Iwo Gima

Iwo Gima
Marine Corps Marathon

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.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

November 18, 2014

A big portion of the day, today, was spent driving. Funny thing is, as we were driving we were having one of the best "family" discussions we have had in a long time. Jason was very engaged with the talk, and at times it was mostly between Jason and Linda. It was a time for all of us to just talk about anything that was on our mind, and not focused on anything in particular. We were in the van for nearly five hours today, so that's why we had so much time. The reason we were in the car for so much time was because we first drove up to the Gary Sinise Foundation, and then after that visit we drove back down here to San Diego... and like I said, it was about five hours total as traffic really wasn't too bad, though it did slow up in a couple places.

We had a great visit with the Gary Sinise Foundation, and it was fun to get a chance to see the new facilities. I guess they've been there for a few months now, and we didn't ever make it up to their previous facility, but that's okay, we know where they are now. I guess the biggest surprise was that we were able to meet with Gary Sinise, himself, while we were there. We didn't know he was going to be there when we scheduled the visit, so that just made it that much better. Gary took us into his office and we sat down for about 30 minutes or more and just talked in a relaxed environment. We learned a little more about his family history and he got to learn a little more about ours. About the only thing that we didn't do was to take pictures. It was one of those times when we simply enjoyed being with the people and taking a picture didn't pop into my head until we had already left.

Stephanie Lanier, from the Foundation, took us to lunch, along with another of their team (I'm embarrassed to admit I don't remember her name - I'm really bad about names). The lunch was very nice and also relaxed. It was fun just sitting around and talking and finding out some of the future plans that they're thinking about and they continue to amaze us with all the focus they are able to show us, as well as all the others they are helping. The Foundation is growing more and more every day, and they find new ways of helping people all the time.

The drive home was really uneventful, and that's the way I like it. There was traffic the entire way, though our speed was generally pretty close to the limit most of the time, or maybe a little over. I will be posting some of the pictures, once we have a chance to sit down and pick out some good ones we want to share. Thank you, for all the continued support and prayers. Take care and stay positive.

Monday, November 17, 2014

November 17, 2014

Today was really a fun day for us, as we were guests of Joe Mantegna, as he directed a segment of the TV Series, Criminal Minds in Los Angeles at the National Cemetery, and also over at the VA Homeless campus. We were able to take a number of pictures and got to meet and get to know a little, some of the other actors, as well as some of the guests. Two of the guests were Marine Generals (ret.) and one of the original Tuskegee Airmen (96 year young retired Lt. Col. Robert "Bob" Friend), and two of his daughters. Actually, Bob was quite a kick - when we told him we had been speaking with his daughters he said he didn't believe it. "Nobody can get a word in when they're talking. All you can do is listen." His two daughters, Sherrie and Karen were both very focused on keeping him comfortable and dotted over their father very well. We exchanged  contact information and hope to be able to stay in touch. They were also taken with Jason, as were several of the other people there.

I can  only tell you this, the episode was about a funeral and I don't know when this particular episode is going to air. Also, for those wondering... No, we were not a part of the episode, we were just there to observe, and to relax. The crew there was excellent and professional and didn't seem to mind us being around, because I know we must have gotten in the way, yet they were polite and patient with us. If any of you get a chance to go watch the making of a show, please take advantage, it is fun and interesting. Oh, and one last thing... Linda sat down with some of the crew and listened in on head phones, during a part of it. She was very excited about that.

I guess, since I didn't blog last night (I had some difficulties with the local wifi) I should provide you with a little bit of what happened yesterday.

We started off by taking the girls to church with us, and had an enjoyable start to the day. I know this may sound a little corny, but there was a problem with the churches projection system. They use this to project the hymns on the wall, so that people can sing along during the songs. Well, Pastor John announced we would have to resort back to the old fashioned method of actually using the hymnals in the pews. Heck, I kind of liked doing that, and who knows maybe it will happen again. Anyway, we knew we were going to be heading up to Los Angeles shortly after church so we came back to the house right after services.

We took the girls over to their mother's home, after providing them their lunch (our's too), and then finished packing. We decided to come up in the van because we thought the trip up was going to be rough with bad traffic, and it wasn't. We just hope the ride home is as good as the one coming up. We found our hotel, the Royal Palace, and checked in before 16:00 (4pm), and found the place to be much better on the inside than we expected. Jason has his own room and is quite happy being down the hall from us. Actually this is good as it gives him a little more independence, and I am all for him getting more independence.

