Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Try JibJab Sendables® eCards today!

Monday, March 9, 2009

You can't teach an old dog new tricks?

Unless your dog is named Abby. She's my dog, and dog gone it I can't think of any thing to write about so I'm going to bore you with my dog. Or maybe the Dog is Me.

Abby loves her snacks and every morning she waits by my door for me to wake up so she can give me a hug and a semi kiss. Now when I say hug she actually puts her paws around me and squeezes my thighs and then I bend down for a lick on the cheek.

She doesn't like the lick on the cheek because of the stubble. She prefers the lips but because I brush my teeth in the morning she will put her snout in my arm pit. I guess for dogs that's like smelling a butt. So I shouldn't be offended. I don't particularly want her tongue on my lips anyway.

Any way I say all of this to let you know that Abby has decided to change the order of things. She has decided to teach me a new way of getting her morning snack. My alarm goes off. I take care of my morning duties then brush my teeth. I open the door expecting Abby to be there wagging her tail ready to give me my hug, attempted kisses, and arm pit smell.

She is not there. I say Abby where are you..... nothing.... I hear thump, thump, thump, I walk into the kitchen and she is facing the drawer where her snacks are and her tail is hitting the fridge. " Don't I get a hug this morning" "woof" " I didn't say speak " I tell her. "If you want a snack you'll have to give me my hug and I promise not to breath on you."

She nudges the drawer "woof". I sigh. I'm not going to let her have a snack with out working for it. I open the drawer and take out her favorite snack, it's a piece of dried chicken. I close the drawer and hold the snack high in the air.

Now I pat my thigh and say "give me a hug". She stands and does her dance twirling around on her hind legs. ( She's a Labradoodle) "no I didn't say dance" - "sit" - she sits, "now give me a hug" and I slap my thy, she plays dead. "Up!" she gets up wagging her tail eyes on her snack .

"Abby I'm the master and you're not getting the snack UNTIL YOU GIVE ME MY MORNING HUG". Abby lays down and puts her paws over her ears.
I feel bad.

Now I'm talking baby talk "come on Abby give daddy a huggy poo" She gives me the best rollover I've ever seen then she sits and smiles at me her tongue hanging out tail wagging , eyes twinkling and and lifting her paw she says "woof woof" "some times I just want to change it up a little and play a game. All you want to do is get your hug get me a snack so you can get your coffee watch the news and get on with your day." This is what it seems she's saying.

Ok I've learned my leasson from now on we'll make getting treats more a little more fun.

My dog is so smart.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

So I had a heart attack blah...blah...blah

Well I haven't written anything in a while. I did pirate something from my brother. He wondered why I would write any thing as long as he had material to steal.

He suggested that I use his writing service "Letters that Leave a Mark" and he would be happy to fill my post with witty repertoire.

Believe me I'm thinking about it. He didn't offer a discount though.

So here we are in February. It was a year ago that I had the first "It's the big one". Yeah I see your eyes rolling. "Here he goes with another heart story blah....blah... blah..."

Hey - I've earned the right to celebrate a year of life. Feb 25, 2008 was a life turning event. That you can't deny. So now that I look back did I learn a lesson? Change my lifestyle? Become a positive role model for heart attack survivors every where?


I probably need to join a group. But in Tampa the "Mended Hearts" program has disbanded. So unless I want to step up to the plate and start another one (as good as my intentions are) I don't have the skills, persona, leadership qualities, or what I call the likability it takes to draw people in. Believe it or not I'm not a people person. -you did read the Scrooge post didn't you?

So I will celebrate my anniversary quietly knowing I have 3 more anniversaries this year. Each a milestone in it's own right.

As I pat myself on the back I bid you adieu.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Never Take the Redeye Into D.C

I want to share a short story my brother wrote. I think he's a good writer and would like your opinion. Please comment if you liked it or not. And make any suggestions you see needed
:You can read more of his stuff here. http://www.storiestoldinshort.blogspot.com/ and http://www.thewayronseesit.blogspot.com/ and http://www.lettersthatleaveamark.com/Letters_that_leave_a_mark/Welcome.html

Never take the redeye into D.C.
Finally the plane touched down and all Ralph wanted was a hot shower and a fresh pillow. His weekend trip to Vegas taught him two things; never eat Nevada shrimp and the house always wins. Some old friends beckoned him to spend three days looking for the big score, and rehashing youthful adventures. So, Ralph, recently divorced, with midlife crises in full surrender, needed excitement rather than sleep and headed for the desert. That seemed so long ago, Ralph thought, as the jet taxied to gate 420.

