Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from Stan and Joanne.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Happy 233rd Birthday to the Green Side!

I'm a little late with these pictures but still wanted to post them on my blog.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Happy Birthday Dear

Happy Birthday to my dear wife Joanne. I will not tell you her age because then I might not see my next birthday. We went out to dinner with the kids and grandkids and my sister. Then Joanne and I went north to the Little River Casino in Manistee Michigan for the weekend. I think she had a great birthday. Love you dear.

Almost Thanksgiving Day

Well, I made it through Veterans Day and I did attend the dinner in Eau Clair. It was quite a shindig and well represented by all branches of the service. This is a fine example of small towns clinging to their guns and religion. They treat the Veterans the way they should be treated. It made me feel proud to be an American Veteran. There were a few tears but I got through it okay. My wife had to go to a meeting so I went with my sister. She also enjoyed the evening.

Joanne and I just got back from a weekend in Manistee, MI celebrating Joanne’s birthday at Little River Casino. I will not say which birthday we celebrated but it was traumatic for her. We came out about even for the weekend and had a great time. It started snowing heavily on the way back but the further south we got the better the driving conditions.

Went to Battle Creek VA last week to have me hip checked out. Guess it is doing okay according to the doctor. That leg is one quarter inch longer than the other is and my limp does cause a few problems with the hip. He said it will take time and that I should not be concerned with some pain. Only be concerned about a lot of pain continuously. I do not have the patience to wait. I want it better now.

The Benton Harbor VA is now officially a full fledge VA facility and not run by a contractor. I do not know if that is good or bad. We will wait and see. The one individual that I liked is not staying with the VA. Paul really seemed to care and I thought he was very good at his job. They have replaced him with a doctor via video conference. I do not think it is right for a physician to be able to analyze you via a TV monitor. Not sure how long this will go on with the TV. Maybe they will find an on-site individual.

Getting ready for Thanksgiving and then it will be time to start thinking about putting up trees for Christmas. Time sure is flying by.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Long Time, No Post

Long time, no post. Well…I have been very busy moving my sister up to Michigan from Georgia. My wife and I drove down to Atlanta and helped my sister pack up all the dishes and glass. We rented a 26-foot U-Haul truck and hired Two Men and a Truck guys to load the truck. It is best to let the professionals load a truck because they can really pack it tight. As far as we know, nothing got broken on our 14-hour trip north.

26 feet was not large enough for everything so some things had to be left behind. The realtor will try to sell a few things and the rest will be given to charity groups. Some of the stuff we talked her out of bringing to Michigan. I would have loved to brought everything with us but there wasn’t the room. It would have been better to have a garage sale up here rather than leave it behind but you do what you have to do.

I believe she really likes the new house she bought “sight un seen”. Her large furniture fit nicely and looks homey in the house. She did go out and buy a few things to fill in a few places such as a smaller kitchen table and another chair for living room rather than a large couch.

It has been a tough couple of weeks for me with all the activity but I am slowly getting back to normal and mentally calming down. Dealing with all that activity and being out of my safe zone was stressful but I got thru it without too much anxiety. Now that I am back in my basement office, I feel much more secure and relaxed. Every Thursday, I can go visit my sister for lunch after Group Therapy. I think that will be fun and I am sure she will enjoy that also.

I had a few flashbacks during that period but I believe that the physical activity of packing and getting ready to move helped a little to relieve the stress of being out of my safe zone. We have a new member to our Group Therapy and I have only been to one meeting while he was their. New members tend to change the dynamics of a group so we will see how it does. My initial reaction was that he probably was not a good soldier and tends to hate the military and its rules. However, first impressions can be deceiving so I will wait and see how he turns out.

Big Veterans Day activities coming up in the area but I am not sure if I will partake. Stuff like that brings back memories that I try to forget. A couple of the guys in the group told me to try it so maybe I will. One of the activities includes a free dinner for two with a military program. Betty Bennett is a speaker and I have heard her speak before and really enjoyed what she had to say. She was a Wave Code Breaker in Washington D.C. during WWII. It was amazing what she had to go thru to keep her activities a secret during that time and she had to sign a paper not to reveal for 25 years what she had been doing. She confirms that Roosevelt knew about the attack at Pearl Harbor 4 days before the Japanese hit. I may go just to hear her talk.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Coming Out of the Dark

A couple more excellent videos dealing with PTSD.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

PTSD Video

If you are a Nam Vet, be careful when you watch this video. It may bring back some bad memories or reactions.

Tax Plans

This is a VERY simple way to understand the tax laws. Let's put tax cuts in terms everyone can understand.

Suppose that every day, ten men go out for dinner. The bill for all ten comes to $100. If they paid their bill the way we pay our taxes, it would go something like this.