Because of the time that we came to the hotel, it afforded us the opportunity to get a little rest, before we went out to dinner. Since the day before was our anniversary, we decided to let yesterday's dinner count as our Anniversary Dinner... Then, when we sat down Jason announced that he was paying for it. That kind of surprised us, and it made it all the better. Our meal was very nice and when we got back to the hotel we were able to relax and sleep very well, as we just felt very relaxed (I wasn't going to let that wifi thing bother me). The end of a nice day.

This morning we were hoping to find some time to get to visit with David and his family while we were here, but it just wasn't to be this trip. Besides we will be visiting with them over Thanksgiving, and that will be a more relaxed time, and we won't have to drive clear across town (Los Angeles is a very large city and David and Miriam live way over across on the other side. What happened was that David surprised us and came to the hotel, right after we got back from Criminal Minds filming. He was doing some work over at UCLA for the law firm, and since he was in the area he was able to come for a short visit. It was really nice to see him, and it gave him and Jason a chance to talk a little and do some catching up. We were also hoping to get up to see the Gary Sinise Foundation offices, and stop in and visit with some of those folks. As it turns out, we are going to be visiting them tomorrow, just prior to heading back to San Diego. They are only about 30 minutes from here, so it won't be much of a change to our trip plans, and it will be good to see them again.

 So far, this has been a very good trip, and we are having a nice and relaxed time together. We had a nice Chinese dinner tonight (haven't had Chinese food in a long time) and we're going to be able to get another relaxed sleep. Thank you, all for all the continued support and prayers. Take care and stay positive.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

November 15, 2014

Today is our anniversary! Linda and I have been married 39 years, and though there have  been some serious challenges we've managed to stay together, with each day life gets a little better. We really didn't do much to celebrate our anniversary, today, we did celebrate it a few days ago, when we went up to Julian. We enjoyed the time away from San Diego, and the low pressure days of Julian. It is one of the most laid back little towns I think I have ever come across. Linda had a great time, and so did I... we even had some great apple pie (for those that don't know, Julian is famous for its apple pie and their Julian apples).

Today was relaxed and it gave Linda and I a little time to get things together, ahead of our next trip out. We will be going to church in the morning, and then loading up and heading back up to Los Angeles. This time we are going to be watching the filming of an episode of Criminal Minds, as our friend Joe Mantegna will be staring in and directing. He invited us to come up, for about 3-years now, so we are now finally going. We plan on staying a couple of nights, and that should allow us the opportunity to see David and his family, at least for a little while.

Linda did take off to get some shopping in, and she said it was crazy out there. People are already getting into the Christmas shopping crazies mode, and it does cause me some concern with the coming weeks. Also, Linda made French Toast this morning, so I felt that it was my obligation to at least help out some and eat the French Toast... Hey, somebody's got'a do it... ;-). The girls both liked the breakfast treat also.

Jason took off early to take Gracie to her dog training classes. He drove himself up and back and said the people on the roads were nuts. There was a small fender-bender on the side of the road, and it looked like everyone was slowing down to take a look. This is probably the single more irritating thing for Jason, and with heavy traffic it just makes it that much more irritating. Anyway, he was able to get up and back without a problem, other than the traffic.

Tonight the girls were feeling full of energy and having a great time, before, during and after dinner. Both of them are becoming creative, and it is good to see Jackie starting to become more independent. It is so much fun watching the girls grow up, so we feel we've been given a special gift. Thank you, for all the continued support and prayers. Take care and stay positive.

Friday, November 14, 2014

November 14, 2014

We had some visitors today - Linda's Mom and Dad came down and they brought along Lisa and Michael... Linda's sister and brother-in-law. We hadn't seen them in quite some time, and it was good to be able to get together, for at least a little while. This was their first visit to see Jason, also, so it was a positive all the way around. They arrived mid-morning an we all went to breakfast. That gave us a chance to sit down and do some initial catching up; then we came back to the house for a short break and then Linda and Lisa went over to the school to pick up the girls (they got out at noon today).

Fortunately they didn't have to leave right away, and that gave us a little more time to visit and catch up some more. They are down, from Utah, to visit with Joe and Jess, Linda's (and Lisa's) parents, and will be visiting for a few days. It was good to see them, and I think it was a wonderful gift for Linda, as she really does miss her family, We got a few pictures and I will see if I can get a couple posted by tomorrow.

Jason also had a parent-teacher conference today, so he had to leave before they did (that's the reason the girls were out early today). It actually felt pretty good to see him take off to handle this, on his own, and he did so very confidently.

