Monday, April 30, 2007

Storms brewing

There’s a storm brewing but it’s not just this one. I saw how fast this thunderhead was growing so had to get a picture. It wasn’t fifteen minutes later that it had doubled in size and was fanning out at the top in the classical anvil head shape. Too bad the clouds you see encroaching covered it up cause it would have made a great sequence.

But this is only an appropriate picture for what is going on back in Toledo. Cherie called and I could hear the stress in her voice. We have known that dad has been increasingly nasty for some time but now Cherie has experienced it herself. She was taking some lunch to Cathy at the school she teaches and dad was riding with her. He was upset that Cherie was taking food to her sister and getting pretty ugly, calling Cathy names and just being an ass. Cherie pulled over into a gas station and told him to settle down. Dad grabbed her finger and bent it back as far as he could force it. Cherie screamed and screamed but dad continued. She finally got free and hopped out of the car. There was a semi that couldn’t leave because the car was in the way. Cherie told the trucker that she would move if he could tell the old man in the car to leave her alone. He did so dad settled down for a short time.

By the time she got to the school dad was back in high gear, telling Cherie, his daughter, that she is nothing but a little bitch and on and on. By this time Cherie was a mess. She got out and took the food to Cathy. Turning around they saw dad giving them the finger aggressively. Unfortunately there were about a hundred kids who were watching this. Dad started to get out of the car. That was it.

Cherie took dad on to the nursing home without saying a word more to him. Mom could tell right away something was wrong and when dad went to the bathroom Cherie told her what happened. She was crying by then. I told Cherie this is a sign of dementia and that it will only get worse. Now it is important they find a place for dad separate from mom. Money will be a big factor. Such a tight hard place for them. I told Cherie to go ahead and pay for a hotel room. We have been blessed with enough cash and my check comes in tomorrow, plus she needs to have a little peace and decent sleep. Sleeping on a couch with all the activity and dad just won’t do. We both appreciate your prayers. There is so much to do and dad will not cooperate so the issue of legal guardianship and having him declared incompetent will now have to be approached. Such a hard time. Wish I was there. Wish she was here for that matter. No matter what, family is family, at least as far as I am concerned. Doesn’t seem to work with some of mine here but I will do the best I can for Cherie’s.

To give and not to take

(Click to enlarge)

4/30/07 Monday
It’s a shame when going to church is depressing. But I was well on the way to being depressed anyway. Cherie called late last night and she’s been fighting depression also. She was heartened when I told her several of the women in the church had asked about her. It is a good sign that she will find some fellowship there. I don’t know what I’m supposed to expect and will try to not expect much so I won’t be disappointed.

I tried to call Kevin again this morning but the phone number still rang busy so I called the church to see if it was the right number as the directory I’m using is a 2001 one. The church number was busy also but picked up when I called again a few minutes later. Seems the phone lines were down and the lady who answered said they do that with a drop of rain. She gave me Kevin’s cell phone number. This always amazes me how free folks are with things like phone numbers. A real illustration that this is a foreign world to us, a very different culture. Yet it makes it even more puzzling to me that we don’t seem to be “welcomed into the fold”.

I feel I need to elaborate on that because these statements evidently have been taken as a sort of insult or personal attack. Please don’t take this in that way, understand I am just revealing my confusion and what could well be a wrong way of thinking. Again, I long to be educated and corrected if I am off base. All it takes is a few minutes of conversation, not just once but on a regular basis. Sure we can go to all the church functions and all of that but there is no depth of fellowship in that. How can I explain this?

This is the back door with "lock" in place


When my brother dumped me in the upstairs apartment that was located in the middle of “Crack town” in St Louis I was surrounded by gang bangers, drug dealers, and prostitutes. Despite being the only white guy for miles I would go out and walk, attempting to gain some strength in this body that had languished in a coma for so long. I was so weak I couldn’t raise my hand high enough to comb my hair and even getting out of bed involved me raising my knees to my chest and rocking as I kicked them out to sit up. When I first started walking I could only go a couple of blocks and it probably looked like I was drunk because I was still learning to control my right leg.










Here's the kitchen sink. with some windows broke I would wake up with a bird setting on the mattress I was lucky to have.

You should have seen the looks on the faces as they saw this pale, skinny (I lost seventy pounds while in the coma), strange looking white boy who just showed up in their “Hood”. Of course the standard question was “You all right”. I always said I was but didn’t understand till later this was their way of asking if I wanted to buy some crack. Yet some took notice. Understand that in this world not everyone was a drug dealer, there were mothers, fathers, children, families. Curious some would ask who I was and learning I was no threat (as in an undercover police officer) and what my condition and situation was they opened their arms in a manner of speaking. I was invited into their homes, I would get up in the morning and find a bag of groceries sitting by the front door.

Longing for people to talk to (sound familiar?) I went to the bar that was five blocks away. I only had the twenty bucks my brother would give me a week, sometimes, so I would go in and buy one beer to sit and talk. I never asked for a dime but would be offered food by the bar owner and others that worked there and they let me use the kitchen in the back to cook on. That was all greatly appreciated but what was most valuable was to have friends to talk with. That’s why I would go. That’s why, despite getting knocked down and robbed twice, I enjoyed going out and walking. For here people would sit on the steps in front of the old brick tenement buildings and socialize. I would walk by and they would call me by name and invite me to set and visit a while. Often their would be a grill going and food was always offered, sometimes beer and drugs were as well. All part of that world and part of sharing what they had. Right or wrong the heart was good. Here, in the midst of poverty and the misery that comes with it, was open hearts and generosity. I am reminded of a passage in the bible Mark 12:41

And He sat down opposite the treasury, and began observing how the people were putting money into the treasury; and many rich people were putting in large sums. 42 A poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which amount to a cent. 43 Calling His disciples to Him, He said to them, "Truly I say to you, this poor widow put in more than all the contributors to the treasury; 44 for they all put in out of their surplus, but she, out of her poverty, put in all she owned, all she had to live on."

There is a truth here I have personally seen and experienced in my journeys since I woke up. Of all the gifts one could give, in this day and age where all hurry with their days full of things to do the most valuable gift is time. It is also one which may come with the greatest sacrifice as it is a commodity many have little to spare.

If this bothers some I am sorry. No that wouldn’t be true. I would think that if it cuts then there may be a truth you should look to yourself with. Here is a hard thing but the things of God are often hard, not the easy path but the one that comes with a cost. Here then is a hard thing, the words of Jesus found in Mathew 25:34

Then the King will say to those on His right hand, 'Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: 35 for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; 36 I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.' 37 Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, 'Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink? 38 When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You? 39 Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?' 40 And the King will answer and say to them, 'Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.' 41 Then He will also say to those on the left hand, 'Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels: 42 for I was hungry and you gave Me no food; I was thirsty and you gave Me no drink; 43 I was a stranger and you did not take Me in, naked and you did not clothe Me, sick and in prison and you did not visit Me.' 44 Then they also will answer Him, saying, 'Lord, when did we see You hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to You?' 45 Then He will answer them, saying, 'Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.' 46 And these will go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into eternal life."

Now I suspect that some will say that I am using this as a tool to get things out of the church, trying to manipulate things for my own profit. How can I dispel such a notion? How can I show I wish only to open eyes so that seeing one may improve their walk with God? I don’t know. I have asked for firewood when I learned some mesquite was being cut down anyway and I asked for goat crap that was being thrown away and I will gather it myself thus helping the giver in cleaning his stalls. My God has and will provide. I will accept no gift that I feel comes out of compulsion for to do so will poorly serve the giver. If not given from a pure heart it is not acceptable to God. It is never what you do but why. God judges the heart not the action. Perhaps the only gift I will accept is time and fellowship.

There is much I wish to give and nothing I desire to take. This is my heart and a direct result of the lessons I learned from the mistakes that led to my death and revival when I fell asleep at the wheel. Much has changed because of that and my priorities in life are very much revised. I once had money and popularity but they are as garbage to me now. The only thing that has lasting value is the lives we touch. Now, despite having little to spare, I am a rich man. I have my life my wife and her love. All I seek is some to share life with. This may be happening as I write. Being impatient I want everything in an instant and being a child don’t always understand they take time.

This afternoon I will meet with a man in Midland who has been following this blog. He E-mailed me and offered to meet over lunch where we can talk of things in general. It is a welcome gift that I look forward to. A gift of great value. I will show him this and if he so advises will remove it.
---------------
Went out to pull weeds and found I was lightheaded and a little weak. Going inside I see that I didn’t take my meds this morning and forgot to take them last night. Plus I have not eaten today so I fixed a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and took my pills. Time to go to the nursery and then to meet Eric.
----------------
It has been a wonderful day and one I stayed sharp for. I think one of the reasons is that my stress level has been reduced. Before we came to Texas there were weeks I would go without a slowdown. You long term readers will remember me expressing concern about how I would handle things here and being worried that the increased stress level would debilitate me. It does have a definite affect. So what made today better?

