Monday, December 31, 2007

The Year in Review

As 2007 comes to a close, it is time to reflect on the past year. The last year was full of ups and downs, happiness, sadness, and loss.

The year got off to a rocky start when in January scar tissue in my trachea created an obstruction to my airway, which caused me to stop breathing a few times which led to three visits to the E.R. and two short hospital stays. After the last ordeal, the doctor removed some of the scar tissue from my trachea. The problem was solved. But, nine months later after no problems with my trach, the obstruction returned and I stopped breathing a few times. This led to two visits to the E.R. in two days. The doctor advanced the trach tube past the scar tissue and the problem was resolved again. At the end of October I saw another doctor who ordered a different trach to hopefully prevent future problems. I hope to get it soon. (see blog posts of 3/14, 10/15, 10/17, 10/30/2007)

In March, I regained my voice. Trying to communicate with out a voice was a very frustrating experience for me and those trying to figure what I wanted. The thought of being mute didn't sit well with me. I was determined to talk again. With persistance and the help of my nurse, Ernie I acheived my goal.

In July, I celebrated my 39th birthday with a western-themed party with friends and family. It was an ideal way to spend my birthday. 39 isn't a particularly special birthday, but it was to me. When I was so sick in 2006, I was uncertain if I would see my next birthday. (see blog post of 7/9/2007)

In August, I attended my 20 year high school reunion. I enjoyed seeing and visiting with classmates I hadn't seen in years. I think many of my classmates were surprised to see me there. It was very nostalgic. (see blog post of 8/13/2007) I took in an abandoned kitten that my sister found. Lucky has turned out to be a joy and a comfort to me. Watching him play is also one of my simple pleasures. (see blog post of 9/1/2007)

In October, I went to the Miramar Airshow at the Marine Corps Air Station Miramar in San Diego. It was a fantastic show, especially when the Air force Thunderbirds performed their death-defying maneuvers. (see blog post of 10/12/2007) At the end of the month, wildfires raged throughout San Diego County, causing over 300,000 people to evacuate their homes and destroying around 1500 homes. My home was in the path of the firestorm and I had to evacuate for three days. It was a nerve-wracking time for everybody. The hard work of the firefighters prevented my home and other homes in my immediate area from burning. (see blog posts of 10/21 and 10/25/2007)

I had a nice, low-keyed Thanksgiving with my parents. I was thankful to still have a home. (see blog post of 11/22/2007) A few days later, I rocked out at the Van Halen concert in San Diego. It was awesome. (see blog post of 11/26/2007)

The year ended with a wonderful and joyful Christmas spent with family. (see blog post of 12/26/2007)

In Memorium

A summary of the year would not be complete without mentioning those who are no longer around. I lost two special people in 2007.

Aunt Kathryn (1923-2007)

In March my beloved aunt and godmother passed on after losing her valiant struggle with cancer. She was an integral part of the family and her death has created a void that cannot be filled. Not a day goes by that I don't miss her. She was a woman with inner strength, compassion, and grace. Whenever we went to her and my Uncle Bill's home, she was always happy to see me. She was a very welcoming person. Everyone was welcome at her house, including ex sons and daughters-in-law, and even strangers. She accepted people for who they were.

Lianne Harding (1963-2007)

In May, a friend of mine from the adult Muscular Dystrophy support group, Lianne Harding died suddenly at home. She was always concerned with others and enjoyed life despite her disability. Though she was frail in body, she was strong in spirit. She was an integral part of the support group and is still missed. (see blog post of 5/21/2007)

Wednesday, December 26, 2007


Another Christmas has come and gone. It is always a bit of a let down when it is over. I wish it could last longer. But, if it lasted too long it would not be as special. I try to keep the spirit of Christmas alive all year. The world is in need of more peace, love, and goodwill.

On Christmas my family attended a church service at the Village (Presbyterian) Church in town. I am not a church going person, but I went because my niece, and nephews were taking part in the children's Christmas pageant. Also, my family was chosen to light the advent candles and sing a song. My mother, sister, brother-in-law, niece, and nephews belong to the church. I am a lapsed member; my father and brother never were. Since my father never attends church, my mom jokes that people think she's not married; they probably didn't know my brother existed until tonight. It was enjoyable to see the kids act out the story of the nativity and sing. They forgot their lines a few times, and the donkeys were wrestling and pulling each other's tails. My niece, Dallas had a solo singing and my nephew, Sterling had a speaking part and a singing solo; my other nephew, Stetson was one of the shepards. I was so proud of them. In the minister's sermon, he said that it would not be Christmas without children. How true that is.

