Sunday, November 29, 2009

The comfort of Brooklyn


In all the sadness of the past couple of days since loosing Sadie, a sweet little pup I call "LBD" for little black dog whose real name is Brooklyn. We are babysitting for Zack until they get their yard fenced in. LBD is a sweet black lab pup who fell out of the back of a pickup in Fayetteville. Long story short, my daughter was keeping him so the boys wouldn't get in trouble for having her in the dorm and what was supposed to be a 1 week keep has become a month. Sadie loved having LBD around and when she and Em would leave to go home Sadie would fall in the floor and sleep off the "I had to play with the puppy" exhaustion.

LBD has been at my side since the passing of Sadie. It seems she knows I need a dog friend right now to hold and remember good times and to get passed this sad time. Right now she is alseep at my feet...snoring! HA!

Thank you Brook... you're a true little sweetheart.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Losing Sadie


My day after Thanksgiving started out fun and adventurous. Went out to shoot some frosty photos and had nabbed a couple of good shots that I was happy with.

Got home about 8:30am from the shoot and made coffee with caramel. Then the task of bringing down the Christmas decorations. Was finishing that up around 12 and the girls were heading out for some shopping. I decided to take a break and heat up some leftovers and watch a few minutes of TV. Zack's lab pup was sitting on the sofa beside me and Sadie was wandering around then sat by my feet. A few moments later I noticed I was feeling a draft and got up to see if a window was cracked open or something. As I walked around to the kitchen the door was wide open. The breeze had pushed it open and I had not pulled it closed all the way when I came in. My first thought was oh no the dog is out in the front yard. I walked out and looked around and didn't see her then came back in. I thought she'll be back in just a moment but I ditched the thought and went back out and called her fully expecting her to run around from the side yard. Nothing. I walked to the end of the drive then at that moment my world went into a haze. She was in the middle of the road and had been hit. No car or truck around. I could tell from her wound it was a quick death, which as sad as I am was thankful. I kneeled down beside her in the middle of the road and began to cry. I knew I had to remove her and placed her gently in a pile of leaves in our yard and texted the girls to come home, then went into the house and completely lost it.

I lost it again when the girls came in. It was a very sad moment for all of us. I called my mom and asked if I could bury the dog at the back of their land, in the woods. It was a numbing but well needed time alone. After the burial I sat in the woods crying yet again. I never realized how painful it could be to become this attached to a dog and loose her so suddenly.

I remember the day we got her, the little ball of fur. She always greeted us when we got home and loved to get on our bed when we were gone and nudge all the pillows off the bed. I remember how she slept on the end of our daughters bed every night and even after she left for college she still slept in there. I remember how she would get so excited when Tyler would come over that she would wet. She would go crazy when Terri came in from the store because she always knew one of those white plastic bags had a treat in it for her. She was a happy dog, a loved dog... and will be missed oh so much.

Life will be good again... she would want that.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009


The weather seems to have turned it's frosty late fall self. I was wondering a few times because it would be cold then warm then cold the warm for a while. Looking at the forecast, the cold is rolling in for real this week. By cold I'm talking 30 for the lows and 50 for the highs.

I've got my heart set on shooting some good photos over the next 5 days. Some will be unique portraiture, some will be urban and some holiday. The holiday is going to be some long exposure Christmas lights I'm sure.

Got to head over to the office tomorrow but hoping for a light day since so many folks have taken the Wednesday before Thanksgiving off. Traffic will be a breeze going in and after work will be terrible because there is always a wreck on the afternoon before a holiday. Just seems to work out that way.

Hey ordered something very cool today! I got a Razorback cover for my cochlear implant magnet cover. Check this out:
Oh yeah baby!! PIG EAR!! I'm loving it. Can't wait for it to arrive. Check out skin it... cool stuff.

Had a light bulb come on tonight about music and my implant. Going to run over and bug the Audi for a piece of AB equipment that's not a standard piece and mess around with it over the weekend. I'll tell you more if it works. No not as cool as Howard's Ipod headphones but still.

Listening to the new Switchfoot for the millionth time. Just a great CD! Go to Itunes and download that puppy! It's called Hello Hurricane.

Oh and there's a bike in the mix for the weekend! Yep, going to wrap-up in warm cycling clothes and take it out for a roll. Wish me luck on that. Got my second invite for a bike event for next spring already. Competitive on the bike fundraising front these days.

