that they did find out what was going on with the shifter being stuck in park all the time. Apparently there was a blown fuse and when it was replaced, everything thing worked again. I know, it makes you wonder why it too so long to figure out it was a blown fuse, but I don't care at this point, I'm just glad that it should be back tomorrow. Because it was a  "should be" we still went ahead and took the loaner van... just in case.

Linda and I took the girls to school and then we had a bunch of other little things to get done. The one BIG thing we needed to get done was our trip to Costco, so when Jason and I got back from the morning appointments Linda and I went to Costco. We managed to only buy a couple of things that weren't on the list, and got out relatively inexpensively... One of the other things we did, while by the Costco was to go to Ikea (the two stores sit very close to each other). Neither of us had ever been in an Ikea, so it was a learning experience for both of us. To be honest, we were not impressed all that much. I did like that they offer an area to watch the children (you have to pay for it), and there is a food court like area, in the store. There were a couple of things that we thought were nice, but over all I would have to say it is kind of low on our list for places to shop.

The rest of the evening was relaxed, and Jason even fell asleep kind of early. Linda and I had a nice dinner (Jason ate later), and then we watched the movie, The Giver with Jeff Bridges, right after I finished my blog - which I'm doing right now. Thank you, for all the continued support and prayers. Take care and stay positive.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

December 9, 2014

Another good day to relax, and Jason did just that. He didn't get up any more than he absolutely needed to, and that is very helpful to his healing effort. When I did the dressing change there was a noticeable improvement of the wound areas, and I am hopeful that it will continue. And, since there really wasn't much else to go on about for today, I will let you know that I got another bike ride in, and had another 22+mile ride. It was very enjoyable and I am determined to work my way up to 30+ miles with each ride... I'll let you know how that works... ;-)

We did get some decorations up on the tree and in the house yesterday, and I am posting a couple of pictures today, to go with it. On top of that we have a couple of decorations out in front, and it does help to make it feel more like a Christmas time of year. I really do enjoy San Diego, but it just needs to have a little more seasonal type weather. This constant Spring/Early Summer is starting to get to me. Even when we were in Livermore there were come days when it was cold, as well as hot. I guess it made you appreciate the moderate temperatures more. When we move to Jason's new house next year I am hopeful that the weather will be more like Livermore.

Jason has a couple of appointments tomorrow, and I will be turning the Semper Fi van back in. It has been a wonderful gift, as it allowed us to get around as a family unit. We will still have a van to use, and not to worry about us getting around, its just that the Semper Fi van was nearly brand new when we were loaned the vehicle, and that was almost 3 years ago. If you're looking for a place to send your donation dollars, the Semper Fi Foundation or The Gary Sinise Foundation are very high on my list. There are others, Stand Up And Play, EOD Warriro Foundation, and others that can also be seen as very helpful, so please consider these when the time comes. Thank you, for all the continued support and prayers. Take care and stay positive.





Monday, December 8, 2014

December 8, 2014

Kind of a fun day today. The morning started out with us getting up at around 07:00 and me getting ready for a bike ride. Jason didn't have any appointments for himself, just for Gracie. Linda was up and taking care of some things she wanted to get done, and it was one of those feel good days where none of us had any immediate pressing issues. I got in about 21.5 miles, so that's two days of 20+ rides. Tomorrow I might go for another one, but it all depends on how things work out. Jason had to get Gracie over to the veterinarian, and have some dental work done. Apparently she had to have a tooth pulled, as well as some other dental work done. The tooth being pulled was the major issue, and apparently it was a tooth that had been bad for some time, just never caught before. The roots were pretty much non-existent and it was simply being held in place by the gums and some pressure from the other teeth next to it. It wasn't infected or any other problem with it, just that it might have become a real problem, so it was pulled.

The girls are with us for the next couple of days, and when they came Linda had some decorating fun ready for them. The tree is up and I have all the lights working, so now it is up to the three of them to finish with the rest of the decorating. Linda let the girls hang all the ornaments, and the tree sits up on a table, so it is effectively about 6.5 feet high at the top. Stacy figured out to get the stool, so she could reach higher, yet still not high enough to make it to the top. All the ornaments sit in a 3-foot band around the tree and it looks wonderful. When they finally get everything done I'll post a picture of the master piece.