The first four men, the poorest would pay nothing; the fifth would pay $1; the sixth would pay $3; the seventh $7; the eighth $12; the ninth $18; and the tenth man, the richest, would pay $59.

That's what they decided to do. The ten men ate dinner in the restaurant every day and seemed quite happy with the arrangement, until one day; the owner threw them a curve (in tax language a tax cut).

"Since you are all such good customers," he said, "I'm going to reduce the cost of your daily meal by $20." So now dinner for the ten only cost $80.00.

The group still wanted to pay their bill the way we pay our taxes. So the first four men were unaffected. They would still eat for free. But what about the other six, the paying customers? How could they divvy up the $20 windfall so that everyone would get his "fair share?"

The six men realized that $20 divided by six is $3.33. But if they subtracted that from everybody's share, then the fifth man and the sixth man would end up being PAID to eat their meal. So the restaurant owner suggested that it would be fair to reduce each man's bill by roughly the same amount, and he proceeded to work out the amounts each should pay.

So the fifth man paid nothing, the sixth pitched in $2, the seventh paid $5, the eighth paid $9, the ninth paid $12; leaving the tenth man with a bill of $52 instead of his earlier $59.

Each of the six was better off than before. And the first four continued to eat for free.

But once outside the restaurant, the men began to compare their savings.
"I only got a dollar out of the $20," declared the sixth man, but he, pointing to the tenth. "But he got $7!" "Yeah, that's right," exclaimed the fifth man, "I only saved a dollar, too. It's unfair that he got seven times more than me!" That's true!" shouted the seventh man, why should he get $7 back when I got only $2? The wealthy get all the breaks!" Wait a minute," yelled the first four men in unison, "we didn't get anything at
all. The system exploits the poor!"

The nine men surrounded the tenth and beat him up. The next night he didn't show up for dinner, so the nine sat down and ate without him. But when it came time to pay the bill, they discovered, a little late what was very important.

They were FIFTY-TWO DOLLARS short of paying the bill! Imagine that!

And that, boys and girls, journalists and college instructors, is how the tax system works. The people who pay the highest taxes get the most benefit from a tax reduction. Tax them too much, attack them for being wealthy, and they just may not show up at the table anymore.

Where would that leave the rest? Unfortunately, most taxing authorities anywhere cannot seem to grasp this rather straightforward logic!

T. Davies Professor of Accounting & Chair, Division of Accounting and
Business Law
the University of South Dakota

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Happy Birthday Jo Ann

Well…my sister celebrated a milestone of a birthday yesterday. I won’t say which one but she is an old coot now. I have included a couple of recent pictures of her at her part time job at a Hallmark store. The one picture is also of her good friend Marie who she flew with for many years at Delta Airlines. The picture with the flowers is from a pilot that she flew with many times over the years. (Click picture for larger view) I am looking forward to next month when we move her up to Michigan. I sure hope this winter is not too bad. As a Southern girl, she is used to easy winters with a few chilly days. We live in an area that has “Lake Effect” snow. It blows in off of Lake Michigan and dumps the snow on our area. Happy Birthday Sister.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Labor Day Weekend

We had an enjoyable Labor Day weekend and the weather was perfect. Saturday, we drove 100 miles to Barlow Lake to visit my cousins. Uncle Hugo had a cottage at the lake for as long as I can remember and we spent many a summer day out at the lake. Now the kids have the cottage and they spend many of their summers there. I think Cousin Vincent is about four years older then me and Georgia is probably two years older. We have not seen them for many years so I just had to go to the lake to visit. Labor Day is the weekend that they bring in the boats and dock to store away for the winter.

Vince’s wife is Suzy and their son (Erik) and daughter-in-law were at the lake. In addition, Georgia’s husband Steve and their daughter and granddaughter (Samantha) were at the lake. Here is another case of my not remembering names. I should know their names but forget names so easily. I somehow missed getting a picture of Samantha.

The first picture is of Georgia, her daughter, Erik, Erik’s wife, and then Suzy. The next picture is of Erik, Erik’s wife, Suzy and then Steve (Georgia’s husband). The third picture is Suzy, Erik, Georgia’s daughter, and Erik’s wife. The fourth picture is of Steve and Vince (he graduated from Michigan). The last picture is of Joanne and me on the swing that has been part of the cottage for as long as I can remember. I was just as if I had never been away. (You can click on the pictures for a larger view.)

On Labor Day, the kids and grandkids took us out to dinner for our Anniversary. It was a fun time with the kids and little ones both at the restaurant and out on their patio at home.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

An Evening With The Kids

My daughter-in-law did not want her picture taken because she said it would just end up on my blog. Guess I will have to post her picture here just for the fun of it. Kelly and her daughter, Lauren, were playing a game and that is why their arms are raised. I have included another picture of just Kelly and one of Nana, Mike and Josh.

