Saturday, February 28, 2009
With all sincerity,
I am so pleased to say that Corinthian Title Company has within (4) months been able to retain a pre-tax profit.
While other competitors have contracted with regards to employees and services we encourage our employees to be a strategic part of this company and our joint success.
Although others have attempted to peel us like an onion and tried to define us, the fact is we are defining the shape of today’s the title industry. Your joint effort is appreciated by Corinthian Title Company.
Regardless of your length of employment we would like to announce that on your next payroll date you will be receiving a bonus of $130.07, a small way to say thank you for your efforts. Without your efforts as an employee none of this would be possible.
Thank you all again from Corinthian Title Company.
- Peter Marshall
I mentioned the other day that I joined my first ever chat group. These things have never interested me in the least.
I was looking for some SB-related info on the web and I wasn't finding what I was looking for. Then I remembered that months ago someone had mentioned to me that one of the baby sites on the Internet had a SB chat group that she thought was helpful. Sure enough, I found it on Babycenter.com.
After looking into it I decided to join. It's pretty simple, really. You fill out a profile, upload a photo if you wish and you are up and running. I posted my question and started receiving answers from other SB parents almost immediately.
What makes the Babycenter chat groups so helpful is the format. If you have a question, you log on, punch it in and hit submit. Here's were the fun begins - you never have to log back on again.
Babycenter will send you a "Daily Digest" e-mail once a day. In it, you will find all the responses to your question that you submitted the day before. In addition, it will list links to all the other topics submitted the day before. If you see one that interests you, click the link and read through.
It is so simple, so clean and so useful that I wish I had joined back at the beginning of this whole journey.
Of course, SB isn't the only chat group they have - there are dozens covering just about every topic from trying to conceive to pregnancy and parenthood.
One of the best things for me personally is that now that Annabelle is 6+ months old, we are far enough down the road that we actually have tips and advice to offer to other parents who aren't so far along in the journey. It feels so good to get that e-mail everyday and see a question that you totally know the answer to and are able to help out someone else for a change.
Although SB is a pretty complex and specialized topic, I would imagine that parents of typical children would get that same "lending a hand" fuzzy feeling by answering someone's question about the best bottle or diaper or teething medicine.
I just can't say enough about the way they have the whole thing set up - it totally works and I highly recommend that anyone who is considering having children on up through your baby's first birthday check it out. There may be a topic that interests you.
Chat rooms as a whole are still a turn-off to me but this one works and it is a BIG help.
Friday, February 27, 2009
I have heard about comment sections getting out of hand from time to time but have never experienced it until now.
I have been taking down the undesirables as fast as possible but it is sort of like "whack-a-mole". I don't mind really, we all know there are cretins out there - I just don't want other people subjected to it.
BTW - it is so odd how all the creeps bravely comment under "Anonymous". Bravo! Way to really take a stand! How do you possibly muster such strength and courage??!
So I have decided to change the way our comments are handled.
From now on, when you submit a comment, it will go through me first for approval before going to the ol' blog. All this will really change is that your comment will get posted about 30 minutes or so after you submit it.
I love the comments and 99.9% of them are just wonderful! Keep 'em coming!
And for that small percentage of undesirables out there, you are welcome to comment too - or for that matter e-mail me directly. Just know that your comment will never see the light of day, it will have no effect on me what-so-ever and it is a total and complete waste of your time.
Every year since 2000, on a special Saturday night in February, friends, couples and groups around the world get together to enjoy particular bottles of wine, champagne and spirits. The bottle that you enjoy, traditionally, is one that you have been saving for some special event that, so far, has never quite happened. Open That Bottle Night (OTBN) is the event you have been waiting for...the time when you are entitled to uncork that cherished bottle and enjoy the contents. It doesn't matter if the wine is expensive or low cost, white or red, or even if it is still good. What matters are the memories.
Better: double amputee gets realistic-looking mermaid tail so she can swim.
Awesome: it's developed and built by Weta, the special-effects company that did all the work for the "Lord of the Rings" movies, as well as "King Kong" and "The Chronicles of Narnia" series.
Thursday, February 26, 2009
- Herbert Hoover
She has become a spokesmodel for Overstock.com along with a number of other companies and foundations. She travels the world and competes in triathelons along the way.
On her blog, she recounts one particularly eventful radio interview that I think really gives some insight into the world of the extraordinary individuals that are wc bound.
I went into the office and I couldn't find a phone. I raced into the bedrooms of my brother and mom but both of their phones were in a part of the room I physically couldn't get to. I rushed back into the office knowing there was a phone in there and I had to find it. Mind you that I am pushing my wheelchair through the house with one hand and holding the phone in the other. I am banging into every wall, every door way and knocking stuff over. I am starting to sweat and most likely wasn't making any sense in my answers. I scanned the office very carefully once again and saw the phone behind some hanging file folders on the desk. I rushed over. I reach for the phone on the desk but it was too far for my reach. I reached again and then I heard the click. I lost the call!!! I screamed "NOOOOOOO!!!" In desperation I launched my entire body for the phone again and all in one motion I hit the phone with my fingers and then I fell to the floor.
Wednesday, February 25, 2009
The 64-year-old realised something was wrong when Max started acting strangely.