I just about got our Christmas letter finished, so we'll probably be sending out our cards in the next few days. They might even reach everyone before Christmas this year. Over the past few years we just weren't able to get cards out, so it is important to us to get it done this year. Otherwise, we didn't do much today, except take care of a couple of errands and get the paramobile down out of Jason's truck and back into the garage (we're expecting rain soon). The other thing to update everyone on is the van, and the lift mechanism. The folks at Ability Center have had the van for about a week now and have been working with Ford (one of the dealers - not sure which one) and no one can seem to figure out what has gone wrong with the Interlock System - the van's transmission still won't come out of park. When I spoke with them today they said they have done everything they can, including setting a new programmed module for the interlock and it still won't work. The van is going back to Ford and we're hoping that whatever is hung up can get fixed. I'd like to have the van back. It was nice having a larger vehicle to carry everyone comfortably. I'll keep you updated as I learn more, so for now... Thank you, for all the continued support and prayers. Take care and stay positive.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

December 7, 2014

I hope everyone took a moment to remember the heroes of the Pearl Harbor attack, that happened 73 years ago, today. Just 14 years ago, Linda and I were in Pearl Harbor, for our 25th wedding anniversary. There was a brief discussion about it, at Church today, and it is something that I hope continues to be remembered, lest we allow ourselves to become complacent and are attacked again.

Today began with Linda and I going to church, and Jason going off with his friends, to go shooting. It is probably the one activity that he can do, without putting a great deal of dependence on others. After church we came back to the house and we had lunch. Linda took care of a little cleaning and then took off to get some thrift store shopping in (she loves thrift stores), along with some of the other local businesses. She came back with a couple of decorations, so we won't have to go through our storage to find the Christmas decorations. She was gone for nearly three hours, and came back just a short time after Jason came back. Yes, that means I was at the house, all by myself for almost three full hours. It seemed kind of strange and quiet, and nice.

We've begun decorating the house, and that includes a wreath that Linda purchased at Church today. The Boy Scouts were selling them, and you know what kind of a softy she is, when it comes to the Boy Scouts. It is now hanging on the front door. Not much else happened,   we hope that the holiday season is a great one for you. Take care and stay positive.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

December 6, 2014

I got up this morning, at about 06:30. It was a little on the early side, considering it is a weekend, but I wanted to get out and ride my bike, since I hadn't done so in several days. I put in 20+ miles and felt pretty good about it. When I made it back to the house Linda was also up and just beginning to get ready to head over to the C.A.R.E. Symposium at Balboa. Today was the last day of the event and we planned on going in later than the previous two days. Jason said he wanted to go in as well, since CMDR Laura Ledyard (ret. U.S. Navy) would be speaking.

Laura was our Care Coordinator when we first arrived at Balboa, and if there was anyone we could go to, to get things done, it was Laura. If you have been a regular reader of the blog you will know that she has been mentioned a few times in the past, in ways that she has helped us. Anyway, she was speaking today, along with a few other people we know from Balboa. Funny part is that they all used us, and especially Jason, as references in their various talks, to describe the best way to do things. At the end of the symposium there was another panel discussion, and Linda got involved, or maybe I should say, pulled in to the panel. Jason and I had left after the final speaker, so he could get back to the house and lay down, and Linda stayed. I don't think she intended to get that involved with the discussion, it was more like they pulled her in. People in the audience would ask questions that were almost directly related to Jason's and our story, so Linda was the best source of information.

Once we were all back at the house, and Jason was comfortable, Linda and I went to Costco to pick up a few things. How come, when you go to Costco to only pick up a few things, you still end up spending almost $200, before getting out of the door? There were all kinds of people there and it was pretty crowded... that is until you got up to the registers. Most of them were going, yet only had a few customers at each one. They were getting them out the door as fast as possible, and that made it a better experience, I guess.