This redeye from Los Vegas to D.C. had its fair share of Sin-City indulgers. Ralph, in the same clothes he left in three days ago, looked perfectly in place. Not only did the cabin smell somewhere between gas station air-freshener and spoiled milk, it also had the feel of nothing more than a Greyhound bus with wings. A handful of passengers that were awake barely noticed the plane pulling into the terminal.

Standing up, Ralph grabbed his bag and waited for other passengers to uncoil and motivate their languid bodies into some form of movement. Slowly, he made his way down the aisle; with each step the space became more obstructed. Bodies, just like his, that haven’t seen daylight, or probably a washcloth in three days, converge down a two-foot wide path.

Just get me off this plane and a hot shower and I’ll be happy, Ralph thought. Exiting the cabin door, Ralph even noticed the flight attendants looked as if they had a few all-nighters in the August desert.

Ralph thought nothing of the two security guards standing with a man in a dark suite at the end of the hallway. Ralph checked his watch, 3am, I’ll be home by four, he thought.

With about twenty yards between him and the guards, Ralph heard one say, “That’s him!” With an all out sprint, the guards rushed up to Ralph.“Stop right here, Mr. Thornway!”“What, Thornway, what are you talking about?” Ralph said.Just as Ralph got those words out the man in the dark suit slapped handcuffs around Ralph’s wrist.

“Good work boys. Now, I’d appreciate it if you could find an interrogation room I could use to ask Mr. Thornway a few questions,” the man said.

“Wait, what are you doing, my name is Webber, Ralph Webber.”

The early morning airport was nearly deserted. This kind of excitement never happened during the graveyard shift, so one of the guards puffed up, “Come with me sir, I’ll get you a private office.”

“Now wait a minute,” Ralph said. “I’m not going anywhere, and I’m not Thornway!” Just then the man flashed a badge, “I’m detective Murphy from narcotics, and I decide where you go. Take him away boys.”

The guards along with Detective Murphy ushered Ralph down a small hallway just off the main corridor. Ralph pleaded his case the whole way.

“I’m Ralph Webber, not this Thornway character you’re talking about. I need to call a lawyer, I have rights!”

“Pipe down Thornway, or the only rights you’ll get are the last ones,” Detective Murphy said.

“Here you go sir,” one of the guards said as he unlocked a door. “No one’s due in here for hours, so take your time.”

The other guard pushed Ralph into a small chair and then slid him up to the desk. Detective Murphy went around the desk and glared at the guards.

“That will be all boys, I’ve got it from here,” Murphy stated.The guards closed the door. For once they had a story to tell the hotshots on the day shift.

Ralph studied Detective Murphy’s sharp creased pants and polished shoes. Although it was past 3am, he looked fresh in a starched white shirt and thin blue tie. On the other hand, Ralph looked as any man would who hadn’t slept for 72 hours and just came off a 5 hour flight. Even in his exhausted state, Ralph noticed the detective looked old enough for retirement.

Murphy lit a cigarette.“I don’t think you can smoke in here,” Ralph said.“Shut-up son, I call the shots.” Then the detective blew smoke in Ralph’s face.

“Are you arresting me,” Ralph said through a cough. “Because I’m not Thornway, check my ID in my wallet,” Ralph coughed some more.

“Son, I can get a fake ID anywhere in this town you call a society. All it takes is a couple of rocks and some hello bent weed to become anybody you want too. For an extra pint, you could get a social security number to validate your fraud, so don’t trouble me with your ID.”

“I want a lawyer,” Ralph said.

“That’s the first thing a guilty man always says. Guys like you always scream about rights. Well mister, what about the rights of the poor kids, pushers like you, live on, huh?”

“What are you talking about?”

“Okay Thornway, we’ll play your game, I got all night.”

Detective Murphy sat down and faced the opposite wall, leaving Ralph to stare at his bald spot. Ralph felt sweat gather on his upper unshaven lip. Clearly this was a case of mistaken identity, but proving it was becoming difficult to this bizarre cop.

“Look, my name is Ralph Webber. I just spent the weekend with some friends in Las Vegas. I’m a fifty year old divorced father of one child who is currently going to college. I live a very boring life; I’m an accountant for goodness sakes, who votes Republican.”

Detective Murphy spun around and looked a Ralph.