The rest of the day was just spent taking care of a few things around the house and Linda going off to do a little shopping. She was back at the house before it got dark, and we didn't have to go anywhere else for the rest of the day. Tomorrow is our 39th anniversary, and we kind of already celebrated it up in Julian. That's okay, because we'll still have a good day, and a good time tomorrow. She committed to be getting up in the morning and fixing French Toast and a nice breakfast... I'm looking forward to it, for sure! Thank you for all the continued support and prayers. Take care and stay positive.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

November 13, 2014

We went to Pepperdine University, yesterday for a Veterans recognition dinner event, and then today we went to a Blue Star Plaque unveiling at Miramar National Cemetery . At both events we were allotted the honor of meeting new and interesting people, as well as the opportunity to help shine the light more on the men and women of the military, and those that serve our country. The two events were about 140 miles apart, so we had to do a bunch of driving, and Jason demonstrated that he is, in fact getting stronger, and showed that he was able to deal with it. Don't get me wrong, he was uncomfortable at times, and he was worn out at the end of the day, yet he had a great time and his wounds are still making progress.

Linda and I enjoy doing these things with Jason, as it helps him to get in front of other veterans, and even sometimes in front of Boy Scouts (like today) to show what an Eagle Scout can become and over come (Jason is an Eagle Scout also). We still have a couple more events this month, and also we will be headed to our son, David's place for Thanksgiving. Then in December we have one event to be a part of, and that is a medical conference. That one, I think, is going to be exciting in that we are going to be discussing the healing process, and just what we have gone through, to help them develop new programs to help others, coming behind us.

Otherwise, everyone is doing well, and enjoying as much of life as we possibly can.I was taking a look at some of the statistics provided about this blog, and there have been nearly 195,000 page views since it began, back in 2011. I would never have thought that it would have gotten that much interest, yet there are the numbers. I thank you, all for all the continued support and prayers. I hope that this continues to be enjoyable for everyone. Take care and stay positive.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

November 11, 2014

Happy Veterans Day to you, one and all. It is something that all veterans think about, though some do more than others. What I hope, is that people will think about is being offered by these men and women who serve, and do it because they believe it is what is needed, and asked of them. My dad was a WWII veteran of the Navy... I am a veteran of the Viet Nam era Air Force... and Jason is a U.S. Marine, of the Afghanistan era force. I have other family members who have served, far too many to list here, though I can provide them with a little recognition. To all those who serve and served - Thank you, we as a country owe you a great deal.

Today we took the girls to the zoo and had a great time. Jackie is still very much a typical four year old, and after a few hours ran out of energy. Actually, her timing was pretty good as I don't think we could have taken the crowds much longer anyway. The zoo was pretty busy, and we enjoyed every minute of it. When we first got there we went over to the bus tour and there was a woman at the entrance. I don't think she was actually working the entrance spot, but I thought I recognized her. I asked how long she had been working at the zoo, and since she replied many years I asked if she new David (our son), and she did. David worked at the zoo as a tour bus driver while he attended UCSD.  It amazes me how much of a positive impact he had on those who got to work with him.  We talked for a few minutes, and then got on the bus.

We stayed at the zoo for a few hours and even got to see the tiger, as he was feeling playful, so that was pretty cool. The girls thought it was exciting also. I am so glad that we were able to get those memberships at the first of the year... well spent money by Jason. We came back to the house and shortly after getting home the girls took a nap - I had a few too many things to do, otherwise I would have taken a nap as well.

The rest of the day was spent catching up on my email, and other things, and making sure we are ready to head up to Pepperdine University tomorrow. The Gary Sinise Foundation has invited us to come have a dinner with them, and to see what is going on, at Pepperdine. Tomorrow we basically just get up and pack, and do our best to get ready to get going. Thank you, for all your continued support. Take care and stay positive.

Monday, November 10, 2014

November 10, 2014

Today was a very nice day, and a nice follow up to yesterday. Both days we focused on getting a few things done around the house and doing some basic straightening up, and just relaxing. I did get to see the 49er game, against the Saints, and that was generally a good game, with the first half going to the Niners and the second half going to the Saints. Problem for the Saints was that the Niners did just enough to get it to overtime, and then they won the game. They have a history of winning overtime games.

This time of year there is a great deal more activities going on, and we get invited to participate in more functions. This is good, as it keeps us busy, and it also has its challenges since we have to still take care of other things as well, and maintain a calendar so that we don't double book on things, nor do we over do it for Jason and mess up with his healing. We've been invited to a couple of dinners, and also to a golfing event, fortunately all the events are relatively close by, so we don't have to do any significant traveling.

