Saturday, December 30, 2006

The year in Review

It’s not yet light out. I fell asleep on the couch watching a Leno re-run. When I woke up, it was about 3:30 a.m. I went to bed, but I haven’t really been able to get back to sleep since. It’s 6 a.m. In my head the words are swirling and I finally gave up. There will be no sleep until I get them out. I need to write a year-end reflection piece and it’s coming now. I’d much rather be in bed sleeping, but I don’t always get what I want. Sometimes I get more.

This blog, now a little more than a year old, has been a regular dumping ground for everything from commentary to introspection with occasional quotes from philosophers, politicians and others. Sprinkled in are a variety of photos, many honorably stolen from the Internet and, more recently, those from my own lens. Throughout it all, I have tried to be objective or at least open to other points of view. However, my thoughts and opinions are the result of my experience and my experience is… mine.

This past year, now nearly finished, has been a banner year for me. It is definitely one of the top-five best years of my life. In many respects, it has been the best ever, but it’s impossible to compare on a head-to-head basis the years from different periods of life. There were experiences in my teen years, for example, that cannot be duplicated now. Nonetheless, all things being equal, it was a very good year. And it was no accident. I worked for it.

I’ve worked much harder than I have ever worked for anything before. The funny thing is much of it didn’t seem like work. Oh sure, I have written of the situational pressures that have crossed my path, and I have documented many of the trials life has served up, but underlying all of those challenges was a sense of optimism. There was no whining, oh-no, no time for that. There was, however, plenty of assessing – processing out-loud, really. It was an unexpected fringe benefit, courtesy of blogging – and other bloggers.

Over the past year I have had and still do have a number of regular readers – you know who you are. Some comment regularly, some never do. However, just the knowledge that my musings are being read is encouragement enough. But to those that do leave comments and feedback, I am especially indebted. If it were not for the interactivity of this medium, I probably would not still be doing it. I write for a number of reasons – one is to be read.

I’m not going to enumerate the many milestones and accomplishments that have punctuated 2006. They are readily available in my archives – it would be an exercise in repetition. Besides, I said it best and, more importantly, most honestly in the moment. Although I could probably write each and every post “better,” I couldn’t possibly make them any more authentic. With only a few exceptions, everything written in this blog was written as a single draft. The posts developed as the words flowed – there was no plan.

In many respects, it is the way I have been living my life this past year. Although I have a couple of medium-term goals (one is now short-term), I have been letting life unfold for me one day at a time. There are a limited number of tasks I must perform in any given day. Although the nature of a specific task might vary, and often it is dictated by the events of the day or days before, the number is always limited. If I can do just those things, it’s a good day. If I do more, it’s a great day. There have been a record number of great days this year. Success has come in unexpected areas, but success itself is hardly unexpected anymore.

Ironically enough, for the past 20+ years, there has been no real plan either - no goals to speak of and no real direction. Again, I don’t want to re-hash what I have already written this past year, but the missing element seemed to always be that little, four-letter word: W-o-r-k. I was always after the short cut. I had no time for the journey; it was all about the destination. As a result, life was passing me by. If it wasn’t for the nearly life ending experience I had in October of 2000… well, I just don’t know where I’d be today. I reflect back to those miserable days in the hospital more often now than I did two or three years ago, it seems to amplify my gratitude.

So here’s to a wonderful, enlightening, healthy and prosperous New Year. Next year, some of my goals will have been realized, new ones will be set, and more than a few surprises are in store - I’m sure. I am hopeful that my country can improve its world image and in so doing, improve the world. Domestically, perhaps our new congress can make some headway on the issues we face as a nation such as health care, education, poverty and crime. Locally and personally, my wish is that everyone fulfills his or her dreams - and that you dream big. I am living proof that anything is possible.

Friday, December 29, 2006

The Good Life

This is the aftermath of our Christmas morning. The point when all of the presents have been opened and the exploration of said presents begins. Someone gave the kids these “confetti poppers” and of course – they popped them! I happened to snap this one fired by my youngest, Matthew, aimed in my general direction.
This one, fired by my eldest, Anthony, while Matthew ducked, landed right on Jessica’s head. On the right edge of this shot (cut off except for his hand and hat), my middle son, Timmy, is ready to defend his lovely fiancĂ©e with a volley of his own!

