Going Under The Knife Again!

Hey All,

Remember the bacterial infection I had developed on the right side of my face several months ago.

The infection is now gone, but it caused some permanent scars to my face in 3 different areas, the worst being on the side of my nose.

I met with the plastic surgeon at the VA last Saturday for a consult. After reviewing my case he has scheduled me for plastic surgery to first fix the scar on my nose and then once that area heals will focus on the other spots on my face, so I will be a work in progress.

The surgeon said he will have to cut deep to properly fix the area on my nose and he will have to put me under anesthesia when doing the actual surgery. He will have to take soft tissue from another part of my face to do a skin graft in the main surgical area. So, I will have some stitches to deal with for awhile.

My surgery is scheduled for March 12, 2019 but I am trying to get the first phase of my surgery done earlier if an opening comes up as I’d like to get this all done before it gets too hot down here in sunny Florida.

I guess no Hollywood acting auditions for awhile. I’ll have to stick to my selfie blogging videos for now. Oh well!

Have a great rest of your day!

Gary

A Brief Glimpse At My Past

Hey Fellow Bloggers,

I think you might be aware via several of Terry’s past blogs, that I formerly was a Medical Services Corps Officer in the U.S. Army for 22 years. I retired from active duty in 2001.

Although I held a number of different positions of responsibility throughout my career in many different locations stateside and overseas, I want’d to share just a small segment of my military time with you in this particular blog.

Back in the late 80’s while I had been assigned as an Aeromedical Evacuation Pilot and Assistant Airfield Commander in Germany for 4 years, I was supposed to return back to the states after that duty assignment to take on another command in Colorado Springs.

However, just 2 weeks before I was to depart Germany for Colorado, I got a call from Washington and asked if I would be willing to deploy to The Republic of Panama instead of Colorado Springs to take Command of the Medevac unit there as things were heating up in that country with the corrupt dictator Manual Noreiga still being in charge. As a young Captain at that time, I gladly accepted that challenge.

Once reaching Panama and taking command of the unit there, it had only be about 3 weeks when the U.S. Invasion of Panama occurred know as “Operation Just Cause” to oust the corrupt dictator out of Panama out of Panama and to re-establish democracy to that country.

A few months ago, when I was visiting my younger brother Randy and my Mom in the Panama Beach area of FL, I came upon a small box of momentos that Terry had apparently left there for safekeeping. In that box was a picture of me flying back to home base in Panama in my helicopter after a Medevac mission.

The second attachment below is a synopsis of what the unit I commanded accomplished in just several days in support of Operation Just Cause.

Thought you all might enjoy reading it. Sorry the print is so small as I had to take a picture of the document. Hopefully you can enlarge it on your screens.

Have a great day!

Gary

The Sole Survivor

Hey Everyone,

My sister-in-law Gail recently forwarded to me an old family photo of my mother Stacia’s immediate family. It was retrieved by her from the facebook page of Carolyn one of my first cousins.

In Carolyn’s facebook she stated that our grandparents would have been celebrating their 100 th wedding anniversary this week had they still been living. It feels like it was just yesterday when we were all together as one big happy family celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary. Where have all the years gone? Life seems to move very fast especially the older we get.

As I look at the electronic copy of this family portrait which was taken shortly before World War II (late 1930s or early 1940s) I fondly remember that the original portrait was previously hanging in the sun porch of my parents former home in Massachusetts.

As I look at this photo, I wonder the emotions my mother must go through, now realizing that she is the sole survivor of her immediate family as well as the lone survivor of all her childhood friends. My Mother who is now almost 96 yeara young, is the pretty young women in the center rear row in the photo above and who was the 3rd oldest of her siblings. There is so much love and history in that photo that certaily must trigger for my Mom many memories of her childhood both the joyous as well as the challenging times of growing up in America in that generation.

I often wondered how one copes with going on in life after everyone from their immediate family as well as all friends from their generation are gone. It must feel strange to be the last one standing.

