Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Prayer Request

I was informed yesterday that my Grandma had a massive stroke and is not expected to survive. She is 94 years old, and up until recently, was still able to drive herself! I have not seen her in a long time because she lives in Wisconsin, but I have kept in touch with her pretty well via snail mail.

Pray for our family, and pray for me, as I have been asked to perform her funeral services. It is an honor for me to do this, but I am not sure how I am going to afford the airfare to Madison.

Thanks for the prayers, blogger buds. I will keep you posted.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Out of the Closet

Today I have a confession to make: I am a closet Heavy Metal fan. I always have been. Jazz is still my number one preference, but I confess to feeling the need to "bang my head" now and again. The problem is that the heavy metal stuff today is downright nasty at times. At least it is to me. I am finding more and more Christian Heavy Metal bands, such as Living Sacrifice to satisfy my cravings.

Last night at the WFJ event, I discovered a local group led by one of our wrestlers, Ace Hardy. The group is called Firebred and having seen these guys in action last night, I can wholeheartedly recommend them. I can attest that these guys walk with Jesus, and they rock! Check them out if you like.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Where I'll Be Today


Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Giving Credit Where It Is Due



After several days of sad posts due to a sad week, I am feeling the need to change the tempo of ye' olde blog back to the cornucopia of fun and nuttiness that it is best known for. Today we deal with the movie industry.

There are movie stars who come and go, and then there are consistent, solid actors who just seem to show up in every film and do excellent work. Lately I have discovered that I really admire the work of Paul Giamatti. He is just one of those "sidekick" actors who makes whoever he is working with shine that much brighter. Apparently he is extremely busy and has a lot of great new films coming out next year. I look forward to that.

Along with guys like Gene Hackman, James Cromwell, and a host of others, Paul Giamatti takes his place in my book as a consistent, consummate actor who increases in value and respect after every project. Check him out in The Cinderella Man, Man on the Moon, or even in Big Fat Liar. He rocks.

I am equally excited about my earlier use of the word, "cornucopia."

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

I Love This Town!



I have always loved living in South Carolina. One of my favorite places to visit in SC is Charleston. It used to be a 2-plus hour drive for me; now it is only about 45 minutes.

I drove to Charleston today to be with a church member having a tricky procedure done. The highlight of the trip was driving over, for the very first time, the new Cooper River Bridge. It was as exciting as any amusement park ride I have ever been on. The view from the bridge was breathtaking.

I used to always dream of living in Charleston. Now I am close enough to visit anytime I like.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Life After Levi


It's funny how animals affect some people. I confess I am one of those people who REALLY love their animals. I have an aunt who pushes her dog in a baby stroller. I don't take it quite that far, but I understand why she does. Pets really can get into your heart. They sure have gotten into mine.

Levi was more than just my dog. He was my friend. Wherever I was in the house, he was right there with me. If I moved to a different room, he got up and followed me. When I went to bed, he came and slept on the floor beside me. I couldn't fall asleep until I knew he was there. He was my shadow and constant companion around the house. I can't go to bed before midnight most nights, so I would stay up and unwind, watching TV, and of course, Levi would be right there. Most nights, Tracy and the kids would all be asleep before I was ready for bed and I would look at Levi and say, "Looks like it's just you and me again, Levi-boy." The fact that he was deaf never hurt our communication at all. He knew he was loved. I wish I'd gotten him years ago.

With his previous owners, he was left alone almost all the time. He was a pure-bred Golden Retriever, and they left him outside on a short leash and fed him table scraps if they remembered to feed him at all. We also discovered that Levi had been shot with a shotgun at one time. He miraculously survived. When we got him, Levi was malnourished and eaten up with heartworms. In fact, it was so bad that it took three heartworm treatments to cure him. The third treatment almost killed him, but he miraculously survived again. I'm so glad he did, and that we were able to spend his "retirement" years with him.

Levi hated being alone. That's why he followed me and Tracy all over the house. Many times he would wake up just to look and make sure one of us was there. When the end was inevitable, Tracy and I stayed right there with him until it was over, so he wouldn't be alone. He knew that we were there.

See, I told you I was pathetic.

What I loved the most was taking Levi on walks. He loved being outside. He loved to stop and sniff at different spots. I always thought this was funny. I never knew what scent he had picked up and why he practically buried his nose in the ground sniffing it. Our walks were special because of the fresh air and the undeniable companionship we shared. I believe it is providential that we were able to completely finish our last walk yesterday before the stroke happened.

When he and I took our walks, we always walked basically the same path around the yard, which is a couple of acres. Last night, after a long day of grieving his death, I took the walk alone. I stopped at the places he usually stopped, and that's when it really hit me that he was gone.

I am thankful that he didn't suffer at the end. He had suffered most of his life, but didn't suffer once during the entire time we had him. He was spoiled and pampered every day by his family. Even the cats would rub up against him. He lived like a King and "ruled the roost" during his final 2 1/2 years; He deserved it. He died as peacefully and content as he had lived...with our family. In fact, when Tracy walked into the exam room, he smiled at her. I'm serious! He was surrounded by the ones who truly loved him, and, as he had done so many times before at my feet, he peacefully fell asleep one last time.