Perhaps it was Eric giving me that gift I referred to earlier, the gift who’s value exceeds all others, the gift of time. It was so good just to sit and talk. We talked about God, the farm, how I should act, and whatever else came up. Eric helped me sort through some things in addition to just providing some of the fellowship I crave as all of us do. Pastor Dave has also spent some time with me with the same favorable result. It is unfortunate that his calling requires him to wisely allocate his time for there are so many who need his shoulder and ear. I would be very selfish to demand time and would also rob others who’s need may be much greater.

Eric helped me understand that things take time and it was unfair for me to expect too much too fast. However things are moving pretty slow all things considered. He encouraged me to start the other blog I had been contemplating for about three years, Balaam’s ass. Eric recognizes I have much to say and told me this would be a powerful ministry. Never really thought of it like that. We plan on getting together again and perhaps on a regular basis. That will help me sort things out as we move on down this path Cherie and I are on. Thanks Eric. It’s the little things that mean the most. At least as far as this is concerned.

I got a ton of compost and some fertilizer at Aldredge nursery and I pretty much cleaned up a big mess for them in doing so. I like it when things work that way, I get blessed with something and help them out as well. A win win situation. Still haven’t unloaded the truck yet as I have to figure out what to do with this stuff. Already filled two trash cans with compost and haven’t touched half of it. Probably spread the rest out where I know it will be used.

I am pretty tired right now. When I got home I went straight to pulling weeds as I processed my time with Eric. Then I unloaded part of the compost but figured I should take a break and write a little. Writing is a tool I use to think things through. I want to take a nap but there are only about two hours of daylight left and I don’t want to lose that. I can rest later. I’ll post this and check my E mail then head out to get some work done.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

unsure

4/29/07 Sunday
Woke up at three this morning and slept fitfully till I got up at seven.

Unsure and worried how things will be at church this morning. Will try to get there early to have time to visit with the others. Will also try not to be confrontational or say the wrong things. It’s hard for me to not say what I think, to just sit there meekly. Not a new problem, I was thrown in jail for a month when I told the director of the Volunteers of America facility the court put me in that he was running a crack house. This place was getting paid by the state to house inmates on a prerelease program. It was the only place they could find when they learned how bad a shape I was in after I was extradited from St Louis where I had been taken by my brother from the hospital. I had violated probation by not reporting as I was supposed to. The fact that I was in a coma didn’t seem to make a difference.

Anyway, this place was rife with drugs. The inmates were cooking crack in the dorms and I watched as some would sell their tennis shoes and anything else to buy this drug they were returning to. It vexed me so I opened my mouth, threatening to expose this through the media. I was handcuffed and taken to jail where I was held for thirty days without any formal charges being made. Under law the court could do this because I was on probation.

On my birthday I began a hunger strike where I would give my food away as soon as meals were served, making sure the guards knew it. In four days I was loaded in a van and taken to a “Christian” facility where they required tenants to go out and sell candy. I was kicked out in three days, thus ending on the streets where I wandered till the ABC television station learned of me. When I was featured as “Toledo’s John Doe” (I have a copy of the video) friends I knew I had but couldn’t remember came forward and got me off the streets. This was how Cherie learned of me and our marriage was restored. In my mind a miracle.

Got to church early. Real unsure or something like that. Kevin was just heading to the class when I pulled up. He was friendly, which I was glad to see. I showed him the letter from Ron Charles that spoke of the persecution Moslems endure when they convert to Christianity. He used it as part of the lesson. I need to remember to get it back from him. Had a headache and with that and the stress of being so unsure of how I would be received made it hard for me to open up at all. I mostly just sat there being good.

Church was the same way. There were many who made a point of talking to me and several asked about Cherie. I explained she stayed an extra week, telling a little of what’s happening up there. Pastor Dave also made a point of saying hi. Every time I was asked how I’m doing I said OK. I’m sure my reticence (another word who’s meaning I am unsure of) was obvious and hope it wasn’t misinterpreted. I just wasn’t up to being real social, kind of withdrawn. A little depressed on top of everything. Much of pastors sermon revolved around Jesus’ commandment to love one another the way He loved them. As he talked I wondered. Did those I’ve reached out to understand this? Did Darrel? Or is this something you do when it’s convenient, love the guys you know and are already friends with. That other guy, the one who makes you uncomfortable, who just isn’t quite right, the one who’s inconvenient, what do you do with him? Smile and be nice and go your way confident you did what Jesus asked? Convenient Christianity. There’s a phrase.

There is a big fundraiser dinner after church with chicken and all kinds of food. I didn’t go because I really have no money to give. It’s a matter of personal integrity. I could have and had a great meal but I already was uncomfortable as it was. One of the fears is that some think I am just leaching, just using the church for my own selfish desires. I would have been more than happy to serve food and clean up but won’t eat what is intended for those who give financially. Besides that I don’t want to give anyone reason to think bad of me, to give anyone ammunition.

I just smelled the food I was heating up. Forgot all about it as I so often do. It burned pretty good this time so I’ve got a mess to clean now.

I was looking forward to meeting James, from the Baptist camp. I was going to bring my calendar but when I looked in it I saw we had not bought the calendar pages to refill it this year. Didn’t have the money to spare. I didn’t see him but that wouldn’t matter. He could have been standing right in front of me and I wouldn’t recognize him. I would really like to help and get involved doing something good. He said he would meet me and probably have days I could come up written on a piece of paper. Who knows what happened.

It’s raining pretty good now. Of course it is cause I was out at 7:30 this morning watering everything. Things are pretty cool temperature wise. Now that I think of it several people asked me how the garden was doing. Must have talked about it allot or something. Kevin did remember about me wanting goat crap so drew a map on how to get to his place. He asked how much I wanted and when I said as much as I could get he kinda smiled saying “I’ve got a whole lot”. I’ll take it and pile it up to compost for next year.

I really wish I didn’t feel so awkward around people or uncomfortable in crowds. Maybe that’s a factor in this whole thing of no one really reaching out. I’m sure my being uncomfortable makes them so as well. But for me I get comfortable when I get familiar with both the individual and situation. This is another common issue with brain injury survivors that you can read about in the links I have to brain injury websites.

So it’s not one of my better days right now. Quick note while it crossed my mind, Peggy said she had some things she would like to tell me something about my childhood. She’s been reading the blog. I would love to talk with her about it. For that matter I would just love to talk to people, more than the quick few words you can have in church before the service starts or on the way out the door.

Better check and see if I took my medicine. The headache is still here so I’ll take a couple of aspirin too. Yeah, I remembered to take the morning meds, that’s good.

I sure miss Cherie, especially at these times of insecurity. God how I want to give her a hug right now.

I called Peggy up to ask her about what she remembered about my childhood. She was just leaving for the church thing tonight. She asked if I was going. I said I didn’t know there was one. Now I knew they were doing something but when they announced it I heard something about church choir and bringing finger food. I don’t belong to any choir and don’t have finger food. Not quite sure what it is anyway. Regardless it’s an unfamiliar situation and a crowd of people so just the kind of thing I’m supposed to stay away from, especially if I don’t have Cherie with me. She said she’d call me later and set up a time to have lunch or something and talk about it. That would be nice. Hell it's nice to just talk.

With the ground wet it was a good time to pull weeds as they come up easily, roots and all. So I grabbed the hoe and found a pair of gloves that weren’t soaked because I left them out and went to work. There are storms all around and I liked watching the lightning as I always do. I could hear the electricity snapping through the power lines each time one would strike close by. Neat. It was raining a little, just a few big drops that didn’t get me real wet. Then hail started falling. That’s different. It wasn’t big hail so I kept pulling weeds but it began to get worse. The news had said there was quarter sized hail somewhere so I decided to pull Cherie’s car as far into the garage as I could. Then I moved the truck up but can only just get the nose in. Of course I got soaked. Haven’t gone out to look yet but I know the rain ran off the front of both vehicles into the garage so there’s a flood. Grabbed a cup of the coffee I turned on to warm up around noon when I got home from church. Choked that down on principle. Now that I think of it I don’t think I ate today and it’s 7:00. Best get something before I forget.

OK, I just read the earlier part of today’s entry and see that I did eat and burned the food. Figures. Should eat anyway cause it’s getting late.
---------------
TV is incredibly crappy tonight. Course it’s seldom really all that good. I fixed the pork chops Cherie had gotten out and put in a marinade before she left. Probably should have eaten them a few days ago. Sitting here with crappy TV is as about as boring as it can get. Wish I could fall asleep thus escaping just laying here thinking. Thinking doesn’t seem to do me much good lately. Damn I miss Cherie.