Happy Birthday Josh

Happy 13th birthday Joshua. You are now a teenager. Our grandson turns 13 today so that is a big deal. It means we are really getting old to have a teenage grandson. The kids get to pick their restaurant of choice on their birthday so we will be celebrating at Chili’s this evening. The first picture if of Josh and the second picture is of Nana and the Grandkids (click picture for larger view). Actually, this took place yesterday but we spent a lovely evening at the kid’s house talking and watching the grandkids swim.

Update on the hip. It is still healing but very slowly and I still cannot put the anti-embolism stocking on by myself. I need to continue to use that stocking to keep the edema down.

I will miss Group this week because we are going on a trip for a few days. We will be camping in Birch Run and visiting the outlet mall there and go into Frankenmuth. It is a quaint little town with a very German atmosphere.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

County Fair

It is County Fair time in our little town. The fair is actually the Berrien County Youth Fair and really draws a crowd. We go for the junk food and to watch the people. It is great people watching in this area. I think we must be too close to the nuclear plant because the county has some strange people living here.

For lunch, we had “walking tacos” and for dinner, we had sirloin tips with potatoes and mushrooms. For dessert, we had ice cream cones. Nothing like fair food while watching the kids rides around on their horses getting ready for shows. We really enjoy the sights and sounds of the fair. We have a weeks pass for both of us so we will probably be having lunch and dinner there all week. Everyday, we will probably try different foods and pick different spots for people watching.

Prior to going to the fair is a double Xanex but I got through it okay. We missed on Monday because I just could not get ready mentally. I should be okay for the rest of the week now that I have made it through one day. Tomorrow will more horse watching and we always have to check out the Llamas. They are such a strange looking animal but always have a happy look on their face. A little rain is predicted for tomorrow but I hope it holds off until the evening and after the events.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Safe Zone

Guess it has been a while since my last post. It is difficult to sit down and write out what is happening when PTSD keeps you from doing many things. Just getting me out of the house is a problem and I have all kinds of excuses why I do not want to go somewhere. My wife is good at getting me mobile but it is a struggle. Veterans with PTSD need to stay within their safe zones and we avoid crowds at all cost. As one member said today, he needs to be warned ahead of time (like a day or two) if the wife wants to go somewhere. We have difficulty just spontaneously going somewhere. We need to get our minds ready to leave the safe zone.

Well…we are going camping this weekend and I have had a couple of weeks to get my mind prepared. It is a short trip to Amish country to relax and take in the sights and sounds. It is fun listening to the “clop clop” of the horses all over town. There are some nice antique shops and a great hardware store in town. Going to that hardware store is the most fun of the whole trip. This store has anything and everything you can imagine.

Health wise, the hip is slowing getting better but not fast enough for me. With PTSD, I have little or no patience and that seems to be common with others in our group. I want to be walking normally again and that is not happening the way I envisioned. We did camp at Little River Casino in Manistee, Michigan a couple of weeks ago and Joanne had a great time. She loves to play video poker so she got three days worth of it. I did gain ten pounds at the buffets in the three days but luckily lost it in two days. I lost the weight about as fast as I lost money at the slot machines.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Group Therapy

Well, the hip is not progressing as fast as I had hoped but it is getting better. We have been doing a lot of walking and going to a lot of the grandkids baseball and softball games so that is exercise for the leg. Guess by now I wanted to be back to completely normal. At least going to the games gets me out of the house and my hibernating mode. I am having no more flashbacks or bad nightmares so that is good news.

Still going to Group every week and some weeks are better then others. Sometimes we just talk about our weekly problems and other weeks we just talk about miscellaneous things in our lives. We usually, at least weekly, talk about Roosevelt and Pearl Harbor. Our oldest member (87) of the Group is a WWII veteran and was in both the Atlantic and Pacific Theater. He was in the Navy before the war started and saw a lot of communications just prior to the war starting that our government knew a war was about to start. Pearl Harbor really upsets him and he will get mad when he gets into that subject.

We also have a Korean War veteran in the group that was a military photographer and he still carries those pictures in his mind. He says he is much improved since starting therapy and medication.

Another in our group was in the Navy, landed Marines into Vietnam, and did some riverboat duty in Nam. We have one from the Air Force that was in ordinance and he has some physical problems along with PTSD. The one Marine in our Group probably has the most physical problems (other than our oldest member and that is just from old age) plus PTSD from Nam.

The other two regular members are both Army draftees. One was a convoy driver and the other did both driving and miscellaneous military duties in the southern part of Vietnam. We are a real mixed group of veterans from many wars. There are a couple of members that no longer attend Group meetings. One was an Iraqi vet that is well enough to find and keep a job so he has not attended in a long time. The other Army vet is really messed up and does not attend much because he does not like to leave his safe zone. I will have to see if maybe if I pick him up that maybe he might attend.