Life is good!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Still having CI moments 2 years later

Beautiful sunrise here in central Arkansas on the late fall morning. Most of the leaves have fallen allowing extra sun to fill the house with it's warming welcome. There's a comic strip called Hi and Lois that has been around a long time and in the strip there is a little baby named Trixie and she always has a sunbeam that she sits in and talks to it. I'm almost the same way. Sunshine in the morning or anytime is good for the soul.

It's been a good weekend so far. Spent the day in Benton at my folks home watching the Arkansas Razorbacks whip Mississippi State. Always good to have some time with Dad. He walks less and less these days. It makes me sad to see him like that. Always been an on-the-go sort of fellow. I'm not much of a fan of old age and what it does to people. But anyway, like I was saying, it was fun to spend time with him. Mom usually takes advantage of my being their to get out of the house for a few hours and shop. I laughed when she pulled up into the carport yesterday because she hit up Walmart big. The whole inside of the truck was full as well as some heavier things in the back. Actually I sort of expected it since I knew she would be loading up to feed the whole herd as we gather for Thanksgiving holiday on Thursday. I raked and burned a massive amount of leaves yesterday and even after driving the 30 minute drive home I still could smell the burn. Going to the "country", watching football, and burning leaves, i can only smile!

It's cool after 2 years (11.27.07) of having a Cochlear Implant ( I still have what recipients call CI Moments. Friday night I as sitting in the home office also called the Man Den (my family is laughing) and I kept hearing a squeaking noise. It was making me crazy. I walked around and it was as if I was playing "You're getting warmer, you're getting colder". I finally found the squeak, a ceiling fan at the other end of the house. Amazing!

CI Moment #2 happening yesterday. While at my parents I could have swore I was hearing ducks. I looked up at the skies but none were flying over and if you're not from Arkansas, we have a massive amount of ducks that come through this time of the year. Duck season started yesterday. Famous people come to AR to hunt. It's that good. I looked and looked but never saw them. I went back to raking and maybe a half hour later there was the sound again. It was really making me crazy because I knew I was hearing ducks! I just stopped and stood still and starting slowly doing a 360. I spotted it! It was a neighbor of my parents, actually several guys standing my their trucks playing with their duck calls. Ok let me set this up better for you. I am on top of a hill probably 2 football fields away and I'm hearing duck calls. There are cars and trucks going down the highway, their is a leaf blower going the next house over which is about a football field away, not to mention I was raking and I still can pick out a duck call!! Thank you Advanced! I know that was like an infomercial wasn't it? HA! But I have to give a shout out to those guys who make a product that makes my hearing beyond real again ... 2 years later!

Life is good!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Advanced Bionics -- Part 2

So like I was saying I got down stairs and loaded a plate full of great food and found an open spot at a table. The first folks I met were Brain, Susan and their very cute daughter Lilly and Granddad Eric. Super nice folks from Nebraska. Lilly has bilateral implants and I didn't even notice them. I kept wondering who in the family had the CI. As the weekend rolled on it was clear that Lilly would steal the show at every meal. What a beautiful and happy little girl she.

During desert I moved over to another table with Edie, our AB rep, Matt, James, and Patty, another AB guru and Ellyn who has a child with a CI. I could tell it was going to be a fun weekend. A little later some guy in a suit walks in. I just assumed he was another CI guy and lived nearby. Come to find out it was Jerry who is over Marketing. I think he does a lot of other duties as well but marketing seems to be the big one. He ended up on our table and is a generally nice guy.

As the first dinner begins to wind down we began leaving and I walk out to the front of the hotel and the AB building across the street is really lit up in nice lighting. I find Matt and let him know I was going to shoot, he joins me. We get some nice shots.

Day 2:
Up way way too early. I'm still on central time zone but living in pacific. I wake around 6 every morning but this was 4am! I can't go back to sleep so I'm up watching TV and dozing off and on. Lucky for me breakfast opens at 6:30. Huge omelets and fruit! The rest of the day was spent touring the AB plant which was real nice and working with different discussion groups. I made sure I told several employees thanks for what they do.

We head over to Sicily for dinner and I sat with Tine, Jill (AB), Kim and Pam and someone else who's name I can not remember. The food was good. We had a choice after dinner to shop for a couple of hours or head back to the hotel. After the full day and the 4am wake up I was ready to call it and crash on the sofa and zone out.