God I truly believe has a plan for us all and pre-determines our destiny in life. There is no guarantee that members of your family or your friends will pass from this earth in order of their seniority.

When family or friends pass away unexpectantly especially when at a very young age, despite the sorrow, I try to look at their passing with a positive spin. I truly consider death to actually be just another step in our eternal lives which we will all eventually go thru. When God chooses to call some folks early from this earth (such as my Dear Terry for example) I look at this to be God’s special way to reward these individuals with an accelerated promotion to heaven and to allow them to by pass some of the other challenges of life and to hopefully have an influential and positive impact upon others through their spirit by the way they lived and embraced their lives while here on this earth.

However, at the same token, God chooses others like my Mom to be blessed to live a long and fruitful life here on this Earth and to hopefully set a positive example for others, to be a good person and to be compassionate to others and to embrace life to the fullest, while simultaneously instilling their wealth of knowledge about life and good values upon our younger generations.

I am so glad that my Mom is still living and that she is blessed to have three devoted sons to look after her welfare in her later years despite being the sole survivor of her generation.

We can learn a lot about life from those who God has chosen to be living disciples on this earth as well as from the spirit of other loved ones that God has chosen for an a accelerated promotion to the gates of heaven.

Luv, Gary

Happy Birthday Beau ! It’s Your Big Day !

Hey All,

Today is Beau’s Birthday ! I’m not going to tell you which one, as that’s not important and not nice to let everyone know without Beau’s permission. So, let ‘s just say that on this special day… Beau is truly greatful to be alive yet one more year and contnuing to enjoy life!

I met Beau about 1 year ago while I was residing at Patrick Air Force Base in Cocoa Beach. Beau is a kind and thoughtful person and a genuine and supportive friend. I am grateful to have met her and have truly enjoyed doing many activities with her over this past year.

As a tribute to Beau on her birthday, I went through all my photos from last January 2018 until present and I have selected some photos from each activity that we did together and I’m going to post them chronologically below for Beau and all her blogger friends to enjoy!

Have a wonderful birthday Beau!

Luv,

Gary

10 Years Ago Today

Hi Everyone,

It was exactly 10 years ago today, that my beloved father, Stanley, peacefully departed from this dear Earth to continue on his journey to life everlasting in Heaven with our maker and with other friends and family who passed before him.

My Dad was a simple man who loved his family and who was especially proud of his three sons. He was a man who enjoyed life to the fullest but who always showed genuine interest in the welfare of others. He was a “people” person who would keenly listen to what others had to say rather than to become the center of attention and to speak about himself. My father had no enemies and all people that had the privilege to know my Dad truly respected him and always held him in the highest regards.

I distinctly remember that very day 10 years ago. I had just returned home from pulling my overnight shift as a pharmacist at Walgreens. Shortly after I returned home, I got a call from my mother to let me know that my father had a brief fainting spell earlier that morning, but that he quickly recovered from this episode and appeared stable. I suggested to my Mom that we immediately contact his physician to set up an urgent appointment for that day to have him checked out to ensure all way okay. I remember my Dad getting on the phone saying “ I’m okay Gary, everything is fine, don’t worry. No need to go to the doctor” Despite my Dad’s insistence that he did not need to get a medical check up, I went ahead and contacted his physician and set up an appointment for him for noon.

In the meantime, it was ironic that on that very day my parents had a pre-arranged mid morning appointment to occur at their home with their lawyer. My parents were going to review and sign all the legal documents that their attorney had prepared for them to include updated wills, powers of attorney, health care proxy’s, etc. My father was alert and did not show any signs of complications throughout the morning and during the time that the lawyer was there. At the end of their appointment my Dad said to the lawyer is everything now in order and the lawyer confirmed that it was.

Just after the lawyer left my dad sat in his favorite chair, while my Mom went to another room to take care of some paperwork and to file away the legal documents. When she returned to the other room shortly thereafter, she discovered that my father was not responding and called me. I immediately call 911 from my home in Dallas and they responded promptly to my parents home in Massachusetts. Unfortunately the team was unsuccessful in reviving my dear Dad.

