Friday, March 30, 2007

Brownie at the Door ( ... not the kind that sells Girl Scout Cookies) & The Wisdom of Dogs

Last Saturday ... 8 AM ... all is calm, all is bright ... I've just had a fine night's sleep (not too many of those with the ribs mending) and was relishing the still of the morning ... enter Diva - piercing the silence. She was barking up a stink about something so it looked like sleeping in 'til 9 was not going to work this day. I rolled my sorry self out of bed and lummoxed down the stairs, opened the front door to find Brownie, a doberman from the neighborhood, sitting there with what looked like a satallite dish around his neck. I closed my eyes and tried to process the vision. OK - it's a just 'no bite' collar - make yourself some strong coffee and let Brownie in. Upon closer inspection (after I got my glasses) it was revealed that Brownie also had a muzzle around his snout. Be came downstairs to the sight of our morning visitor running around and smashing his collar into whatever was in his way and whining as best as he could through his muzzle. I put on the coffee. Gotta be Starbucks. We took off the 2 pieces of 'traction' and he immediately began helping himself to Diva's food and water. He was not a particularly neat diner and it actually looked like he was having his own personal food fight.
Some Brownie background before we continue - Brownie's owners are at their wit's end as they have tried everything to keep him from biting his foot. They have to leave him alone a good deal of the time and he has developed this behavior out of boredom, thus the collar and muzzle. His foot is bandaged and since last week, the healing has improved and his limp is less severe. Brownie is a great dog and was just starving for attention.
I said in a commanding voice (which scared me) "Brownie! Come!" He responded without missing a beat and jumped up on his hind legs, put his front paws on my shoulders (I'm 6') and looked me in the eyes as if to say "Talk to me!" He followed me over to the couch and I took his head in my hands and just told him "Good boy! What a handsome doggie! Good Brownie!" He started settling down as I continued to rub his head and stroke his shiny coat. Before long, he was laying on the floor, asleep at my feet. Diva came over and laid down next to him. She wanted in on the act.
OK - it could get a bit weird here. You've got to understand - we're "First Time Prospective Parents with AARP Memberships" - I said to Be "Hey Be. Could these dogs be teaching us a lesson? I mean - we've never paid attention to Brownie because he always behaved like John Belushi in "Animal House" but look at him now - all we did was listen to him! There's one happy doggie! "
(2 actually - we had treated Brownie like we treated Diva)
It sparked a discussion on "Listening to Your Children". As prospective parents who are rapidly approaching "The Golden Years" we reflected on friends in our life's journey who avoided or did not have time to listen to their kids. We've observed parent's/children's behaviors over the last 25 years of our marriage and have stored up a vault of memories with the help of those around us. We have witnessed their parenting behaviors and the outcome. Hopefully, as we approach the next crossroads in our lives, we'll use those memories and, just as we should be listening to God .... do the right thing.
So, thanks, Brownie & Diva, for your input on our continuing story ..... and Brownie, stop by anytime......

Saturday, March 24, 2007

So ...... How Do You Celebrate a 1 Year Log In Anniversary?

March 24 - Our 1 Year Log In - according to our agency, approx 18 mo from log in date 'till referral - it's a step - but no real biggie. Looks like we'll celebrate in our log cabin in Orlando.

Tomorrow, our unofficial adoption support group will meet and take on some conversational Mandarin taught by one of our members who has been learning from the internet.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Tag - I'm It

I've decided to take up the challenge on one of these blog questionaires - received this one from Ford and since I was home for so long with the rib thing, I was able to finish it up. I left it in the Drafts folder for a while until I could proof read it - the bulk of the questionaire was done under the influence of pain killers .......