From being lively, he became withdrawn. He also kept sniffing Maureen’s breath and nudging her right breast.
Max’s odd behaviour prompted Maureen to check her breasts and she discovered a small lump in the right one. But the growth did not show up on a hospital mammogram.
Still convinced that something was wrong, she persuaded surgeons to do a biopsy. And Maureen’s hunch was proved right when the results confirmed there was a lump – and it was malignant.
Maureen, who lives in Rugby, believes she would not be here today if it weren’t for her 10-year-old dog.
- M. C. D'Arcy
Tuesday, February 24, 2009
St. John's Shelter Program on Oprah!
From Michele Steeb, Executive Director of St. John's Shelter Program
On Wednesday, February 25, Oprah's show will focus on the devastating impacts this economy is having on families. Oprah's producers selected St. John's Shelter as one of three programs they will feature to show the impact of the economy (foreclosures in particular) on single mothers trying to make a go of it.
This is unbelievable exposure for St. John's which will undoubtedly help us to serve the growing numbers of women and children in need of our services. (We are now turning away over 230 women and children every day, up from 80/day last year.)
I am asking for your help in two areas-- one is to please tell everyone you know to watch Oprah on Wednesday. We would like the ratings to show them how important this topic is. And, if you feel inclined, please email Oprah through her Web site to let her folks know how much you appreciate them having included St. John's in this important discussion.
P.S. (If you are in the area, please feel free to stop by the Shelter at 3:30 pm for our viewing party!)
St. John's Shelter Program for Women and Children
4410 Power Inn Rd
Sacramento, CA 95826
Here is the rundown on all the Therapy:
Physical Therapy has to do with gross (big) motor skills. Things like moving your arms and legs, abdominal and upper body strength. When we go in for PT, the doc checks off and couple dozen items on her clipboard and measures range of motion for just about every joint you have.
Then she gets down on a floor mat and puts Annabelle in all sorts of position to see what she does. She will lay Annie on her side to see which way she rolls and how. She will sit her up to see if she can sit on her own. This past Monday she even put Annabelle in a push-up position to see how strong her upper body is.
After all this measuring and positioning and observing, the PT recommends a number of activities and exercises that we should do with Annabelle to make sure she is developing optimally.
Currently the concern with Annabelle is getting her to sit up on her own and helping to build her upper body strength. It sounds like we will be going to PT once a week from here on out (remember how I was saying our medical marathon is slowing down . . . . .?)
Occupational Therapy has to do with fine (small) motor skills such as hands and fingers, eye movement and speech.
Our last OT appointment was last week and the doc did an eval, checked off all the items on her clipboard, and suggested that we see her every two months.
It sounds like Annabelle is right on track with all that sort of thing . . .
Infant therapy basically has to do with constructive playtime. The therapist comes out to the house for 45 min and observes Annabelle, checks her development and recommends different toys and games we can play with Annie that will help with development. My impression is that the Infant Therapy most closely resembles OT.
They offered to come to the house once a week but it was just too much with our schedules so we set up the IT for once every two weeks.
So there's that.
So our schedule from here to the end of March looks like:
2/24 - 3rd SSI Interview
3/2 - PT
3/6 - IT
3/9 - PT
3/9 - Pediatrician
3/14 - SBA Meeting
3/16 - PT
3/20 - IT
3/23 - PT
9 Medical appointments in the next 5 weeks (it would be 12 if we were doing IT every week) . . . We are so thankful that we have the opportunity to avail ourselves of all these wonderful services . . . so thankful . . . . and so tired . . . . so very tired . . .
If you have watched with inarticulate delight,
From the free vantage of a country hill,
The change from sunset into twilight, dusk, and night,
Then you have felt how deep peace is, how still.
You see the benediction of the afterglow
Accent each detail of the widespread scene,
Before the twilight sky, rimmed with pink, rose and mauve,
Securely cups your world, safe and serene.
Then dark, pricked there - and there - and there by neighbor's light;
Bright stars, and silence stabbed by cricket song.
You feel cares slip away. Here on this hill tonight
The tang is clean, the pulse is strong.
The U.S. House of Representatives votes 11 articles of impeachment against President Andrew Johnson, nine of which cite Johnson's removal of Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton, a violation of the Tenure of Office Act. The House vote made President Johnson the first president to be impeached in U.S. history.
Monday, February 23, 2009
The wife does not like the term "Spinal Defects Clinic". I think it is the "defect" part in relation to your child . . . We sat around the other day trying to come up with another term for it while still using the "SDC" part.
I think we settled on "Super Duper Clinic" but we are open to suggestions if you have a better idea!
Anyway . . . .
After talking with the teens at the Super Duper Clinic last week, I started surfing the net and following link after link down the intersecting rabbit trails of the web. I ended up at the Colours Wheelchair site and started checking out what they had to offer (Hey, I'm a guy, right?? I love gadgets and equipment and the like . . .)
And this started me thinking . . . .
All the obvious medical stuff aside, developmentally, Annabelle has been right on track with every other 6 month-old baby with the exception of moving her legs - which of course makes very little difference since children do not walk at 6 months anyway . . . but that mile marker is fast approaching . . .
