Sunday, May 27, 2007

2 Great Stories!


Many years ago, Al Capone virtually owned Chicago . Capone wasn't famous for anything heroic. He was notorious for enmeshing the windy city in everything from boot-legged booze and prostitution to murder.

Capone had a lawyer nicknamed "Easy Eddie." He was Capone's lawyer for a good reason. Eddie was very good! In fact, Eddie's skill at legal maneuvering kept Big Al out of jail for a long time.

To show his appreciation, Capone paid him very well. Not only was the money big, but also, Eddie got special dividends. For instance, he and his family occupied a fenced-in mansion with live-in help and all of the conveniences of the day. The estate was so large that it filled an entire Chicago City block.

Eddie lived the high life of the Chicago
mob and gave little consideration to the atrocity that went on around him.

Eddie did have one soft spot, however. He had a son that he loved dearly. Eddie saw to it that his young son had clothes, cars, and a good education. Nothing was withheld. Price was no object.

And, despite his involvement with organized crime, Eddie even tried to teach him right from wrong. Eddie wanted his son to be a better man than he was.

Yet, with all his wealth and influence, there were two things he couldn't give his son; he couldn't pass on a good name or a good example.

One day, Easy Eddie reached a difficult decision. Easy Eddie wanted to rectify wrongs he had done.

He decided he would go to the authorities and tell the truth about Al "Scarface" Capone, clean up his tarnished name, and offer his son some semblance of integrity. To do this, he would have to testify against The Mob, and he knew that the cost would be great.

So, he testified.

Within the year, Easy Eddie's life ended in a blaze of gunfire on a lonely Chicago Street

But in his eyes, he had given his son the greatest gift he had to offer, at the greatest price he could ever pay. Police removed from his pockets a rosary, a crucifix, a religious medallion, and a poem clipped from a magazine.

The poem read:

The clock of life is wound but once,

And no man has the power to tell

Just when the hands will stop

At late or early hour.

Now is the only time you own.

Live, love, toil with a will.

Place no faith in time.

For the clock may soon be still.


World War II produced many heroes. One such man was Lieutenant Commander Butch O'Hare.

He was a fighter pilot assigned to the aircraft carrier Lexington in the South Pacific.

One day his entire squadron was sent on a mission. After he was airborne, he looked at his fuel gauge and realized that someone had forgotten to top off his fuel tank.

He would not have enough fuel to complete his mission and get back to his ship.

His flight leader told him to return to the carrier. Reluctantly, he dropped out of formation and headed back to the fleet.

As he was returning to the mother ship he saw something that turned his blood cold: a squadron of Japanese aircraft was speeding its way toward the American fleet.

The American fighters were gone on a sortie, and the fleet was all but defenseless. He couldn't reach his squadron and bring them back in time to save the fleet. Nor could he warn the fleet of the approaching danger. There was only one thing to do. He must somehow divert them from the

Laying aside all thoughts of personal safety, he dove into the formation of Japanese planes. Wing-mounted 50 caliber's blazed as he charged in, attacking one surprised enemy plane and then another. Butch wove in and out of the now-broken formation and fired at as many planes as possible until all his ammunition was finally spent.

Undaunted, he continued the assault. He dove at the planes, trying to clip a wing or tail in hopes of damaging as many enemy planes as possible and rendering them unfit to fly.

Finally, the exasperated Japanese squadron took off in another direction.

Deeply relieved, Butch O'Hare and his tattered fighter limped back to the carrier.

Upon arrival, he reported in and related the event surrounding his return. The film from the gun-camera mounted on his plane told the tale. It showed the extent of Butch's daring attempt to protect his fleet.

He had, in fact, destroyed five enemy aircraft.

This took place on February 20, 1942, and for that action Butch became the Navy's first Ace of W.W.II, and the first Naval Aviator to win the
Congressional Medal of Honor.

A year later Butch was killed in aerial combat at the age of 29.
His home town would not allow the memory of this WW II hero to fade, and today, O'Hare Airport in Chicago is named in tribute to the courage of this great man.

So, the next time you find yourself at O'Hare International, give some thought to visiting Butch's memorial displaying his statue and his Medal of Honor. It's located between Terminals 1 and 2.


Butch O'Hare was "Easy Eddie's" son.

(Pretty cool, huh?)

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Knee Update!


Doctor said my knee looked "better" he felt the blood clot was much smaller and more pliable. He said my body is working to resolve it... thus no surgery! WHOOPIE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

He said I am off bed rest... and can start walking around house with no brace. He wants me out of the brace 100% in the next 2 weeks. I start PT on Wed. He did warn me once I start PT that the swelling and pain would increase for about 1-2 weeks. After that he thought I would have a major break through. YIPPEE....

He said he felt getting me moving would help the swelling and fluid to get moving as well.

I AM SOOOOOOOOOOOOOO EXCITED!!!!!!!!!! I actually drove home with no brace and stood during Alex's T-ball game.

Thank you for all your patience with me... I am obviously not 100% but just knowing I am going forward has my spirits up.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Meaning of Life!

What is the meaning of life
by my WW friend Rukasu!

