Thursday, January 02, 2014


It is with a renewed enthusiasm that I return to blogging after a long hiatus. Recently Paulette and I watched a BBC series drama titled: Cranford, starring one of my favorite actors: Dame Judy Dench.

In one scene, her character described a ritual taught her by her father, in which she would record an entry in her daily diary in two columns. At the beginning of the day, in one column she would write what she hoped, or expected the day would bring, and in the other column she would record what had actually happened. I thought, "what a wonderful way to evaluate our hopes and dreams versus reality."

I will attempt this for awhile, just to see what happens.

January 1, 2014: I had hoped to attend the 12th annual Polar Bear Swim at the Osborn Aquatic Center in Corvallis, OR. The event began at 1:00pm and ran until 3:00pm. Unfortunately, I awoke with a sore throat, and stuffy head. In order to regain my health quickly so that I can get back into the pool for some serious Master's swimming, I skipped the event. Very disappointing.

I watched the Michigan State Spartans triumph over the Stanford Cardinal in the Rose Bowl. I must say I was cheering for the Spartans, since the Cardinal beat both Oregon State and the Ducks. Way to go Spartans!

I also watched the Baylor Bears play against Central Florida, hoping that the Bears would win. I went to bed at halftime and when I awoke this morning, learned that Baylor had lost; much to my chagrin.

Today is January 2, 2014, and my dad's 81st birthday. Last year we celebrated his milestone 80th in California with my family. It was a wonderful occasion! Not to rob anything from that event, I returned home one year ago feeling lousy . . . overweight, run-down, and looking like hell. I resolved to do something about it, but not to pressure myself too much.

I started swimming with the Master's again at the Osborn Aquatic Center, along with my sister Pam. I started with 3 days per week for one hour per session. Soon I realized that I had enough time to walk from the swim center to work, so I did that each time I swam. When I lost my first 10 lbs I thought, I could probably swim 5 days per week and walk too; so I did.

By August I had lost 55 lbs and was feeling great! Since then I have gained a few pounds back, but I am going to renew my effort this year to continue swimming, walking, and even weight-lifting, in hope that I can drop some additional pounds. I have been tracking my weight, swimming and walking using a Fitbit Wi-Fi scale, a Fitbit Flex activity tracker, and the USMS FLOG.

Last year I swam a total of 525 miles, walked over 1300 miles, and as I mentioned earlier, lost over 50 lbs. Onward to 2014!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010


I cannot believe how wonderful the Anvil 2007 (Rattlesnake Hills) Syrah is. Our local distributor - "Trader Joe's" cannot keep it on the shelf!!! It's wonderful! Discovered it through a friend this summer when we went to visit them in Brownsville, OR.

Two of us took a sip from our glasses simultaneously, and both of us said, "WOW" at the same time. If you like red wine, this is the best I have tasted in years. I am afraid that eventually all of it will be sold, and there will be no more. Maybe I should buy a case and lay it away somewhere?

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Wow, Seriously?

It has been a LONG time since I've made an entry in my blog; I mean the last one was back in November of 2009 . . . almost one year ago.

Things have changed a LOT since then.

1) I made it through the first year of nursing school.
2) I met a wonderful woman, Paulette.
3) I had a GREAT summer off from nursing school.
4) I moved AGAIN. My landlord sold the duplex I lived in.
5) I started my second year of nursing school.


1) The first year of nursing school was very challenging for me, and for most of the students in my class, I would venture to say. We lost over 20 people throughout the course of the year for one reason or another. A few that I know are restarting this fall, others have gone on to do other things they're better suited for.

2) Paulette . . . well, what can I say? We graduated from the same high school together in Japan (The American School in Japan), and even had a modeling job together (from which I have a gigantic poster with both of us in it). We became reacquainted on Facebook, and met up at spring break, and have been dating ever since; which leads me to:

3) I had a great summer. Spent most of my summer in Tumwater, WA. at Paulette's. Sanded and finished her 800 sq. ft. redwood deck, trimmed her trees, fixed her water feature, cleaned out the garage and repaired a storage shelf, etc. etc. We enjoyed many good times together, ate well, drank well, and I lost about 30 lbs. in the process!