Anthony returned to Santa Monica because he had to work yesterday, and Matthew left this morning for Lake Tahoe to go snowboarding with his friends for the day. Timmy is still recovering from his injuries sustained in the wreck he was in on the 4th; Jessica is by his side. All is well. It’s a good life!

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Two Minute Warning

It seems like just yesterday that I was under such an enormous burden that I’d never be able to dig myself out. I had my ever-present deadlines looming at work, research papers due for school and finals to study for. Now, it’s the semester break at Sac State, I have given up my “regular” job as a staff writer at a small weekly newspaper for freelancing and I have no real pressing issues at all - for now. They’re coming, once again. And once again I’ll meet the crunch-time challenges like I always do.

Well, not exactly always. That sounds rather like a precedent is in effect – almost as if there has been a long pattern of behavior upon which I can make this prediction of future behavior with confidence. I guess it depends a little on how one defines “long.” Be that as it may, of late I have routinely met these and other challenges. Next semester will be my last before graduation… I am by now well versed in the adrenaline-charged midterm and semester end dance.

Deadlines are rather impersonal buggers. Whether my assignments were completed or not, the pressure of getting them done would now be gone. There are different types of deadlines, of course. Some are task, not time, specific. Often the task becomes greater as deadlines are missed, but regardless, the task must be completed sooner or later. Paying a traffic fine would be an example many are familiar with. However, if a story deadline is missed or a research paper is not turned in – the task becomes moot – it’s too late. Consequences? Plenty, but getting the assignment done is no longer one of them.

Deadlines drive me. Indeed, if the deadline is well out into the future, it’s a pretty safe bet that I won’t start writing until the deadline is looming. Procrastination is an old and familiar demon that I have been fighting forever, however, I think perhaps I have found a way in which to make it work for me. By accepting this characteristic, I am able to work with it. In school and even more so in my profession, deadlines come fast and regularly.

In the news business, the future is always close at hand and deadlines occur daily. I can procrastinate for minutes or hours at the most, then the deadline driven adrenaline takes me right through it. I get it done and the need to put off until the last minute is met as well – it’s always the last minute. I have always said that I do my best work under pressure; the two-minute warning is a living place for me. Feeling my heartbeat high in my chest as the pressure mounts, the wheels are turning and I can see, in real time, the output of my efforts.

"How can I help you Mike?"
Just stay out of my way.

In retrospect, I can see parts of my life where the elements of my job, or school, or life in general created this paradigm. I was generally successful in these sometimes brief, but always fleeting moments. I never stopped to think about what it was that made my life work. I never really thought that some, indeed, many of these conditions can be orchestrated. My contentment was left to the “powers that be.” And they, of course, hated me.

As I examine the last 25 years of my life, there were occasions where these very conditions made me feel like I had something to contribute to the world. It gave me satisfaction in my employment and elsewhere. I just didn’t know it. I didn’t know there was more. I didn’t know what success was. I squandered opportunity after opportunity because I didn’t have the patience to do the work. I couldn’t appreciate the value of the day, always living in next week, next month, next year. I was therefore never happy, never grateful - always left wanting more. All the while I was measuring success in dollars and cents. I didn’t know there was more.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Young at Heart

This was going to be the post where I would expose Joe Rago (WSJ, The Blog Mob) as the precocious, pompous, myopic pinhead that he is. Instead, I’ll let him use his own eloquence (and associated self-portrait?) to paint a rather complete image of the Wall Street Journal’s assistant editorial features editor. It wasn’t too hard find, but I’ll spare you the legwork – just go here. The icing on this cake? His degree is not even in journalism. He was a history major! Ok, ok, Mike, let it go…

On to more pressing issues.

As my profile indicates, I am a 44 year-old graduating senior at California State University, Sacramento – affectionately known as Sac State. Not in the same league as Dartmouth, Rago’s alma mater (I promise, that’s the last time!), but a decent school all the same. I have only nine units to complete before I make my way back into the world of professional journalism. Where that leads me I can only begin to guess.

Although the storied journey that my life is thus far has had it’s share of trials and tribulations, these experiences, though inspirational and miraculous in many respects, are not all that uncommon. I know of a great many who have overcome adversity comparable to my own. Recently, however, an unfamiliar twist has introduced a degree of trepidation, controversy and perhaps even a little bit of fear into what has been a pretty stable existence for the past two years.

