After 35 years of life, I have a few things to say.

Category Archives: life

Nothing better to do on a snowy day than to sit by the fire and relax after getting cold and wet outside.

The cars are all visible now, so when the occasion occurs when it’s time to escape cabin fever, we can leave the house.

If there is one thing that the dogs love more than a fresh tennis ball flying through the air, it’s a warm fire in the living room.  I’m always having to tell the dogs to move away from the fire so they don’t burn themselves from the sparks.  They make me so nervous.

It took me awhile, but the Jeep was the first one I unblanketed.  I was a little worried about the weight of the 8 inches of snow on the soft top, but it turned out not to be that bad.  The worst part about the whole process was getting down our neighborhood road.  Once I got to the main road, it was smooth sailing.  Although, when I returned home and tried to back into the spot I had left, but got stuck on the snow drifts I created when digging out the cars.  I made it almost back where I started.  Good enough.  I didn’t even need 4 wheel drive.

Just a few days ago, we took down the Christmas tree in the living room and put all the ornaments away.  The tree was placed on the back porch, still in the stand, until we turn it into mulch in the spring.  The snow storm last night dressed it back up where it looks almost as amazing as it did with lights and tinsel.  Although it’s January, it looks like a white Christmas once again.  I’ll take it.  White Christmas’s don’t come around here very often.

I hope you all enjoy the snow.  Stay safe and warm.

Simon A.


The time has come to make a fresh start once again.  When the clock struck midnight early this morning, the calendar started its march toward December and as tradition, lots of people are making new promises to themselves for the upcoming year.  Some of the most popular resolutions for the new year are to eat healthier, get into shape, connect with old friends (in person, not online), and many others that attempt to make them feel better and better about themselves.

This year, I am no exception, but I did get a head start on a few of them.  I’m already a gym rat, so check that one off the list, although all my goals at the gym are not fulfilled yet.  It’s a work in progress.  I also recently started going to spin classes again, which I used to do and fell out of it.  I can’t remember when, but I decided to go cold turkey on my sugar in my coffee.  Some people told me to just stop drinking coffee, and since that will never happen, I did the next best thing and stopped the sugar.  It took me a few weeks to get used to the bitterness, but now I don’t even notice.  Now, if I can only kick the soda addiction.  I have gone diet, but in recent times, they say diet isn’t any better for you, so that should probably be the next thing to go.  We’ll see.

I started this blog when I turned 35.  Last week, I turned 38 and much has changed.  Life is fast.  New babies come into the family, as well as new spouses with their own families.  Some family members go to heaven to start their new journey.  My dad made that trip this past year.  Some family move into the next phase of their life.  My step-daughter is one semester away from finishing her high school/Associates Degree middle college program and she is already accepted into a private 4 year school that she will attend in the fall.  It’s only an hour away, but far enough to spread her wings and stretch.

This next year is going to be great.  Lots of things will change, I know, some for the better, and some not so good, but with my head start, I believe this year is going to be different.  I’m already ahead of the game, ahead of the resolutions.  My new habits are already taking shape.  I won’t be at the gym tomorrow as a stranger to all.  I will be there to help the new members adjust to the good life and hope they stick it out for the long haul.  Since my sugar habit is already broken, it will be easier for me to cut back on other unhealthy habits.  I know I can do it, and that gives me strength.  For once, I don’t need a new years resolution list.  I have already made my choices and they started long before the countdown to midnight.  All there is to do now is maintain and optimize the plan in order to meet my goals.

Good luck to you all in your new year journeys.

Simon.


Since there are no words to describe the beauty of this weekends camping spot, I will leave you with photos. 


Hope you enjoy. 

Simon. 


Mother nature has a sense of humor.  She can’t decide of it should be cold or hot, wet or dry, or sunny or cloudy.  One minute, it’s bright and vibrant outside with a cool breeze.  The next minute, it’s dark and gloomy, and you can feel the storm coming.  The wind picks up and the chimes begin singing beautifully, and the next thing you know, there is a down pour.  30 minutes later, it’s back to sunny again.  I can’t make up my mind whether camping this weekend would have been a good idea or not.

As it turns out, we decided to stay home this weekend  because the forecast was so bad.  Of course, the current situation is not as bad as the forecast, but I’m still not sure I would want to be out in the woods in this weather either.  Even though we stayed home, I did setup the pop up in the driveway in order to air it out from last weekend, and also to get it ready for next weekend.  So far, the forecast looks good for Memorial Day weekend, so camping is definitely in our forecast as well.

The camper seems to be handling the wind just fine, and I checked the inside this morning to make sure the heavy rain didn’t penetrate.  Everything was still dry, so nothing to worry about.  I re-shocked it with fresh towels, clean dishes, fire starter newspapers, and clean bed linens.  It’s ready to go for the holiday weekend, but I won’t pack it down until it dries out, either tomorrow or Tuesday.  I don’t want to pack it down wet, even if it is just for a few days.  I did that once with a tent, expecting to camp the next weekend, but then when the trip got cancelled, the tent sat in a bag wet for a few weeks and by the time we opened it back up, it was ruined.  I’m not taking that chance with the pop up.  The whole weeks shows sunny, so it should be dry in a day or so.

So regardless of Mother natures plans, next weekend will be a great weekend of camping.  I just hope she remembers that it’s a holiday weekend and that staying dry will make us all happy.

Happy camping.

Simon A.


I promised myself that I would make time to write and even though it is getting pretty late tonight, I intend to keep my word to myself.  It may not be a long post, but it’s going to be from the heart.