“How do you get your kicks Thornway? Is it red devils, orange bandits, or blue Mary’s, huh? Or maybe you like to go on a sleigh ride with the Cotton brothers and take in a Colorado cocktail while dusting your nose with some California cornflakes. I’ve seen your type before, and I know you better than your paperboy does. He only delivers the mind detergent, but I’ve seen the aftermath of an all-nighter chasing the dragon. You think you can fool me because I wear a suit, well mister, think again. While you’re strung out on white robots and pink witches, I’m cleaning up littered streets and shaking down punks like you. Now, how’s it gonna be Thornway?”

“One more time, but in English please” Ralph said.

“So you want to play cute, huh?

“I don’t want to play anything, I just need a hot shower,” Ralph dropped his head on the table.

“A hot shower, what’s that, a Frisco speedball with a pinch of Mexican firewood?”

“Who are you, and can I see your badge again?”

“Punks like you always try to turn the tables. You saw the badge, just go on memory, but I guess you’re too stoned to recall anything past 5 seconds.”

Ralph’s patience became thin, he wasn’t only worn out from this renegade cop who believed Ralph was Thornway, but now his head throbbed. If he wasn’t handcuffed, he thought, maybe he’d hit Murphy and make a run for it.

“Who’s your travel agent, Thornway?”

“I booked my own flight,” Ralph let out a sigh, now he needed to use the men’s room.

“Ah ha, so you’re a one-stop-shop, I bet you even grow your own ditch-weed and mule it through customs. You’re sick Thornway.”

“No, what, you asked me who my travel agent was, right? And I’m not Thornway!”

“Try me son, and I’ll roll over you like a storm over a Kansas farm house. Now listen fella, you picked a bad night to take the redeye into my district. See I get paid to go on hunches and I can tell by that blank stare of yours my hunch was pretty good. Yeah you’re perturbed right now because tonight the tax payers got their monies worth from a flatfoot like me busting a hippie like you.”


“That’s what we called ‘em when I first joined the force. You remember the game Thornway; I used to go down to Washington Square and round you guys up by the thousands. You called them peaceful protests, but it was more like a twelve hour mushroom dance with sugar cubes as an after dinner mint. You played your rock and said it was music, you had sex with any woman that was there and said it was free love, and you dropped acid and said it expanded your mind. I can’t count the times I dragged some kid to my patrol car all strung out on Hawaiian sunshine only to have him retch up last nights party on the backseat of the tax payers vehicle. And then, when he’s processed, booked, and made bail, I’m stuck with crusted vomit on a twenty five dollar jacket that coast ten bananas to clean, but the stench is still there, Thornway. You want to know why, well I’ll tell you mister, because I went out the next day and started the game all over again."

“First of all, I haven’t understood any of this jargon you’re speaking. I’m tired, dirty, my head is pounding, and I have to go to the bathroom.”

“Wishful thinking punk, I’ve dealt with grandmas playing illegal bingo games tougher than you. Do you know what it’s like to be peppered with insults and called pig, fuzz, five-o, and Johnny Law all because you signed up for a job that doesn’t pay well and nobody wants? I didn’t think so, Thornway. You know the only difference between us son, besides that mop over your eyes, and the movies you think are freedoms of speech, is who we answer too. I find gratitude in a day’s work and a good night’s sleep, while you sniff glue in back alleys looking for cut-rate prostitutes that will trade a sandwich-bag with a waffle-dust-chaser for a good time.”

Detective Murphy shot a surly glare waiting for Ralph to finally confess. It might have been the confusing rambles of an unbalanced cop, or the weekend gone on far too long, whatever the case, Ralph had enough. He figured the detective had broken several constitutional laws, so, drained, and eager to talk to someone living in this generation, Ralph finally said, “You got me.”

“I knew it Thornway, that’s why I carry a badge, to hear those three words, ‘you got me.’ A cop never complains about being sick, we don’t understand the word quit, and tired isn’t in our vocabulary. All a cop knows is this week’s pay went for last month’s rent, perhaps a mortgage if we’re lucky, but it doesn’t matter, because happiness is for the other guy, the ones we took an oath to protect and serve. You know when I clock out, Thornway? Try never, Oh, I might get a few hours of shut-eye, but eventually I’ll get that call, the one that makes your insides twitch and your palms sweat, but only for a few seconds, cause you realize you’re always on the job and some kid is blown out of his mind on green-triangles and you’re the only one who can talk him off that ledge."

“Do you ever stop? Why are you telling me this? Either, charge me with something, or let me go.”

“Alright Thornway, the paddy wagon is just outside, so we’re gonna stride out of here like the other side of my pillow, cool like. You got that? Try any funny business and I’ll drop you so fast the starch in your shirt will wonder where you went.”