The weather shows lots of storms out there. One was putting out something like two inches of rain an hour. Screw this. I’m gonna take a pain pill and try to go to sleep.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

A great start

4/28/07 Saturday
Got to sleep just fine and I woke at 5:30 this morning well rested and alert. Had coffee on by 5:45. Heated a pot of water and had the stand up bath I take twice a week and shaved as I usually do on Saturday because I’ll be going to church tomorrow. I’ll make sure to fix a good breakfast to put some protein in this body. That way if I forget later I’ll at least have eaten.A great start for me and for the day.

I E mailed the individual from the Blogosphere who extended an invitation to meet in Midland, telling him it would be great and asking when he would like to do so. It took me a day or two to think that through. Think I mentioned it a post or three ago. We’ve been talking online a little bit and I’ve been following his blog for a while, which gives me a picture of who he is. Let Y’all know how it goes but I am learning to keep folks anonymous unless they agree otherwise. Slow but sure I’m learning this thing called discretion.

I want to say this to others who I may have offended. In many ways I am like a child and have been learning how to act since I woke from the coma six years ago with a blank slate in many areas of this brain. Like a child I need correction, actually look for it.

Proverbs 12:1 Whoever loves instruction loves knowledge, But he who hates correction is stupid.

Had my share of being stupid. Again this is why communication is good and even necessary. If someone has a problem with something I’ve said, LET ME KNOW damn it. And understand, like a child I may need it several times before it sinks in.

Gonna get moving quickly while the day is young and the brain is working decently. Running my average of seven on the bob scale.
------------------
That didn’t last long. I fried four eggs and ate them with a piece of toast. Then I went out to look at things and figure out what I should do, try to schedule the day as I must. Started getting dizzy and slowing down. This sucks as it always does. A note on the weirdness of this brain, I seldom feel the sensation of hunger no matter how little I’ve eaten. Now, after I ate four eggs a half hour ago I feel ravishingly hungry.

Cherie just called a minute ago to let me know how things are going up there. As is predictable everything is in turmoil and emotions are running amuck. Lots of stuff that needs to be done and decided. Cherie has scheduled her flight back and she will be home May the 7th. We will both be glad. She’s leaving out of Columbus where her other sister lives. They will both go look at some places for mom and dad to live before she heads home.

I’m relaxing a bit to see if this brain speeds up. If not I’ll just grab the hoe and focus on mindless tasks that I can handle with no problem. Hope I clear up as fast as I became simple. Sometimes these only last a few minutes.
-------------
While I’m laying here I thought of something that may help convey what it’s like to have short term memory loss. Almost every time I tell someone about it they tell me how they also forget things, walking into a room and wondering what they came in for. That is a glimpse but here’s a bigger picture. At the Brain Institute in St Louis they had a chess set. I would play chess by myself as a way of exercising my brain, thus helping it improve. It was a greater challenge than you may think. I would make a move and then switch the board around. If I didn’t switch it I would forget who’s move it was. Then the white pieces or which ever side it was would get two or more turns without the other having one.

When ever I switched sides I would have to figure out what the opposing side was up to because I would forget. For that matter I would also have to figure out what I had in mind for the side I was on at the time for the same reason. You can see how this was a good exercise. The nice thing was I always won. Of course I always lost too but prefer to think of the winning part. I am in much better shape now than I was then so I don’t think it would work. Who knows, haven’t tried in a while.

It’s been an hour and I’m clearing up pretty good. Hurray! Hope it lasts.
---------------
I remembered that I was going to donate stuff for an auction at the circle six camp so called up there to see if I should bring the stuff there or what. The lady who answered the phone said James was out with volunteers there. I wondered if the Sunday school group had gone out but forgot to let me know. Of course the paranoid part wondered if they purposely did that. I know I’ve got to quit thinking like that but the thoughts still cross my mind.

Anyway, the lady said to bring the items on up and put them in the dining room. I was there before at the Baptist men’s event and ate in the dining room but had to ask her where it was. When I got there James came riding up in the golf cart he gets around on. Of course I didn’t recognize him so asked “Are you James?”. Yep he was. He showed me where to take the stuff and helped me unload. We talked and I explained again the problems I have. I do that all the time but wonder if it just makes things worse. Don’t know, just want folks to understand.

Anyway he was welcoming and invited me to eat with his wife and the bunch of little girls that he identified as GA’s. I asked what that stands for and he told me but I don’t remember it right now. Typical, bits and pieces of memory. I slowed down in the dining area. I think that’s because of the unfamiliarity of the people and circumstances but I can’t really say, just know it was difficult. A lady asked if I wanted a cone dessert she had made and it took me a few seconds to decide yes. Must of looked like I was afraid to eat it or something.

I need to remember to take my calendar to church for he will bring his so we can schedule times I can go volunteer some time helping out. Was going to run into Midland after I picked up mail but thought I’d stop by the house here to check if Eric sent an E mail about meeting. Not one there but it’s 2:30 so I’ll take a little rest before I head up.
----------------
It’s two hours later and I don’t remember going to sleep. Don’t even remember waking up so I must have just kind of slumbered or something as my mind revolved around all that has been happening and not happening since we moved to Texas. Going over things and wondering why? what? And how things could get right. I am bothered deep inside as I seek answers to questions I don’t dare ask anymore for fear of causing more frictions that won’t go away through the life we wish to live here.
----------------
I’m ending the day strong. Worked on the garden and around the house till after dark. Finally had to come in because I couldn’t see. Still doing well, for which I am always grateful. Right now I’m gonna look up some scriptures pertaining to the Sunday school lesson tomorrow. Not sure what to expect after last weeks performance where I practically begged for some fellowship. One person has started E mailing me out of that and she is looking forward to Cherie coming home so they can get together.
----------------
I just looked at the camera and see there are some pictures I never downloaded. They reminded me of stuff I did and also help in giving y'all an idea of what happens here. So here they are.





This first one is Skittles on top of the air conditioner looking in the window this morning. How the little sucker got seven feet up to get there I don't have a clue. He's a resourceful little thing.













These two are from yesterday when I was "mowing" the yard with my hoe. This is how big the pile of weeds is from just that little bit. Just imagine how big it'll be if I get this done. Should make a lot of good compost. Reminds me to put some ointment on the blisters.















There is a continuing battle going on with two barn swallows who want to build there nest here. I love the guys but couldn't let them build on this light. The wiring is shaky as it is so the last thing we need is these guys shorting it out and burning the house down. So I put up pieces of firewood and finally this T shirt. OK, I won that round but they just moved over and started building here. I wouldn't really mind too much but both places are where their poop lands right on the steps. Not keen on stepping in that every morning when I walk out the door. So I wrapped this chicken wire around the spot thinking this for sure will deter them. NOOOOO. Not these guys. Finally I sat on a chair with the water hose in my hand and every time they flew in hit them with a spray of water. Might have worked as they weren't out there when I checked a few minutes ago. We will see tomorrow. Night all.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Fear??

(Click to enlarge)

4/27/07 Friday
I feel like I didn’t go to sleep this four this morning. I didn’t go to sleep till four this morning. Can’t think of any special reason why. I ended up going back online to look up info on the different plants I have seeds for. Then I fixed a bowl of cereal hoping that would help me fall asleep. Nothing worked. Got up at 8:00, fed the cat (Had no choice. Little, no fat sucker gets vocal about it) and went back to bed. The coffee maker just stopped making its gurgling noises so the coffee’s done. Made it strong as I like it so I’ll go get a cup of the last drug I have yet to give up with the hope caffeine will jolt me awake.

I’m a little foggy this morning but I attribute that to the lack of sleep. Worrying about a couple of E mails I got, one from Toledo that I am not sure I interpreted correctly and one from Midland. That one is from a fellow blogger and I am running my answer through this mind repeatedly with the fear I came across needy or something. Kind of gun shy when it comes to meeting others. Not kinda, absolutely there. Gotta get control of this. Fear is a terrible thing that always lurks in the dark recesses of the mind where it feeds on all the pains and hurts, real and imagined, built up over a lifetime. Then it rides out astride the horse of insecurity every time I open that door. David Letterman has a piece he always does called “Great moments in presidential speeches” that always starts with a recording of a famous statement made by a president who’s name I can’t recall. “The only thing to fear is…fear itself”. Uncontrolled these thoughts bring about the very thing one is afraid of. The bible says that what a man fears will come on him, or something like that. So I’ll push through it and act as if I am not worried, take this person up on giving him a call when I’m in the area.

I miss Cherie lots but I suppose that’s to be expected. In many ways she is a support and strength for me but so am I for her. Together we are pretty strong, apart things can be a little harder. She calls me every evening. Last night she called while I was out pulling weeds on the garden beds I dug for the herbs. It was just as the sun was setting. I described the sunset and how moths or butterflies (It was getting dark so hard to tell) were flitting from flower to flower feeding on their nectar. Told her that the yellow flowers that have showed up all over the place are still coming out. I didn’t mean to make her miss being here more but I don’t suppose there is nothing that could stop that just as there is nothing that will make me not miss her.