Good question. In fact, this is the question. I believe that life is meant to be enjoyed, it is a wonderful gift and many people waste it by getting swept away in materialism. I know I do all the time, and it is something that I struggle with. To clarify, this world and the things in it are not evil in and of themselves, but they are not the way they are supposed to be either. Sin is a very real reality, and it taints every aspect of our life and the world around us. I am blessed to live where I do, for many other places around the world are much worse off: both in possessions and in freedoms.

But back on track: We are meant to enjoy life. Life, many times, is frustrating, disappointing and terribly sad. Man oppresses man, beast kills beast, time never stops ticking and each step we take is one step closer to the end of something. On the other hand, many of us live at a standard of living that would have been incomprehensible just a few hundred years ago. We can have it all, yet we still become depressed or bored and then merely push our troubles aside and look forward to the next big thing that will make us happy. And when that thing no longer excites, well then we can always look forward to something else. That is our curse: we live too much in the future and not in the now. We are too busy arranging for our future enjoyment that we fail to enjoy our current state. And when we do enjoy our current state, it eventually leaves us empty. That's it? That's all there is? We distract ourselves from the uncomfortable reality that we do not have all the answers, that we do not know what happens when we do take that final step and that our current obsession is really very small and insignificant in the large scheme of things.

So where does this leave us? It leaves many of us with a dull, meaningless existence that we escape from whenever possible via movies, books, T.V., video games or vacation. Escaping makes us happy for a while, for it allows us to forget our problems and to forget ourselves, and to be swept into a new world without our problems. Still, entertainment is more than escapism: good stories resonate with us on a very deep level, they speak to us about our life. They force us to reflect, to put things into perspective and give us tools by which we can judge our current situation. Usually this happens after the fact, as a good story holds our interest and forces us to turn the page or continue watching. It is the connection that we feel to the characters or setting or themes which keeps us involved and drives us to reflect--reflect on the nature of reality, the struggle between good and evil and sometimes situations that real people had to face.

Stories are an important part of life, and almost all stories revolve around a protagonist or hero. Traditionally, the hero is an embodiment of the ideals of a culture, and exhibits the qualities that people hold in esteem. The hero quests after immortality, and because it is impossible for humans to obtain this physically many times the hero must win it through kleos or fame, so that his name will live on and be remembered. Even though life is hard, the dream of never-ending life is attractive. Other than Norse fatalism or Neitzschian existentialism, it is hard not to hope for something more, something better. Why? Because we have tasted it. Life is not only hard, it can also be glorious, thrilling, full of pleasure and sport. This is the dichotomy of our present existence. We live through the highs and lows, the ups and downs. Even though we may sink to the bottom of the sea, the dream of the mountain keeps us kicking upward. And if it has always been this way, should not it always be? Death is an incredibly hard concept to understand, for it seems like the negation of all that we know. The opposite of what we are. It is unknown. Therefore, immortality is comforting, it gives us peace of mind.

Many people believe that religion is the opiate of the masses. That people believe in God because it is the easy thing to do; he becomes their security blanket. This is true, but it does not change the fact that we will never be able to fill the emptiness in our lives with the things of this world--all the cars, money, relationships and vacations we want will not satisfy. We remain the same: the same wannabe hero searching for immortality and happiness. We will never find it unless we look to something greater than ourselves, something that can wash away all of the emotional crap that denies us joy. We feel guilty, we feel small, we feel like we are failures and sometimes we hate the things we do. But we can't change. We are stuck in the futility of life, and will continue to spin around in circles looking for anything that can give us direction and peace. I believe that only God can give us this direction and peace, he is the one who created us and he is the one who makes our lives worth living. We were meant to enjoy living: living in his presence and in his world that he gave us. We screwed it up, and ever since a separation has existed between us. We can't fix this broken relationship, he has to. And he has, in a very real and historical event. Not only does this allow us to find peace and contentment in every aspect of our lives, and therefore enjoy them so much more, but this also gives us victory over death. Where now, o Death, is thy sting? Life was supposed to last forever, it was supposed to be good, it was supposed to be enjoyed. We cannot fully experience these things in this current fallen state, but the promise of a new heaven and new earth gives me assurance that it will be once more.

That is much longer than I intended, and I am afraid there are many rabbit trails that I did not need to follow, but I hope that this answered your question more than danced around it.

"What we do in life echoes in eternity."
-Maximus Decimus Meriduis, Gladiator

Surgery again?

Sorry it has been so long but things have gotten a little crazy here. Here is the latest of what is currently happening with my leg. Unfortunately healing hasn't gone exactly easy or as planned.

May 8th - Went in for surgery. It lasted 1.5hrs. (compared to slated 30 min.) Had to scrap out a lot of arthritis, old blood / fluid, fix MCL, PCL (in 3 places), ACL, and Meniscus. He said there was a lot more damage than the MRI showed BUT.. the ACL was in better condition than he expected. I was sent home and could start weight bearing when I was ready.

May 10th - That evening I was able to unwrap knee and shower. I was shocked at the swelling and bruising.

May 11th - Called doctor in regards to swelling / bruising. Told me to ice like crazy.. and call back if not better.