We also found out today that Jason's house is making some progress in the planning and permitting stages. It looks like we should be ground breaking sometime around the end of January, so that will be a great event, and you can be sure I'll be taking pictures. Between now and then there are two other things going on, and those are Thanksgiving and Christmas (Well, New Year Day is pretty big too, I guess - I plan on relaxing). Thanksgiving we will be going up to our son's for a big gathering, and then Christmas will be spent here - or at least that is the plan right now. Helping to make that a more comfortable time I also found out that the new van SHOULD be ready before Thanksgiving. If it is, travel will be much more comfortable for us. We'll just need to get a trailer to haul around Jason's Paramobile (it will fit in the truck, but will have to be in a trailer for the van).

I have mentioned in the past that Linda and I have lost a little weight, and when we went up to Julian we seemed to have found some of it - or at least I did. I've started riding again, and hope to loose it all again, and another 5 pounds before Thanksgiving. My biggest challenge is I love to snack, and snack food usually has high levels of sodium. I am so proud of Linda and her determination, it helps me to maintain my focus also. Tomorrow, since we have the girls again, we will be going to the zoo. The girls don't have school, and Linda and I want to get over there again. I don't think Jason is going to want to go this time, and that's okay. Thank you, for all the continued support and prayers. Take care and stay positive.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

November 8, 2014

I began the day with a nice bike ride of 19 miles, and it was just what I needed to get the legs loosened up. All the hiking we did up in Julian caused me to have stiff calf muscles and after the bike ride I actually felt pretty good. Funny thing though, there apparently was an event going on this morning, down on the harbor area, and that is part of where I rode. It was quite busy with people and bicycles all over the place, and I was constantly yelling out, "On your left!" and sometimes, "On your right!" Depending on where they were. Some of them even thanked me, and that's a good thing.

After the ride I came back to the house, and Linda was up and ready to head off to her Blue Star Mom meeting. She slept in a little, as she started the day off a little on the shaky side. I guess the extra napping helped, she seemed to feel much better when I got back, and she was leaving. Linda was gone for most of the day, taking care of errands and personal business.

Jason and I had a few chores to do, and we had some running around to get taken care of, and then we came back to the house. He had been preparing some chicken so he could cook it today, and he did. I'm not really sure what to call it, other than pieces of chicken. They were a little on the spicy side, but not too much; and, the marination process he used seemed to really keep them moist. Once he was done cooking, he and I had a bunch of them. I thought they were the best chicken nuggets I have ever had, and they were also the biggest. Jason said he would probably do it again sometime, and I am very much supportive of that idea.

The evening came along with a nice dinner. We were invited to the Nice Guys annual Nice Guy of The Year dinner. It is a formal affair and everybody that came was dressed very nicely. Even Jason had on his tux... and he looked pretty sharp. The event was to honor T. Denny Sanford, as he has given away over a billion dollars to hospitals and other charity functions. He owns a couple of companies, and they are doing quite well, so his stated goal of being broke when he dies is going to be a challenge, and he seems to enjoy that challenge. It was the first Nice Guys major event, for us and it was quite nice. Perhaps we will be invited again next year - and then they can have a second chance of saying Jason's name correctly. He was introduced as John Ross, and we had a nice laugh over that. We didn't stay past 21:30 (9:30pm), as Jason wanted to get back out of the chair, and on top of that I was getting tired. We came home and I changed his wound dressings. I am very pleased with how this new seat cushion really seems to be helping out. I just hope it continues.

Not sure what we will be doing tomorrow, so my guess would be to suggest we're not going to be doing much of anything. Thank you, for all your continued support and prayers. Take care and stay positive.

Friday, November 7, 2014

November 7, 2014

We made it back to the house, and we did it without hurting ourselves... ;-)

The mini-vacation/break was excellent, though we would have liked to have had another day (or two). We went up to Julian, expecting to get some relaxation time, and ended up having a great time and meeting some wonderful people. We stayed at the Orchard Inn, and it has all the amenities that we could ask for, as well as being nestled in some of the prettiest wooded area around.