Mom is slowly progressing in her recovery. Thanks for the prayers. Been told to not say much about things up there.

2:31 – Haven’t eaten yet. Got to working on the garden, weeding and putting fertilizer on the corn. Spread it and them worked it into the soil with a claw thing I found that’s designed for that type of stuff. I was going to go t Aldredge Nursery to see about getting more of the compost and stuff from the pile of bags that had broke open. Haven’t been to steady or lucid so haven’t gone. Real tired which is no surprise considering I didn’t get much sleep so I will take a nap. I usually have to around this time of day anyway. Perhaps I’ll remember to eat when I wake up.

I just woke up. Forgot to disconnect the PC Internet card so the laptop stayed online the whole time. I can’t remember if we have a limit on how many minutes we have before they start charging more air time on our cell phone bill. Keep doing this and I’ll sure find out when the bill comes. Reminds me, I need to go into town and check mail. Was going to heat up the rice, bean, cheese thing I mixed up yesterday but maybe I’ll live the high life and get a burger at Sonic while out that way. Still thick headed with the ringing ears and stuff. That’s been with me all day.

Had a jalapeƱo cheeseburger at sonic. Eating seemed to clear my head some. Suppose I should eat more than once a day but when you don’t feel hunger it kinda slips your mind. Got plenty of food just don’t think to eat.

Anyway, I spent the rest of the day mowing the lawn with my hoe. Making a big pile of the weeds so I can compost them. It works better when they’re still green instead of the compost I tried to make with the dead tumbleweeds. Got lots more to do but I’m only going to take down the big weeds. Lots of the “lawn” has a short plant that seems kind of innocuous. (There’s another word that I don’t know what it means but it feels right) Anyway it isn’t three feet tall and doesn’t have any thorny stickers on it, at least not yet, so I’ll let it stay and see what happens. Besides that I’ve got blisters so it’ll give me a lot less to cut down. Works for me.

Hope I can get to sleep tonight. Cherie called about five. She’s tired also but it’s hard to get sleep when your on the couch in the living room with things going on all the time. Plus the cat pee smell doesn’t help. It was good to hear from her. Mom is doing fairly well and may be released from the rehab place earlier than they thought. I guess there is a lot of tension because of the changes that are coming. Cherie said they’ve been looking at places her parents can move to but everything in Toledo is awfully expensive. That just makes things harder.

So we talked and miss each other. Can’t wait till she comes home. Well I suppose I’ll have to but…you know what I mean. Just not complete without her.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Politically correct???

(Click to make larger)

4/26/07 Thursday
It’s the start of another day. I am fairly sharp this morning. Still thinking on what to do with this blog. I still keep the journal as I have long before I heard about blogs at all. Just have to internally debate the concept of being politically correct. Being totally honest and open isn’t working. Perhaps I should start wearing the mask others do, put on a happy face in order to be acceptable. My old creed of “Say what you mean. Do what you say” is causing problems. Yet honesty is an ideal all talk about but few practice in every area of their life. Many parts of their life they probably are more honest with but deceit still slips in when hiding their true feelings is advantageous to them.

This rancor’s me. I can’t do that and maintain the integrity I swore to have when I woke from the coma. So saying nothing keeps the boat from rocking huh? If one lives a life he is proud of he has no problem with the world seeing it. If ones life contains that which he is not proud of, he runs for the darkness when the light is turned on it, trying to avoid exposure. “I have nothing to hide” is a statement I want to always be able to say with honesty. We all have mistakes in our pasts, all of us. That’s fine. I’ve “confessed my sins” so to speak by revealing them to the world with this blog. Oh, don’t get me wrong, there’s a whole lot that hasn’t made it to these pages. There really isn’t enough room in the day to day accounts and much of it will be in the books I imagine I will write. Still, I have faced my shames and will not hide them. Ask me a question and I will give you an honest answer. If I could get others to do the same I’ve done something, for the world will be a better place…maybe.

So, as the plaque with the creed I live by says “Love life, live a life you can love. Become a person you can be proud of”. By doing so you have no problem with the world watching you. Hey, CLOSE the door when you go to the bathroom cause we don’t want to see that but that’s not the point. It is good to have no shame with how you live today. I understand not wanting to reveal the shadows of the past. The Christian theology’s central point is that slate has been wiped clean, past sins are forgiven. Some in that realm have the concept that because sins are forgiven by confessing them, to God, not to other people, they can keep on doing what they know is wrong. There is a line somewhere in this that shouldn’t be crossed, a point of no return, a point when you are spitting into the face of God with your abuse of the freedom forgiveness brings.

So what right do I, a man plagued with doubts, an “unbeliever” by some peoples standards, have to speak of God. I am Balaam’s ass. WHAT!!! Let me tell you a story. There was a man, a prophet of old who spoke the words of God to the people, but a man who had two faces. On one side he represented God but on the other he followed other belief systems and gods that were a violation of the first. Yet the bible says God still spoke through him.

So a king fighting the Israelites wanted Balaam to prophesy against them. He wanted to be told that he was going to win, he wanted to hear what made him feel good. Kinda like we all do, what we all want to be told no matter what the truth is. Balaam wouldn’t because, despite his hypocrisy, he knew God’s thoughts on the matter. But money was offered, not once but three times as this king struggled to get Balaam to bend the line his way. So Balaam, the two faced man, went for the money. God told him not too but, as many of us do, Balaam chose to do what he knew was not right and headed out to get the money. So God, in an attempt to change this stubborn mans heart, had his donkey (his ass folks) speak. I don’t know about you but if I’m riding a donkey and it starts talking I start listening. That would be after I checked to make sure I didn’t eat some kind of strange mushroom. If God can use an ass to speak some sense into another why then can He not use me? I’ve been called an ass many times. I don’t even come close to claiming any kind of connection like that with God, remember, I’m an unbeliever.(By somes' standards) But I see what I see.

Maybe I’ll start the blog I’ve contemplated for three years now. The one I would call “Balaam’s Ass”. There is much I see, there is much I want to say, there are many who need their eyes opened, to look into a mirror and see clearly what looks back at them.
So back to being “politically correct”. I will work on the garden today. There are beds I’ve dug and never planted a thing in. Now weeds grow there. This is where I planned on putting herbs. Yesterday I pretty much stayed in bed being depressed about things I presumed were happening but really didn’t know. Today I’m going to get my butt out there and work. Haven’t eaten much the last two days. In fact the only thing I ate yesterday was what they had at the church dinner. I’ll have to do better and eat whether I feel like it or not.

Just got back from Aldredge Nursery and Greenhouse. Spent fifty bucks which surprised me. When I drove to where the bags of cow manure were there was a pile of bags that had broken open. I asked if I could have one marked Cotton Burr Compost. He said sure, take all you want. I loaded several bags up including one with potting mix and two labeled soil conditioner. Most were in such bad shape there was maybe only twenty percent left and much of that spilled out when I picked it up. I am thinking of going back with a shovel and some garbage bags.

Unfortunately when I got home I got a slow down, which is getting worse as I write. I want to reconstruct how it happened. First I had called Dave Decker about the house he said he’d kicked someone out of that is down the street from us. Wanted to see how much he would rent it for in case Cathy and her kids, or mom and dad, or the whole gang would want to come down here. Don’t know they would but thought knowing a place was available would be information useful. He said $400 a month. I called Cherie and told her. She is doing much better than yesterday when her fretting over me stirring things up had her a mess. I was still doing fine.

Then I got to thinking about the receipt from Aldredge. I had seen a twenty nine dollar price that I thought was entered twice. Now I could swear the lady said the manure was only $2.90 so I’m getting upset. I go to look for the receipt but only find the part that had the total but not the itemized part. Now I start looking for it and looking more and not finding it. Went everywhere, pulled the seats in the truck forward to look under them, walked around the yard in case it blew out, went through the house, looked everywhere. Didn’t find a thing. Now I am slowing down. Stress and trying to think this thru are the triggers.

I was going to call Aldredge to ask how much a bag of cow poop was when a basic bit of deduction dawned on me. $29.00 plus $29.00 equals fifty eight bucks and I only spent fifty. DUH!!! Plus I bought more than cow poop. In my mind I remembered only two small bags that cost four and five dollars. Couldn’t remember what was in them but remembered the price kind of so I went out to the truck. So here is DUH!!! number two. There was a fifty pound bag of fertilizer sitting in the back of the truck. Glad I didn’t call Aldredge and raise hell. Coming to the wrong conclusion is easy when you can’t remember or don’t have the right information. That is why, Stanton readers, it is good to talk with me if what I think is a bit off. (or sometimes WAY off) A little communication goes miles in creating understanding.

Now that I am relaxing and sorting this out on paper I am speeding up some. Writing helps me think. In Toledo, when I was in much worse shape than now, I would go into the library and write on their computers just to figure out what was going on. Fact is I read this being suggested for folks who don’t have my kind of issues.