Have you ever ......
1. Bought everyone in the bar a drink.
02. Swam with wild dolphins. Manatees @ Crystal River (before the ban), dolphins – within 20 feet
03. Climbed a mountain. Half Dome in Yosemite & Mount Dora in Central Florida
04. Taken a Ferrari for a test drive.
05. Been inside the Great Pyramid.
06. Held a tarantula.
07. Taken a candlelit bath with someone. Note to self: need more candles
08. Said “I love you’ and meant it. 25 years worth
09. Hugged a tree. Still recovering
10. Bungee jumped.
11. Visited Paris. Danced on the sidewalk to the music of street musicians outside the Louvre
12. Watched a lightning storm at sea. We live in Florida – Lightning capital of the world 13. Stayed up all night and watched the sunrise. Insomnia - oy! --- Sunrises - beautiful!
14. Seen the Northern Lights.
15. Gone to a huge sports game.
16. Walked the stairs to the top of the leaning Tower of Pisa.
17. Grown and eaten your own vegetables. Yes – yield: 7 tomatoes ----- Water bill: high enough to continue buying tomatoes at Winn-Dixie
18. Touched an iceberg.
19. Slept under the stars. But only because my tent mate snored
20. Changed a baby’s diaper Yep – and more to come
21. Taken a trip in a hot air balloon. What a hoot!
22. Watched a meteor shower. Wouldn’t call it a shower – observed 4 or 5
23. Gotten drunk on champagne. When I was young and much more foolish.
24. Given more than you can afford to charity. Always remember who "owns" what has been given to us in stewardship. (Answer borrowed from Ford & Alyson)
25. Looked up at the night sky through a telescope. I viewed a distant galaxy in a non-motorized telescope. As the earth rotated and the galaxy became out of range of the telescope, I realized my puniness
26. Had an uncontrollable giggling fit at the worst possible moment. The church giggles – always the church giggles
27. Had a food fight
28. Bet on a winning horse.
29. Asked out a stranger. I’m getting too old for this survey
30. Had a snowball fight. Lived in New Jersey for 17 years
31. Screamed as loudly as you possibly can. Just now …… had to cough ---- broken ribs
32. Held a lamb.
33. Seen a total eclipse. March 3, 2007
34. Ridden a roller coaster. We are roller coaster junkies – even though I need Dramamine
35. Hit a home run.
36. Danced like a fool and not cared who was looking. Every time I ‘dance’. Wait till you see my famous “Chinese Dragon Dance”
37. Adopted an accent for an entire day.
38. Actually felt happy about your life, even for just a moment. It’s not unusual
39. Had two hard drives for your computer.
40. Visited all 50 states
41. Taken care of someone who was drunk. …..and it was uglier than my dancing
42. Had amazing friends. We are richly blessed.
43. Danced with a stranger in a foreign country. On a cruise while touring the Greek islands
44. Watched wild whales.
45. Stolen a sign. While working in a power plant during college, I was on a catwalk above the acoustical ceiling in the generator room – a sign said “DO NOT STEP ON CEILING” --- I had to have it
46. Backpacked in Europe.
47. Taken a road-trip. Did a cross country road trip – 10 weeks – in 1973
48. Gone rock climbing. Sections of the Half Dome climb came close to it
49. Midnight walk on the beach. A common activity when I lived on the beach at Singer Island in the mid 70s
50. Gone sky diving.
51. Visited Ireland.
52. Been heartbroken longer than you were actually in love.
53. In a restaurant, sat at a stranger’s table and had a meal with them.
54. Visited Japan
55. Milked a cow.
56. Alphabetized your CDs.
57. Pretended to be a superhero.
58. Sung karaoke. I'm a ham
59. Lounged around in bed all day.
60. Posed nude in front of strangers. I would not make many friends posing nude
61. Gone scuba diving. Many times
62. Kissed in the rain. And in the shower also
63. Played in the mud. During the rain in 62
64. Played in the rain. I'll play anywhere
65. Gone to a drive-in theater. Many times in the 60s
66. Visited the Great Wall of China. If all goes according to plan, during 2007
67. Started a business.
68. Fallen in love and not had your heart broken. Presently