Yesterday, after we got up, Linda wanted to go exploring and do a little hiking. There were some trails right out front, so those were the first we explored. They really didn't go too far up the hill, and showed signs of neglect, and we found out later that the neglect was intentional. Apparently, over the past several years, guests had gone up the trails and a couple of them actually got lost. Because this happened a couple of times it was decided to just let the tails go back to nature and discourage guests from going up that way. Instead we found out about another trail that was a couple of miles away, and it was part of a park system trail. It was also "supposed" to be a 4.5 mile loop. I put it in quotes because the trail really isn't marked out too well, and there are no maps of the area. Linda and I ended up going nearly 9.5 miles on some hilly terrain, and we had a great time. What we did was to hike up to the highest point and go down the other side, and after about a mile we turned around and went back up to the top again, and just followed the trail back to the trail head where we started. By the time we were done it was late afternoon, and both of us were tired.

Once back at the Inn we went to our room and showered and laid down for a short nap. Dinner was at 18:15 (6:15 pm), and there was a little reception time prior to the dinner. That's were we got to meet some very nice people, and in the process of having dinner, an anonymous diner bought us a nice bottle of wine. They had heard us talking about Jason and wanted to do something for us. We found out who it was, later and went and thanked them, and let them know we appreciated their thoughtfulness.

Needless to say, we slept well that night - physically worn down and an extra bottle of wine, a good combination, especially since we didn't have to drive anywhere. The next morning (this morning) we saw several of those same people and sort of had a reunion. We checked out of the Inn and then went down town to do a little walking around - no we hadn't had enough walking and hiking. Julian has a bunch of great things to see and a very colorful history to explore. We went into several shops and in to their museum. I'm pretty sure we'll go back again, I just don't know when right now.

While we were off at Julian, Jason was here being taken care of by Joselyn. She is a God Send and Jason likes her too. While up in Julian we didn't have much in the way of phone signal, so there were no phone calls (and that is a good thing), so we just trusted Joselyn and Jason to take care of everything, as it was supposed to be... and it was. Jason was in very good spirits and a positive mood when we came home, so no matter how you look at it, these past few days was a complete and total success. Thank you, for all the continued support and prayers. Take care and stay positive.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

November 5, 2014

Today was a little different, in that we had a visit from Brian, from the VA, who was here to evaluate me, the environment, Jason and even Linda, to make sure he was in fact getting good care and that we should be a part of their program. I know it sounds kind of strange, considering how long I have been taking care of Jason, but it is a process that is required, and besides, Brian was a great guy to talk with, and he had lots of great information for us. He is also still an active reservist so there is that military connection and I think Jason liked that. When he initially got there he said it was going to be a 2-hour visit/evaluation, but he and Jason were having such a good time it went to almost 3-hours, and that made him late for his next appointment. Otherwise, we passed just fine.

After Brian left Linda and I went into overdrive to get everything packed up and still get Jason fed, as we were leaving for Julian (that's where we are right now - Linda is enjoying a hot bath for a change) just as soon as we could get everything packed and in the car. We left at almost exactly 14:30 (2:30pm) and headed East and then North. It didn't take very long to get to the Inn, and it is great. The get away is a gift from the EOD Warrior Foundation, and it is much appreciated by both of us, and I think Jason, too.

Linda and I walked a little bit, around the town and had a nice simple dinner. We also got to know the Inn person (not sure what her official title is) who checked us in. She talked with us for about an hour and we were the only ones taking advantage of their evening snacks. Linda and I also sat out on the patio for a little while and enjoyed just watching the stars, as the atmosphere is wonderfully clear us here (I think we're sitting at about 4200 feet). There are a bunch of historical things to look at and we plan to do that tomorrow. Thank you, for all the continued support and prayers. Take care and stay positive.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

November 4, 2014

Happy Election Day! Linda and I are fully registered to vote in San Diego now, though it almost feels like we're cheating and should be staying linked to the SF Bay Area. I really didn't see any surprises in the general election, and wished I could have exercised my right to vote. Yeah, we registered, but could not find the time to go vote today. I guess it was related to all the things we have going, and the lack of time to fully understand the different issues on the ballot, as well as not knowing the candidates well enough to cast a vote, one way or another. I promise, with the next election we will be getting to our polling place.

Jason had a couple of appointments today. One with the folks at Balboa and one with those at the VA. Balboa was with physical therapy and the VA was with his recovery coordinator. Both of them went well, and neither of them went over their scheduled amount of time. I was with Jason, as I had a couple of questions for the VA, and Jason and I were back home by noon. About the most unusual thing to happen was that we went in his truck, and therefore the valet guys were not able to drive his truck. They did, however, help find a parking place, and that was helpful.