So I went out to the truck and unloaded the stuff I got. Being already slow trying to decide what to do with what got impossible so that’s when I came in here to write. Making decisions are real tough at those times, even deciding where to put a bag is hard. I left it all out there. Will go finish that up in a bit. Probably should fix something to eat as it’s 1:46. One of the ladies I talked with at the church dinner encouraged me to take some of the left over food home. They always pack it up for everyone but I don’t take it for no good reason. Not wanting to look like a bum is pride. Like I said, no good reason. So I’ve got some rice, beans, cheese, and hot sauce. I’ll put it in a pot and warm it up. It’ll be nice to get the stove, oven, microwave set up we bought installed. Then I could just nuke the stuff to warm it up. At the rate I move and the resources we have that will take a while. Getting a hot water heater installed comes first. I heard talk about help with that but it’s just talk for now. Nothing’s happened and at this point, after five months, I don’t expect anything will. Like I said at the beginning of today’s post, part of my creed, the principles I live by, is “Say what you mean and do what you say”. So much for being politically correct.

OK, I’ve talked enough crap so time to get food and get back to work.

Just posted that and when I checked Mapstats I see that someone has read something like fifteen pages of this blog. It looks like they are still reading. I wonder who it is like I always wonder who takes an interest in our life. Few leave comments so most will remain a mystery. Y’all feel free to introduce yourself if nothing else. Ya got something to say or ask I encourage it. No secrets in Bob’s life. Nothing to hide. Just a little off beat and out of step with the rest of the world.

4:00 – It’s been a strange day with the pendulum of cognizance or whatever you call it swinging back and forth many times. Go from sharp to stupid quickly, even in mid sentence. A few dizzy or equilibrium changes thrown in where I stumble when the right leg doesn’t go where I thought it would. I’ve been fixing something to eat since…let me go look…1:46. Put way too much cheese in the beans and rice I got from the church so I got out a package of hamburger to kind of compensate for it. The hamburger is frozen so that took a few. Tasted it and added cayenne and some Lowry’s season salt. Tastes pretty good now. As always, the slight stoop required to deal with things countertop high is hell on the back. Picking up the bags of manure didn’t really bother me but stirring a pot does. Go figure. I think I will eat now and see if that helps.

I forgot about eating and forgot I had a pot of food on the burner. Didn’t burn bad just have a layer stuck on the bottom of the pan. Little distractions. Hate to do it but I’m gonna have to take a pain pill. Can’t believe it’s already 4:30. Haven’t got much done. I wish that wasn’t how it usually is. Looking out the window I see the wheelbarrow still pulled up to the back of the truck where I left it hours ago. It’s got a load of the compost I swept out of the truck and I wasn’t sure what to do with it so there the damn thing still sits. I never took a nap cause I don’t think I got tired, but I’m tired now.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

When you have nothing to say, say nothing. Life's safer that way.

OK, I've got something to say. HAPPY BIRTHDAY CHERIE.
sorry I made another mess.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Fuzzy, confused, just another day

4/24/07 Tuesday
Woke up fuzzy headed. Thought processes slow. Got an E mail from pastor Dave. Was glad to see it. Perhaps it’s a start of a dialog. He made some good points that I need to hear. There is a problem that always happens without communication. Each party may have ideas of how the other is thinking that are not correct. It only takes a few words to help fix that. I wrote a long reply but slowed down and had to quit. Now writing this is hard. The ears are ringing but they always do somewhat. It’s just getting worse and…got to quit for a bit till this slowdown goes away.

It is10:34 now. Two and a half hours since the last entry. I have been sitting outside with a now cold cup of coffee thinking about pastor Dave’s E mail. There is so much to process. I am embarrassed and wondering how I will be received if I go to the Wednesday night dinner. This fear is not good. I don’t know how many I may have offended. Do they think…what do they think of me? There is so much I don’t know. I am debating writing more to pastor Dave but am afraid of making things worse. These are the times I want to withdraw into the safety of loneliness, that old friend who has been with me my whole life. A place where no one can hurt me, where they can’t reach me, can’t touch me.

DELETED

One of the reasons for this blog is to help others understand the problems that come with TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury) There are two links on the right to places dedicated to TBI. One is the Brain Injury Association (biausa.com) a national association dedicated to this. The other is Lash and Associates, which makes available extensive resources for caretakers and family of TBI survivors. On it is a forum where we talk. One of the major issues we have is a loss of social skills, you know, getting along with others. You think maybe I’m having a problem there?

DELETED

Depression is setting in. Another common problem, one that can destroy if unchecked. It pretty much destroyed me seven years ago. This is where Cherie and I hold each other up. We both fight it. I’m good at making her laugh. I’m tired now.

I've deleted sections at the request of the wife I so dearly love. I am tired, depressed and can't seem to blow my nose without causing problems

Monday, April 23, 2007

Things are moving fast, Pray

This is the whole gang, my family. While they are "In Laws" they are the closest thing to family I have. Mom and dad are mom and dad for me. My real dad hasn't talked to me in years


Cherie called earlier and as always it was good to hear her voice but I could tell right away she was pretty tired. She’s got good reason to be. There is so much for her to deal with, so many changes that must be made in the lives of her parents. Cherie spent some time with mom without dad or Cathy around. This allowed mom to open up about a lot of things. One of them is she really doesn’t want to return to the house for several reasons which I won’t go into here. Mom was able to walk the length of the parallel bars thing they use to get people strong enough to walk again. That is the first time.

This is the time in a families life that can be the hardest and most emotional. What to do with your parents when they are getting to the point they can’t take care of themselves.

DELETED

DELETED

I told Cherie that if she needed to she should stay there till things get figured out. Mom told her that it was too bad we didn’t have the house fixed up. That’s a way of saying she wouldn’t mind coming here. There’s a thought. But one with no answer right now. Regardless she is tired of things in her home. One of the results of this surgery, this close encounter with death, and being away from the house, is she can see things a little more clearly. Sometimes you’ve gotta get away to see. Like the old saying “You can’t see the forest because of the trees”.

DELETED

I’ll probably get in trouble for putting this in the blog but it is a very effective way of talking to them. It’s the circle of life thing. The parents care for the children and then the children care for the parents.

(I got in trouble)

DELETED

Cherie will stay up there another week but must return to take the classes for her new job. She's been sleeping on the couch which, unfortunately has been the target of cat pee. She sprays it with Febreeze every night. Of course dad hasn't been going to bed till after midnight and sits there in the living room, thus preventing Cherie to go to sleep. I wish I could be up there to support her but she’s a strong lady and can call me fifty times a day if she needs to. It’s nice that there are no roaming or long distance charges with our cell phones.

One of the things I will note is how amazingly things have worked out regarding the airline tickets and money. Again it sure looks like there is an outside hand orchestrating this, providing for what we need just as we need it, and almost miraculously out of the blue. I told Cherie that if this keeps up I may get my faith in God back. I keep asking for God to show me He is there, that He is. Starting to get through now.

So much. I told Cherie to write a letter to the judge regarding this court case over cars being parked in the yard. Don’t know if I wrote about that but it’s a sad commentary on the city of Toledo and how some employees abuse their power out of a vindictive and malicious spirit. These guys made them take a six foot fence down because of some old law designed for a neighborhood that no longer exists. They did this despite many other fences in the area that were identical, even right across the street. Then they wrote a citation for parking on an area next to the driveway that had been covered in gravel just for that purpose, again using some vague regulation. Right across the street is another house with the same thing. Mom and dad can’t afford an attorney and that leaves them defenseless in a court that won’t appoint an public defender for such cases and even if they did I can tell you from experience he will work for the prosecution. So I told her to write a letter to the judge because I know, again from personal experience, that it can work.

Again, for those of you who pray, please pray.

How I choose to live


I got to thinking about the possibility of some from the church, whom I had given cards with this blog address on, coming to read it. According to mapstats there have been three from Stanton who looked at it since yesterday. Some of them may be the regular readers from there I've had. Regardless I thought it would be good to put a picture of this plaque I carved on here. It's not to show I am a decent woodcarver but to show how the accident has affected my philosophy of life or whatever you call it. Click on the picture to make it bigger. Like it says I carved it while recovering in St Louis. Please check out the two other blogs that are on my links list on the right, "whatabout bob" and "the love story" as it will tell more of who we are.

This is a picture of the car I fell asleep in. I was flung out the rear window. No I wasn't wearing a seatbelt. The police report had me listed as dead on the scene so I presume I was revived by the emergency medical people on the way or after I got to a hospital. Would love to find them and thank them. Point is, my life is truly a gift and an obviously life changing experience. Talk to me folks, leave a comment to let me know you stopped by.

Good morning. Love ya Cherie. Hang in there.