The Group has varying percentages of disability from as little as 30% up to a couple of us with 100%. Some of the guys should have a lot higher percentage then they are getting. The WWII and Korean War vet should both have 100% but the government probably figures they are too old so why bother. They will not be around much longer. Actually, they are cantankerous enough to last many more years and the government should give them what they deserve.

Enough rambling for today. God Bless America.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Wish I Knew Who Wrote This

"Wish I knew who wrote this."

I know everyone has a different opinion on the war and our current President. But, this article makes a lot of sense, and I hope you will take 2 minutes and read it and give it some thought. I have never seen the 'situation' expressed any better in words! Recently I was talking to a friend about the upcoming election and the candidates. As we ended our discussion he said 'the only decision you have to make is who you want sitting in that seat in the White House when - not if - but when we get hit again and millions of American lives are put at risk!'

This is from: 'You ain't gonna like losing.'
Author unknown.

President Bush did make a bad mistake in the war on terrorism. But the mistake was not his decision to go to war in Iraq

Bush's mistake came in his belief that this country is the same one his father fought for in WWII. It is not.

Back then, they had just come out of a vicious depression. The country was steeled by the hardship of that depression, but they still believed fervently in this country. They knew that the people had elected their leaders, so it was the people's duty to back those leaders.

Therefore, when the war broke out the people came together, rallied behind, and stuck with their leaders, whether they had voted for them or not or whether the war was going badly or not.

And war was just as distasteful and the anguish just as great then as it is today. Often there were more casualties in one day in WWII than we have had in the entire Iraq war. But that did not matter. The people stuck with the President because it was their patriotic duty. Americans put aside their differences in WWII and worked together to win that war.

Everyone from every strata of society, from young to old pitched in. Small children pulled little wagons around to gather scrap metal for the war effort. Grade school students saved their pennies to buy stamps for war bonds to help the effort.

Men who were too old or medically 4F lied about their age or condition trying their best to join the military. Women doubled their work to keep things going at home. Harsh rationing of everything from gasoline to soap, to butter was imposed, yet there was very little complaining.

You never heard prominent people on the radio belittling the President. Interestingly enough in those days there were no fat cat actors and entertainers who ran off to visit and fawn over dictators of hostile countries and complain to them about our President. Instead, they made upbeat films and entertained our troops to help the troops' morale. And a bunch even enlisted.

And imagine this: Teachers in schools actually started the day off with a Pledge of Allegiance, and with prayers for our country and our troops!

Back then, no newspaper would have dared point out certain weak spots in our cities where bombs could be set off to cause the maximum damage. No newspaper would have dared complain about what we were doing to catch spies.

A newspaper would have been laughed out of existence if it had complained that German or Japanese soldiers were being 'tortured' by being forced to wear women's underwear, or subjected to interrogation by a woman, or being scared by a dog or did not have air conditioning.

There were a lot of things different back then. We were not subjected to a constant bombardment of pornography, perversion and promiscuity in movies or on radio. We did not have legions of crack heads, dope pushers and armed gangs roaming our streets.

No, President Bush did not make a mistake in his handling of terrorism. He made the mistake of believing that we still had the courage and fortitude of our fathers. He believed that this was still the country that our fathers fought so dearly to preserve.

It is not the same country. It is now a cross between Sodom and Gomorra and the land of Oz. We did unite for a short while after 9/11, but our attitude changed when we found out that defending our country would require some sacrifices.

We are in great danger. The terrorists are fanatic Muslims. They believe that it is okay, even their duty, to kill anyone who will not convert to Islam. It has been estimated that about one third or over three hundred million Muslims are sympathetic to the terrorists cause... Hitler and Tojo combined did not have nearly that many potential recruits. So...We either win it - or lose it - and you ain't gonna like losing.

America is not at war....the military is at war.
America is at the mall.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Camping Soon, I Hope

Well…the hip is progressing and I took the truck out for a spin to see if I can work the brake and accelerator without much pain. Everything looks good for some camping soon. I did take the truck up to Flying J to fuel up and at $4.499/gallon; it was a lot of pain at the pump. Luckily, I only needed about 87 gallons so the bill was about $392.00. Last year I could put in 100 gallons for about $200.00. Still, RVing is the way to travel. I hope that we can get in a few short trips this year and will get some planned longer trips next year.

I would love to go to the Black Hills next year for a couple of weeks. In addition, the RV Dreams group will probably have another Rally next year and maybe we can catch that one.