The rest of the evening was relaxed. I made some baked potatoes for Jason and I, and we all just kicked back. Tomorrow Jason is hoping to be able to go shooting, and possibly get some tuning shoots in with his rifles (tuning shoots are how I describe the shoots he takes to get his sights set up correctly). He'll be going out with Anthony Netto. I would like to go, but I have a few things I want to get done at home. Thank you, for all the continued support. Take care and stay positive.

December 5, 2014

Linda and I specifically got up early this morning, to be sure we would be at the symposium to see and speak with Congresswoman Davis, of the 53 district (that's the one we live in now). As it turned out, she was there and she was one of the first presenters... and I liked what she had to say about doing what we can to preserve the integrity of the military. The only problem was that as soon as the next speaker got up she got going. I saw her quickly exit the auditorium so I thought maybe she was headed to the bathroom, so it didn't seem right that I'd get up and stop her. I planned to catch her when she came back... she didn't.

She came in, spoke and left, and that was that. Next time I won't be so considerate and I'll chase after her. I wanted to speak with her, as well as get some contact information. We knew our Congressman, up in Livermore so I wanted to get to know the Representative down here. That's okay though as the rest of the day was very good, and we still had a great time. Before the end of the day we were once again spot-lighted for some discussion, and that was totally unplanned. At the end of the talks there was a panel discussion, and I got involved with a couple of the panel members. When the panel discussion was over, and most of the people were leaving, two of the doctors sot us out and we continued our conversation about how to make the seating more comfortable, with a specific focus on Jason and his chair.

Tomorrow we won't be going to the full day, but do plan on showing up in the afternoon. We have a very dear friend speaking tomorrow, and we haven't see her for several months (last time was at Jason's retirement). We will also probably not stay for the full afternoon session, as we have a few other things we want to get done, and it will be nice just to have some time for ourselves for a change. We left today at about 16:00 (4pm) and then had to get back home because we were going to be going to an EOD party that we had been invited to, over at Camp Pendleton. As it turned out we had nearly a half hour to just relax and kick back, but I guess the important thing was that we made it to the party with plenty of time to have a good time.

The dinner was provided by the SemperFi organization, and the food was actually quite good. It was almost another Thanksgiving dinner. While we were eating I was asked if I would be interested in playing their Santa, for the kids. I have done things like this in the past, so I was comfortable with it, and said, "Yes." Linda said there were about 30 kids there, with ages ranging from a couple of days (two newborns) up to 9 years. It was a good experience for me, and let me recall how it felt when I had done it in the past. They said I was to do it again next year, so I guess they liked me.

The drive home was faster than the drive to the party, so we arrived at a better time. I am getting tired so I'll be closing up now. Tomorrow I plan on getting up early again an going for a bike ride. Thank you, for all the continued support and prayers. Take care and stay positive.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

December 4, 2014

Today was a pretty exciting day for us, as we were given the opportunity to speak at a Medical Symposium at Balboa Naval Hospital. There were people from all over the country, and even a couple from out side the country. The focus on the three day symposium is care and treatment for the wounded and injured service members, and how to get them back on their way to productive lives. Almost a year ago we were asked if we would be interested in participating and speaking, and we said yes. Actually, the question went to Jason and I, and I kind of just included Linda.

As it turned out we were given nearly an hour to speak and address the audience and it went well. I think we could have gone much longer, so we had to be very aware of the clock. Besides there were other speakers on the stage. The symposium also included Gary Sinise, and it was good to see him again. He made the comment to me that we were sure seeing each other quite a bit lately, and I had to agree with him... and that it was always great to see him. Linda and I had put together a small photo presentation of Jason, and it went well. I started out thinking I could do it with 10 to 12 pictures, then it went to 15, and finally ended up with 23. It was very difficult to limit the pictures, and we literally went through a thousand of them, or more. The way it worked was that while Linda and I were talking the pictures were being shown behind us, and we would simply talk about them. When we got to the end of the pictures it was like a signal to Jason and then he came out on stage. The affect was wonderful and he received a standing ovation. Jason did a great job of addressing the audience as well, and even though there was no rehearsal, it went off very smoothly.

