Thursday, August 08, 2013

A Few Days of R & R

Instead of fighting traffic on Seattle’s I-405 and I-90 in order to get to my part-time work gig in the Wallingford district, I am happily sitting at my desk and catching up on things on my laptop. 

I’m enjoying the American “vacation”. 

We had originally planned to take a driving trip to California at this time, but “busy-ness” and some “under-the-weather” conditions have changed that.  Instead, I’ll have the better part of a week to visualize, analyze and maybe even fantasize.

A week ago yesterday Kay Lynne and I enjoyed a wonderful introduction to time off when we visited the Training Camp of the Seattle Seahawks – all compliments of our son, Doug.  He set it all up, and all we had to do was get on the bus from the Landing (the shopping center where you park) to the Virginia Mason Athletic Center in Renton (VMAC) where the Camp is located.  It’s a great chance to see the rookies, veterans and hopefuls up close and watch the action as they train very seriously. 

The photo at top shows now veteran starting quarterback Russell Wilson let fly with a long, 60-yard pass during a warm-up drill.  Note the ball in the upper left.  And of course that’s beautiful Lake Washington in the background.  This has to be one of the finest practice facilities in all of professional football.

I’m not sure what all we’ll do in these days of “vacation” but hopefully we’ll catch up on things and maybe even get some rest.  Next week we might even take a short trip southward for a day or three.  One thing is for sure.  You can count on the fishing pole being in the back.


Friday, July 12, 2013

Life Goes On…

In a previous post I talked about the shock one goes through when one realizes that cancer has invaded the body.  Almost five months have passed since then, and with the completion of radiation treatments, life is looking more normal now.  It’ll take a couple of months before we’ll know exactly how successful the treatments were, but the doc has said we have good reason to be optimistic.

And, as the photo above shows, I’m even able to get out on the water in my pontoon boat to once again take up the aquatic search for piscatorial adversaries.  Life is returning to normalcy, and I am feeling just about as good as ever.
 A week ago today Kay Lynne and I watched soccer practice for our two youngest grandchildren, Nathan, almost 5, (#5 at left above) and Ally, just turned 2 (right above).  Watching your grandkids do anything is totally therapeutic and brings deep joy to us older folks.  Our other grandkids are in Europe for three-plus weeks, and granddaughter Aubrey, 11, decided she would take a plunge into the Mediterranean Sea on the Italian Riviera at the exact minute she was born on July 9 in Boise, Idaho.  The pic below shows her doing just that.  Gregg’s family is having the trip of a lifetime visiting most of the major European countries and following some of Gregg’s maternal grandfather’s war experiences, including visiting the concentration camp in Germany liberated by his unit.

The summer is shaping up to be interesting, fun and full of wonderful things to do with family and friends.  Life goes on…

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Remembering Buddy – the Extraordinary, Dearly Loved Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

                Buddy was as close to the perfect dog as any could be, and we miss him very much.  He came to live with us in January of 2005, freshly fixed at 8 months.  We had him for a short seven years and four months when his kidneys suddenly gave out over a period of just two weeks. 
                We had to have him put him down on May 4 – probably the most difficult thing my wife Kay Lynne and I have done in 48 years of marriage. 
                The reason is that Buddy was not an ordinary dog.  He hardly ever barked, he didn’t chase cats or birds, and he never chewed on the furniture.  All he did was love everyone and anyone.  I often said that “Buddy had never met a person or dog or other animal he didn’t like.”  In fact, I don’t think we ever heard him growl.
                He was our constant companion, especially in recent years as we’ve gotten older and were at home more.  Buddy’s first love was Kay Lynne.  He bonded with her on the way home from the airport (he was flown to Seattle from Arkansas, where he was born – a harrowing eight hours in a dog crate with a change of plane to boot), and she was the one who first gave him love and cradled him on her lap when he arrived.  From then on, he was only truly happy when he was by her side. 