Detective Murphy stood up and went to the door. “Let’s move Thornway, you’re on the department’s dime.”“I think you’re supposed to read me my rights and tell me exactly what I’m being charged with.”

“When we get down to division, I’ll spell it out for you. Maybe by that time you’ll be down from all the goof balls you’re flying on. Boy you got the habit bad, don’t ya, Thornway?"

Ralph tuned out the best he could, but the detective’s endless monologue played the role of a mosquito he couldn’t quite reach. Murphy droned on about dousing Ralph with lice powder and butch waxing his hair. Ralph received a few looks as he walked handcuffed beside Detective Murphy down the long corridor. Just as they turned a corner, Ralph saw the same two security guards who helped Murphy contain him. Only this time, they were red-faced and standing with another man.

“There he is,” the man said. “Dad, where have you been?”

Murphy froze for a moment, and then said, “Running this pinko downtown.”

“Dad, did you put handcuffs on this man? You know you’re not a cop; we’ve had this conversation before. Now give me the keys and fake badge and stand over there where I can see you. I need to talk to this gentleman in private.”“We’ll watch him for you sir,” one of the guards said.“Yeah, you guys are good at that,” Ralph said.

Murphy muttered something about a confession and then shuffled to the other side of the hallway.

The man freed Ralph’s hands. “Look ah, I’m sorry about my dad. I didn’t know he brought those handcuffs with him.” the man said. “We’re here to catch a flight so he can see a specialist, and he just wondered off. I hope you understand. See, lately, he’s been going on police websites looking at wanted drug dealers and learning the language they use. Then, the other day, he watched a Dragnet marathon on television, and now he thinks he’s Joe Friday.”

“That’s it,” Ralph said. “It makes sense now. Say no more, I just want to get out of here and get a hot shower, forget about it.”

“So you don’t want to press charges?”

“No, let’s not make this worse for the old man.” Ralph said a quick goodbye and was gone. As soon as he reached the airport exit his cell phone rang. Ralph looked at the number, shook his head, and then answered.“Where you been,” the voice on the other end said.“Oh, I got delayed by some geezer living in TV Land.”“Well, what’s the word?” the voice said. “I got the big score. My travel agent in Vegas said he’d have the white robots to the paperboy by Thursday. Right now, I’ve got three mules ready to transport the rest of the orange bandits. I’ll call you after I get a hot shower.”

“A hot shower, isn’t that a Frisco speedball with a pinch of Mexican firewood?”

“That’s a fact, sir. Hey, and one more thing, Thornway,” Ralph said.“What’s that?”“Never take the redeye into D.C.”Read more!
Posted by Ron at 7:31 AM 1 comments
Monday, May 26, 2008

Friday, January 9, 2009

I'm so a Biggot?

I lost my phone over the Christmas holidays. I had been to 3 places that day. The bank, Amscot to pay electric bill, and the pharmacy to pick up Rx.

When I got home I couldn't find my cell. I looked every where to no avail. Then I called all the places where I had been. No one had my phone. Cathy suggested we retrace our steps.

I knew I shouldn't have worn these shorts, things are always falling out of them. Yes shorts we live in Florida - no shorts today though it's in the 60's brrrrr.

So all the while we're looking Cathy is also calling my phone hoping we will either hear where it is in the house or some one will pick up.

We decided to retraced our steps. Starting at the bank. I pulled into the same spot and the phone was not on the ground so I went inside. Banks have a lower ledge so the teller may not have seen my phone on the counter. But it was not there. And we had the same luck at the other two places.

Disappointed we returned home. Cathy continued calling but nothing happened. I was afraid she would run down the battery so I told her to quit.

I cooked some supper and we settled down to watch some TV when Cathy's phone rang. My beautiful puss appeared on the screen. A lady of ethnic origin said she accidentally picked up the phone at the Indian store across from the ****Club in a seedy part of Tampa. She said it looked exactly like hers. Well my phone has paint all over it so it doesn't look like any ones phone.

But to give her the benefit of a doubt maybe her phone has splattered neon blue paint on it too.

She said she would take it back to the store - which is a convenient store in a neighborhood called College Hill in the town where I live. I don't know where it got its name. There are no colleges there that I know of. Just a bad neighborhood. But she said to hurry because the store closed at 7.

When a convenient store closes at 7 you know it's a bad neighbor hood.

Then Cathy and I debated do we leave now at 6:15 it's dark. A delicious meal is on our TV trays. We really have no clue where where this club or the store is - just the general area. Or do we wait till morning.