While we continue to hope and pray for a miracle that will enable Annie to walk, the inescapable reality is that she has very little muscle tone in her legs, her hips are dislocated and we have not seen any "gross motor" movement. Naturally, as a father, I want little Lu-Belle to be as active and independent as any other child her age and so for the first time I began to research mobility equipment for infants and toddlers. I even joined a chat room for the first time (Baby Center.com - Spina Bifida group) and posted my question.
The responses were almost immediate and very helpful . . .
Of course no parent wants to spend the morning researching wheelchairs and mobility equipment for their child - and while the help and encouragement from others is a welcome relief, there is a tinge of sadness that goes with it.
As we get closer and closer to the point where Annabelle will possibly be developmentally different from other children her age (in terms of mobility), I find myself utterly transfixed by the sight of little girls walking and running and playing.
We stopped off for lunch while running errands this past Sunday and there was a little girl about 3 years old in a little green cotton dress running and leaping with her father. I watched her out of the corner of my eye - trying not to let the wife notice my pre-occupation (if I know my wife, she was doing the same thing). It was one of the most heartbreakingly beautiful things I have seen in some time.
It reminded me of a post that I wrote 3 days after we learned of Annabelle's condition (yeah, referring to my own writing as a source of my own encouragement - the circle of crazy is complete).
I still feel that way . . .
Even as I ponder Star Cars and Rabbit Standers and Wheelchairs, I am not in the least resentful when I see other children running and jumping and playing. In fact, I will go so far as to say that I have gained an insight that parents of typical children for the most part do not have - the true miracle which is a healthy, happy and whole child.
One last thought . . .
I attended a private Christan college located in San Diego on cliffs above the Pacific ocean. The entire West wall of the cafeteria where we all ate was floor to ceiling windows and at certain times of the year, the sun would set into the ocean during dinner time.
Although it happened more than once, I will never forget the time that the enormous sun was a golden yellow - like honey. It turned the entire sky and ocean the same color. The entire world was bathed in golden blessing and as the sun began to dip into the sea, the entire cafeteria fell silent. Hundreds of college students stopped their gossiping and flirting and studying and watched in awesome silence as the sun continued it's descent.
As the visible portion of the sun grew smaller and smaller you could sense the swelling pressure of it's audience - like when musicians at a concert finish a truly remarkable piece and there is that moment of complete silence given in tribute and reverence to something greater than ourselves before the applause begins . . .
As the last light of day winked out there was a pause, a beat and then thunderous applause - hoots and hollers from all corners of the college cafeteria - giving praise for a moment in time that they will never capture again.
THAT'S what it feels like when I see a little girl running and playing - It makes me want to stop and weepily applaud for the sheer beauty of it all.
So to repeat an earlier post . . .
If you have beautiful, healthy children - take a good look today. Just watch them for a minute or so and marvel in their simplistic beauty and perfection. Then wrap your arms around them and pray for Annabelle.
This really is a terribly beautiful life . . .
The wife gave me clear orders to sit down and watch the whole thing.
I am glad she did - it gets better and better as it goes on.
Lincoln avoids assassination attempt
On this day in 1861, Abraham Lincoln and his entourage show up unexpectedly at the Willard Hotel in Washington, D.C., foiling a Baltimore plot against his life.
The president-elect left his home in Springfield, Illinois, by train several days earlier and had planned to stop in Baltimore before continuing to the capital. Before leaving, he delivered a poignant farewell to his hometown and close friends, who observed that he seemed to realize he might never return to the town where, he said, “my children have been born, and one is buried.” Shortly after departing Springfield, his aides received reports of a planned assassination attempt in Baltimore and ordered the train to proceed immediately to Washington.
64 Years Ago Today
U.S. flag raised on Iwo Jima
During the bloody Battle for Iwo Jima, U.S. Marines from the 3rd Platoon, E Company, 2nd Battalion, 28th Division take the crest of Mount Suribachi, the island's highest peak and most strategic position, and raise the U.S. flag. Marine photographer Louis Lowery was with them and recorded the event. American soldiers fighting for control of Suribachi's slopes cheered the raising of the flag, and several hours later more Marines headed up to the crest with a larger flag. Joe Rosenthal, a photographer with the Associated Press, met them along the way and recorded the raising of the second flag along with a Marine still photographer and a motion-picture cameraman.
Eighteen-month-old Kristen Hoenshell has a rare and aggressive form of cancer. What began as a tumor behind her eye has led to surgery and 38 weeks of weekly visits to Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, where she receives powerful doses of chemotherapy that leave her weak and occasionally sick.
Yesterday, when she showed up for another round of treatment, she was greeted by something special. As her cousin Megan Souza pointed out the window of a third-floor walkway, ironworkers perched on the sixth floor of a partially constructed building nearby hoisted a massive I-beam into place. It was emblazoned, in bright pink spray paint, with Kristen's name.
"Look out the window," Souza said, as she held Kristen in her arms. "There's your name up there. There's your name, Kristen." The girl, bald from her treatments, smiled shyly.
It has become a beloved ritual at Dana-Farber: Every day, children who come to the clinic write their names on sheets of paper and tape them to the windows of the walkway for ironworkers to see. And, every day, the ironworkers paint the names onto I-beams and hoist them into place as they add floors to the new 14-story Yawkey Center for Cancer Care.