69. Toured ancient sites. Pyramids in Tical, Guatemala - Biblical sites in Israel & Lebanon - Athens & 6 Greek Islands - Pyramids of Guimar, Tenerife, Canary Islands - Indian excavations near Ridgecrest CA
70. Taken a martial arts class.
71. Played a game for more than 6 hours straight
72. Gotten married. 9/12/81
73. Been in a movie. Cutting room floor Jaws 3
74. Crashed a party.
75. Gotten divorced.
76. Gone without food for 5 days
77. Made cookies from scratch. And won the men's dessert bake off at our church
78. Won first prize in a costume contest. As Tommy Lee Jones' character in "Men In Black"
79. Ridden a gondola in Venice.
80. Gotten a tattoo
81. Rafted the Snake River.
82. Been on television news programs as an “expert”.
83. Got flowers for no reason.
84. Performed on stage. If there's an audience .......
85. Been to Las Vegas. Several times
86. Recorded music. If there's an audience ......
87. Eaten shark. Tates like chicken
88. Had a one-night stand.
89. Gone to Thailand
90. Bought a house. Once ..... 22 years ago ..... still live in the same house
91. Been in a combat zone.
92. Buried one/both of your parents. Mom passed on in Dec 2000
93. Been on a cruise ship. Greek Islands, 1998 - Bahamas, 2002
94. Spoken more than one language fluently.
95. Performed in Rocky Horror.
96. Raised children (or…raising children). Better late than never - late 2007
97. Followed your favorite band/singer on tour. Moody Blues
98. Taken an exotic bicycle tour in a foreign country.
100. Picked up and moved to another city to start over. Left home in 1968 for Florida
101. Walked the Golden Gate Bridge. In 2003
102. Sang loudly in the car, and did not stop when you knew someone was looking. Absolutely!
103. Had plastic surgery.
104. Survived an accident that you shouldn't have survived.
105. Wrote articles for a large publication.
106. Lost over 100 pounds. At least (lifetime total)
107. Held someone while they were having a flashback.
108. Piloted an airplane.
109. Petted a stingray. At Sea World
110. Broken someone’s heart.
111. Helped an animal give birth.
112. Won money on a T.V. game show.
113. Broken a bone. Ankle while skiing 1993, 2 ribs just recently pruning trees
114. Gone on an African photo safari.
115. Had a body part of yours below the neck pierced.
116. Fired a rifle, shotgun, or pistol. At a police shooting range
117. Eaten mushrooms that were gathered in the wild. Picked them right out of the cow pies
118. Ridden a horse. Many times - not one of my favorite things, though
119. Had major surgery. Let's not go there
120. Had a snake as a pet.
121. Hiked to the bottom of the Grand Canyon.
122. Slept for more than 30 hours over the course of 48 hours.
123. Visited more foreign countries than U.S. states.
24. Visited all 7 continents.
125. Taken a canoe trip that lasted more than 2 days.
126. Eaten kangaroo meat.
127. Eaten sushi. Only because I'm a real trendy guy - kangaroo is not trendy
128. Had your picture in the newspaper. A while back
129. Changed someone’s mind about something you care deeply about.
130. Gone back to school.
131. Parasailed. Ocean City NJ 2004
132. Petted a cockroach.
133. Eaten fried green tomatoes. Only because I'm a real trendy guy
134. Read The Iliad.
135. Selected one “important” author who you missed in school, and read.
136. Killed and prepared an animal for eating.
137. Skipped all your school reunions. I gotta think ..... What high school did I go to?
138. Communicated with someone without sharing a common spoken language. In France
139. Been elected to public office.
140. Written your own computer language.
141. Thought to yourself that you’re living your dream.
142. Had to put someone you love into hospice care.
143. Built your own PC from parts.
144. Sold your own artwork to someone who didn’t know you. Sold our stained glass art in shows in Central Florida early on in our marriage
145. Had a booth at a street fair. That's where we sold the stained glass
146. Dyed your hair. Oy! Yes
147. Been a DJ.
148. Shaved your head.
149. Caused a car accident.
150. Saved someone’s life.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