4/23/07 Monday
Good morning world. How y’all doing out there? I’m awake and moving at 6:00 this morning. Slept fairly well once I managed to drift off. Yesterday my thoughts were often on how to help others understand what it’s like to live with a brain injury. Sometimes I think I do a good job describing events in this blog but I don’t always just focus on that. That would get awful monotonous or depressing and no one, or at least few, would want to read that all the time. My life is not at all monotonous but depression is a constant fight. Going from being able to run two companies to having difficulty planting a garden makes it hard not to be. Then there is the lack of moral support and real contact with others close by. However the friends I’ve made online has been an immense comfort and lets me know there are many who (Had to turn off the TV to figure out how to say this) take the time to…aw nuts, can’t quite put that together. I think most of you know where I am going with that. Thanks for listening and caring.

I fed Carman kitty this morning. Really didn’t have much choice as he was very vocal in letting me know his dish was empty. Looks like I’ll have to do the cat litter. That had always been Cherie’s job but my baby is in Ohio so it’s a duty I must assume no matter how unpleasant. I put the picture of flowers on not only because I like them but for Cherie who also delights in this beauty. Yeah, I know they are weeds but that don’t make the flowers less beautiful.

I’m gonna get out to the garden early while it’s still cool. Don’t know what I’ll do but I’ll figure it out when I get out there. There is still a lot of plants I haven’t put in the ground yet. I had five flats loaded with dirt and ready to start seeds in but only managed to get one done. It’s got some sprouts but when I put it out in the sun, thinking that’s what it needed, some of them fried. I did something like that before but couldn’t quite remember. I recorded it in this journal but never went back to look. Kind of defeats one of the purposes of the journal.

So that’s the start for the day. Well I spilled a cup of coffee also. Not a big deal and already got it cleaned up. With Cherie gone I can make “Bob coffee”. That should jolt me awake. Time to get my butt out of bed and out the door. The news is mostly crap like how couples are not sharing the same bed and more of the digging up every detail and nuance of the West Virginia massacre. Come on guys, let it go and have mercy on those who are constantly forced to relive this when they turn on their television.

11:30 – I am getting the dizzy ear ringing precursor to a seizure. Typing speed has slowed down so that indicates it is already in progress. I’d say I’m running a five on the bob scale. Will go find something simple to do that I can stay focused on. Think I will dig the bed where Cherie wants her sunflowers to grow. Back is hurting bad enough to take a pain pill. First I need to grab a note book to keep track so I don’t forget and take another one.

Had a thought I should write down. I have had visitors here. The guys who farm next to us stopped when we first moved here. So did Wayne Stroud, who had wanted to buy the place. The farmers nest to us are named Glassman I think. We’ve talked a few times and they ran their shredder around the house last year or sometime a few months ago. Just want to make sure I am correct in what I say.

It only takes a moments distraction. I went to get a notebook and never did along with not taking a pill. Was outside getting out the hoe and while sharpening it was reminded by the pain. That won’t let me forget. Came back in and see there is no notebook and I wouldn’t have taken the pill without it. So it’s 11:53 and I’m taking the pill right now before I forget again. Hate being slow.

It’s 6:23 now. Doing much better. Cherie called earlier and as always it was good to hear her voice but I could tell right away she was pretty tired. She’s got good reason to be. There is so much for her to deal with, so many changes that must be made in the lives of her parents. Cherie spent some time with mom without dad or Cathy around. This allowed mom to open up about a lot of things. One of them is she really doesn’t want to return to the house for several reasons which I won’t go into here. Mom was able to walk the length of the parallel bars thing they use to get people strong enough to walk again. That is the first time.

I’m slipping this in here now that it’s been posted for a day with the thought Cherie won’t see it and worry. However this journal is also to track possible medical stuff so it should be here. I had some chest pains that came with a different kind of headache so I quickly took two aspirin just to be safe.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

What will be the result?

4/22/07 Sunday
Well I went to church this morning. I almost didn’t make it because of the effects stress has on me so deciding what clothes to wear was a challenge. The stress was from my plans to open up about how alone we feel, and to ask Darryl if there was something I had done to offend him that would cause him to avoid us. Darryl wasn’t there today, no place to be found. Neither was Kevin or Steve.

Because of that our Sunday school class joined with the one Steve taught and an older guy taught it. Coincidently enough the lesson was on how Christians should love one another. Towards the end I worked up the courage to say something. I started with “I hope you forgive me” and said I would be blunt with what I had to say. “We’ve been coming here six months. Does any one of you know who I am?” I said. Because of how amplified my emotions are from the brain injury it took everything I had to not cry. Hate that. Makes me feel like a little girl. I don’t know if I offended anyone, only time will tell that, but I do know it got through to a few for they told me later how glad they were I opened up. Some told me it needed to be said.

I had printed up a bunch of business cards that had the blog address on it to take with me. It is my hope that by reading the blog some will perhaps get an idea of who we are, that we will become something more than strangers that are seen on Sunday. One of the women told me that she had learned that she must reach out in order to be accepted. Another repeated what we have heard so many times, even in Midland, that this is a closed community. Everyone knew everyone else for all their lives so all others were “outsiders”. That may be but regardless that is not how the bible these folks study says your supposed to act.

In the church service you could tell how the West Virginia massacre affected pastor Dave. He talked of the uncertainty of life and the funeral he had just attended of a close friend. After the service I decided to just sit in the pew in case anyone wanted to respond to what I had said in Sunday school. There were a few and I was grateful for them. I had explained that my biggest concern was for my wife, that she would find someone to talk with.

The guy who brought me a piece of mesquite a while back introduced me to some one from the church camp asking if I would like to come out and help. I said I would be happy to but also explained to them the issues that come with this brain injury so they would understand. I explained some of this to one of the ladies who had thanked me for opening up. That was about how new and unfamiliar circumstances can impact me. Also that I often need things explained in simple ways so I don’t get confused. When James, the guy from church camp, (I had him give me a business card so I could remember his name) said “Just come on out” I let him know that I must schedule things and would do much better if he called to set up a time. After I’ve gone there a few times and become familiar with it I’ll be fine.

DELETED

I handed out a bunch of the cards and hope it will help. I’m running out of steam as I so often do at this time so will probably take the nap that helps refresh me after I post this. I don’t think I ate so should whip something up before I forget again.

Ok, I forgot again. It’s 4:00 so I’ll fix a lunch-supper. Probably should cook the chicken before it goes bad.

Got the grill out to cook the chicken. First I had to clean it because, as is the way out here, it was full of sand. Of course being a grill there was grease, and where there was grease there was a caked putty mixture with sand. So I took it to the garden hose and sprayed it down before wiping everything off with the first rag I saw. Unfortunately that was the T-shirt I had been wearing on my head to keep the sun off. Works good cause it won’t blow off like hats do out here. Scratch another T-shirt.

The chicken was good. Put it between a couple of pieces of bread. Cherie called and hearing her voice always lifts my heart. Seems like she’s been gone a week. She is tired as I expected with all she must deal with. She said dad wasn’t misbehaving too bad. They took mom outside for the first time after getting her in a wheelchair. Cherie said the weather is perfect, sunny and around seventy degrees. She said it was so cute when they rolled her out and mom said “I’m outside. I can’t believe I’m outside”.

I’ve got a splitter of a headache now and it’s still on the rise. It’s coming with a curious weakness also. At least I got things watered. Took a pain pill and will lay in bed a bit. Hopefully it will pass quickly.

It’s 9:00 now. I still feel kinda strange and have to wonder if I took too much Hydrocodone. I am always careful to let Cherie know whenever I took one of these because she is my memory for so many things, particularly things like taking medication. For my seizure meds it’s no problem because of the pill minder I use that has the daily doses compartmentalized for each day. I can look at it and tell if I did or didn’t take my meds. The pain pills I only take when the pain level gets pretty high because of my great respect for the dangers these pose. Unfortunately she is not here so I couldn’t do that. Can’t say for sure if that’s what’s going on. Will have to be careful and maybe keep a note pad to write down when I take one.

When we first moved here I would hear a car slowing down and my heart would skip a beat as I hoped it would be a visitor. I remember when pastor Dave came I told him he was our first visitor. Other than Steve dropping off some food and Kevin the firewood he has been our only visitor. The only one that stayed and talked for a bit. Now, after what I said in Sunday school I find myself listening with the same holding of my breath, again hoping they would pull in. The problem is most of these cars are slowing down to turn onto the road just a few hundred feet away so that’s allot of cars.

I don’t know what else I was going to write. It’s been a long day. Night all.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

A letter to my baby snuck in here.

4/21/07 Saturday
This is when the power of the blog will be illustrated in that I will use it to communicate to my wife. Hi honey, I’m doing great. Fed Carman and Skittles, giving both of them lots of pets. You know how they eat it up. Carman got his treats also so you won’t have to call and remind me.