Because I have a habit of repetitively reinventing of myself, continuity has not been my forte. Build, destroy, repeat. That was my life. Now, there is some permanence, some big things are coming down the road and I have the freedom to exploit them. It is as if I am just about to graduate college, which, of course, I am. It’s like I have my whole life in front of me. True enough. But, although in many respects I feel like one, I’m not a kid. My classmates – my peers – however, are.

And I’m single. I have been for quite a long time. It was how I wanted it. Now? Not so much. And oddly enough, I have been attracting more attention than usual from the fairer sex. At least it seems that way. Some are pretty young. So how young is too young? Ten years younger? Fifteen years? How about 20? Try 21. Yup, she’s 23 years-old. Pretty, ambitious, smart, outgoing and 21 years younger than me. To put that into perspective, she’s one year older than my eldest son. We went out on a date. It was nice – and it was over, but I’m not so sure it was because of the difference in our ages.

Once I got past the novelty and the weirdness, it was much the same as any other date. It helps that I have only known her as an adult. If I had known her since I was, say, 34 and she was 13… well, I don’t think there would have been a date. Our history however (I’ve known her for a few months) has always been on an adult level. Furthermore, there are a number of other things that we share regarding our respective positions in life. It is true of a great many women I associate with, and a number of them are substantially younger than I.

When I started reading and commenting on others’ blogs, I remember one of the first really deep issues I weighed in on was this very question – posed from the woman’s perspective. She wondered what ramifications, moral and otherwise, would she face if she dated a much older gentleman. Although I pointed out some of the hypothetical concerns I would have if I found myself in such a position (prophetic, I know!), I didn’t see it as absurd or even necessarily remotely insane.

Although this particular date ended in what appears to be just a friendship, dates with other young women are likely to come along. So here’s the question:

As adults (only, please), would you or have you dated someone much younger or older than yourself?

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

A Blog Mob(ster)

I have oft written about writing. Whether it has been the inability to find anything to write about, the insights or revelations that my writing facilitates, the importance of writing skills, my foray into the world of professional journalism, ad infinitum, writing is among my favorite topics to write about. I once wrote a column in which I spent the first three hundred words or so explaining how I couldn’t come up with anything to write about. My boss’ boss, the editor of the Auburn Journal, told me that all writers write about having nothing to write about. My inexperience was that transparent.

The truth is that I always have something to say about something, even if it’s nothing. Some of my favorite work has been the result of a lament about not being sufficiently inspired – but the words always come. Today, I am not so challenged. I am, however, somewhat torn between two loyalties. It is an inner conflict that I have not yet processed but intend to – right now.

The Wall Street Journal today ran an opinion piece entitled “The Blog Mob” by Joseph Rago, assistant editorial features editor. In it, Rago more or less demotes the relevance of blogs, saying, “The blogs are not as significant as their self-endeared curators would like to think.” Perhaps, but I think Rago might be missing the point. For the vast majority of bloggers, their blogs are not meant for mass consumption. True, many have become major media players in their own right, but for the most part it’s still a medium for ordinary, everyday people to have a voice with some staying power. The kind that until recently has been left only to the traditionally published.

On the other hand, Rago has a point, and one that resonates with me as a professional journalist. When viewed as creations of journalism, many if not most blogs fall well short of the accepted standards of the industry. As Rago rightly points out, “Journalism requires journalists… The bloggers, for their part, produce minimal reportage.” Also true. As a journalist who puts in the time to do the research, the interviews and the writing – who is a reporter - it irks me when disproportionate attention is paid to those who piece together the work of real journalists only to analyze, critique and otherwise reprocess our work.

So is Rago right or wrong? Do I side with my profession or my hobby? Do I even have to make a choice? I think not. Although Rago is correct in his assessment that “the larger problem with blogs… is quality,” it is not quality, journalistic or otherwise, that most bloggers aspire to. He continues, “Most of them are pretty awful. Many, even some with large followings, are downright a appalling.” Again, it all depends on what pretense they’re written under and for whom.

I have blasted what passes for writing these days and in large measure I haven’t changed that opinion, however, I have modified where I apply it. When it comes to “professionally” produced material – anything that finds its way to a press, it has to be grammatically, logically and stylistically correct – no exceptions. If it is offered for sale, caveat emptor yes, but professionalism still dictates an expected minimal level of quality – not a “lack thereof.” When it comes to the freely distributed opinions, musings, rants and ruminations offered in blogs and the Internet generally, it is futile to expect the same standards.