I say lets wait. She says lets go for it. Why is it women never see the danger. You know when your watching a scary movie and the beautiful girl can't help but go down the scary stairs to the scary basement knowing full well the scary boogy man is waiting for her and all she has to do is go out the front door and be safe. But nooooo she has to see what's down there making the noise.

That's what it felt like.

Next thing I know I'm heading for College Hill and Cathy's calling " The Club" trying to talk all sexy asking where the club is and I think she's getting a date but not sure. Any way we get the directions and arrive 5 mins before closing.

Now do I get out of the car? After all it was Cathy's idea to go after dark. Shouldn't she go in? We see a convenient store at the corner of the street intersection but no club. It's well lit. There's kids playing in the street. I see a mother pushing a double stroller with twins, and a couple old guys laughing on the corner. I look around and nothing out of the ordinary strikes me. So I man up and tell Cathy to distract the lady with the twins and I'll take on the old guys on the corner, then cover me while I duck and run to the front door. Then lock your doors and call 911 if I'm not back in 15 minutes.

I got out of the car and knew instantly that this was the Indian store from the spices permeating the air outside. I ducked inside and scope out the store. I walked the parameter checking each isle so no one would be behind me as I approached the counter. A tall middle eastern gentlemen ask if he could help me. "The blue wing Samsung was left this eve" I said. " I beg your pardon" he said. "Some one was supposed to leave my phone here", I said. He then ask for my phone number, which he dialed, and sure enough the phone began to ring. He gave me by phone with a frown. Some people have no sense of humor.

I know a let down right . You probably thought I might have to fight my way out. No. That's Cathy's job.

I learned a lesson. Don't judge a neighborhood by it's history. And people are basically the same every where. There's good and bad in all of us. And maybe don't stick around past 7 o'clock, of course this could be the policy of this one convenient store.

Also don't jump to conclusions about someone stealing your phone. Here's what I think happened:

If a thief stole it why leave it some where and not just throw it away.

I have never been to that store. So I think this good lady did exactly as she said or was covering up for one of her children who did a foolish thing as all children do.

My scenario:

I was in the Bank. A teenager cashed their check after me and took the phone but
could not get it to work. The phone kept ringing. The mother came in and asked
where they had gotten the phone. The child said they had found it. The mother
saw all the incoming calls from the same person and hit resend. And you know the rest.
Rick O'Shea

Monday, January 5, 2009

I'm such a Scrooge

This has been the best Christmas ever. Why? Because I became a "Scrooge"
Not because I turned my heart against Christmas. Well in a way I did. I turned my heart away from the Christmas Trap. You know the Trap that starts, most people say, the day after Thanksgiving, but actually it's the day after Halloween when the decorations go up.

I have to admit I did not want to get our trappings down from the attic. "You know honey I have had some poor health issues this year and I don't think I can go up and down, up and down, to get those boxes down. Especially that big tree that weights a ton and barely fits through the hole in the attic." This is what I told my wife. " Well get what you can and I'll help you when I get home" her reply. Mine Sighhhh!!!!

I don't think you realize how much Christmas crap we have collected in the 22 years we have been married. (forgive me Lord I shouldn't have said crap and Christmas in the same sentence) but Santa Clauses of every shape and color, race. Snow men in globes snow angels snow men nativity scenes, snow men who light up and change colors a lot of stuff given by friends and coworkers put out not to hurt feelings. This is crap.

We have carollers of every shape and size, and every country we visit we buy a nativity from that country I don't know why.

I admit I used to be into it. 10 15 years ago. We would go antiquing and see a caroler or Santa or antique ornament and we do have some nice stuff but enough already.

Nutcrackers did I mention those. African safari animal ornaments are all that are allowed on our tree. And the tree looks amazing I must admit. My wife does a great job with it.

But the Scrooginess is catching. Cathy agreed we had too much stuff and so we only put out a few things. The big Nativity and a couple antique ones. A couple carollers. The tree of course. And hung some stockings. Less is better. It always looked cluttered before.

All my gifts were home made or free promotional products from work. Like T-shirts with sport logos and our hospital logo on them also cardiac medical company t-shirts (Scrooge right?). I also took some snap shots of my nephews and their familes during Thanksgiving and printed one in black in white which I put in a frame from the dollar store and 1 8X10 color for each of them hardly cost any thing. Pluse each got a set of heart shaped playing cards also a promotional item from the hospital I worked for. Free (more Scrooginess) Of course my parents each got a 10 dollar gift. A very thoughtful 10 dollar gift. Very very thoughtful gift. I know you think I'm cheep. No I'm a Scrooge.