Here is the video:
We were in between Netflix shipments so I stopped by the movie rental place and saw this on the shelf. Not bad, actually.
The whole movie has a very Tim Burton feel to it and it is not nearly as suspenseful as the trailer makes it out to be.
The cast is great, the visuals are real good, the story holds it's own right up to the end where it sort of frays and falls apart. Another of of those "That's all the time we have for now!" endings that always makes me think of the ending of Monty Python's Holy Grail.
It occurred to me afterwards that the whole thing might be an adaptation of Plato's Allegory of the Cave which might actually give the ending more credit - but I haven't read Plato in about 16 years so don't hold me to it.
The wife liked the movie in part becase she thought the little girl who plays "Poppy" has Annabelle-ianesce qualities.
Totally worth renting so long as you aren't in the mood to be "stunned" by a movie. I am thinking a rainy afternoon with nothing better to do . . .
Sunday, February 22, 2009
Before Annie-Lu was born, we were warned that Binkies were baby "crack" and that if we relied on them too heavily, it would be war trying to get the Binky Monkey off her back. "She'll be jonesin for it! I tell ya!"
We had so much going on those first few months that our attitude was "Give her whatever makes her happy" and we had an array of Binkies around the house, in the car, the diaper bag etc - always within arms reach.
At about 5 months she just lost interest in them. Doesn't want them even if she is crying.
For a while there she was curling the fingers of one or both hands over her lower gums and letting them hang there.
He latest thing is to jam her thumb so far back in her mouth that she gags. A few times a day we are pulling her hand out of her mouth and telling her "Don't do that".
Just all part of a baby's exploration of the "miracle me" I suppose . . . .
On this day in 1732, George Washington is born in Westmoreland County, Virginia, the second son from the second marriage of a colonial plantation owner. An initially loyal British subject, Washington eventually led the Continental Army in the American Revolution and became known as the “father” of the United States.
Let us pause in life's pleasures and count its many tears
While we all sup sorrow with the poor
There's a song that will linger forever in our ears
Oh, hard times come again no more
'Tis a song a sigh of the weary
Hard times hard times come again no more
Many days you have lingered around my cabin door
Oh hard times come again no more
While we seek mirth and beauty
And music light and gay
There are frail ones fainting at the door
Though their voices are silent
Their pleading looks will say
Oh, hard times come again no more
'Tis a song a sigh of the weary
Hard times... hard times come again no more
Many days you have lingered around my cabin door
Oh, hard times come again no more
'Tis a sigh that is wafted across the troubled wave
'Tis a wail that is heard upon the shore
'Tis a dirge that is murmured around the lowly grave
Oh, hard times come again no more
'Tis a song a sigh of the weary
Hard times hard times come again no more
Many days you have lingered around my cabin door
Oh, hard times come again no more
Oh, hard times come again no more
I go out and stare at the world in complete disbelief
Its not righteous indignation that makes me complain
Its the fact that I always have to explain
- Van Morrison in Why Must I Always Explain?
Saturday, February 21, 2009
Here are the latest prayer needs:
- That Annabelle's shunt continues to work properly
- That the V3 procedure was successful and the opening in her ventricles remains open
- That Annabelle continues to develop right on track and is able to walk one day
Something I have not mentioned is that our house is now in foreclosure. Due to the economic downturn, we are making 30% of what were were 18 months ago. That's pretty tough to budget around. We are in negotiations with our lenders to modify our loans and are hoping for a successful resolution. The idea of losing our house that so many have poured their hard work into is unbearable. So if you wouldn't mind praying along those lines as well - especially between now and March 4th - that would be great.
Thank you for all your prayers and comments, e-mails and support.
(Fall down seven times, get up eight times)
- Japanese Saying
You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you stop to look fear in the face."
- Eleanor Roosevelt
(BTW - if anyone is interested in Housing Market News, I actually have another blog **shhh - don't tell anyone!** that is strictly industry news from a variety of sources - I try and keep it pretty up-to-date. It is called The Real Estate Hotwire )
On February 21, 1848, The Communist Manifesto, written by Karl Marx with the assistance of Friedrich Engels, is published in London by a group of German-born revolutionary socialists known as the Communist League. The political pamphlet--arguably the most influential in history--proclaimed that "the history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles" and that the inevitable victory of the proletariat, or working class, would put an end to class society forever. Originally published in German as Manifest der Kommunistischen Partei ("Manifesto of the Communist Party"), the work had little immediate impact. Its ideas, however, reverberated with increasing force into the 20th century, and by 1950 nearly half the world's population lived under Marxist governments.
Friday, February 20, 2009
You think that you're gonna drown
Sometimes all I can do is weep weep weep
With all this rain falling down
Strange how hard it rains now
Rows and rows of big dark clouds
When I'm holding on underneath this shroud
- Patty Griffin from Rain
Thursday, February 19, 2009
When the mother in radiology had to cut her story short, Holly had told me that she wished she could have talked with her more to hear her story. As luck would have it, the mother walked into the SDC waiting room with her 20 year old son in his wheelchair (wc) and sat down.
Shortly after that, the three teenagers we had seen before all wheeled in as well - all having had their images done in radiology before the SDC just like Annabelle . . . .