"Spamapalooza" or "Too Much TIme in the Adoption Waiting Room"

The Table Awaits the Spamaliscious Creations

Every other Saturday evening, our Bible study group meets, shares dinner together and then spends the rest of the evening study a book in the Scriptures. Several weeks back, we mentioned that we went to see the Monty Python stage show Spamalot and discovered that several members were Python fans. At that, one of the participants suggested "Why don't we theme our next dinner meeting around Spam?" (That person was not one of us.) So, 2 weeks later, we had our Spamapalooza feast including a period of speaking The King's English, a reading from the Book of Spamuel, music from "MP and the HG" , Barbeque Spam Appetizer and that famous treat from Greece - Spamicopita.

Although we were overloaded with items featuring the innocent looking pink canned meat, the treatments were quite good and the presentation, eye catching. Mid-way through our Bible study later in the evening, it was noted that all participants had tall glasses of ice water at their places. Apparently, high sodium fine dining was not a regular activity of this group - and Spam at dessert ........ right out.

Be (in her best Rachael Ray pose) with Spam Roll Ups

Spam Sushi - just in case you need a close up view.....

Fine Dining - In the foreground: Spam musubi is a very popular snack or luncheon food in Hawaii made in the tradition of Japanese onigiri or omusubi. A slice of Spam is placed onto a block of rice and a piece of nori (dried seaweed) wrapped around the Spam-rice combination to hold it together, Asian Spam Soup with clear broth, pork, egg noodles & vegetables, Spam Vegetable Roll Ups with avocado, tomato & other veggies.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

"Bloggers in Paradise" or "Is There an AARP Discount for the China Country Fee?"

I remember getting Ford's e-mail about a year or so ago explaining that he & his lovely wife, Alyson, had come across our blog and how our adoption stories paralelled each other. Ford would be retiring and stay at home with their daughter from China, Alyzabeth An, and Alyson would continue working at her position in Jacksonville. I yelled to my wife Be! There's someone else out there!

And so we followed their story and exchanged e-mails from that time until it was obvious that we were unique travellers on the adoption highway and needed to get together. On St Patrick's Day (71 degrees, light breeze, occasional passing cloud), we met in downtown Sanford (Ford & Aly were doing some volunteer work with the Methodist Children's Home just up the road from Sanford - they live about 30 miles from St Augustine) and we shared a wonderful 3 hours covering plans, anxieties, experiences and good humor with our new friends. We clicked and knew it was a God-thing. Don (still recovering from 2 broken ribs) was propped up in a chair at the outdoor cafe being as immobile as possible and Be dispensed pain killers while keeping the wine bottle out of Don's reach. We discussed the fact that there are no manuals or support groups out there for the "55 Something Future Stay-at-Home-Dad Adopting a Young Child (perhaps it will be our job to write the book). We explored visions of a typical day for our families, Chinese/American influences, the adoption situation in Guatemala (see previous post), comfort zones in a "Stay-at-Home-Mom" culture as well as our common faith.

It is not within the realms of my comfort zone to just take up and go out on a limb to an event like our St Patrick's Day meeting - but it was evident before I even sat down that this was a couple of substance and incredible character. Aly, you're delightful & Ford. ..... I think there's a wildman in there. Let's keep the fire burning, Ford & Aly.

Love & God Bless You,
Don & Be

Check out Ford & Aly's Blog or click on "Imagine Alyzabeth An" on our Adoption Blogs list on the right.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Diva - The Multi-Ethnic Canine Love Sponge

Any visitor to our blog has probably guessed that we love our dog, Diva. We sprung her from the Orange County Humane Society in August of 2003 and she walked into our home like she owned the place. Dad had come to live with us in July of the same year and was lonely during the day while Be & I were at work. Step in Diva. Dog and Daddy-O bonded like old buddies and she filled an important void in dad's life. He was 91 at the time and although he was able to walk (shuffle is more like it) Diva proved to be a bit unsteadying for him as he toured the yard around the house. One afternoon, he fell in the back yard and was unable to get back up on his feet. Diva hung out with him for awhile until she realized that he needed help that her company alone could not provide. So she strutted out to the street, stood at the curb and barked at cars until a neighbor stopped. She then led our friend back to where Daddy-O was still laying on the ground, unhurt, and he was assisted back to his room where he stayed until one of us got home from work. She had no training for this behavior and this event revealed that we had a remarkable animal under our roof.
A White Boxer mix (we're not sure who daddy was, thus the Multi Ethnic Canine Love Sponge title - daddy was probably a Grayhound or Dalmatian), Diva responded easily to tricks which we learned off the internet. She proved to be a real ham when it came to entertaining company and neighborhood kids. Then it hit ... after a routine mamogram, Be was diagnosed with breast cancer and subsequently had a mastectomy in December of the same year. During her recovery, Diva proved to be a healing and comforting presence not only to Be, but to Daddy-O and myself as well. Be is cancer free and we are most thankful for her continuing health.
It wasn't long until it was realized that Daddy-O was in need of continuing care and could not be left alone without being a threat to himself. Madison House (a continuing care facility - a step up from assisted living without being called a nursing home) was 1 mile from our house and he has been living there since May of 2004. Diva instantly became a comfort animal to the residents there and although many of them don't know our names, they sure know their Diva. When we realized her capabilities in entertaining the seniors, we enrolled her in a 12 week course called Canine Crusaders where she learned the behaviors for visitations to nursing & retirement centers & hospitals. She now visits a nursing home on a monthly basis with us and spreads her special variety of joy to the residents. One of the staff saw Diva with a patient who was mostly unresponsive and shouted "Look at Frank! He's smiling!"
The pictures below were taken on a recent visit to Madison House - the first includes Diva, Be & Daddy-O and the others are some of the residents with the DivaDog.