PTSD wise, I am doing well and hope that continues. Joanne says I am still hibernating more than she would like me to do but it is difficult to get out among many people. The medication works well in stopping the nightmares but I still have weird dreams. I have no flashbacks to report since the ones in the hospital so that is a good thing. I am back to attending my group sessions and being with guys with many of the same problems. A couple of our group members only show up sporadically because they have trouble adjusting to life outside of the safe zone (home).

My sister seems to be adjusting well to her single life and that makes me happy. I was concerned about her down in Atlanta by herself but she is keeping very busy so that is excellent. I still would love to get her to move up to Michigan near us. We do talk on the phone very day so that helps both of us.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Happy Father's Day

Well, I am walking without a cane. It is a dull pain when I walk but that side is also weak from lack of weight bearing. It should really begin to loosen up quickly once I put more and more weight on the leg. In fact, we sent to church this morning without the cane and everyone noticed right away. I still cannot bend enough to get my sock on the right foot. As it loosens up it will get more flexible and Joanne will be free of the sock duty.

It is Father’s Day but our kids are in Fort Wayne at a soccer tournament so it is just Joanne and me celebrating.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Another Sad Day

It started out a sad day for Joanne and me. We had to put down one of our older cats. Boyd was about 16 years old and was having troubles. We did not want him to suffer so off to the Vet Joanne took him. They become part of the family so it is difficult to put them down even when you know it is best for the cat. We had a burial in the back yard for Boyd. Now we are down to three cats and all three are a lot younger. They will be around for quite awhile. I think the oldest, Bear, is about five year old. All our cats are former Ferial cats but live indoors fulltime now. Boyd is the tan cat in the picture. Ace is our youngest and is the black and white cat.

Boyd and Ace

I have a Doctors appt this week so we will see how the hip is doing from a medical standpoint. Putting a sock on and tying a shoe is still out of the question. It hurts too much to bend the leg way up to reach my toes. My movement is getting better with only a few sharp stabs of pain if I move wrong. Every night we try to walk a little further but I am still using the cane for support.

The RV-Dreams Rally starts this week and that was going to be out first trip of the season. The Rally is in ABC Campground in Branson, MO. It would have been a fun time with that group that follows the travels of Howard and Linda on their blog. Maybe next year they will have another Rally and if I stay healthy, we will join them.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Walking With A Cane

I’m finally using the cane but it is a lot more difficult then I had imagined. The hip is painful while walking on it but not unbearable. I can get around fairly well but not very fast. I have driven myself to two group sessions and that worked out fairly well and it will probably be easier with the cane. At least it is easier getting in and out of the car with the cane. With the walker, I had to fold it up and put it in the backseat of the car then scoot along using the cargo railing on the roof of the car to get to the drivers seat. People probably figured they wanted to stay clear of my on the road. They were probably thinking, “What is that handicapped old coot doing on the road?” The foot is still swelling up during the day but the more I use the muscles the more that should go away. Just moving around will be good physical therapy for the leg.

Hopefully, we can start to plan some RV trips. We had to cancel the Branson RV-Dreams rally but I’m sure I should be able to deal with traveling by the middle of June. It sure will be costly for diesel fuel this year though. I usually fill up when I get to the point that I need about 100 gallons so that will be more than double the cost of a fill up from last year. It is still cheaper than staying in hotels and eating out. Plus I’m sleeping in my own bed and have everything I need close at hand.

I still have not tackled stairs in the house but in a week or so I may try getting to the basement. I’m tired of using this laptop and would love to get back to my regular computer. I hate typing on this flat surface keyboard. Plus, I would love to get back to my comfortable recliner chair and the big TV. I want my normal life back. My wife, Joanne, also wants her normal life back too. Probably more so then I do.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008


Well, life continues on and I’m still struggling with this stupid walker. Joanne did go out and buy me an anti-embolism stocking for the right leg. I do think it helps with the swelling and does feel better when I walk. It was a bugger to get the stocking on though. If the swelling goes down then it should be easier to get the stocking on in a couple of days.

Our weather has been so nice for the last few days that it makes this process even more of a pain in the hip. I would love to be outdoors working in the yard and getting the truck and RV ready for traveling. Guess that will not happen until about June. Maybe in a week or so I will give driving a try and see if it hurts the hip or not. I hope that I will be able to drive with little or no pain. I am a goofy footer so I only use the right leg for the accelerator and brake with my left. That is what my dad did and that is how I learned. With the Freightliner, I have to do everything with the right foot because the accelerator and brake are both on the right of the steering column. There isn’t any room to get the left foot over to the brake.

Maybe if my driving test works out okay then I will be able to go to Group. I asked the doctor when I would be able to drive and he said it was up to the “Boss”. He was referring to Joanne. It would be a lot easier if all I needed was a cane but dealing with the walker sure throws a wrench in the works. Things will get better…right?