Day 3:
Aww crud, up again too early. A full packed Saturday with discussion groups and more new friendships. The day ended great and the last dinner was really good. Everyone began saying good bys due to the fact that some were leaving that night and some were leaving super early the next morning. I opted to fly out at 11:35 Sunday morning. For a hearing impaired gut that was nice because if I would have had to be up at 5:30 I'm sure I would have done it but I would not have slept well at all having the thought of over sleeping going on.

Departure day:
Once again another great breakfast then over to the business center to print out my boarding passes to head home. The folks flying US Airways were unable to print theirs. Bummer. 9:25 rolls around and I met Kim and Matt in the lobby for the ride to the airport. Ah yes, the black Mercedes again! I love it. I picked up Dan Brown's "Lost Code" book for the flight home. Great book if you like the others he has written. The trip home was uneventful except that there was some westler on the plane a few rolls in front. The guy was huge and had a bleached mohawk.

So there you have it... that was sort of like looking at Uncle Bobs slides from his middle east trip huh? HA!

In all seriousness, I want to thank Advanced Bionics for all they did and especially Linda out there for setting it all up for us. I made some friendships that will last a lifetime and I hope that someday I can return for a reunion.

Life is good!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Advanced Bionics

Advanced Bionics new building at night

Thursday, 11:25a (LIT) Little Rock National Airport.
Sitting happy in my single row seat on American ready to fly up into the crystal clear blue sky on my way to Burbank with a DFW stop and plane change. Little bit of a tension due to short time frame to change at DFW. Take off was beautiful and we fly and bank right over the top of my house 8 miles away. Love it! For the next hour I think of life as a cochlear implant user and enjoy the beauty of the Arkansas into Texas landscape. As we descend toward DFW I'm surprised to see so many neighborhoods that were started and never finished. They look like an Arkansas neighborhood after a tornado clean. Nothing but slaps of concrete.

12:35 -- Good afternoon ladies and gentleman and welcome to Dallas-Fort Worth. Matt and I easily find the Skylink and roar over to the terminal to grab the next flight to Burbank. Made it so easy over there and with minutes to spare we grab mini pizzas and wolf them down just as they began calling groups to board. My row this time was 14D. Yes, another aisle seat. There were three seats on this row and the middle was empty. The girl sitting closest to the window and myself were happy to have an open between us. Makes for a nice flight. She was on her way home to celebrate her mom's birthday in Pasadena. She grew up around he Tournament of Roses Parade. I told her my wife and I have that on our bucket list.

A couple hours into the flight I notice outside everything is miles of brown... it's a desert. Soon we fly upon a mountains and I'm in awe of the way they look. Different from tree covered Arkansas mountains. I can't stopped looking out the window. Beautiful yet very different.

As we descend to Burbank I get a buzz in y pocket, yep, I thought I had turned off the phone but didn't. I sneak a look and it says, "Hello! This is Tim. I'm your driver. I am in a black Mercedes at the curb. There is an Advanced Bionics sign in the front window." I burst out laughing! HELLLLOOOO Burbank! I think I'm gonna love you!

We grab our bags and head out front to find a beautiful brand new Mercedes awaiting our arrival. I am seriously impressed with the generosity of Advanced Bionics already. Tim loads our bags and we meet Kim for the first time. She also has a CI (cochlear implant). Sure nice lady. As we leave the parking lot I start quizzing Tim about Burbank and all the touristy stuff you would expect. Super nice guy.

We arrive at the Embassy Suites was is right across the street from the brand new Advanced Bionics building. Beautiful room! We have a short time to relax before dinner that evening. I drop to the sofa and close my burning eyes. Next thing I know I wake up 30 minutes later! It's time for dinner.

Head down and meet up with the folks who will over the next few days will become great friends with a common bond and calling. Advanced Bionics cochlear implants.

Check back for more story... good stuff ahead!

Life is good!

Monday, November 09, 2009

Starting it back uo!

Several folks have asked me to start the blog back up so here is a little jump start... I'm getting real glasses. I guess it comes with the territory of turning 50 several months ago. In fact this is going to be a short start because I had my eye dilated a few hours ago and they are still a little tripping out. Plus I was asked if my eyes had been itching. I said no and doc said, you have allergies in your eyes. So gee whiz!

So anyway as soon as this settles down I'll post some good funny stuff.

Always remember... life is good!