Therefore, although I always proof my work, take pride in the use of proper grammar and punctuation and generally endeavor to create smoothness and flow, I can’t expect the same from others. Indeed, I don’t. I also exercise my freedom to choose not to read a great deal of the rubbish that can be found without even looking for it. Having said all that, there are some bloggers that I read regularly who don’t seem to put much emphasis on things like capitalization, paragraphs or punctuation but have a uniquely appealing style that is engaging despite these significant deficits.

But that is the exception, not the rule. Good writing is good writing and it doesn’t matter where it’s published, be it “Joe’s Blog” or the Wall Street Journal. Some sources are more likely to deliver higher quality, but the occasional nugget is still worth searching for. Rago is spot on when it comes to the large, usually political blogs that masquerade as journalism. Many are poorly written and are nothing more than rhetorical rants. There are those too that are simply the humble unloading of frustration by the average person – not meant for mass consumption and often only read by a loyal few.

Rago’s straw man, “Blogs are very important these days,” has not been addressed. Although he effectively mitigates their quality and accuracy, he does not negate their impact. Although his opinion has a great deal of basis in fact and as a journalist it hits close to my heart, he is missing the point. He points to the large political/ideological/commercial blogs as the source of his criticism and then extrapolates it to all blogs. The vast majority of bloggers don’t pretend to be journalists and they aren’t deluded into thinking they will change the world; they just want to have a say. In at least this respect, blogs are very important these days.

Monday, December 18, 2006

One Year And Still Blogging Strong!

Where has the time gone? One year since I created and published my first entry. At first, this was just a vehicle to keep me writing in between semesters in my junior year at California State University, Sacramento (Sac State). I didn’t really expect too much interaction from anyone and was quite flattered when I received my first real comment on January 6, 2006. It was the trickle that would become the flood.

I currently generate around 20 hits per day and get frequent comments from regulars and strangers alike. Each has meaning – I get excited every time I get an email alert telling me there is a new comment. I don’t necessarily write for the feedback, but if my words have touched someone else, then I have done my job. My writing is generally centered on my experiences and perceptions. I don’t try to be controversial, but I don’t avoid controversy either. Above all else, I try to be as objective as possible.

Those that regularly frequent this space know that I am in the final stages of completing my bachelor’s degree. It’s something I started more than 25 years ago – hence the title, The 25 Year Plan. In this space I have documented not so much the struggles and challenges of being a mid-40s undergraduate, but rather the essence of the experience. Not just the experience of trudging through years of school, but many of the other life experiences along the way.

I should add as an editorial note, nothing here has been very much planned. The vast majority of these pieces are written in their entirety in one sitting, usually in no more than a couple of hours. However, typos and ambiguities are repaired as they’re discovered… sometimes weeks or months later.

I always knew that I could write well. Even in junior high school and high school, where math, not English, was my strong subject, my writing always scored high marks. It was, however, an unwanted art. I not only underappreciated this gift, I completely turned my back on it for years and years in pursuit of a more “suitable” image/profession/identity. As a result, I never really knew myself. I could not and would not express myself. I denied my own existence in favor of a perceived image of what I thought others expected, what I imagined society required and one I was incapable of sustaining.

When I first embarked on my journey into the world of higher education, I knew a few things. I knew I couldn’t draw. I knew I couldn’t sing. I knew I couldn’t paint. I knew I had no musical or artistic talent whatsoever. I knew it. I also knew that I was pretty good at math and I was kind of into computers in their very early stages of consumerism. I had a Commodore 64 and was “online” before the Internet was even available to the masses. My dad is a Ph.D. chemist. It all looked pretty clear to me. It was my destiny that I would go into the sciences.

I couldn’t get into it. It was like I was mimicking someone else. I was stumbling around the grownup world only a child in a man’s body. It didn’t last. I returned home, still not having any real direction, but found employment at a time when the tech industry was booming. I rode its coattails for a long time. I found a “her,” we had a few of “them” and all that was left was a white picket fence.

However, like so much else in my brief history up until that point, it was not to last. In the early nineties, I became the single parent of three small boys, still feeling, and in many respects acting, like a kid myself. As I grew and the boys grew with me, I changed careers several times, moved a few times and finally, on October 17, 2000, everything came to a screeching halt. I nearly died that day and because I didn’t, I had ample time to think about my life for the previous almost 38 years.