After speaking there was a break and we got to talk with some of the other special guests as well as some of the rest of the audience. Everybody said we did well and when Linda had to go to the rest room she said some of the ladies in there were crying because they were touched so much by what we had said. I was actually surprised that neither of us cried on stage, as we both usually get emotional when we start talking about it. We also let the folks from the VA (there were several in attendance) what challenges we had encountered with the VA, as well as some of the strong positives we had experienced. All together I'd say it was probably a 8.5 out of a possible score of 10, for us, and if they have another one next year I think I'd like to go.

Once we were done speaking, like I said, there was a break. At this point Gary went over to the hospital and visited the patients. He is consistently doing all he can to help the guys and as he says, he can never do enough, but he can always do more.  We eventually were able to get to the van and head on back to the house. Jason had been up for several hours and he needed to get back down. We basically stayed at home the rest of the day and enjoyed the rest. Thank you, for all the continued support and prayers. Take care and stay positive

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

December 3, 2014

The girls got up this morning and came up stairs to greet us, and to also jump up and down on us - we are so much fun! When asked why they didn't go in and spend the time with Daddy, they just replied that he was asleep still. I think next time we need to "act" like we're asleep and maybe they'll just quietly go back to their room... Nah, they would just decide that we needed to be awake and pounce on us anyway.

After getting the girls to school we came back to the house and took care of a few things, including the return of the loaner van from Ability Center and checking on what steps need to be taken to be sure our blue van isn't out too long. Actually, Terry, from the Ability Center has been  staying in touch pretty well, and keeping us updated. We should have Jason's van back by the end of this week. We're happy about that because the Semper Fi van is also going away, and back to the Wounded Warrior Battalion - West, probably on Monday of next week, just as soon as our van arrives.

Also, today, we went to the base, at Balboa, to talk about the Symposium, tomorrow. Looks like everything is in place and that we will need to be on site, tomorrow, at about 07:00. We all go on stage and Linda and I have about 23 pictures (photos) that we will be sharing, as a part of the intro for Jason, as well as helpful in introducing Jason. There are supposed to be a bunch of people there, from all around the country and even the world. Amazingly, I'm not nervous - maybe Linda is nervous enough for both of us.

Stephanie and Crista, from the Gary Sinise Foundation are here, as they are also going to be a part of the symposium. We all went to dinner together and had a great time. They took us to a new restaurant callled the Fat Fish. The food was excellent and the conversation was even better. As it turned out we arrived ahead of the traditional dinner hour and that made it much easier for us to get in, ahead for all the people. Dinner was over and we came home; Thank you, for all the continued support and prayers. Take care and stay positive.


Tuesday, December 2, 2014

December 2, 2014

We put up our tree today... not many decorations on it yet, but at least the tree is now up. The girls were very excited, at least until we told them that the decorations would go on later. Tomorrow we take them to school, and then the next five days they will be with their mom, so the decorations are going to have to wait until next Monday. Actually, that gives us some time to figure out what we want to put out this year. Funny to think that this is most probably going to be the last Christmas in this house - kind of a nice thought I think.

Not much happening today, Jason just rested and we really didn't go anywhere, except for one short trip to Target to pick up a couple of things. The really big news for today is that it actually rained, and it is still raining, and is supposed to rain through tomorrow. Pretty cool, if you ask me. We so much need that rain in California. I hope it does stop on Thursday, though. We have an event to go to, and no matter how you look at it, to get from the car to the auditorium we're going to get wet, if it rains.

I spent a little bit of time working on the presentation for Thursday, with Linda, and hope that it will be a reasonably good one. Mostly pictures of Jason, over the past 3 1/2+ years, showing how he looked before the injury and then after, and his recovery. Anyway, it should be a good show, and I hope everyone is happy with it. That's about all I have for today. Thank you, for all the continued support and prayers. Take care and stay positive.