The rest of the day was spent getting ready for tomorrow, including getting the care cleaned. I took the Fusion to the car wash, and now it looks all nice and pretty, for our get-away. There were some regular chores and errands that had to be taken care of, as well as getting some stuff done otherwise. Joselyn is going to be helping Jason, while we're gone, so she came to the house today to make sure she knew what all she was to do, and it was good to see her again, anyway.

I may not do much blogging for the next few days, so I hope that doesn't bother too many folks. Thank you, for continuing to be involved with my blogging, and I look forward to keeping everyone aware of what all is going on. Thank you, for all the continued support and prayers. Take care and stay positive.

Monday, November 3, 2014

November 3, 2014

Tomorrow is election day, and I have to admit, I'm not ready. I have not taken the time needed to learn who the local candidates are, and what they stand for. I also don't have a solid grasp of all the state wide issues, or even the local ones... I guess that makes me pretty much a normal voter... ;-) I will be doing some reading tomorrow, and see if I can figure some things out. Linda and I are now registered to vote down here, so we really should.

Jason took himself to his appointment, and that was pretty cool. It gave me a little time to get a nice bike ride in, and also a little time for Linda and I to get some things together for all the different activities we're going to be involved in this month. For instance, on Wednesday we are going to be taking off for Julian, a small town, not too far from here, where we'll be spending a couple of days at a B&B, and just doing our best to relax. We have to come back Friday, so it won't be too long away, and we have help coming in, Joselyn, to assist with Jason.

The rest of the day was spent doing things with the girls, besides walking them to and from school. Stacy is becoming very crafty with here projects and Jackie is beginning to discover more things, other than stuffed animals. She and Stacy both love to look at books and to have us either read to them, or help them read the books to us. Not sure all the things we'll be doing tomorrow, but I am sure that it will keep us plenty busy. Thank you, for all the continued support and prayers. Take care and stay positive.

November 2, 2014

Linda and I took advantage of the time change this morning, and actually got up "early" for a change. We got up at about 07:00, on a Sunday, and that is early. Of course it felt more like 08:00, so that's why I put the quotes around early. We were up and the girls were still asleep so we both decided that we could take advantage of this time and get some exercise in. This means I went for a bike ride, while Linda went to the elliptical. I managed to get in 16+ miles before going to church, and we were not late!

The rest of the day was spent taking care of some chores around the house, and I even changed out Mr. Jingles cage (Jason's pet rat). Linda swept the floor and it was amazing just how much of Gracie's fur gathers... as Jason likes to say, "she is a German Shedder." The other event that we got to do was to head over to Glen and Anne Picket's place to visit with our cats, Candy and Pumpkin. Both of them are doing well, and growing more and more distant, the longer they live with someone else.  We are thankful that Anne and her family have provided a wonderful loving environment for our cats and Linda really misses them. We are really looking forward to getting into Jason's new home so that we bring the cats home.

The other adventure was Jason's. He went off to go shoot his new shot gun, with Anthony Netto. He said he had a great time and that the shot gun worked very well. The range master saw Jason's gun and got very excited. He had seen pictures of the gun but had never had the opportunity to hold one, and shoot it. Jason allowed several of them to take some shots, and they all enjoyed it. It is a 15 round pump action shot gun, and looks like something out of Terminator. Fortunately, he keeps it locked up in a gun safe.

Tomorrow starts a new week, and the girls are looking forward to going to school, in the morning. While they're in school we'll be taking care of a number of things, and begin getting ready for our 3-day holiday to celebrate our 39th anniversary. We talked with the girls about this and Stacy wanted to know why she wasn't going to be going with us. We just told her that it was our chance to have some vacation time, and she seemed okay with that. We have arranged for someone to be coming in to help with Jason's and they're already familiar with changing Jason's dressings. We just need a break - Thank you, for all the continued support and prayers. Take care and stay positive.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

November 1, 2014

We had a very nice day today, with the girls having fun with Grandma and taking down the Halloween decorations. Stacy went to Costco with Grandpa and we got out with spending less than $200 (I figured I must have done something wrong). Jason spent the day down, for the most part, though he did go in to tell the girls a good-night story, and also earlier in the day he came out to the kitchen. I guess it was just one of those days where we relaxed and got ready for the time change... ;-)

It did rain last night, and that was unusual - unusual in that it hasn't rained much around here so we were very happy to see it. Even tonight it looked like it might rain a little more, but that didn't stop me from putting some salmon on the grill in the back. The girls played out there while I grilled, and the meal came out just fine. Thank you, for all the continued support and prayers. Take care and stay positive.