Holly looked at me and said, "Let's go sit by them . . ." and we did.
The mother picked up the story where she had left off and explained that her son had gone most of his 20 years without a shunt revision but just recently had a shunt inserted in the other side of his head so that he now had one on each side (something I had never heard of).
We chatted with the teen sporting the Life Rolls On sticker. He proudly explained that he was an "Ambassador" for Life Rolls On which meant that he travelled around speaking at local schools to spread awareness of what life with a disability was like and to let people know how they can support the foundation. He said that he loves surfing and that he had just been awarded a sponsorship to travel to Costa Rica to participate in the filming of a surf documentary.
He also pointed out that surfing wasn't the only sport he loved - he also played rugby, soccer and basketball.
He is 14 years old . . .
I checked out the LRO website and found his story. There are other stories there as well so if you are looking for some perspective in life, I would suggest you spend a few minutes there . . . . SERIOUSLY READ A COUPLE OF THE STORIES THERE.
We talked with the boyfriend / girlfriend duo and they both said they were in sports too - he used to play rugby until he hurt his shoulder and now he just plays basketball. She plays soccer, basketball and "beating up on him" as she thumbed to her boyfriend . . . "but that's on a professional level -the other sports are just amature . . ."
It was an amazing experience to sit with a couple of mothers and 4 wc-bound teens and hear all about their activities and things going on in their lives.
Patrick's mother told a story of how shortly after starting kindergarten, Patrick had become lazy about pushing himself around in his wheelchair. She didn't understand what was going on until they attended a classmate's birthday party. There was a ruckus and the birthday girl, with tears in her eyes was crying, "IT'S MY BIRTHDAY! I GET TO PUSH HIM!!!!!!" Patrick beamed as his mother told the story . . .
The moms tipped us off to the San Diego Adaptive Sports Foundation - which is pretty self explanatory. If you go to their website you can see video of wc sports in action.
Slowly but surely we were each called into the clinic. Holly, Annie and I were placed in our exam room around 1pm and the medical marathon began.
The doc came in, asked us a few questions, talked with us about the x-rays we had taken that morning and pronounced everything right on track. At this point in Annie's situation, the club foot clinic is the driving force in the ortho department and there isn't much else to be done. The doc said she would like to see us back in 6 months.
The doc came in and we talked about Annabelle's shunt revision. He wants her to come in for a CT scan and shunt-series xray in the near future to make sure that the shunt is working properly. This will also give us the added bonus of seeing if the 3V procedure is working as well. Aside from that, he said he would see us back in 12 months.
Physical / Occupational Therapy:
Since our PT / OT needs are being met through the Early Start program, these folks came in just to check up on us. They encouraged us to do some more tummy time, side line laying and supported sitting. They also recommended one of these as the pad is a little bit thinner than some other tummy time gear and therefore easier for infants to use.
Nurses are great. The general dynamic seems to be that doctors have all the knowledge and nurses have all the heart. The head nurse came in, reviewed a few things with us, asked how everything was going and got us some free samples of ointment to try on Annie's diaper rash.
The ultrasound we had earlier in the day was to examine Annabelle's urinary tract. It appears that she is not completely emptying her bladder but that it is not a problem at this point. The Urologist did recommended a urodynamic study be done to determine exactly what Annie's abilities are in this area. I explained that we were going to be having foot surgery in April and asked if this was something that could wait until she was out of casts. The Urologist said, "Yes" and scheduled it for August.
This is a therapist who comes in and tries to look at all the various disciplines and blend them into one holistic approach for the patient. She wanted to review everything that everyone had said and make sure we were doing all right.
He came in to check on us and encourage us to attend the Spina Bifida Association Meeting in March.
Now, if this post seems long, imagine what the day was like. It was 6pm before we left - having seen 12 doctors (if you count the x-rays and ultrasound) over the course of 10 hours. Annie wasn't able to sleep well throughout the day and although she was her happy squealing self up until 4pm, those last two hours were spent alternating between hunger and exhaustion.
I started to get punchy around 4:30 or so and brought up the time that the Pediatrician (who we love) let Holly and Annabelle leave a checkup without actually giving Annie her shots. The wife had to go back with the wee-one the next week to get them . . .
"When you are a Pediatrician, shots are what YOU DO . . ." I exclaimed in hour 9 of our ten hour day this past Tuesday. "Shots are the main reason you are there . . . kids come in and you sho . . . . give them their shots!"
The wife burst out laughing . . . "You were going to say 'shoot them' weren't you? Kids come in and you 'shoot them'?" . . . . and we both had a good laugh . . .
So that is it.
Everything seems to be moving right along. The next big hurdle is of course the foot surgery in April but it is beginning to feel as if the medical marathon that began last August might be winding down by the end of June . . . and by "winding down" I mean we might get the chance to stop sprinting around the end of June and slow down to a medical jog or a walk . . .
So here is our Medical Schedule for the foreseeable future:
2/23 - Physical Therapy
3/9 - Pediatrician Checkup ("shoot 'em!")