It is strange to sleep in an empty bed. Still have to fight Carman kitty for space at the bottom cause he likes to sleep close to my feet so moving becomes a contest of wills and I’m a softy.

I spent most of my time in the garden yesterday carefully mixing some tumbleweed compost in the soil around the plants that have come up. Then I took the mulch, which is broken up tumbleweed sticks, and with equal care placed it around each plant. One of the motivations is to reduce how this soil develops a hard crust that’s gotta be tough on the plants. It will also help retain the moisture according to what I’ve read. We will see.

I plan on spending much of the day out there again, as I will do for the rest of the season. The church sent us a letter signed by thirty or forty people that says they are remembering us in prayer. These are one of the standard letters that are put on a table during the Wednesday night dinner so folks can sign them as they go through the line to get their food. It is sweet that pastor put us on the list. I have to wonder if it was regarding mom’s heart operation or what. I looked carefully but conspicuous in it’s absence was my cousin Darryl’s name. I shouldn’t read anything into that and will try not to. I will ask Darryl point blank at Sunday school if we have done anything to offend him because of their lack of any real welcome or contact despite my repeated invitations to come out and visit.


Just went out and took pictures of both cats and the Blue bonnet flowers Cherie planted out front. This one of Carman is taken at one of his favorite spots to get pets. It is on the bathroom sink where he loves to drink water from the ever dripping faucet. It’s gotten to the point that you can’t go to the bathroom without him jumping up there and begging for his pets. He’ll sit there with his butt in the air pretending to drink water as he lets you know you are to pet him with vocal meows. Yeah, he’s got us trained.

Skittles is equally vocal in his desire for attention and I took this picture a few minutes ago as he came up for what I call his “lap time”. Hard to believe he’s a “Feral” (as in wild) cat. He craves attention and makes it hard to do garden work for he will always be underfoot and as I pull weeds and stuff will come right in and place his head on my hand, rubbing against it hard. Then he wants to flop on his back and wriggle in the sand right where I’m working. That can wipe a little seedling out so I have to motivate the little rascal to get out of the way.

So Cherie, I thought you’d like to see them. Sure we miss you but don’t let yourself get down or worry. You’ve got enough on your plate up there. By the way we got a card from Aunt Judy in the mail yesterday. I didn’t open it but am sure it’s a birthday card. Because I’ll forget I want to mention that Verizon couldn’t find anything on the computer regarding that bill so said they would need your social security number to pull it up. They also asked if I am listed on the account for if not they can’t talk to me. I explained that I had one of the two phones on the account so that shouldn’t be an issue. I WILL TAKE CARE OF THIS SO DON”T FRET, let me do it and thus free up your time. Just send your social security number or tell me where I can find it.

Cause I know it’s a concern for you Cherie, I did eat yesterday. Got a burrito in Big Spring when I picked up the travel pay and fried a couple of eggs for dinner. I’ll grill the chicken today. For the rest of y’all here’s a short word of explanation. One of the results of my brain injury is a loss of feeling hungry so that coupled with the short term memory loss means I can go days and not eat without realizing it. If I could package that and sell it as a weight loss program I’d be a millionaire. So I must eat by the clock, scheduling it like I must schedule everything that needs to be done. I suppose on that note I should fix some breakfast. While I may not feel hungry I can sure hear my stomach rumbling. I’ll be back in a minute. As with everything I must do it when I think of it or it will be forgotten a few minutes later. I’m having scrambled eggs this morning honey.

By the way, Amy sent an E mail saying to keep her number handy in case of an emergency or if I just needed to talk with someone while you were gone. She’s a sweetheart and shows more care than we’ve found here yet. A little time is a much more valuable gift than money or things that feed the body, for it feeds the spirit.

On that note. I want to thank the angel who flew Cherie up to be with her mom. I thought about it and decided to not reveal who that is. I figure they didn’t do this kind act for any kind of public recognition and would probably prefer some anonymity. I do want to convey what Cherie told me “Oh Rob, if she just could have seen the look on mom’s face when I walked in”. That is a reward that beats all else. There is nothing that can match it and it is one of the greatest joys I have had with the many I have been privileged to help despite the desperate circumstances I’ve been in. Like a guy said on TV the other day “Helping others is addictive”.

That was interesting. I just came back from visiting Decker’s Farm Supply and Nursery. It’s mostly a place that sells trees. I talked with David Decker for quite a while about a little of everything. First we talked about trees as he drove me around to look at them. Of course he asked about where I lived and upon learning I had inherited Minnie Lee’s farm started talking about that and the Bradshaw’s. Seems he is well aware of how things were sold out of the house and a prolonged yard sale there as well. Stopped and looked a few times. This is a confirmation of what I have suspected but couldn’t say for sure. He said that my grand-uncle Troy was just out there buying stuff. I think it’s time for me to visit.

His greenhouses were in shambles from the winds last year and David is losing his zeal for this business. He can’t find good employees, which is a universal issue out here. David mentioned he might want to sell the place. I told him about Cathy, my sis in law, how she has a degree in agriculture and would love to get out of Toledo. This would be right up her alley and with her know how and my business expertise it could be evolved into quite an enterprise. David said that fifteen to twenty bucks an hour was the going rate out here.

We talked about what could be done with the farm and David had some good suggestions that I’ll have to look into. He said that Christmas trees could be planted and the land could remain in CRP as long as they were not harvested. When the CRP contract ends in 2011 it would be just right for harvesting them. Gotta look into that. We talked about organic farming and greenhouse operations. He had tried organic twelve years ago but there was no market for it back then. There certainly is now. We discussed the business atmosphere and general attitude found in Stanton’s administration where there is little ambition. I don’t know but just know what he said. David owns the golf course on the east side of town also. I told David that while it was hard to find workers here it’s hard to find jobs in Toledo so if he could supply places to live there’s a chance some would come here for work.

I am tired as I usually am by this time of day. Cherie, I ate at Luchie’s today. Saw it was open as I went to get the mail and said “What the heck, I’ve got a few bucks in my pocket” and spun around. The barbeque brisket is still good.

I also visited with Leroy, my well guy. Got another copy of the receipt for when he replaced the well. He also gave me a jar of his wife’s preserves. Can’t wait to try that out. I think I’ll post this and take a nap now.

Friday, April 20, 2007

She's gone to Toledo

4/20/07 Friday
“Leaving on a jet plane” The words to the song run through my head as I watch Cherie go through the security check point at the Midland Airport. It’s a shame that the new security regulations mean I am unable to stay with her till she boards the plane. I long to hold her hand and comfort her in this time of emotion, the first time we have been separate since we got back together.

There is much I have to write but will have to do it later. It’s 2:30 and I am wiped so will take a nap for now.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

The lap of luxury?

4/18/07 Wednesday
We finally made it to the VA in Albuquerque. Took eight hours instead of the seven I thought. It’s a big place and we had to call a number on my appointment sheet to find out where to go. I was plenty sharp all the way here but that’s changed now. This is because of the new surroundings and stress of making my way through

4/19/07 Thursday
That’s as far as I got yesterday. This morning I have a pretty bad headache and am not very sharp. Running a five on the Bob scale. It is 5:31 New Mexico time. They wanted me to get another EEG done and couldn’t schedule it till this morning. I wasn’t aware that the VA covers the cost of a hotel room. That is fortunate. The drive here took a lot out of us and to head back home without rest probably would not be very safe. The doctors asked the same questions all the others before them had. As is usually the case I had to guess at some of the answers requiring memory such as how many times I have a slow down each week. I keep this journal for this but didn’t have a chance to refer to it.

I always am nervous regarding these exams, afraid they will say nothing is wrong with me and cut me off of the disability check that currently provides our basic needs. I plan on doing that myself anyway through making the land a working farm. But that will take some time if I am even able to do it. Heck, I am having a hard time planting a garden.

The drive up here was great as far as the scenery. There was an area were we saw groups of deer out feeding with little concern. Going through Roswell, New Mexico was a trip. As I saw the myriad of UFO and alien signs the proverb “a fool and his money are soon parted” came to mind. Here in Roswell there is a whole industry set up just to do that. Even the McDonalds had signs up saying “Aliens welcome”. There were UFO museums and of course one is the “International” alien museum. I must have missed the “Intergalactic” one. Leaving town there was a sign at a dirt road that claimed to lead up to an UFO crash site.

Forgive me if my thought processes jump around a bit. I’ll write as it comes to mind cause if I don’t it might not come back. Nuts, I forgot what that was leading to. Oh yeah, when they started asking about seizures I minimized things cause I am afraid they will take my driving privileges. Describing the slow downs he said they weren’t true seizures but a common symptom of traumatic brain injury. The term “Petite seizure” was not accurate. He said that “Slow down” was a good way to put it. OK. The grand mal seizure that put me in the hospital for three days in 04 was the last of them. When they asked how many I had before that and I explained I really couldn’t say. This is because I was homeless, or when in St Louis, not around anyone who could observe this. That was when my brother, Larry, had picked me up from the hospital. The doctors told him, and even put it in writing, that I was to be observed in addition to getting rehabilitation. He just stuck me in a cheap hotel and later the place in a St Louis ghetto and left me to fend for myself with the twenty bucks a week he gave me for food. I would wake up to see furniture knocked over and find cuts and bruises but wouldn’t remember a thing. So I couldn’t say for sure though it sure sounds like it.