Thursday, March 15, 2007


Our treasured friends, Dan & Pat Lee, sent us the following item. We worked with the Lees on the worship team at a church we attended for many years and have shared quite a few good times with them. Several of their relatives live in the San Francisco area - they look VERY Chinese but they're American as apple pie. They have been wonderful supporters of our adoption of Joanna .... in fact, it was at their suggestion that we started this blog ........

This homey bit of Cantonese language heritage was sent to us by Phil M. in L.A. and we happily pass it on to you. I had a craving for a sweet taste of childhood the other day; so I went shopping for a can of grass jelly. I was putting said treat into my cart and looking for my Ranch 99 VIP card when a woman with three kids in tow ran into my cart.At that moment, both of us said, "Ai-ya." The children giggled, she apologized, and I quickly replied, "M'sai. No apology needed." Although it was a minor exchange, I later realized that Ai-ya is more than just two characters; it is part of the spirit of being Chinese ... in a moment of surprise I could've said just about anything - my reaction was to say Ai-ya. I was surprised that I would instinctively use my mother's tongue because I've always known that I don't speak Cantonese well. No matter how far removed I've become as an American, there is something at my core that is Chinese.I decided to conduct informal research about Ai-ya. First, I went to a national bookstore chain to review its Chinese language materials. I thumbed through all the Chinese language materials, but couldn't find any vocabulary drill including Ai-ya. Seeing that the publishers of tourist books were not going to be helpful, I decided to observe its use in the community. I clipped my cell phone to my belt, grabbed a couple of bakery pink boxes and sat around San Francisco's Portsmouth Square drinking 7-Up and eating dim sum. Lo and behold, I heard Ai-ya used in a variety of ways.

Based on my personal experience and this observation, I've developed a personal understanding of Ai-ya. Aiya is 24-carat Chinese gold. Ai-ya is more than just two characters; it is part of the spirit of being Chinese and may even go back to antiquity. It is used wherever the Chinese have been in the diaspora of the last sesquicentennial.How you say Ai-ya can say volumes about your state of mind. For example, when the problem is minor, I can say "Ai-ya" in a short/curt manner. However when I am extremely stressed, I can draw it out to nearly five seconds. (I'm planning an experiment where I get a room full of people to meditate using it as a mantra.. With practice, I might get them to draw out Ai-ya even longer.)As you read the following ways Aiya can be used, the mental image to solicit is to picture any of t he mothers from Amy Tan's *The Joy Luck Club.* For those who have met anyone in my family, you can picture one of my relatives instead:Surprise: "Ai-ya! A surprise party for me?"

Joy: "Ai-ya! You got 5 out of 6 in Lotto!"

Distaste: "You expect me to drink that herbal medicine concoction of yours? Aiya!"

Doubt: "Do I have to wear that lemon yellow/lime green sweater my mother made? I wonder if she would notice if I accidentally donated it to Goodwill? Ai-ya."

Awe: "Your son got accepted into Harvard Law School!?! Ai-ya!"