And not being anxious about finding the right gift I found my self relaxed, made a few goodies for the neighbors and had a good time just spending time with friends and family.

So Am I A Scrooge? I think in a good way. You know the day after the 3 spirits visits Ebenezer. After all he was still Scrooge, at least I don't think he changed his name.

So I'm getting away from trying to out give.
I could never out give any one in my family any way. The best thing to give is your Scroogy self.

Ba Hum Bug to the Trappings. They're easy to trip over.

Rick O'Scrooge out.

By the way, don't tell Cathy, but we have some really nice Christmas decrative items for sale cheep. Just drop me a line.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Old Friends - Missed Friends

I ran into an old friend last night. My wife and I have known Louis and his wife Cheryl since 1989 or 90. Then around 1997 we lost track of each other.
He had been the Music Director at Belmount Baptist Church in Temple Terrace Florida and had hired me as pianist for the church. Louis left the Church when a new pastor came on board. We really hated to see Bill Mitchell go as pastor but to have Louis leave also was equally bad.

But this is not what I want to talk about. About 2 years ago maybe a little less or more Louis's wife Cheryl died of cancer. I learned about it through a mutual friend who happened into where I worked one day. I was shocked. He told me Louis was back at our old church, Belmount Baptist. So I tried to contact him with out any luck.

I've been full of my own self pity any way so I put it out of my mind.

This brings me to my post subject. Why does God select one over another to take. Cheryl had a family. A loving husband and two bright eager kids who loved and needed her. From what I remember about her she served her Lord and family faithfully. She was every thing a mother and wife should be. She was fun to be around, yet quiet and unassuming. She was never afraid to give her opinion but didn't force the issue and served quietly in the back ground. She was a really good person. Not selfish, or boastful. I wish I could have gotten to know her better.

Cancer is usually not a quick death. To have your children live through that with you must be a hard thing to say the least. I don't know how long Cheryl knew or her kids knew or how long Louis knew. I know people who have suffered for years and others not so long.

When I saw him, Louis, last night he seemed at peace. He had a joy in his heart that only comes from one place. We had been to the Glen Beck's "Christmas Sweater" It was about Glen's journey through his storm. Louis has been through a storm. I have been through a different storm. Every one goes through a storm or storms of life.

One thing I have done in my blog has been selfishly talking about how I got through my storm and not thought about my wife and how she dealt with it or the rest of my family not knowing if I would survive and how they worried. I am sorry.

But seeing Louis and seeing how he is dealing with his storm is an inspiration. Even though we only spent 30 minutes talking. I feel he has started moving on and is going to be okay.
Louis I wish we would have stayed in touch with you and Cheryl. I count Cheryl as a friend and will miss her. I hope we can rekindle our friendship and I want to hear all about Cheryl's life since 1997

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Thanks and Giving

There's a blog I follow DeFiNe NoRmAl by Moody who has inspired me to write something about Thanksgiving. She posted of things people would usually take for granted or not think about.

So I can't copy her but I do have some things for which to be thankful.

Some of you who know the history of Cathy and my life over the last 2 years may wonder why I should be thankful. Cathy lost her job of 17 plus years as an executive with Pepin Heart Hospital in Tampa Florida with a 6 figure salary. Having lived in that life style to say it was quite a shock is an under statement. But.....thankfully she found a job - 1/2 the salary and 70 miles away but gas is coming down hallelujah.
And were making it.

Then the next year I was out of work with several heart attacks and congestive heart failure, and an ICD implant, thus loosing my job. I'm on the mend thank you God.

I have been surrounded by friends and family giving me support.
I found a church that's also supporting me.

I will be having a bodacious feast with my family.

Now the giving ...I want to give back to the community for giving back to me. There is an organization called " Mended Hearts" where people like me who have had the kinds of heart problems that I have had go and visit patients in the hospital and share their story. And explain what emotions the patient may expect to go through. And answer question in layman's terms. Face it most Dr's. have not gone through open heart surgery or any other heart problems and don't really under stand the psychological emotions that one goes through. I don't claim to have all the answers and of course I will receive training but I have found out that I love to talk about it and and love hearing other peoples stories. It's very therapeutic

And (drum roll please) The number 1 thing to be thankful for is I'm Alive!!! I've not just been given 1 do over but 4 so please God don't let me screw this up.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Mind over Body or Waste a Mind Loose a Soul

I've always thought that the phrase "mind over body" was just something your parents, coaches, teachers, pastor, or priest, or any other adult who had influence over you might say to get you to do the thing or things that "you" needed to do.