3/14 - SBA Meeting
4/7 - Club Foot Clinic
4/14 - Foot Surgery
August - Spinal Defects Clinic
We are also doing infant therapy every two weeks and no doubt the calendar will fill with surgery follow up appointments after foot surgery. But still . . . we are down to 9 medical appointments in the next 8 weeks - which seems like a vacation of sorts.
Thank you for all your prayers, encouragement and support. Your comments and e-mails mean so much to us.
I will have a prayer request update up in the next couple of days as this post is plenty long enough!
Thank you, Thank you, Thank you.
Ten weeks after the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt signs Executive Order 9066, authorizing the removal of any or all people from military areas "as deemed necessary or desirable." The military in turn defined the entire West Coast, home to the majority of Americans of Japanese ancestry or citizenship, as a military area. By June, more than 110,000 Japanese Americans were relocated to remote internment camps built by the U.S. military in scattered locations around the country. For the next two and a half years, many of these Japanese Americans endured extremely difficult living conditions and poor treatment by their military guards.
- Edward Wilson
Give me thoughtful - introspective . . .
Good, baby . . . you're doing great . . .
Give me overjoyed! . . . . .
- Shreve Stockton in The Daily Coyote
Wednesday, February 18, 2009
Because spinal defects involve so many doctors from so many disciplines, Children's Hospital holds a Spinal Defects clinic twice a month. Typically the patients come in the morning to have any necessary tests done and then you are put in an exam room all afternoon as the various different doctors file in and out discussing their particular piece of the puzzle.
The other nice thing about the SDC is that if a situation arises that requires a multidisciplinary approach, all the docs are right there and can consult. We loaded the diaper bag to the gills and steeled ourselves for a good 8 hour day of doctor's appointments.
We arrived at the hospital at 8am for our first consult . . .
Club Foot Clinic:
It has been a month since Annie had her casts off and Dr. W. wanted to check in to make sure that her feet were not regressing to their original position while we wait for surgery on April 14th. He pronounced that everything was just fine and set our next appointment for April 7th - one last consult a week before surgery day.
We had about 2 hours before our next appointment so we headed to the cafeteria for some breakfast. On the way, the wife noticed a teenager in a wheelchair. On the back of the chair was a sticker for the Life Rolls On foundation.
When we got situated in the cafeteria, we fired up the laptop and discovered that Life Rolls On is a non-profit foundation set up by former professional surfer Jesse Billauer (who you may recognize from the movie Step Into Liquid - he is the one in the wheelchair) to help those with disabilities learn to surf.
Ultrasound and X-rays:
After breakfast, we headed to radiology an hour early - hoping to get in to our next appointment early. The waiting room was full - many of whom were there to have images taken for the SDC later in the day. There is nothing like a trip to radiology on SDC day to give you some perspective in life . . . .
My wife recognized the teen with the Life Rolls On sticker across the room and they exchanged smiles. A mother sitting next to us, her 20 year old son in a wheelchair (WC) with spina bifida, struck up a conversation with us and asked us all about Annabelle and how it was going.
The mother was telling us that her son went most of his life with the same shunt he had received at birth without any complications. Then recently, shortly after her husband was killed in an accident . . .
That's when her son's name was called and she had to cut her story short.
After they left, my wife turned to me with tears in her eyes . . . willing herself to hold it all together in the face of so many with such enormous challenges . . . . "How do people do it? She asked me . . ."
As we waited, a couple more teenagers came in - both in wc's - clearly a boyfriend and girlfriend. They recognized the Life Rolls On teen and there were all the typical greetings you would expect to see between good teenage friends. We sat there transfixed.
The wife and I have never personally known anyone wc bound and here were these three teens - a boyfriend and girlfriend to boot - all hanging out. We felt like we were getting a glimpse into another reality.
They finally called Annie's name and we headed in to have her ultrasound done. The wife was bold enough to ask if she could shoot some photos and the tech obliged.
Annie actually slept through the ultrasound and was 100% cooperative during the x-rays.
On this day in 1885, Mark Twain publishes his famous--and famously controversial--novel The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.
Twain (the pen name of Samuel Clemens) first introduced Huck Finn as the best friend of Tom Sawyer, hero of his tremendously successful novel The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (1876). Though Twain saw Huck's story as a kind of sequel to his earlier book, the new novel was far more serious, focusing on the institution of slavery and other aspects of life in the antebellum South.
Into the woods my Master went,
Clean forspent, forspent.
Into the woods my Master came,
Forspent with love and shame.
But the olives they were not blind to Him;
The little gray leaves were kind to Him
The thorn-tree had a mind to Him
When into the woods He came.
Out of the woods my Master went,
And He was well content.
Out of the woods my Master came,
Content with death and shame.
When Death and Shame would woo Him last,
From under the trees they drew Him last:
’T was on a tree they slew Him—last,
When out of the woods He came.
Tuesday, February 17, 2009
(sorry - I had a hard time finding embeddible trailers)
And of course . . .
Send recommendations to MattLinden@msn.com
Wasn't there a movie set in Ireland about a garage band of some sort . . . I only vaguely remember . . .
I measure every grief I meet
With analytic eyes;
I wonder if it weighs like mine,
Or has an easier size.
I wonder if they bore it long,
Or did it just begin?
I could not tell the date of mine,
It feels so old a pain.