After church we returned home for a small family gathering. My Uncle Richard and Aunt Carol stopped by. My cousin Greg and his wife Teresa and their kids Shannon and Rory came. Last was my cousin Toby, his wife Yada and their five week old daughter Mel (Mel means honey in Portuguese; the mother is from Brazil). We sat around the dining table eating a traditional Swedish Christmas dinner which has always been our custom. My mom likes to keep alive the traditions of her homeland. I miss not being able to eat it. There was a lot of talking, reminiscing, joking, and laughing. The kids were bouncing off the walls with the anticipation of the presents to be opened. The wait must have seemed like an eternity. When they finally got around to opening gifts, it was a chaotic whirl of ripping wrapping paper and bouncing kids. It is so nice to see the joy in the faces of the children.

Christmas Day my sister, her husband and their kids came back to open more gifts and spend the rest of the day with us. It was another nice Christmas.

Friday, December 21, 2007


Merry Christmas! I can't believe Christmas is only four days away. Where has the time gone? Christmas seems to arrive quicker the older I get. It comes and goes too fast. I wish it could last a little bit longer.

This is my favorite time of year. I just love the Christmas spirit of peace, goodwill, and giving. It would be great if this spirit lasted all year round. I also like that it is a great excuse to gather together family and to see friends.

Other things I like about Christmas:
  • The music. It really gets me in the Christmas spirit. Songs such as Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer, Frosty the Snowman, The Christmas Song, I'll Be Home for Christmas, White Christmas, Silent Night, Jingle Bells, Happy Xmas (War is Over), Feliz Navidad, The Most Wonderful Time of the Year, A Holly Jolly Christmas, Jingle Bell Rock, Santa Claus is Coming to Town, Winter Wonderland, and Silver Bells. But, I could go on and on.

  • The decorations. There is something joyful about seeing houses, trees, yards and buildings festooned with colored lights and decorations. It brings out my inner child and brings a smile to my face. Seeing the Christmas tree adorned with lights and decorations and colored packages arrayed around it gives me a warm feeling inside.

  • The Christmas shows. Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer, Frosty the Snowman, Santa Claus is Coming to Town, A Charlie Brown Christmas, A Christmas Story, A Christmas Carol, and the music programs on PBS and other stations. It would not be Christmas without them.

  • Seeing the excitement and joy in my niece and nephews at Christmastime. It brings back memories of Christmastime as a wide-eyed and excited child waiting for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day to come. The arrival of Santa Claus bearing gifts on Christmas Eve was the height of excitement for me.

Above are pictures of Lucky enjoying the season. He's had fun climbing the Christmas tree, swatting ornaments around, or running away with them in his mouth. He must think we filled the house with decorations just for him to play with.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Toys for Tots

Today I donated gifts to Toys for Tots; one of my favorite charities. It is such a great cause. But, I was saddened to hear that donations were down this season. The uncertain state of the economy is making people less eager to give. But, at least there are still toys to give away to poor children. Just not as many as they would like. I like the thought that the toys I donate go to children that may not have gifts to open on Christmas. It is always a nice feeling to give, especially to those who are less fortunate. As I have grown older I have realized that it is better to give than receive. That is the spirit of Christmas. If you are looking for a good cause to donate to, Toys for Tots is the one.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer

Last night I went with my father and nurse, Ernie to visit my sister, niece, and nephews at their home. My brother-in-law was out for the evening, and my mother was at rehearsal for the choral group she belongs to. It gave me more one on one time with my sister. We all gathered around the television to watch the beloved Christmas (Am I still allowed to use that word? I hope the politically correct crowd doesn't get after me) classic Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer. It is still my favorite Christmas show. It always brings up fond memories of my childhood when my parents would gather my brother, sister, and I in our pajamas in the den to watch the Christmas shows on television. It makes me smile to think of it. I like that my sister is carrying on the tradition with her children.

The reason I have always liked Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer is because I could relate to him. It is about being different and not fitting in; a theme I am well aquainted with as a disabled person. I remember as a child being excluded because I was not like everybody else and being made fun of. The nice part is that in the end Rudolph is accepted by the community despite the fact that he is different. It is a good lesson for life.