Monday, December 1, 2014

December 1, 2014

Today begins a busy week for us, though we are not going to have to travel anywhere, and we're quite happy about that. On Thursday, December 4, Jason, Linda and I are going to be speaking at a Medical symposium, about the care of wounded and their recovery... AND about the caregivers who frequently are in the background, doing so much and receiving so little recognition, beyond some close friends and family members.

The next couple of days we, Linda and I, will be working on putting together our thoughts as well as some pictures of Jason's recovery. We began, today, going through a bunch of the photos I've taken, and Linda and I made some initial selections. The tough part about this is that we are probably only going to have about an hour, total time to talk and present, and Jason won't be the only wounded vet there. He will be the most seriously wounded, and Linda and I will be the only caregivers, on stage. The audience is going to be made up of all sorts of people associated with the medical world with a focus on helping these people with their recoveries. We are both excited and intimidated about all of this, and nervous that we might blow the chance to present well. We represent all the other caregivers out there, and I know that some of them have really done a great deal for their Wounded Warrior. And that is what we will be focused on the rest of this week... along with all the other things we need to stay on top of, like the rest of the family.

The girls got up and ready for school, and I walked them to their classes. Linda was still feeling the affects of eating something she shouldn't have, and didn't begin to feel better until around noon. When Stacy came home from school she had some home work she needed to get done, and Linda kicked into that mode of teacher she so very much enjoys. There was also a small craft project that Stacy had, and when they were done with it, it looked very good (Linda helped but made Stacy do most of the work). While Linda was working with Stacy, Jackie was with Jason and the two of them were reading some books. Jackie really hasn't learned to read too much yet, but she likes to try and if you can help her along she does a good job and is happy with herself.

We're supposed to be getting some rain over the next two days, so I won't be getting out on my bike, though I don't think I would have had time anyway. I'm just glad to see rain as we really do need it, I just hope that there is a bunch up north, too. Thank you, for all the continued support and prayers. Take care and stay positive.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

November 30, 2014

Hard to believe that we are coming into the last month of the year, and then it will be 2015. This has been one of the fastest of years for me, and maybe for some of you as well. There are always some people who like to talk about "time machines" when we actually live on one... the Earth. It seems like 2014 just got started and now it is one month from ending. Anyway, on to the blog...

Not much happened today, as we mostly stayed home. I did get up early and went for a bike ride; one of the smoothest of rides I've been able to enjoy. Not many folks out and the weather was reasonable, though a little breezy. I got back home and the girls were up and watching cartoons with Jason, and when I went up stairs I found Linda still in bed, not feeling too well. I'm hoping that it is a matter of her eating some things she shouldn't have eaten. She has been on a very healthy kind of diet for a few months now and I think her body just didn't like getting some of the restaurant food we have eaten in the past few days. She spent most of the day just laying down or sitting on the couch, watching the Hallmark channel.

Because of how the day progressed early on we decided not to go to church, as it would have been a crazy rush to attempt to get there. Instead, I took a more relaxed approach with the girls and we went to Buddy Todd park. This is where Jason would take Gracie for her training, and the girls are familiar with the park. It is one of their favorite, and I didn't mind. To go out to the park; give the girls enough time to play; stop to eat lunch; and, the drive back to the house, we spent about four hours. This time is significant as it provided both Linda and Jason some time to just relax.

After getting back to the house the girls took a little nap, and that allowed me some time to get busy with our family Christmas Letter. We haven't sent one out in a couple of years, so we want to have a nice letter to share with everyone. I should be able to get it done by Tuesday, this week at the latest. Tomorrow is the beginning of the new month and new week, and it is getting back to our regular routine, as much as possible. The girls will be going to school tomorrow and I have a few errands to get done. Of course I am also aware that things could change so I'm ready for that as well. Thank you, for all the continued support and prayers. Take care and stay positive.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

November 29, 2014

Apologies for not posting yesterday, but I was unable to get to my laptop to do so, and bottom line is that it was my own fault. I guess I probably could have gotten to my laptop, as it was in Jason's room, right next door. I just didn't want to bother him since we had said good night more than an hour before and I thought that he might be asleep, and I didn't want to wake him. So, anyway, I am now posting, and bringing you all up-to-speed on what happened yesterday... and today.