It’s been two days since the camping weekend came to a close.  Now that we are back home, we had to catch up on lots of things.  The lawn needed to be cut, the animals needed extra attention, and all the house work was backed up as well.  So needless to say, it has been busy around here.  But I am happy to say that things are looking good now, except the weather.  It has been a gloomy day today, with rain on and off, misty and then downpour. The dogs had to spend the day inside, which I assume is boring for them because there is nothing to bark at except the cat.

The temperature has been very nice and cool, which is great because our A/C is being stupid right now.  We’ve enjoyed having the breeze come through the open windows  and the sound of the rain makes it even better.  It’s a great atmosphere to write.  I would love to set up my writing desk in front of the window, but the room is not the correct configuration for that to happen.  Besides, once the A/C is fixed and summer hits, the windows will be closed and the sounds will be gone.  Then I’ll have to rely on Spotify for my audible motivation and inspiration.

Unlike while camping last weekend, I am now using all my fingers on the keys, making it much easier to type a post.  I know I will be able to take my laptop with me on the next camping adventure, and even though I won’t be able to publish while in the woods, I can type my heart away at speeds thumb typing on the phone can’t match.  So my next promise to myself will be to get my thoughts into a draft before packing up to come home from a trip.  Get my thoughts out while I am still in the atmosphere that inspires the thoughts in the first place.  That would make the most sense I would imagine.  The farther away from nature I get, the more detail I will lose in the creative process.  So while I sit here in bed, feeling the cool breeze from the open window, listening to the crickets and birds from that same window, I remind myself of a few things.  When I find myself lacking inspiration or the mood to put words to paper, all I need to do is simply open a window.  Nature is my inspiration and whether it’s coming from outside my bedroom window or through the canvas and zippers of my pop up camper, it will enable me to keep my promise to myself and just keep writing.

Goodnight.

Simon A.


pumpkinsHappy Halloween everyone.  I hope your weekend will be filled with scary movies, amazing costumes, and mouthfuls of teeth-rotting candy.  The one day of the year when you can dress up and pretend to be someone or something other than yourself.  Well, you can do that any day, but this is the only day you can do it and not get weird looks.  You have to laugh at the thought of what aliens would think if the one day they visited to observe us was on Halloween.

More scary than Halloween costumes and movies is the fact that the Nonfiction Writing Challenge starts tomorrow.  I’m not sure I am prepared to start, but I am excited and ready to get going on my first book.  If you haven’t been following along with my story so far, I’ll give you a preview.  When I was 4 or 5 months old, I was adopted by a loving family, but very soon after settling into my new life, I got very sick and was diagnosed with Hydrocephalus.  Because of this, brain surgery was required to save my life by installing a shunt to relieve the pressure in my brain from Cerebral Spinal Fluid (CSF) build up.  Without this surgery, I would have died from brain damage when my brain was crushed against my skull by the outward force of the pressure.

As you can imagine, just one brain surgery did not fix me for life.  Over the years, I had to undergo many shunt revisions, from malfunctioning valves to separated drain tubing, and even shunt replacement at least twice.  When I was 20 years old, I had been under the knife a total of 15 times I think and my family was ready for a different solution, one that was more permanent.  We learned about a new procedure that could rid me of a shunt altogether, called an ETV (Endoscopic Third Ventriculostomy).  This procedure is not for everyone with Hydrocephalus and you have to meet certain criteria for it to even be a possibility.  Lucky for me, I was a perfect candidate for this surgery, so for the first time in my Hydrocephalus history, I wanted to get surgery.

In December 2000, I went into surgery voluntarily and healthy, to have my shunt removed and the ETV performed.  Since I went into the hospital healthy, two surgeries had to be performed.  First, they had to remove my shunt and induce Hydrocephalus so that my ventricles filled with CSF and swelled up.  They had to do this so that they had the room to perform the ETV.  I spent a week in the hospital after the first surgery, just waiting and monitoring my pressure, waiting for the pressure to rise.  Once it was high enough, I went back into surgery to get the ETV.  My book will have the details of all this, but long story short, the surgery was a success, and I sit here now, 15 years later, shunt free and headache free.  The ETV is still working and I am grateful not to have had to get any more surgeries.  I’ve been meaning to write this book since the ETV, but now is the time and the story is even better now since I have had 15 years without a problem.

OK, maybe I am prepared to start this book tomorrow.  🙂

Thanks for reading.  Hopefully I will have the complete story for you to read in a month or so.

Happy Halloween.

Simon


image

It’s only a week away from the start of the Write Nonfiction In November Challenge and I am getting really excited to finally telling my story. The photo above is just another example of the awesome beauty in this world.  The fact that I am here to witness this beauty with my own eyes is reason enough for me to write this book. 

This week, I have some decisions to make before the challenge starts. There are many directions I can take this book and I need to figure out the best path. I could stick to talking about the accomplishments in my life and how I beat the odds. I could focus on the medical side and tell the story of the progression in technology which has enhanced my quality of life tremendously. I could talk about the sports I play, against all odds, and against some recommendations. I could talk about my adoption and how Hydrocephalus did not break apart my adoptive parents hopes and dreams, but instead made us stronger. I could talk about how, in spite of having multiple birthdays and holidays in the operating room, I am a very optimistic person.

I could talk about one of these topics, and I probably will. In fact, I may talk about them all, and 10 more topics too. It is going to be a challenge for sure. Staying on topic will probably be the hardest thing of all for me. I love rabbit trails, but in the end, I am here, I am healthy, and I am able to write, so I hope I can bring you a story that brings a smile to your face.

Come on November, let’s write.

Thank you.

Simon.