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

Tag Archives: life

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.



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.

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.


What a wonderful start to a cool Friday morning in October.  The picture doesn’t do it justice, but at least you can’t see the windshield……. LOL.

I learned something unexpected today.  My wife and I went to the park after work to enjoy the weather and get some walking in.  I noticed these trees where the bark had obviously been peeling off and it made some nice patterns in trunk.  So naturally I took out my cell phone and snapped a few pictures of the camouflage designs.  My first thought was that these were birch trees, but in the background of my mind I knew they looked a little different.  Birch trees didn’t usually shed all their bark, did they?  Maybe they did, I didn’t know, nor did I seek confirmation.

We moved past the trees and continued our quest to walk the trail around the lake.  It’s a beautiful small lake, or more like a large pond you could say.  We walked 4 laps around it, which maybe equaled 2 miles….. maybe.  I didn’t give the trees a second thought, not even when we passed them on the way back to the car.  The evening continued and we went out to eat dinner, and then attended the homecoming football game in which my niece was marching in the band.  Our team won, which made the end of the evening quite exciting.

We walked in the house close to 11:00PM and I was tired (still am), but I wanted to write a blog entry today.  I didn’t have a plan about the topic tonight, but I knew I wanted to use the pictures of the “birch” tree that I look this afternoon.  I sat in bed a few minutes ago ready to start typing about how nature changes so much in the fall and shows so much beauty in the process.  Well, I started that way….. added the pictures from my phone into the blog…… looked at the pictures again….. and then decided to google birch trees just to make sure.  Well, I searched birch tree images and couldn’t quite see one like my picture.  I searched peeling bark and presto, there was a few like mine, except they were not birch trees.  No, I made an assumption about peeling bark and associated it which birch, and only birch.  Well, now I know that my pictures are none other than Crepe Myrtles.  Surprised?  Maybe not you, but for me, yes I was.  It wasn’t that I even claimed it out loud that they were birch to begin with, but it’s funny how I never even considered anything but birch at first.  Maybe it’s just me, but I find it funny.

So, my lesson for today is that I need to learn more about trees and not let my mind jump to conclusions.  Anyways, the silliness of the whole situation gave me my blog for tonight, even if it was unplanned.  I’m still glad i took the pictures though.  Without them, I would be blogging about birch trees and never giving it a second thought that i could possibly be mistaken.



Sunset Reflections

Sunset Reflections

Today, the gloominess finally moved out and the sunshine moved back in.  No more high speed winds.  No more rain.  Just blue skies as far as I could see, accompanied by bright warm sunshine.  This is what fall is supposed to be like.  I wish everyday was like today.  I can’t explain why, but days like this make me feel so good.  Too bad I had to work all day.  The sun did good though and stayed out for the whole evening as well.  I took a ride in the convertible to pick up my daughter and not even the construction and slow traffic could bring me down.

Not only was the sun shining today, but the moon was out this afternoon also.  It was only a partial viewing against the blue sky, but I think it’s so cool to see the moon during the day.  Someday I am going to get a nice telescope so I can see a little closer.

After dinner, my wife noticed the sunset over the neighbors house.  You couldn’t see the sun itself, but as you can tell from my photo above, the red coming off the clouds was amazing.  Not sure where those clouds came from since there were none all day, but I am glad they were there because without them, the sky would only have been a blue sheet that faced to white behind the trees.  All this beauty today makes life wonderful.  Hoping this weather stays like this for awhile and brings more beautiful days ahead.

Life is good.