I've heard that coaches will tell an injured player to get back on the field it's mind over body. You can do play through this. My parents have said "you can do anything you set your mind to" Even Yoda, the greatest Jedi teacher in the galaxy, says "do or do not....there is no try"

I thought I had this mind thing under control. Well that's not true. I should say I never believed that the mind had much to do with health.

One hears a lot of success stories of how people turn 50 cents into triple quadzillion million dollars. "Because they set their mind to it." Well I've tried some of these mind things and always end up poorer than I started.

Maybe I'm just lazy. My mind doesn't work that way. There are great people all through history who have done extraordinary things. "What ever the mind of man can conceive and believe, it can achieve"....Napolean Hill. There are hundreds of such quotes that can be found with a simple Google search.

Google... what mind could have dreamed of such a thing 50, 40, 30, or even 20 years ago? I guess Mr. Google if there is such a person.

Getting back to mind over body. I've been doing some research, thanks to Mr. Google, on how the mind can effect the body. You might think heart disease is linked only with physical activities but your thoughts, attitudes, and emotions are just as important. They can not only accelerate the onset of heart disease, but also get in the way of taking positive steps to improve your health.... The American Psychological Association.

You may wonder why I'm obsessing about the mind? Well... my last hospitalization had to do with my mind. Though your mind can heal it can also make you sick or make you think your sick. I am embarrassed to say the latter is what happened to me on Oct. 21 -the dreaded day of the month.

I had just finished eating dinner and was watching TV when I started having chest pain. My heart felt like a it was going to beat out of my chest. I was hyperventilating and told my wife to call 911. The strange thing is I don't remember telling her this.

Any way I was rushed once again to Pepin Heart Hospital where they did an EKG and blood tests. Because of my history I was admitted. Blood was drawn several time over 2 days and my troponins were normal. Troponins are cardiac enzymes that determine heart attack or heart damage. In the past my troponins have been elevated. This has been the only time where they have been very low or normal 0.14.

So now we're left with the embarrassing part. Did I have a cardiac event? No. Did I think I was having a cardiac event? Yes. What happened?

I had an appointment with my shrink a week after I was discharged from the hospital. When I told him what happened he very bluntly and coolly said "panic attack". I've had anxiety before but nothing like this. This was defiantly cardiac. Well ... apparently not.

A panic attack is a sudden episode of intense fear that develops for no apparent reason and that triggers severe physical reactions. Panic attacks can be very frightening. When panic attacks occur, you might think you're losing control, having a heart attack or even dying.

  • Panic attack symptoms can include:
    Rapid heart rate
    Shortness of breath
    Hot flashes
    Abdominal cramping
    Chest pain
    Tightness in your throat
    Trouble swallowing
    A sense of impending death

So let me apologize to all those who were so concerned about me having another heart event. I'm fine I'm taking my medication and hopefully it won't happen again. The only thing is how do I know the difference between the panic attack and the heart attack. I guess I'll take an extra xanax and wait and see if I go into cardiac arrest. When that happens my ICD should give me a jolt.

I need to think good thoughts or the next stop will be the loony bin.

I'll leave you with this:

If you think you are beaten, you are;
If you think you dare not, you don't;
If you'd like to win but you think you can't,
You can almost be certain you won't.
If you think that you'll lose, you are lost,
For out in the world you will find
Success begins with a person's will;
It's all in the state of the mind.
If you think you're outclassed you are;
You've got to think high to rise.
You've just got to be sure of yourself
Before you can win the prize.
Life's battles don't always go
To a stronger or faster man;
But sooner or later the person who wins
Is the person that THINKS they can.
- Anon.

I don't know is this just sappy humbo jumbo? It would be so much easier if there was a pill...

And now a few quotes from http://despair.com/viewall.html

That which does not kill me postpones the inevitable.

The secret to success is knowing who to blame for your failures.

I expected times like this - but I never thought they'd be so bad, so long, and so frequent

Hey if you can't laugh at yourself then.....well uh ...what was I saying?

Friday, November 7, 2008

Familiy and Friends Network

Through all my whining and belly aching I've had people standing by ready to help, encourage, and up lift.

This post is dedicated to you.

I have one more hospitalization to write about but it's embarrassing so I'm putting it off until I thank all those who mean so much to me.