I wonder if it hurts to live,
And if they have to try,
And whether, could they choose between,
They would not rather die.
I wonder if when years have piled--
Some thousands--on the cause
Of early hurt, if such a lapse
Could give them any pause;
Or would they go on aching still
Through centuries above,
Enlightened to a larger pain
By contrast with the love.
The grieved are many, I am told;
The reason deeper lies,--
Death is but one and comes but once
And only nails the eyes.
There's grief of want, and grief of cold,--
A sort they call 'despair,'
There's banishment from native eyes,
In sight of native air.
And though I may not guess the kind
Correctly yet to me
A piercing comfort it affords
In passing Calvary,
To note the fashions of the cross
Of those that stand alone
Still fascinated to presume
That some are like my own.
Monday, February 16, 2009
Neatorama pointed to a blog listing the top 10 waterfalls in America.
I actually lived about 20 minutes from Snoqualmie Falls for a time and about 5 minutes from Shoshone Falls for a while as well.
Thanks to friends who got married in Big Sur, I have also seen McWay Falls (although we didn't have time to run down and stand under it).
So 3 out of 10 isn't too bad . . . the others look fantastic though . . .
I saw God wash the world last night
With his sweet showers on high,
And then, when morning came, I saw
Him hang it out to dry.
He washed each tiny blade of grass
And every trembling tree;
He flung his showers against the hill,
And swept the billowing sea.
The white rose is a cleaner white,
The red rose is more red,
Since God washed every fragrant face
And put them all to bed.
There's not a bird, there's not a bee
That wings along the way
But is a cleaner bird and bee
Than it was yesterday.
I saw God wash the world last night.
Ah, would He had washed me
As clean of all my dust and dirt
As that old white birch tree.
This is the first time someone has sent me a link to an actual how-to video of the process (The article is good too).
Mmmmm . . . . Bacon . . . .
Sunday, February 15, 2009
The funny thing is, the wife isn't egging her on - Annie just does this during the day - it's like she has so much happiness bottled up that she has to let some out before she explodes!
I will start us off with a fantastic movie in my opinion:
Waking Ned Devine
Send your recommendations to MattLinden@msn.com
I actually do not have to go into the office today (Sunday) and Monday is a holiday. The first two back-to back days without going to the office in recent memory . . . That'll do . . .
The Maine explodes
A massive explosion of unknown origin sinks the battleship USS Maine in Cuba's Havana harbor, killing 260 of the fewer than 400 American crew members aboard.
106 Years Ago Today
First “Teddy” bear goes on sale
On this day in 1903, toy store owner and inventor Morris Michtom places two stuffed bears in his shop window, advertising them as “Teddy” bears. Michtom had earlier petitioned President Theodore Roosevelt for permission to use his nickname, “Teddy.” The president agreed and, before long, other toy manufacturers began turning out copies of Michtom’s stuffed bears, which soon became a national childhood institution.
Saturday, February 14, 2009
But I suppose I should not cast dispersions.
I am agnostic when it comes to these sorts of things - Virgin Mary on a dawg door, face of Christ on toast, Fletcher on the BBQ . . . I have no problem admitting that images appear in strange places - does it mean something ? Maybe. Sometimes. Probably not every time . . . I don't know.
What amazes me is that people can see God in a water stain but don't notice him in the wind, the rain, the sun, the cold . . . all around us.
John Wolfgang Von Goethe said, "Nature is the living, visible garment of God".
Romans 1:20 says: "For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse."
Somewhere along the way, I read a quote about a student coming to a teacher and asking, "Teacher, I cannot see God - would you help me to see him?" to which the teacher replied, "I cannot help you - for even as you cannot see God, I cannot not see God at all times."
Of course, some people take it a little too far and say that the woods are their church and they worship and experience God through nature and have no need for organized religion - which is a little like saying you love your husband but you just choose not to live under the same roof with him and the kids . . .
I think one of the best examples of a healthy balance between seeing God in nature verses actually worshipping nature itself is found in the Canticle of the Sun by Saint Francis:
Most high, all powerful, all good Lord!
All praise is yours, all glory, all honor, and all blessing.
To you, alone, Most High, do they belong.
No mortal lips are worthy to pronounce your name.
Be praised, my Lord, through all your creatures,
especially through my lord Brother Sun,
who brings the day; and you give light through him.
And he is beautiful and radiant in all his splendor!
Of you, Most High, he bears the likeness.
Be praised, my Lord, through Sister Moon and the stars;
in the heavens you have made them bright, precious and beautiful.
Be praised, my Lord, through Brothers Wind and Air,
and clouds and storms, and all the weather,
through which you give your creatures sustenance.
Be praised, My Lord, through Sister Water;
she is very useful, and humble, and precious, and pure.
Be praised, my Lord, through Brother Fire,
through whom you brighten the night.
He is beautiful and cheerful, and powerful and strong.
Be praised, my Lord, through our sister Mother Earth,
who feeds us and rules us,
and produces various fruits with colored flowers and herbs.
Be praised, my Lord, through those who forgive for love of you;
through those who endure sickness and trial.
Happy those who endure in peace,
for by you, Most High, they will be crowned.
Be praised, my Lord, through our Sister Bodily Death,
from whose embrace no living person can escape.