4) Near the end of the summer I found out my landlord had sold the duplex I was living in, and the new owners wanted my unit. So, I had to scramble and find a place, which it turns out is much nicer and better located. So it worked out for the best. It also turns out that being "twice removed" from my home of almost 16 years was a very good thing for me too. I now feel like a new person: in fact, I was thinking that on the way home from nursing clinical tonight.

5) Second year of nursing school is going great! I passed my first Post-Test with the best grade I've gotten since I started nursing school, and clinicals are going fantastic! I love my patients, being in the hospital, and this year we finally get to do the things that nurses do. It's great.

There are still challenges in my life, but the road ahead is filled with promise and excitement. Stay tuned because I think I'll resume blogging now . . . at least until next summer.

Monday, November 09, 2009

How Could I Have Known?

I remember laying in the grass at Porter Park watching Jane play softball. She was the team pitcher, and we worked together on her pitches every year on our side yard. The black and white photo of her in this note was taken at one of the games at Porter Park.

I realized just this morning that as I watched some of the games held there, I was less than 200 meters from the duplex where I now live. It's interesting to me, and I sometimes wonder at how things in life change. I could not have known then that I would eventually be living only a short distance from where I was laying on the grass, my life changed.

A wise friend told me shortly after Jane passed away that there would be many "firsts." I don't remember them mentioning "seconds" or possibly even "thirds."

Thanks go out this morning to my friend Bob L. who pointed out the blazing sunrise, causing me to look out my back door and notice how things have changed.

Sunrise, sunset
Sunrise, sunset
Swiftly fly the years
One season following another
Laden with happiness and tears . . .

-Sunrise, Sunset (From Fiddler on the Roof)

Jane Pitching

Beautiful, blazing sunrise this morning.

The ball field (Porter Park) just outside my back door.

Labels: , , , , , ,

Friday, October 09, 2009

First Test

Today I had my first post test of the term. I was really stressed-out all morning long before the test. We have a Post Test every other Friday at 1pm during the term.

I haven't been in school for 2 years, and I have to pass every test with at least a 75%, so there's no room for any poor performance (not that I'm inclined) but it's just stressful.

One of my classmates quizzed me before we went into the testing room, and I felt a bit better after that. We have exactly one hour to take the test and then the computer will boot you off. The first 4 or 5 questions were pretty easy, and I was confident that I had chosen the correct answers.

There were 30 computer questions, and about 10 written questions. I finished the computer part in about 25 minutes, checked my answers one more time, and then submitted. It came back with 28 correct answers and 2 wrong for a raw score of 93.3%! Woo Hoo!

I'm sure I did well on the written part too, so it looks like I'm off to a good start . . .

Labels: , ,

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Back in Nursing School

Two years ago in September, I began nursing school. If you were following my blog then, and my life since that time, you'll know the history of why I am starting all over again.

There are many similarities to that time, but many significant differences as well. Just to bring you up to speed:

This past May a couple contacted me and told me they had seen my house for sale and were interested in looking at it. I didn't know what they were talking about, since my house was not on the market. I asked them where they saw my house and they said, "" Then I remembered having "listed" my house there over a year before. Zillow allows you to track the value of your home and watch the market trends.

The couple came over a few days later, and the next day they called and said they wanted to make an offer. Long story short, I accepted their offer, and closed escrow on the 29th of July. The sale of my home has allowed me to return to nursing school, so that's how I got here today.

Amy and I moved into a duplex rental on September 5th, and I spent the next few weeks unpacking, crying, and generally trying to get used to this new life. It was not easy to make the decision to return to school. All of the nurses I worked with at the Surgery Center continually told me that I needed to go back to nursing school. But I didn't see how I would be able to do so, until I sold my home.

So I am auditing the Fall Term because I successfully completed it two years ago. I need to pass all of the weekly exams, a skills challenge, and the final exam and then I will be admitted as a regular student in the Winter Term of 2010.

It's another 18 months of school (with the summer off) and if all goes according to plan (mine), I will graduate in 2011. It sounds like a long way off, but when I look back on the last 2 years, I wonder where the time went . . . well, not really. I know where the time went; but you know what I mean.