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Four More Weeks

Well, after visiting the doctor on Friday, he gave me the bad news of four more weeks with the walker and no weight bearing on the hip. I sure was hoping for better news. It has been a tough two weeks and having to do four more like this will be so boring. I feel like I can’t do anything. Pain wise, the leg is doing fairly well but I do have some swelling of the foot and calf. I try exercising the leg but the muscles are very tight.

Guess we will have to cancel our first trip of the year to Branson, MO for the RV-Dreams Rally. The brake pedal on the Freightliner takes a lot of pressure and I will not know how that will affect the hip. Rather than push it too much, guess it is best that we delay the first trip of the season. You should check out the RV-Dreams website for some young folks that decided to travel the country and leave the corporate world. The site is at

The thing that I miss right now is not being able to go to my Thursday group therapy sessions. I had a couple of flashbacks in the hospital because I was out of my safe zone. I’m doing fairly well now but still would like to get back with my sessions and the guys.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

I've Fallen and Can't Get Up

The best laid plans of mice and men…. Well, our trip to the Hall China Convention in Pittsburgh was cancelled at the last minute on Wednesday, April 2nd at about 3 PM. I had gone out to the RV to get a new pair of flip-flops to take on the trip. While exiting the RV, I found myself flying through the air and landed on my right side. As I was falling, I said to myself “this is going to hurt”.

I could not get up from the ground because of extreme pain in my right leg. Joanne came out of the house and saw my feet under the RV and thought that maybe I was fixing something. She asked what I was doing and all I could say was that famous saying, “I’ve fallen and can’t get up”. I told her to call 911 because I better go to the local ER.

To make a long story short, it turns out that I did break my right hip in two places. I went to surgery on Thursday at about 7 PM and was discharged the next day by 2:30 PM. At 10:00 pm this evening it will be officially two weeks since the three pins were placed in my hip. No weight bearing for four to six weeks is going to be a real pain in the neck. Of course, my allergies to pain medication did not help the situation any. Hopefully, I will get the sixteen staples taken out tomorrow and maybe the doctor will let me start doing more things and start putting a little more weight on the leg. Hey, I can hope can’t I.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

I Know, Late Again.

I know I have been bad in not posting lately. I have been quite busy trying to sell Hot Wheels for my sister that her husband collected. I also have many surgical instruments to sell too but I am having trouble taking good pictures of the instruments. They are so shiny that the light just reflects back at the camera and I cannot show good details of the item.

We got back from church this morning after being greeters and felt that I really needed to put an update on my blog. My sister seems to be doing much better now and is still keeping very active. She is slowly donating many of his clothes to charities and getting the house squared away. As a Flight Attendant, she was away a lot and Moon tended to let things slide. The basement and garage are nice and clean now with brand new garage doors. Anyone need a nice 2005 Dodge 3500 Dually with Cummins engine with less than 4000 miles on the truck? Yes, that is not a typo; the truck has less then 4000 miles on it. That Cummins is not even broken in yet.

How am I doing? I have my good days and my bad days both physically and mentally. I have been having dizzy spells for the last couple of days so I hope I am not coming down with a bug of some sort. Mentally, I am still down because of my sister and sure wish she would move up to this area. I think that would be great. My sister is going back to work part-time at a local Hallmark store so that will give her something to do.

We have a Hall China Convention in Pittsburgh coming up very soon so that should be exciting. This will be the eighth convention and we have been to all of them. This year I am sort of the unofficial photographer. Need to get all the batteries charged and get out the extra memory cards. Hate to miss a week of group therapy but everything will be fine. A few extra drugs will help me get through that period.

I will try hard to get back to posting more frequently.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Late Update

I’ve been remiss in keeping up the blog. I drove to Atlanta to help my sister out some more and spent a week down there. I drove down on a Monday and the wife flew down on Wednesday. We drove back together on the following Monday. Much was accomplished while with my sister but we have a lot more to do. I am thinking that maybe I should go down again so I am trying to decide if I should fly or drive. Driving is a good twelve hours and is very tiring. I will have to see how things go with my sister. She has many help down there but I think she does need her brother.

The other day I saw this quote and it reminded me of Moon (my sister’s late husband). "Many people will walk in and out of your life, but only true friends will leave footprints in your heart." Moon was an individual like that. He would always leave footprints in your heart. He was an odd duck but everyone seemed to love him and he had an impact on their lives.

While we were down there, my sister had some people from the Jaguar Club come by and check out the XK-150S Jaguar. One of them decided to buy it and someone else took the other three cars in the basement. The other cars were a 66 Mustang, a 62 Volkswagen Convertible and a 58 Porsche 356A Cabriolet. They were all in various stages of restoration but those folks are used to restoring cars. Now she needs to find buyers for an 03 Nissan 350Z with 33000 miles and an 05 Dodge 3500 Dually with Cummins engine with..get this…are you ready…3400 miles. They only used it to pull their Airstream trailer and they only did two short trips with it.