Woe to those who die in mortal sin!
Happy those she finds doing your most holy will.
The second death can do no harm to them.
Praise and bless my Lord, and give thanks,
and serve him with great humility.
So if you see the face of God, Jesus, Mary, your Dawg or loved one in your breakfast cereal and it gives you hope - more power to you. Who am I to say it isn't a sign?
Just remember that we live in the midst of a world full of signs - if we only have eyes to see them.
And seriously. Wash your dawg.
On February 14 around the year 278 A.D., Valentine, a holy priest in Rome in the days of Emperor Claudius II, was executed.
Under the rule of Claudius the Cruel, Rome was involved in many unpopular and bloody campaigns. The emperor had to maintain a strong army, but was having a difficult time getting soldiers to join his military leagues. Claudius believed that Roman men were unwilling to join the army because of their strong attachment to their wives and families.
Friday, February 13, 2009
I had been hungry all the years-
My noon had come, to dine-
I, trembling, drew the table near
And touched the curious wine.
'T was this on tables I had seen
When turning, hungry, lone,
I looked in windows, for the wealth
I could not hope to own.
I did not know the ample bread,
'T was so unlike the crumb
The birds and I had often shared
In Nature's dining-room.
The plenty hurt me, 't was so new,--
Myself felt ill and odd,
As berry of a mountain bush
Transplanted to the road.
Nor was I hungry; so I found
That hunger was a way
Of persons outside windows,
The entering takes away.
Thursday, February 12, 2009
I know - I forgot my cell phone camera this morning . . .
I have one sweatshirt that I use for running. It is an old, thin college sweatshirt coming apart at the seams and permanently covered in the detritus of dozens of home improvement projects - paint and primer and the like. I like it because it is thinner than your average sweatshirt and it is a pullover - no zipper or hood to hassle with. It was also in the laundry from my last run in the downpour so I had to go with plan "B". I pulled down an old zip-up hoodie that I haven't worn in ages.
It is funny how a piece of clothing can effect the way you think and feel. I almost never wear hooded sweatshirts so this was sort of unfamiliar to me and as I started my pre-dawn run all I could think of was that scene in Rocky . . . .
Which made me think of that Newbie Chronicle Article . . . .
So anyway . . . that invincible feeling began to fade as I reached the half-way point and turned around . . . I was sort of nervous about this run because the base of my left calf had really been sore since my last run. I figured it was the tendon that connects the bottom of my calf to my leg bone or whatever and that it was probably just tender or something . . . it felt pretty good this morning but with about 15 minutes of running to go, I really started to lose steam.
As luck would have it, the Ipod kicked up my favorite Elvis running song which I (of course) had to listen to 2 or 3 times in a row and that helped carry me through . . . but after that, things really started to go downhill . . .
"She can't take much more, Captain!"
First my calves seemed to just not want to work anymore - then my thighs - then everything from the waist down seem to rise up in revolution against the benevolent dictator of my brain.
"What do we want?"
"To lie down!"
"When do we want it?"
I willed a little extra spring in my step and tried to ward off the dreaded survival shuffle . . . but by the end EVERYTHING HURT.
I stretched at the car and headed home. I hurt all day at the office.
As I am writing this (Thursday morning) it still hurts. My quads, calves, ankles - but especially the outside of my left knee. And I don't mean a "wow that was a hard workout hurt". I mean an "Uh-oh, Houston we have a problem" sort of hurt. I am still limping . . .
I have no idea what went wrong but this is how things seem to go with me and running - one day the body just has enough and I wind up on the injured list. So - what do I do now?
I most certainly will not be doing a full run tomorrow - maybe I will cut the running part in half and walk the rest of the way - who knows - we will just have to see how it all feels tomorrow morning.
Where you can find such delicacies as Corn Dog Pizza, and Krispy Kreme Sloppy Joes. Wow.
Three bacon-stuffed grilled cheese sandwiches for buns, cheese, bacon and two four-ounce beefs patties.
- Thanks Steve!
Wednesday, February 11, 2009
Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
"Keep ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she
With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"
Tuesday, February 10, 2009
I really have to find that widget that counts my time and miles. I think I actually might be running a little faster than 12 mpm but there is really no telling.
It was run day - but we also had a Physical Therapy appointment at 8am and an Occupational Therapy appointment at 8:30am. And I needed to be in the office first thing in the morning to get everything off on the right foot . . . so.
I got up at 2:30 am - dressed for my run and went into the office. Worked a couple hours and then headed to Balboa Park (sans dawg). After that it was rush home, change - off to the appointments.
It was pouring rain. Sheets of rain. (so much so that I couldn't manage a photo - the one above is off the web)
One of the things that I noticed on my last run in the rain is that your nice swishy running shirt (you know, the one you bought because the friction from your old cotton t-shirts was giving you a rash?) Well, that swishy shirt becomes a lot less swishy when it is soaking wet. Things start to rub and chafe that you really don't want chaffed - two spots in particular on your chest . . .
I got home after my run on Saturday soaking wet and told my wife about it. She offered me some of her Lanolin. "Yeah, right." Was my response . . . Until I changed into some dry clothes and then . . . well . . . let's just say I am surprised at how thick and sticky the stuff is.