I will be journaling a little bit to keep everyone informed of my progress. Oh, and as always . . . I could use your prayers.

Labels: , , , ,

Monday, August 24, 2009

Road Trip to Canada - Day 7

We dragged ourselves kicking and screaming from Jackson, WY. this morning, but not before having a hearty breakfast at "BUBBAS" again. Biscuits and gravy for me, cheese omelet for Amy. Got a couple of souvenir coffee mugs too.

Drove south on Highway 26 until we reached Highway 89. Turned right at Alpine Junction onto Highway 26 and headed toward Swan Valley. Last time through here I stopped at "Swan Valley Custom Choppers" and met Carol, the proprietor. Her husband builds made to order custom Harley choppers for about $35,000 each. I got to tour the shop last time is was there. I am now doing a website for their shop, and it will be up and running in a few weeks.

Drove through Idaho Falls, and on to Craters of the Moon. Stopped for a quick lunch and then hit the road again toward Mt. Home, ID. The skies were mostly sunny, with a few clouds here and there, and all of a sudden we encountered a downpour that lasted about 2 miles, and then back out into the sunshine. Very cool.

Amy came through again with the wild animal photo of the day. We were driving along between Idaho Falls and Craters of the Moon when she spotted a group of antelope and took the photo below. Way to go Amy! Good eye!

Bubba's Restaurant in Jackson, WY.

High school class dates carved in the mountain at Arco, ID.

Amy spotted these antelope

Grumpy Old Man rock formation near Swan Valley, ID.

Ski area near our cabin in Jackson

Inside our cabin

Outside our cabin

Labels: , , ,

Road Trip to Canada - Day 6

Left Bozeman at 8:00am yesterday and headed east toward Livingston, then south on Highway 89 toward the north entrance of Yellowstone.

Arrived in Yellowstone an hour or so later. We drove around a curve that ended up at the Yellowstone Lodge and there on the park lawn were about 25 elk grazing. They were within one road width away, and just munching on the grass and resting.

Of course, there is always one idiot in the bunch who thinks they're smarter than the park rangers . . . so this guy crosses the road to get a closer look. The park rangers (who were staged around the area) yelled at him to get back across the street, where they promptly lectured him on the dangers of approaching a female elk while the bull is close by.

Then we stopped at Mammoth Hot Springs. Amy and I walked up the 968 stairs (an estimation) to see the cauldron. I was underwhelmed this time (first time was 43 years ago when I was 11 or 12). The springs were quite dry, with only a couple of small pools still active. Still beautiful though.

Then on through the park where we eventually got stopped in traffic. It took us about 45 min. to travel 2 miles. We thought at first it was an animal siting, then perhaps an accident, or road construction. It turns out that we were following a small group of bison who decided the road was much faster to travel on than the meadows of Yellowstone. We finally caught up with the group of bison, and took a few photos. While traveling along in the car, Amy was reading the warning pamphlet regarding approaching the bison. She said, "Dad, I want to see somebody get gored by a buffalo." Oh, those kids . . .

We stopped at the Canyon lodge and Amy shopped (again) while I napped (again). Then we stopped at the lower Yellowstone falls and took some photos (beautiful). Finally headed south and decided to skip Old Faithful due to the onset of rain, and how late it was. Made it to Jackson, WY. at about 6:30pm and checked into our little cabin at the Elk Country Inn. It's a beautiful, cozy little place . . . the nicest one we've stayed at so far. Amy and I decided that next time we do this trip, we'll come directly to Jackson, and stay 4-5 days and venture out from our little cabin. Maybe do some rafting, a day trip to Yellowstone, Grand Tetons, etc.

It's drizzling rain now as I write this, and I'm sitting at the pic-a-nic table in front of our cabin. It's nice and relaxing, and I'm having a coffee . . . all is right with my world.

Entrance to park in Jackson, WY.

Amy took this photo, caught the bison in mid-bellow!

Amy at Lower Yellowstone Falls

Lower Yellowstone Falls

Mammoth Hot Springs

On the way to Yellowstone

No second warning required for us!

Elk grazing on the lawn in Yellowstone

Labels: , , ,