May 13th - I fell asleep while icing knee in my recliner and had a muscle spasm in my quad, my leg literally jumped waking me up and causing my knee to shift to outside again.

May 14th - Called doctor to explain what happened, major pain increase and swelling. Doctor said keep brace on (no shower - nothing) until he could see me, and ice and sit with leg up as much as possible.

May 16th - Saw doctor he agreed knee was FAR more swollen than it should be, but felt no damaged had occurred from muscle spasm. Took out stitches. Tried to drain knee in several places could not get anything and said I had a large blood clot in the outer left part of the knee. Blood clot was 1/2 under knee cap and wrapping to back of knee. We discussed options.... Put me on aspirin to thin blood, rest, walking with brace only as needed, ice.. ice.. ice... He gave me 10 days for my body to resolve the clot. He felt I was young enough that my body should be able to break it down on it's own. If it does not he will have to take me back into surgery for a much larger procedure. This would include an over night stay, and a 4" incision. I see him this Friday morning. Right now the swelling has not gone down. One of my incisions is contuining to drain old blood daily as well. Praying more surgery is not in my future.

Here is a link to some pictures also!!

Always a Mommy...

All My Babies Are Gone Now
By Anna Quindlen, Newsweek Columnist and Author

All my babies are gone now. I say this not in sorrow, but in disbelief. I take great satisfaction in what I have today: three almost-adults, two taller than I am, one closing in fast. Three people who read the same books I do and have learned not to be afraid of disagreeing with me in their opinion of them, who sometimes tell vulgar jokes that make me laugh until I choke and cry, who need razor blades and shower gel and privacy, who want to keep their doors closed more than I like. Who, miraculously, go to the bathroom, zip up their jackets and move food from plate to mouth all by themselves. Like the trick soap I bought for the bathroom with a rubber ducky at its center, the baby is buried deep within each, barely discernible except through the unreliable haze of the past.

Everything in all the books I once pored over is finished for me now. Penelope Leach, T. Berry Brazelton, Dr. Spock. The ones on sibling rivalry and sleeping through the night and early-childhood education -- all grown obsolete. Along with Goodnight Moon and Where the Wild Things Are, they are battered, spotted, well used. But I suspect that if you flipped the pages dust would rise like memories. What those books taught me, finally, and what the women on the playground taught me, and the well-meaning
relations -- what they taught me, was that they couldn't really teach me very much at all.

Raising children is presented at first as a true-false test, then becomes multiple choice, until finally, far along, you realize that it is an endless essay. No one knows anything. One child responds well to positive reinforcement, another can be managed only with a stern voice and a timeout. One child is toilet trained at 3, his sibling at 2.

When my first child was born, parents were told to put baby to bed on his belly so that he would not choke on his own spit-up. By the time my last arrived, babies were put down on their backs because of research on sudden infant death syndrome. To a new parent this ever-shifting certainty is terrifying, and then soothing. Eventually you must learn to trust yourself. Eventually the research will follow. I remember 15 years ago poring over one of Dr. Brazelton's wonderful books on child development,
in which he describes three different sorts of infants: average, quiet, and active. I was looking for a sub-quiet codicil for an 18-month old who did not walk. Was there something wrong with his fat little legs? Was there something wrong with his tiny little mind? Was he developmentally delayed, physically challenged? Was I insane? Last year he went to China. Next year he goes to college. He can talk just fine. He can walk, too.

Every part of raising children is humbling. Believe me, mistakes were made. They have all been enshrined in the "Remember-When-Mom-Did" Hall of Fame. The outbursts, the temper tantrums, the bad language -- mine, not theirs. The times the baby fell off the bed. The times I arrived late for preschool pickup. The nightmare sleepover. The horrible summer camp. The day when the youngest came barreling out of the cla$$room with a 98 on her geography test, and I responded, "What did you get wrong?" (She insisted I include that here.) The time I ordered food at the McDonald's drive-through speaker and then drove away without picking it up from the
window. (They all insisted I include that.) I did not allow them to watch the Simpsons for the first two seasons. What was I thinking?

But the biggest mistake I made is the one that most of us make while doing this. I did not live in the moment enough. This is particularly clear now that the moment is gone, captured only in photographs. There is one picture of the three of them, sitting in the gra$$ on a quilt in the shadow of the swing set on a summer day, ages 6, 4 and 1. And I wish I could remember what we ate, and what we talked about, and how they sounded, and how they looked when they slept that night.

I wish I had not been in such a hurry to get on to the next thing: dinner, bath, book, bed. I wish I had treasured the doing a little more and the getting it done a little less.

Even today I'm not sure what worked and what didn't, what was me and what was simply life. When they were very small, I suppose I thought someday they would become who they were because of what I'd done. Now I suspect they simply grew into their true selves because they demanded in a thousand ways that I back off and let them be. The books said to be relaxed and I was often tense, matter-of-fact and I was sometimes over the top. And look how it all turned out. I wound up with the three people I like best in the world, who have done more than anyone to excavate my essential humanity. That's what the books never told me. I was bound and determined to learn from the experts. It just took me a while to figure out who the experts were.