Yesterday we began with a very nice breakfast with David and Miriam, and their two sons Dylan and Ethan, our grandsons. It was obvious that Jason was uncomfortable, and that perhaps the previous day was a little  more than Jason should have done. We had planned on going to the car show until we all began talking about everything and David suggested that we should really just get back home, to let Jason get back down, and we all agreed that was the best course of action.

We all went back to the hotel (including David and his family) and explained to the manager what was going on, and that we needed to check out. The manager, Steven, was very understanding and refunded us the cost of the two rooms, and the best part is that the price was reduced and not supposed to be refundable. The hotel is the Luxe City Center hotel, and it is very close to the Staples Athletic Complex, I bring this up, just so you'll know where we were staying (more about that later). We packed up all our stuff, and David and his family went back to their home. About 10 minutes later we went down to the new Van and wanted to load it up; and ran into some challenges getting into the van (the lift mechanism started to act funny). I finally called Terry of the Ability Center, where the lift system had been installed, and he talked me through getting the lift to work. That took an extra hour or so, but I thought we were moving again.

We still needed to get the van loaded, and to do this I needed to pull it away from the wall so that the doors would open. Now I couldn't get it out of park! Again I called Terry and we went over a few things and he said he was going to get a technician to come out and see what was going on. We went back in to the hotel and I went over to speak with Steve, the manager, again. I asked if we could get back up to the room Jason had been staying in so that he could get out of the wheelchair and lay back down. It was still relatively early, and the hope was that the rooms had not already been cleaned by the housekeeping staff. We were in luck, all that had been done was the bed had been done and Steve said we could go up.

The Ability Center technician, Robert, showed up and worked on the van for about two hours. He got on the phone with Terry and explained what was going on and it was determined that we should not be driving the van back home. Terry would come up  the next morning, with another vehicle for us to use, and he would drive the van back down. Robert was able to jury-rig a set-up that allowed the van to get out of park, and that way Terry would be able to drive it back down. Terry said we should just spend the night and he would cover the costs. He just didn't feel it was safe enough to have us head back down, with the van acting this way. I went back in, and again spoke with Steve (fortunately he was still at the hotel, as it was now close to shift change). He let us go back to the same rooms, so Jason was able to just stay down, and that was a good thing.

That night Linda and I had one of the worst sleeps we have ever had. Because of a big game at Staples, AND Fleetwood Mac was playing across the street there was a major crowd in the area and there was lots of noise. The night club, right below our room, had a giant sound system going and the guy running it loved his bass. We were getting pounded for hours, and didn't get a reprieve until almost 02:00 this morning. We had both called down a couple of times and there really wasn't much the staff could do, or wanted to do. Once it was quite though it was much easier to sleep soundly.

In the morning we went to breakfast and Terry, amazingly, showed up as soon as we were done. We didn't have to wonder where he was or anything, as he showed up when he said he would - and that was a drive up from San Diego (about 130 miles). We went back to the hotel, across the street, and Terry paid the bill. He and I went to the van and spent about 10 minutes going over it and confirming that we still needed to take the other vehicle back down, and he would drive the Ford. Terry said that because of the complexities of the new lift, and the hand controls that Jason requires there are three or four interlock safety systems, and they all have to be set for the vehicle to operate. He felt that there was something wrong with one of the solenoids, and that was something that had to be addressed back at the shop.

The drive back down was relatively easy, though some spots had some heavy traffic. We made it back down close to 13:00 (1pm), and got settled back in to the house. Jason wanted a shower and then the girls were picked up. As soon as they came walking into the house it was as if nothing had happened, and we were back to our normal routine. Funny how life goes that way. We will be going to church in the morning, and the girls will be going to their Sunday School (they love their Sunday School). We don't have anything else planned for the day, so we'll probably focus on clean up and putting things away, and more importantly, relaxing. Thank you, for all the continued support and prayer. Take care and stay positive.

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.