First and foremost there's my wife Cathy or, "CJ", which a lot of people know her by. She has been as forthright about my condition as anyone can be. She has eased my mind, encouraged me to get help mentally, listen to my complaints, bore my depression and tantrums. And did every thing except cook chicken soup. I have belittled her. And hurt her emotionally she has shed many tears on my account. It's true that you hurt the ones closest to you. She helped me see beyond my selfishness, consoled me when I cried, and made me see life goes on.

To my family thank you for your prayers mom and your delicious vanilla custard. Dad, for your prayers,fixing my lawnmower, mowing my grass when it was up to your knees. Randall for your prayers, and also mowing the front yard and part of the back which was also up to your knees and using a push mower witch made it harder to mow. It meant a lot to Cathy when you and your Kathy sat with my Cathy during surgery. Ron, you also gave of your time to do the same, plus weed eating around the house and kept me laughing with your whit. All of you came to see me in the hospital to lift me up even when I was rude and didn't want to see any one, you knew I needed a lift and wouldn't take no for an answer. You've made me laugh, something I didn't think I would do again.

To my across the street neighbors: Mark, Sylvia, Mathew, and Michael. As soon as you found out about my condition you supplied food, mowed and edged and leaf blown my driveway. I know you kept me in your prayers. And you did all of this despite your own limitations and health issues.

To my good friends and neighbors to my right, Allen and Elaine. You've shown concern, and was there for me. Allen thanks for checking up on me. Almost daily you came by to visit and see if I needed any thing. You also helped keep my yard in shape. You've prayed for me each night. Offered to take me any where I needed to go. You two have been a blessing, despite Allen's lecture on over doing it. And also their daughter Lisa for mowing my yard.

To my boss and fellow workers who gave up their paid time off (PTO) to help make up for the time I was out of work without pay. For your watchful eye checking up on me. My two Robert friends. ER Robert who is always eger to listen to my progress. And to Robert surgical materials for getting me out of the house and coming by my cubby hole to cheer me up.

To Emie and Tia checking up to see if I was eating the things I should and shouldn't eat. And to those who gave monetary gifts.

Nurse Nancy who has always been a good friend and gave me moral support. Even though you talk a lot Nancy, you've also been a good listener.

To Dr. Pascual: You were not only my cardiologist but you became my friend. Not a lot of physicians give out their personal cell number and then tell you to call any time if needing something. You and your prayer warrior wife prayed for me. I don't know if you do this for all your patients, but if you do you're on your knees a lot. You've been patient with me and scolded me without putting me down. I've had some Dr's. talk down to me. But you've always been upfront and honest. And kept your ego in check. You were not above consulting other doctors for their opinion and even consulting CJ. I can never thank you enough. You've saved my life. I am eternally grateful.

To my church family at MCC Tampa. Rev. Phyllis, and Villia for your visits and prayers and your words of encouragement. Rev. Kathy for sitting with Cathy while I was having open heart surgery, and for her visits and cards of encouragement and also for her editing help. Thank you also Kathy for telling me you needed your Rick hugging fix. To Kathy's help mate and partner's hugs and friendly words and her great smile when she sees me. And Ross for serving Holy Communion when the other pastors were away. For the congregational team who prayed, called, and sent cards. And I must mention the choir for their prayers and hugs. Shirley for her cards and visit to the hospital. This church is the most huggingist church I've ever been a part of.

My special friend David who cheered me up. Put me in my place when I needed it. Texted me daily to check up on me. For his many visits to sit and listen, watch a movie, or make muffins.

To Mac for his hospital visits and friendship. His great smile when he sees me. His bear hugs. His patience through my fickleness.

For my friends at Wellswood Baptist Church for your prayers, and emails. Jo and her family for allowing me to be apart of Dustin and Tiffany's wedding , giving me the okay to video their wedding. This helped me recoup and took my mind off my problems.

To Sheri my stepdaughter, granddaughter Madelyn, grandson Derek, and to Ricardo who all showed concern while dealing with their own issues, It's been a year of hell for them too.

To those I have forgotten like June, a volunteer at UCH, who gave me weekly updates on work and checked on me by phone. She has been a good friend through all of this.(I love the way she calls me "darling"

I've been hugged, kissed, given money, had yard sales on my behalf, gotten loans and then had them forgiven. I been prayed for by people I don't know, been scolded, encouraged, loved, and had those who endured boring recounts of my cardiac procedures. (sorry about that)

Lest I forget. My constant compaion Abby. Who listens, gives me kisses, and guards my heart. And always ready for a belly rub.

Thank you and blessings be to all.


PS. Be prepared for a camera intrusion. I want pictures to display on this post. Don't be shy.