I brought back a lot of surgical instruments (Moon sold them for many years) and a nice Hot Wheels collection that I will be putting on Ebay. If you are into Hot Wheels or need surgical instruments then check out “Crazygramma” on Ebay. Trust me, this will take a long time to sell all these.

I wish I could spend a lot more time with my sister but it is difficult for me to leave my “safe zone” and be comfortable. My wife knows how to deal with my quirks and me so she stays close and that is comforting to me. I will try to do better in posting more but Ebay has really been keeping me busy. Which is a good thing for someone with PTSD.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Sad News

The last week was a difficult one to say the least. My sister’s husband of 32 years passed away suddenly. He was admitted into the hospital on a Monday and was gone by Wednesday. We flew down on Wednesday to be with her during this sad time. Yes, I flew to Atlanta from South Bend but needed some good drugs to get me through the flight. He had an infection in his abdomen but suffered a heart attack prior to surgery. They revived him but were concerned about doing the surgery after this heart attack. The infection was getting worse so they felt they should try to fix the problem and hope for the best. He made it through surgery but remained in a coma and was having trouble getting oxygen because of the damage done to the heart. He passed away about twelve hours after the surgery.

He was quite an individual. I believe that he was probably a genius and could retain almost everything he ever read. He graduated from Georgia State and was in the Army Reserves for four years. His main profession was a photographer and did this for many years. Later on, he went into the surgical instrument repair and sales business. He also loved to restore old cars and had quite a few in his day. Currently in his basement garage was a Jaguar XK-150, Porsche 356 Cabriolet, an early Volkswagen convertible and an early Mustang. All of these cars were in various stages of restoration. The Jag was complete and the Volkswagen was close to 100%. His daily transportation was a Nissan 350Z. Now that was a nice car.

Albert Bayliss Mullins, Jr. was his name but he also went by Al, Bayliss, or Moon. His family called him Bayliss and my family always called him Moon. Many people will sadly miss him. Moon, Rest In Peace.

Of course, I feel sad for my sister and wish I could have stayed longer with her to give more help and comfort. I probably will drive down to spend some time to help out and give that much needed comfort that she needs in this time of sadness.

John 11:25-26 (New International Version)

Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?"

Monday, January 7, 2008

Time To Think About Vacation

Wow, things sure have changed around here. A few days ago, we had 14 inches of snow and now the temperature is 61 degrees and most of the snow is gone. Guess that is why Michigan is so strange weather wise. The Great Lakes can make the weather do a 180 and sometimes that happens all in one day. In the morning you can have lake effect snow and by afternoon a thunderstorm. This warm weather today does remind us that we should start planning our vacation schedule for the year.

Being RVer’s, we need to do a little planning on campgrounds and the direction of our travels. We also have to give our house and cat sitter our schedule so we do not interfere with their schedule. Our four cats are not RVer’s yet so we need a sitter for them. Maybe someday we will get them used to traveling but not this year.

Our first planned trip will be to Branson, MO for a rally of about 100 rigs. There is a website called www.rv-dreams.com and they are having a rally for all their website fans. They are both in their early 40’s and decided to leave the corporate world and try fulltime RVing. After two years, they are still enjoying the lifestyle. Be sure and check out their website.

We usually spend a week in Cambridge, Ohio to do a little antiquing and visit the Fenton factory. The Fenton factory was going to close last year after over 100 years but supporters have kept it going. I hope that it will still be open this summer.

We will probably include many short trips to quaint places such as Shipshewana, IN, Frankenmuth, MI and Houghton Lake, MI. The Branson trip will be the longest of about a week and a half. Joanne is still semi-retired working at the Police Station so we still do not go for long periods as most retired folks. She has a flexible schedule at work but why push it too much when she loves her job. Next year we will probably head for the Black Hills of South Dakota for a couple of weeks. Of course, the other thing that keeps us locally is the grandkids active summer schedules of sports and activities. They all want Nana and Papa to come and watch. By the time they are teenagers, they won’t care as much as they do now.

Before we do all these trips, we need to take the fiver into the factory for a few fixes. I think we have a leak on the water inlet point that has gotten the wall above that point wet at some time. Need to fix that and a few minor fixes that always occur when you haul your home behind you at 65 mph. We love our 40-foot Travel Supreme but as I get older, I think that maybe I should cut back to maybe 38 or 36 feet. Backing up a 40-foot fifth wheel is a challenge at some of these campgrounds. However, we love it and that is what counts.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Re-Hash of Military Days

It has been awhile since I have written much on my blog so I thought I should do a little re-hashing of my military days. I had connections at the Draft Board so I knew when it was close to being drafted. My Dad was in the Navy along with my Uncle so I enlisted in the Navy but said I wanted to go to boot camp in San Diego. Being from Michigan, I wanted a warmer climate to train. The first available spot was in April of 1966 in San Diego so I waited until then to go into the Navy.