Oh Yes, We are Living In the Lap Of Luxury now. We have hot water in this hotel. We can take a hot shower. Cherie soaked in a hot bath for quite a while last night. I am glad they have plenty of hot water cause I sure used plenty when I camped out under the shower. I think I washed everything three or four times. When we get back home it will be back to the heating a pot of water and taking what we call a “Stand uppy” where we use a washcloth dipped in the water to clean ourselves. In the winter it was particularly tough and we would put a space heater to warm up the bathroom first. I only washed maybe twice a week but with warmer weather and my working in the garden that must increase or I will be a very unpleasant person to sit near. I usually only shave twice a week before I go to church or be seen by folks who might think less of me unkempt. Reckon that would be a lot of folks but I really don’t get out much or see many people. It would be nice but hasn’t happened.

We splurged after the exam and ate at Appleby’s. Had the first steak I’ve eaten in 2007. It was great though I had to send it back to finish cooking. Don’t do rare. We even enjoyed a glass of wine with dinner and desert. If it wasn’t for selling the coin collection and the VA covering the cost of the hotel we wouldn’t have even thought of doing this.

We are getting ready to go take the EEG and then head home.

Cherie leaves for Ohio tomorrow. She talked to her sister yesterday as we drove here to Albuquerque. It is not good news. The rehab place is not doing anything the doctor ordered. Not even putting ointment on the bed sores that are starting to develop. The two new pairs of pants Cathy bought for her have been stolen and mom woke up with someone else’s pants on. They were to be teaching her to swallow and other things but mom is still has a feeding tube that is inserted directly into her stomach. The doctor was mad and may have to hospitalize her again to get proper care. Now I wish I was there cause raising hell is something I am good at. I learned how from the time I spent trying to get help from the system. You do it in writing to top level management. Verbal stuff is ignored as if nothing was ever said but written documents are a different matter as there is now proof of the matter. Poor Cathy has her hands full with mom’s surgery and dad’s behaving like a child, throwing fits and being generally a nasty ass. Treats her very badly. Through Cherie I suggested that if he acts like a child treat him like one. When he starts up as she drives I said she should just pull over and let him know she won’t go anywhere till he stops. He almost caused her to wreck at least once. “If he continues” I said “Take him home”. He sits on his but and won’t do anything, demanding everyone waits on him. This lack of exercise has reduced his strength to the point he can’t even walk far. Cherie will try to talk some sense into him when she gets there. Poor Cathy is close to a total breakdown and is even jeopardizing the job she loves so much teaching agriculture to kids. Pray for them if you could.

10:02 – We made it home. We are both exhausted but Cherie has much to do because she is leaving at 9:30 tomorrow morning. I’ll get her to the airport by 8:00 or so. Don’t want to take any chances because we are not at all familiar with the new rules as far as flying goes. We stopped at Walmart in Lubbock to get tags and fabric paint for her luggage. She also looked for the approved type of locks that she read about online but they weren’t to be found at Walfart. (no, that wasn’t a mistake. It’s my nickname for the place) She got some cheap locks knowing that they would be broken should homeland security feel threatened by something they see on the X ray machine. See ya here tomorrow.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Gonna be a hectic few days

4/17/07 Tuesday
I’ll start with thoughts of condolence and sorrow regarding the Virginia massacre. I turned off the news this morning as I have no interest in the gory details of this. That is like people rubbernecking as they drive past a nasty wreck on the highway. I feel for the family members who will be subjected to much attention and will not be able to escape the visions of this catastrophe as the media digs into and airs every morbid aspect.

Things will be rushed today as we prepare to drive to Albuquerque tomorrow. In addition to all that we have many things that are now possible to take care of because of the funds received from selling the coin collection. We can pay the cell phone bill which also is our internet access. Cherie can get a new pair of jeans and the bra’s she so desperately needs. Included in that will be one without the under wire so she will have less trouble passing through security when she flies to Toledo. She will be leaving on the twentieth, just three days away. We are finally able to send some money to our attorney who helped so much in getting this estate settled and preventing us from being railroaded into selling the land. He has been gracious in his patience.

Maybe I’ll get some fertilizer and perhaps even seeds that are not years old like the ones we were given by the generous lady from the Homestead forum. She said they were old and may not all come up so that’s fine. About 20% have generated and we look forward to seeing how they do. When we stopped by the FSA office Nestor told us that coyotes love to eat melons and know when they are ripe. He did say that people shoot them and made no mention of them being protected. Perhaps we will be able to purchase a gun now. I’ll ask Janie if she knows of any that might be bought for a low price. If I were in Toledo I could get all kinds of guns but they probably wouldn’t be legal and I won’t even think of playing with that. Those days are gone and will stay that way. That brings a thought. Where did this Korean student who killed so many in Virginia get two handguns? They are not allowed to own weapons in the US. The kid who shot out our well is a Canadian here on a work visa and is also not to own a weapon yet was running around with an assault rifle. Kind of scary.

So it’s going to be a hectic few days. I E-mailed pastor Dave yesterday regarding how we feel like outsiders. He will be glad to sit down with us but with our schedules that won’t happen quickly. I’ll talk with him after Cherie leaves for Ohio. He said he was sorry we found the congregation unfriendly. They have been real friendly but from arms length away. I guess we are outsiders from the standpoint of coming from up north. I suppose our thinking we would be welcomed into the fold as in the days of old were not realistic and perhaps a little delusional. But Leroy, our well guy, has invited us to drop in for coffee and he has a bunch of preserves his wife made that he would like me to stop in and pick up. Carroll (not sure how to spell it) and his wife have also been open in their welcome and he’s a stranger who I had approached to ask about some shelving and a building he owns. Then there are some of y’all in the blogosphere who have also opened up to us. While we appreciated the generosity some have shown what we appreciated much more was just having folks to talk with. You can feed the body but feeding the spirit is much more beneficial.

I’ve got much to do for I am again feeling well and must take advantage of it for I never know how long it will last. I was already out with a rake breaking up the crust that forms with the soil out here when it gets wet. That allows water to get through as well as making it less difficult for a seedling to break through to the surface. As I learn I can see where a good mix of compost in the soil will prevent this from happening even if the compost has little nutritional value. I read a lot about putting mulch over the surface to help retain moisture and reduce the weeds but don’t know if you do that before the seeds come up or after. I welcome any advice on that.

Time to get back out there before it gets warmer.

I am extremely tired now though it is only 2:00. Of course this about the time I often must take a nap. Have been looking up the seeds I have, online, to learn how each one should be planted. From my typing speed I can tell I have slowed down. Many times I seem to be unaware of this till I have a conversation or write, then it becomes clearly evident. Cherie just called and is on the way home. Wasn’t sure about where to put commas on the sentence about looking up seeds. Getting dizzy with ringing ears now so that’s it, gonna lay down.

That was a bad one, lost another day. This seizure came with a migraine. I stayed in bed till 6:30 and only got up because preacher Bill called to see if it was a convenient time for him to come over and look at the jewelry we had. It was a good time no matter how I felt. The jewelry was mostly costume stuff and had all belonged to my mother. She was the first woman to hold a seat in the Chicago Commodities Exchange. Mom had also started a jewelry company to sell the items she created which were mostly specific to the commodities industry. There were several pieces that Larry had given me not realizing there was any value in them. He kept the gold but much of what he “let” me have was sterling silver. We were surprised when we found out how much it was worth. This will allow Cherie a little spending cash when she goes to Toledo. To celebrate we went into Midland and ate out.

We went to Rosa’s because they have what they call “Taco Tuesday” where a taco meal is real cheap. For us that was a treat. Gone are the days of fine dining where we might spend a hundred bucks on a meal. Cherie had never really had such a dining experience till we got back together. That was when I received the two years of back disability payments that came when I was finally approved. I took her to some of the places I had frequented when I had my two companies and was used to this level of living. It was great to see the wonder on her face during these times.

I was still real slow so let Cherie know she must drive. In fact, when Bill came over I explained to him what was going on so he would understand why my speech was slow and that it would take me a while to understand and follow what was going on. Telling him it was like being stoned I said “It’s hard to believe I used to spend money to get this way”.

We will be getting up at 3:00 tomorrow morning to be on the road to Albuquerque by 4:00. We need to get to the VA hospital by 12:30 for my appointment at the neurology department. Maybe they will be able to reduce these slow downs. I still have a headache. Those don’t usually last this long. Gotta get some sleep so good night all.