Irritation: "Clean your room. Ai-ya! Why you live like a pig?" [Here I have to insert a version of Dan Lee's, when extremely and suddenly irritated: the multiple Ai-ya, "Ai-ya, ai-ya, ai-ya, ai-ya, ai-ya!" which needs to be said fast enough that it sounds like one word. I also, in his defense, have to say that he hasn't used this particular expression in quite a while.]

Large astonishment: "Ai-ya! She switch majors from Business to Art History!"

Disapproval: "Report Card-5 A, 1 B? Always a B in Math. Ai-ya." (Actual quote from my mother when I was a sophomore in high school.)

Shock: "What? Ketchup on Yang Chow Fried Rice ... Ai-ya!"

Outrage: "Never clean your rice cooker with that steel scouring pad! Ai-ya!"

Verge of internal combustion: "I can't deal with the family asking when and if I'm getting married! Ai-yaaa!"

Ai-ya is an all-purpose phrase that comes from deep in the soul. Ai-ya is both simple and complex: on one hand it is a couple of Chinese characters, on the other hand it can be a whole speech describing the state you are in. Ai-ya says, "I'm afraid", "I'm in pain", "I don't believe it." It is an exclamation of exuberance, a shout of hurt, a cry of fear, and the reflex of being startled, and the embrace of joy.It is unfortunate that English has no equivalent to Ai-ya. It saddens me that American English doesn't afford me a fun phrase to emote. "Shucks", "Darn" and the plethora of swear words cannot convey what Ai-ya can. So, I'm going to propose that we start an initiative for American English should grab on Ai-ya or the Yiddish "Oy" for our use.

So the next time you go to a teahouse for dim sum or decide to go shopping at an Asian market, listen to the lively banter as friends and families meet. It's a wonderfully vibrant, alive community out there. Who knows, you just might get caught up the lyrical rhythm of the people.Ai-ya, what fun!

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Take These Shackles Off My Feet So I Can Dance

LID 3/24/2006


We are out of the review room!

The CCAA has finished the review of the adoption application documents registered with our office before March 31, 2006. The CCAA has finished the placement of children for the families whose adoption application documents were registered with our office before October 24, 2005."

I feel like I've been released from bondage - although nothing is final until Joanna is sleeping in her bed here in Orlando. We are thankful to the cheerleaders out there in blogland and friends & family who have gone through this process with us. Congratulations to those who received similar good news. Looks like they have 5 months worth of applications before the CCAA matches us up with Joanna - maybe we'll know who she is, say, by the end of summer? So ..... the journey continues ....... My chopsticks are packed - I'm ready for China!

Monday, March 05, 2007

A Tale of Two Ribs

It Was The Best of Weeks - It Was The Worst of Weeks. It was a week of enlightenment, it was a week of foolishness - in short, much like the present week as I am still capable of participation in both the light and darkness of the week past. Sunday started out as a banner day - it was the first day of my vacation and it came at just the right time as we had recently finished a particularly hellish 2 week period of time at Orlando International Airport trying to get passengers to their destinations in the wake of extreme weather in the northeast. This was my first Sunday singing in our church choir (my work schedule changed allowing me the spiritual luxury of doing the church gig on Sunday for once) and it went without a hitch. We had practiced some pretty crankin' tunes for a sleepy 9 AM service in a Baptist church, so many hearing aids in the congregation were reset at 1 or 2, at least until the sermon started. It was the kickoff of 40 days of renewal, so we used part of the afternoon for the bible study corresponding to the first day of the revival. The lesson called for the participant to rely on God's soverignty in spite of the fact that things may not always go our way (a reinforcement of that which is getting us through this long waiting period of Joanna's adoption).
That evening, dinner with some good friends at a favorite restaurant capped off our day.

Monday - no alarm clock - no work - revival - and I had not even opened the study lesson yet! Well, this was to be a honey-do vacation to prepare our home for our 25th wedding anniversary party (originally in September 06, but there was just too much happening in that month and we kept postponing it) scheduled for Sunday, March 4. So, my goal was to get the side yard in shape so that it looked descent for the event - cutting, pruning, weeding and other jobs were on the schedule for the day. The morning's accomplishments included pressure cleaning of the driveway, walkways and porches. After lunch, I began sawing branches and limbs which had gotten a bit out of hand during the winter. Then it hit - while standing on the top rung of my 6' step ladder (not the top platform where it says "Do Not Stand"), the ladder shot out from under me. As gravity manifested itself, I tried to wrap my arms around the tree (gives new meaning to the term tree hugger) but all it did was leave tree rash on the inside of my arms and I hit the ground with a crack (actually 2 cracks) - my ribs - numbers 7 & 8 in the pic......