           This cute puppy pic was the one that helped us decide on Buddy -- originally named Rudy
               Originally, one of the reasons we got a dog, was that hopefully he would be a fishing companion for me.  At the time we got him we lived on Bainbridge Island and I had a boat.  I thought he would love to go out on the water with me when I went fishing.  How wrong I was.
                On his first trip out on the boat, he paced around as we got going.  About five minutes into the journey he jumped up onto Kay Lynne’s lap and remained there for the rest of the trip.  A fishing dog Buddy was not.   His behavior displayed his dislike for motion of any kind.  He never liked the car – despite our many trips with him – but he always was ready to go at the drop of a hat because he just wanted to be with “his people.”
                Buddy did love the outdoors and a grassy lawn or field.  And he loved to smell the myriad of aromas on the leaves of bushes.  That’s why he was happy in our back yard, small that it is.  He had green grass and bushes all around.  He spent many happy hours out there.
               One of his favorite places was in Oregon at the home of our son Gregg and family where he could run at will and enjoy the acreage of their classic remodeled farm house.  Buddy loved to roam the perimeter of the yard and enjoy all the fragrances of the bushes which grace the setting.  He could scamper around on the spacious lawn and just plain have fun.  All we had to say was, “You wanna go see Talli and Hayley and Aubrey and Gregg and Elaine and Jack (their dog)?” and he would spin in pirouettes, his way of expressing joy and happiness.
              Buddy loved all of our grandkids including the smaller ones.  Nathan, Doug and Jamie's son, now 4-1/2, would ride on Buddy's back when he was 2 or 3, loving to play "horseback".  Buddy was always a willing participant.  Our youngest granddaughter, Ally, (Nathan's almost 2-year-old sister) loved to follow him around the house, calling out, "Buddy", "Buddy".

 One of my favorite pics - granddaughter Aubrey with Buddy on their porch exactly seven years ago.

              But all is just a memory now.  Buddy’s ashes were spread over a nearby apple orchard, appropriately honoring his love of trees, bushes and the grassy outdoors. 
              So farewell, faithful  friend and companion.  You will always have a spot in our hearts.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

A Cold Water Shock From “The Dreaded Words”

I never expected to hear "the dreaded words" directed at me.  I don’t think anyone ever does.

Life – especially in retirement – has a way of lulling you into your particular zone of comfortable existence. 

In that genre, days go by, and time passes mostly uneventfully.  Reality seems to mimic the feeling of living in a cocoon-like blur.  
Coasting along contentedly in that relaxed haziness, suddenly, one day, you are confronted with three words that clear the fog instantly and jar you to your senses like a splash of ice cold water in the face: 

“You have cancer.”
Whether I consciously realized it or not, my life was abruptly an apple cart upset.  I had no idea so many thoughts could go through one’s mind so quickly. 

I told my wife the news as soon as I got off the phone with my doctor.  I could hear the words coming calmly out of my mouth, but I knew I wasn’t processing what I was saying.
My immediate reaction was to look for positive things amidst the distressing news (that’s just my nature).  Let’s see, I quickly remembered, the doc did say it was treatable – and there were no words like “urgency” or “short time” or “limited options.”

What he also said was that I’d have to have a couple of important tests, including a bone scan, (utilizing hi-tech equipment similar to that shown in the photo above) to see if the disease had spread.  A biopsy had revealed the sarcoma was centralized in the prostate gland.
The human male species and prostate cancer are inevitably intertwined.  My doc told me that in the studies he’s seen regarding autopsies on men over age 90, NONE had ever been done without finding some degree of malignancy in this strategic male organ.

For a male, it appears to be virtually inevitable.  As you age, you WILL get prostate cancer.  Fortunately, the majority of manifestations occurs later in life, and most are of the “watch and wait” variety requiring no immediate treatment.  Mine, however, needs some therapy.
In future posts I may delve into some of the things one has to deal with regarding accepting, processing, and dealing with the many ramifications of what has happened.   I’ve discovered that, for me, just writing about it has somewhat of a cathartic effect – and perhaps a person or two may even  find some resonance in it. 

The good news is that with proper care and treatment, I’m told that my malady should be able to be completely eradicated and that I’m likely to remain an ageing and somewhat cantankerous old fisherman for quite a while to come.   But for the short term I’m focused on adapting to treatment and learning to live with cancer.

Tuesday, January 01, 2013

New Year Wishes

In this world
of Uncertainty and Instability, 
may the New Year bring you
the Joy, Peace and Satisfaction 
that comes from
discovering New Life
as a follower of Jesus Christ.