Levi, I miss you so much it hurts. I will always be thankful for having you in my life, if only for a short while. I hope that your time with us made up for the time you had to endure those horrible people. I will never forget you, you old puppy. You made me very happy and you were such a great companion. I love you and you will always have a very special place in my heart and memories. Goodbye, old buddy. I'll see you later.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

So Long, Old Friend



Today we said goodbye to a very dear friend: our Golden Retriever, Levi. He and I were on our morning walk as always, and as we rounded the corner to come back into the house, he suffered a stroke and collapsed. He could not get back up. Tracy and I were able to get him up long enough for me to carry him into the house. He was a big dog at 116 lbs. After that I took him to the vet and there was nothing that could be done for him. He just went to sleep with Tracy and I at his side. He was 14 years old.

Levi was with us for just over 2 years. We rescued him from a terribly abusive situation and saw to it that he lived like a king in the twilight years of his life. I have had dogs over the years, but this one got into my heart more than any other. As terrible as his life was before, he was always so sweet and loving. Even the cats loved him. They were never afraid of him. The worst thing I can say about Levi is that he had a tendency to sneak into the cat food when our backs were turned. Never before have I seen such a sweet spirit in a dog. I will miss him with all my heart, and we will never forget Levi nor the joy he brought into our family.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

What the...?

To all my fellow bloggers:

It seems that having upgraded to the new "Beta" version has made it impossible to leave comments on, and I quote, "non-beta" blogs. So I am still reading your blogs each day, but please don't think I am ignoring you by failing to comment.

On the positive side, the upgrade has been very good for me. All of my previous woes with blogger have been resolved. I highly recommend an upgrade. It's free.

Keep on bloggin'!

Monday, October 16, 2006

Older? Yes. Wiser...?

This past weekend was my 20th High School reunion. I had a great time with my best pals in the world, left to right: Bob, Me, Rick, Alan, George, Chuck, James, & Peeley. 20 years have passed, and each time we get together it is like we never left. Great times, hilarious stories, and now all of us have beautiful wives and kids. It was an evening I will cherish forever with friends I have been so blessed to have.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Weekend In A Nutshell

  • No kids this weekend. Tracy and I got some housework done and had some time together.
  • Badgers won, Gamecocks won, Packers lost.
  • We have finally found S. Ritter!
  • Sunday worship was nice, and we enjoyed lunch and supper with some of our folks.
  • My truck will be back on the road by week's end.
  • No kids this weekend!

Friday, October 06, 2006

Home At Last!

We finally got Tracy out of the hospital and back at home. She will be following up with the surgeon in a couple of weeks.

I am glad she is finally home. Our thanks to everyone for prayers and support.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Finally...

Tracy has been diagnosed as having cholangitis, or an inflamation of one of the tentacles of the gall bladder. The cholangitis is treatable with antibiotics, and she will be coming home in the morning. That is the good news.

The bad news is that the gall bladder is not functioning properly and will have to come out. She will need to follow up as an outpatient with the surgeon and have the GB removed in about 2-3 weeks. If she did this now, in the hospital, she would have to stay for an additional 3-5 days. No thank you.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

More Tests, Less Sleep

Tracy was supposed to come home from the hospital today, but they still do not have a firm diagnosis and want to run at least one more test. So she is confined to the hospital for one more night, maybe more.

I have had 8 hours of sleep in the last 4 days. I just can't sleep without Tracy here. The fatigue is starting to catch up with me. Hopefully I can get some sleep tonight. Tracy, on the other hand, is sleeping very well.

God was absolutely right when He said, "It is not good for man to be alone." I think I am the poster child for that universal truth. I hope my sweetie comes home soon.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Is there a doctor in Walterboro?

We are now on Day Three of Tracy's hospital stay, and we still don't know anything. I have talked to nurses and nurse practitioners, but I have yet to talk to anyone with an "M.D." beside their name. It is like going to a mechanic for an oil change then being told by the lady at the counter that you need a new transmission.

Tracy is resting well and being treated with antibiotics and clear liquids. Families from the church have arranged to bring dinner each night that Tracy is hospitalized, which means that the kids won't be eating poptarts and cereal three times a day. As far as housekeeping, well, why make a bed if you're just going to get back in it later....?

Monday, October 02, 2006

Tracy Update

She will be spending another night and will have more tests run tomorrow. They are trying to discover the actual cause of the pain and have narrowed it down to two possibilities:
  1. Diverticulitis--this may not require surgery.
  2. Gall bladder infection--may not require surgery either.

I have been awake since Sunday morning, so I am going to turn in, even though Green Bay is playing tonight. Well, I may try to make it through the first half...

Please pray

I had to take Tracy to the ER last night. She is having many tests run to determine the cause of some pretty intense abdominal pain.

Will post more when I know more. Thank you for your prayers.