So ...... relying on God's soverignty ...... His control on the events of our lives ...... this is going to be interesting as the week plays out and I've got all this work to do .......

When I caught my breath and shook the demons out of my head, I thought about those 2 cracks in rapid succession and how familiar they sounded (flashback to 1993 in the Cascade Mountains in east Washington state when I broke my ankle while skiing - the first day of a week long trip - whole other story). So it hurt a bit - and my breathing was being restored - the cuts on the insides of my arms were not bleeding that bad --- so I continued hauling yard debris (as any manly man with no brain would do) until it started to hurt - bad. I felt like a real whimp - doesn't Jack Bauer break a few ribs and then jump out of a plane and save the country when the plane - loaded with a nuke - crashes in the middle of the desert out of harm's way? - 30 minutes later I made the decision to go to the ER - but only after I showered, shampooed and shaved - I was thinking clearly now - after all, they might keep me overnight and who knows when I'd get cleaned up?
I called Be on my drive into the hospital and you can only guess her reaction ---- go ahead, try and guess ----- What????? You think you have broken ribs and you're driving?????
So, I took a breath and thought to myself ----- I wonder what the correct response is?
Actually, Be came up with the correct response and let me off the hook - I'll be right over and meet you in the waiting room.
As I sat in the lobby, in the worst pain I've ever had in my life, my thoughts were directed to those who were in constant pain - all their lives - cronic discomfort with no escape. As well as I could, I prayed for those in the lobby in worse shape than myself - boy did I feel puny! - until I was jarred back into my own reality with another stab to side. Soon, Be appeared through the door illuminated like Roma Downey in "Touched By An Angel" and began her process of distraction therapy. Finally, my name was called, CAT scan proved unremarkable and x-rays revealed the broken ribs - rest and don't do anything - yeah, right - I got a party to throw.
Well Tuesday, Wednesday & Thursday proved that I was NOT in control of the situation and I reflected on our study of Sunday afternoon (oy! I'm already 3 days behind!). I acknowledged God's soverignty in the whole thing - but broken ribs? Be took Thursday and Friday off to get some work done and neighbors caught wind of what was going on. Then, on Thursday afternoon, I look out the window and see my neighbor with a bunch of teen agers - weed eaters, edgers and lawn mowers throttled up coming over the small rise that divides our front lawn from the street (cue the "Barn Building" sound byte from the movie "Witness"). Turns out a bunch of the members from Dr. Phillips Wrestling Team were over his house and they had the place done in an hour. Other neighbors and friends from church accomplished pre-planning, set up, planting and food coordination in preparation for Sunday's event.
OK, God - I acknowledge your soverignty but we gotta talk about the rib thing.
Sunday morning arrived and neighbors were out in the yard before I even pulled my sorry self out of bed - ouch! After the finishing touches, table cloths were spread, lights set up, The Harold Blanchard Jazz Quartet was in place, I had some good drugs on board and Jazz on the Porch - 25th Anniversary Edition was in full swing. It began to chill down a bit at around 6 PM and a neighbor set up his portable firepit/cooker and the jazz continued into the evening. I'll share some of our reflections on 25 years of marriage in a future post ....... meantime, enjoy the pics from the event ........ the 50 or so in attendance had been significant in our lives and we were honored that they came out for the event. Here's to family, good friends and neighbors! And someone ----- other than myself ------ Who was in control.

In the pics ........
The front porch all cleaned up and ready for Jazz on the Porch
Don with some of the US Airways gals
Vocalist Suzy Parks
Ron Cangro, drums - Chuck Archard, bass - Harold Blanchard, keys
Jazz on the Porch as the night gets a bit chilly
Be - in her China togs - a Christmas gift from who else? Pic was taken after the neighbors had cleaned up after the party