Let me interject something at this point. I am a strong believer in military service and how it prepares young people for the rest of their lives. Having a system similar to Israel where everyone must spend some time in the military is a good system. Spending two years in the military for both men and women would probably create a healthier and more disciplined population.

Enough of my soapbox rhetoric let us continue with my military days. I spent my boot camp days in San Diego’s wonderful weather where we could march all day in the hot sun. It is better than marching in the snow. Besides marching, there was a lot of military training in the classroom and teaching us the Navy Regulations. We also took tests that helped the military decide what specialty we would be best suited. I got high marks in the new computer field and in medicine. I should have taken computers. At the start of boot camp, we were a disjointed bunch of guys but by the time of graduation, we were a well-oiled machine.

After boot camp, I was sent to Hospital Corps School in San Diego. U.S. Naval Hospital in BalboaPark, San Diego is a beautiful facility. The whole area was nice. Sun, surf and beautiful women. What more could a sailor ask for? I graduated first in my class even with all the distractions.

From San Diego, my next duty station was U.S. Naval Hospital in Portsmouth, Virginia. It was a nice setting on a bay but it overlooked shipyards and Navy ships. I worked in the Operating Room and help train OR Techs in Pack Room Procedures. That included how to create sterile packs for surgery and how to clean and prepare surgical instruments for the next operation. I was an OR orderly while going to College so I had some previous experience in the field. On most of my duty periods, I was an ambulance driver. Boy did I get lost in Portsmouth and Norfolk but I did learn to get somewhere fast on a code 3 (lights and sirens) was to go down one-way streets the wrong way. People could see you coming and got out of your way very quickly.

One of the memories I had of my duty at Portsmouth was a bad accident that happened in Norfolk. They have helicopter carriers and a helicopter was taking off from one, lost control, and crashed back onto the deck of the carrier. I do not like being around helicopters during takeoff or landing. When a helicopter goes down, the blades break off into thousands of little pieces that are traveling at high rates of speed. You do not want to be around when the pieces of the blade are flying by because it does major damage to human tissue. We were just getting ready to leave the Operating Room about 3 PM, the word came in about the accident, and that casualties would be arriving soon. Portsmouth had eight surgical suites and we filled them all with severe trauma cases. There were limb amputations and very bad wounds causes by the flying debris. One patient took over 50 pints of blood because of a large abdominal wound. Sorry to say he did not make it. It was two in the morning before we finally got the OR ready for the next morning’s surgeries. We were a little tired working that next day. I only got about 3 hours sleep before being back to work.

I was scheduled to go to Pharmacy School at Portsmouth but by the time the next class started, they wanted me to extend my service by another year. No way. Got my orders to Nam a few months later. From Portsmouth, my next duty station was Camp Lejuene for Fleet Marine Force training. That training included shooting a rifle (a type that was NOT in Nam) and the 45-caliber pistol. In addition, we got a lot of physical training, nighttime patrols, patient care in the field and taking care of snakebites. I never saw a snake in Nam. The best thing the Marines did was to get us into great shape physically. I hated Gunny then but thank him now for getting us prepared for combat.

After a 30 day leave at home, I was then off on a full expense paid trip to Vietnam. Read some of my earlier blog about my misadventure on the way to Nam. I think it is under my fear of flying section. I arrived in Nam around 1 July 1967 and was assigned to Bravo Company 1stth Marines. Battalion 4 I was then injured on Friday the 13th of Oct. 1967 and finally arrived on Guam on 2 Dec. 1867. Spent three months in the hospital on Guam until my orders came through to go back to Nam on 3 March 1968. I arrived in Saigon on 3 March 1968, flew to Da Nang 4 March 1968 and then flew to Phu Bai on 5 March 1968. I was assigned to 3rd Shore Party Battalion in Gia Le outside of Phu Bai on 5 March 1968. I left Nam the first part of July 1968 and headed home for a well-deserved 30-day leave.

My last assignment for the Navy was another FMF duty. I was assigned to Camp Pendleton and luckily got picked to replace a retiring Chief in the base Medical Supply. That turned out to be great duty. I only had to stand duty about every 17 days and then I was in charge of a clinic on base (it is always good duty when you are the boss). I rented an apartment on the beach in Oceanside so my stay in California was very pleasant after the previous year’s duty in Nam. I got an early out of the Navy to attend college in January 1970. Did you notice that after 4 years in the Navy, I never once got on a ship?