At the time, not much made sense. After I understood what had happened (and why) weeks had passed and although I didn’t yet know it, there were many more weeks to come. I was waffling between gratitude and anger: gratitude because I was still alive and anger for the same reason. It was not a happy time, but I survived and today the ill effects are minimal.

Near-death experiences are often related in spiritual terms. The out-of-body experience, the great “white light” or the speaking with the dead – I have a take on all of these very personal interpretations, but there is a much more concrete residual effect. It is an attitude. I have become me. I really didn’t plan to; I didn’t even know that I wasn’t me. I think maybe it’s because I had nothing more to lose – I almost lost it all. And it’s interesting that it didn’t hit me as some blinding flash of light. I didn’t wake up from that haze and think to myself, “Oh yea! That’s the secret to life.”

Later, in my attempt at re-education one more time, I was tested proficient enough to enroll in an English writing honors course (freshman comp.). I threw caution to the wind and took it. And I got an “A.” And I liked it. And I liked my writing. And others did too. And I had an “art.” This no-talent, stumbling, bumbling, albeit nice guy, that had no identity to hang his hat on suddenly found that he too was blessed with a talent. It hasn’t been all smooth sailing since then either, but that’s enough for now. I followed enough tangents already!

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

The Record's Records

This is the home of the Colfax Record. The paper, established in 1908, has been living here since 1930. Yes, that’s right, I said living. Newspapers are born, live for a while – sometimes a long while – and then they die. Occasionally they come back to life, but they’re never really the same.

The Colfax Record has been in regular publication since 1908. For nearly 100 years it has been the voice of this small railroad town. Although a much larger company now owns it, it is still written locally, right here. And though it’s no longer printed in-house, the presses are close by - just down the hill at the Auburn Journal, the flagship of the local group of newspapers that includes the Record.

Gold Country Media, the parent company of the Journal, the Record and 15 other publications (about half are newspapers), is itself a smaller operating unit of a larger company, Brehm Communications. Still, the Record, the Journal and the other papers that comprise Gold Country Media are, in many respects, independent. And that is a good thing.

The local newspaper is the heartbeat of a community. It is often the repository for a town's collected history; the lives lived, the tragedies and the triumphs. This very building houses the archives of the majority of the issues dating back to 1908. They aren’t on microfiche or stored in .PDF files - there is no index. The archives are the actual print copies of the newspaper… some almost 100 years old.

The collection is amazingly complete. Not every issue is represented, and for some reason the entire year of 1956 is missing, but most are here. These fragile volumes are available for public viewing, however, we get a little nervous when the older volumes are requested… and we are very careful about how they are handled. Nevertheless, the Record not only documents the present, it also stores the past. The archives are the next best thing to a time machine.

Someday they should be scanned and filed electronically. Eventually, these fragile volumes need to be preserved and protected. One day, direct access by anyone who comes in and asks will be impossible. These and other very old archives will someday be accessible to anyone at the click of a mouse, much like other historic documents already are. For now, and like many other newspapers large and small, only the recent past is available via the Internet.

The archives, in their entirety, tell a story all their own. It’s the life story of a newspaper. How it reacted to events that shook the world as well as the local high school football team’s winning season. The procession of publishers, editors and reporters that documented these stories while imparting their own style and personality all contributed to the overall character of the paper. And for the past six months, I have left my mark as well.

I wonder sometimes who might someday be leafing through the discolored, fragile archives of 2006. I guess perhaps no one will have access to the actual copies, or maybe the preservation of the physical print version will have been replaced by more modern methods. I wonder if the experience can be the same without the soft, velvety feel of decaying newsprint. Without the oh-so delicate turning of the ancient pages, does the history still translate?

No matter, my contribution to the newspaper’s DNA will still be apparent. There are a number of very good, very personal reasons why I do what I do. That my byline will live on as long as the paper does is among them. And so too is my impact on the community I served briefly, in the early years, of the 21st century.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Back on the Horse

Ok, enough.

It’s time to take a break from the serious. The trials and tribulations, both the mundane pressures of life and the deadlines - as well as the acute moments that are often the defining bookmarks in life – all will have to sit patiently awaiting their turn in this space. It’s time for something completely useless. Yes, this space for compound reflections and whimsical insight today will yield to the inane – though perhaps no less profound.

Snaggle Tooth recently alerted me to a blog written by a journalist from Ontario. Written Inc is off-the-cuff yet professional at the same time. Carmi is a journalist who seems to have the right attitude, and a uniquely down-to-earth perspective that I admire very much. He is also a whiz with a camera – a skill I am only just beginning to develop.

