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

Category Archives: Past & Future

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.



For me, camping and writing go hand in hand. One of the reasons I don’t post much is because at home, life is too busy it seems. Between work and family, the gym and playing with the pets, it is hard to find time to watch some TV, or to write. There are just not enough hours in the day. I know I should make time though, and camping is the perfect time, place, and atmosphere to start again. It’s quiet, with only the sound of birds singing. It’s peaceful, so I can think about what I am doing. There are hardly any distractions, with the exception of a few dogs barking on occasion, mine included. The sunlight is sprinkling on me through the leaves in the trees. The smell is of fresh air, pollen-free finally, thanks to the rain recently. The only down side right this moment is that when I finally want to write, my laptop is at home. Go figure. So I sit here in front of a smoldering fire pit in a folding camp chair, IPhone in hand, expressing this post, one thumb click at a time. Not the fastest way to get my words out, but at least I have a way, and a signal to broadcast. So let this be my new beginning, once again. Back on the horse. And pray with me, that once I get home, my fingers will find their place on the keyboard where they belong and my thumbs can have a rest. Let this be the start of my new streak, where there is time to think and write, and the words find their way to the page once again. 

Talk to you again soon. 

Simon A. 

IMG_1097And I’m off and running.  Day 1 and my book is started.  1772 words so far and I might do a few more pages tonight.

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.


It’s still dark outside, but there is still the content hum of the wind, whipping across the front porch.  The air is crisp and moist, as the rain continues to fall, although it is diminishing every day.  I believe the forecast shows that the sun will be allowed to come out today.  I hope so because all these gloomy days are getting really old.  Fall is supposed to be full of color and brightness, not overcast, dull gray, and windy.

Despite the recent spell of bad weather, I am glad for the changing season.  I know this system is temporary and the colors will return.  Leaves will float to the Earth once again, instead of flying by like bullets.  The hammocks will be hung up soon and it will be time to sit outside and enjoy the breezes and the sounds of nature.

So this is for you Sun.  C’mon out and play.  We miss you.


My new passion

My new passion

“So far so good.” I say to myself when I think about how the year is going thus far.  It’s true that it’s only been a week, but I feel that I am sticking to my guns very well.  Like I said in my last post, these are not resolutions for the new year, but rather ongoing changes in my life that I want to continue to improve upon.  I am merely using the new year as a starting line to amplify my efforts and focus into making these changes stick this time.  It’s true that some of my personal goals are for me only and will remain that way, but there are a few I can share.  Like most people probably agree, being in better shape is preferable than not, so I’m not going to sit here and tell you that I discovered something totally new that will change the world and make this journey successful for me.  What I do know is that last year when I exercised and rode my bike a lot more, I was in better shape.  So one could conclude that if I did that again, I could better myself back to that person I was.  The problem is that all that stuff takes up so much time.  I have different priorities this year.  I don’t want to be gone every Saturday for 6 hours riding a century.  Sure, once in awhile is fine, but some Saturdays I want to hike, or camp, watch movies or play guitar.  I want to do so many things that there is no time to dedicate to one thing to hard and I prefer it that way.  So there is my dilemma.  I must juggle all the things I want to do, and at the same time, enjoy the benefits of each activity to the fullest.

I’ve heard that it takes just a few weeks to form a habit, so that is what I am trying to do.  So far, I am doing a great job of eating better, both in what I am eating, and also in quantity control.  I am starting to decrease my carb intake, while increasing my vegetables and lean proteins.  I am also cutting way down on coffee and soda, which in turn drops my sugar intake in parallel.  These changes, combined with gym workouts and running are making a difference.  I don’t feel like I have to kill it at the gym to make progress as long as i am consistent and don’t kill it at the buffet.  Smart food in small proportions coupled with smart exercise seems to be better than eating what I want coupled with killing it at the gym to compensate for the bad choices I made earlier.  It takes so much less energy, the results are better and healthier, and I have more time for myself and my family to do more of the things I want to do and learn.

I want to use this surplus of energy and time to form better habits in other areas of my life as well.  I want to become more musical, and that doesn’t mean I put on my headphones and try to listen to every song every made.  What I want is to learn, re-produce, and and then create my own.  Ukulele and guitar are my new passions.  Once I learn to play a bit, I want to learn to play some existing songs that others can recognize.  Then eventually I would like to create my own songs.  I’m not interested in becoming famous for it, but I think it is magical when someone can pick up a guitar and just play, and even better when they can just start putting words to it on the fly.  During this process, I also will need to learn to sing.  My wife says I have the low range covered, but the mid range and definitely the high registers need some work.  Being in better health and fitness will help that as well since I need more air in my lungs to be able to sing better.  Anyways, creating lyrics is a hope.  Right now, I guess you could say that I can write a little poetry, so putting it to music is the natural next step.

This year is going great so far.  There is a world of new possibilities in front of me and my new habits are going to help me explore and enjoy many more of them.  Even the company my wife and I work for just merged with another company, creating a new name, a new brand, and a world of new possibilities and opportunities to explore.  Life is good and 2015 is going to be the best year yet, and I am going to make sure of it.  I don’t care if it’s 7 degrees outside….. LOL.  🙂

Until next time, take care of yourself and the ones you love.

Simon A.

Like most of the rest of the world, I stayed up last night to bring in the new year with my family.  We watched movies, lit candles, ate lots of snacks, and had a great time.  Not a whole lot of things will change for me on this Day 1 of 2015, since the changes in my life have been ongoing for some time.  Unlike last year, when I was focused on fitness and getting in shape, this year, and the months leading up to it, have been focused on other things.  I have seen a lot of my family this year, even though we are living 800 miles away.  We even took a vacation to NYC together with my parents, which was wonderful.  We traded holidays, where my parents flew to us on Thanksgiving, and we flew to them for Christmas.  We got to see my brother and his wife, and their son, who is growing up so fast.  We took my wife to see the family farm and some family she had never met.  We got to see my birth family again, and even visited my birth dad’s grave for the first time, a man I never got to meet.

There are many children on my wife’s family tree, and they are all growing up so fast.  My step-daughter is the oldest of the bunch, and she is getting prepared for life on her own in a few years, and then the rest will follow, one after the other, year after year.  It’s amazing to watch them grow up and mature, but part of me wishes they could stay young forever.

Also recently, my wife and I joined a singing group.  I had a great deal of anxiety about singing in public, but it turned out to be one of the best things for me.  I have yet to do a solo, which I am sure they all appreciate, but something amazing happened on our first night there.  I fell back in love with learning an instrument.   All it took was one minute of holding a ukulele.  Now I have my own ukulele that I am practicing on, and I also have been looking at purchasing my first guitar.  Right now, one of my 3 guitar-playing Brother-in-laws has in-trusted me with holding onto his guitars for him, and in exchange, I get to play them.  So far, progress it slow, but my fingers are slowly getting used to the strings.  I can’t wait to be able to play well enough to do some songs.  Once I buy my own guitar, we can play together.

I still have a goal of getting in better shape, biking and running more, getting to the gym more often and regularly, but I am not going to beat myself up about it.  Learning from the past, that approach doesn’t work for me.  I will do what makes me happy, and wherever that leads me will be the right move I feel.  This year, I will go with the flow of happiness.  Hope you all can do the same.

Oh yeah, and I plan to blog more, for me, and for you.  🙂

Happy New Year to all of you.

Simon A.