In a recent post, Carmi inspired me to turn the camera on myself. Admittedly, it is an act that takes me well outside of my comfort zone. Ironically enough, I inadvertently did snap a shot of myself while waiting to do an interview. It wasn’t what I meant when I said I would give it a go, I was just screwing around with exposures and aperture while I was waiting and WHAM, there it was.And the best part? It didn’t hurt a bit! Next time I promise – I'll get a head shot!

Although I pretty much got stood up on my interview, I did find some interesting things to shoot.
And that’s about it! No injuries, no greater “truths,” no revelations and no stress.
I hope you all had a great day and thank you all for the kind words and thoughts – it meant an awful lot!

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Too Close

It’s 3:30 a.m. I’ve been up now for about 20 hours… not a personal best by any measure, but a heavy stretch of awake time all the same. For the last 6 + hours, I have been at Mercy San Juan Hospital. My 19 year-old son was a passenger in a vehicle involved in a very bad accident. He’s going to live and barring any complications, he should make a full recovery. In other words, I am not on some kind of vigil… I don’t have to be here.

But I do. My boy is hurt and even though he is finally resting, albeit restlessly, I need to be here anyway – just in case he needs me. To hold his hand when the pain is unbearable; to tell him it’s going to be all right; to empathize and sympathize; to make it possible for him to rest just a little bit easier knowing his father is just on the other side of the wall. Although I knew even before I left home that he would survive, I am acutely aware that it could have been otherwise.

I saw the wreck.

Between my home and the hospital was the carnage that used to be three automobiles. My son’s friend’s car was by far the most damaged of the three. The driver’s space was about one-third its original size. I knew that there would be injuries and severe ones at that. I wish I were wrong. Timmy has myriad superficial wounds to his face and left hand… deep gashes requiring many stitches, but still superficial. He has a concussion and he has a badly broken right arm. I believe it’s the humorous bone (it’s the larger bone, between the elbow and shoulder – sorry, no Internet… you know I’d look it up), and how bad it is won’t be known until an orthopedic specialist has evaluated him. It’s at least that bad, I guess.

All four of the occupants were transported to area hospitals. Timmy’s girlfriend has already been released from another hospital; she’s sleeping on a little couch in the trauma ICU waiting area, right next to me. She suffered contusions and lacerations requiring some sutures as well as a concussion. The other passenger is spending the night here on the fifth floor for observation – he should be fine. The driver was transported to a hospital in downtown Sacramento with his own severe injuries – among them a broken femur, we’ve been told.

I know a thing or two about broken femurs.

Although there is never a “good” time for something like this to occur, there are some times that are, well, less convenient than others. For a number of reasons, this would count as one of the least so. But it hardly matters. Right now, all bets are off. Work can wait. So can school. But that’s my stuff. This major pothole in the road of life comes right when Timmy finally found a job, one he likes and is excited about. He has worked two days, and he’s scheduled for today. He won’t make it. Hopefully he will still have a job when he has recovered sufficiently. But that will be weeks from now.

Me? Besides my usual weekly deadline at work, I just have a research paper due today… I was going to finish it last night. It looks like my last post came back to haunt me. The paper will be late. So what! It is rather insignificant and completely meaningless at the moment. I’ll take the deduction on my grade and life will go on. Should’ve done it when I had the time? Never know what’s around the corner? Save it! None of that philosophic “what-if” BS has any impact on me right now. Indeed, the importance of this whole quest for obtaining my degree has little meaning next to my childrens’ health and welfare.

Right now my eyelids are heavy. The muscles of my scalp are tense. I’m ready to tee-off on anyone who so much as looks at me, cross-eyed or otherwise. In my mouth is the acrid taste of adrenalin combined with the tightness only hours of clenched jaws can bring. And I am grateful, humbled and oh so tired. This was close and I now have a very good idea what this side of the equation feels like. I’ve been in Timmy’s shoes, now I’m trying on my parents’.

Let’s don’t do this again.


Timmy came home this afternoon. He looks pretty bad, but what a difference 24 hours makes. He will be rehabilitating for some time, but it looks like his arm will not need anything more than immobilization. Of course, all of this is subject to change, but the news is promising nonetheless. Tomorrow marks 44 years since my birth - I feel as though I've lived them all in a single minute.

Blessings duly noted, and counted.