Within a hour, I was at the airport in Dallas and on my way to Massachusetts to take care of making the necessary funeral arrangements. My 2 brothers followed me the day after. In the meantime my dear cousin Elaine drove to my parents house to comfort my mother and to keep her company until I arrived. I was particularly pleased at the turnout of friends and family at my Dad’s services. This attested to my Dad’s wonderful character. At the age of 91 years old, there are not usually many friends and family remaining to attend a service such as this, but it seemed that everyone in his age group still remaining made an effort to witness my Dad’s sendoff.

Despite it now being 10 years ago that my Dad passed, it seemed like just yesterday that all this happened. You never forget your loved ones when they pass and I strongly feel that their loving spirit remains with you always and that it is comforting to know that some day you will reunite with them in the afterlife when your time comes to be called.

Love you Dad

Your Son, Gary

Cup By Fractional Cup

Hey Everyone,

Things with my health continue to progress in a positive direction especially over the last couple of days.

When I saw my surgeon last Thursday he felt that things were progressing well and that I could begin doing activities as tolerated.

Although far from perfect yet (estimate it will still take a good 2 months more) I have resumed going back to the gym to do light workouts and on Sunday afternoon I started to get back on my bike to gradually get more acclimated to riding again. My goal is to try to get back to pedaling 25 miles per day by February 1. On Sunday I pedaled 8 miles, yesterday I increased it to 10 miles and today I did 12 1/2 miles. So far so good. The photo below represents my cup count to date: The 1 st cup represents my first 25 miles, the second cup on the side represents the residual miles that I have pedaled over the first 25 miles, namely 5 1/2 miles.

Soon I will have my pyramid of cups standing tall again like I previously was able to do before all my health problems developed. Time will tell?

Have a great night!

Christmas Has Become A Lot Simpler..What A Difference 5 Year Makes!

Hey All,

Happy Sunday. For you guys up north or in other colder climates, it is a beautiful day here in Tampa, Florida. It’s sunny and right now at 3 PM it’s in the high 70’s low 80’s!

Thiscweekend my pain level from my recent surgeries is much improved. Thank God!! I was able to do a light workout at the gym both mornings and yesterday afternoon, I was able to mow my lawn. In the evenings I have just relaxed and chose not to do any meetups this weekend. Have generally been more selective in what to go to socially, a lot has to do how I feel on a particular day. Don’t want to go to events when miserable and ruin other people’s fun. I think that if things continue to move in the positive direction, I hopefully might be able to gradually do more things over time.

As for Christmas decorating, as my title states…now much simpler to do now than in years past. Currently, it takes only 30 minutes to put up and 30 minutes to take down.

Oh, but how I remember those days in our former home in Dallas, TX ! Terry and I would begin designing our annual Christmas show right after January 1 for the forthcoming season. Then we would have all our Christmas decorations pulled out by September 1 and the boxes would be strategically positioned throughout our house so we could begin prepping things. Then, once the outside Halloween decorations came down, the Christmas Holiday decorating fun would begin. We generally spent 8 to 10 hours each day working on decorating 22 Christmas trees, building large Christmas figures (always new and different each year), connecting a number of circuit breaker auxiliary boxes each with 38 different electrical prongs and attaching strands of lights to them and then holly around the light stands to get ready to mount them initially on the highest of peaks on our home and roof top and then working downward. The work became so dangerous as our peaks and roof slope was quite steep that we even had to rent a cherry picker to secure these things properly and safely so when high windy conditions developed things wouldn’t come toppling down. We used over 400 extension cords to run our 1 hour (continuous) light show comprised of 10 different holiday songs (always a different theme each year). I would also pre-record a message that Terry and I would develop to be used at the beginning of each continuous cycle of our show were we would welcome everyone and let people know what the theme of that year’s show would entail ( i.e. International Christmas where displays and favorite Christmas songs from around the world would be played in their particular language; Theme dedicated to all thecfavorite Disney cartoon characters; Theme highlighting an over-whelming number of Christmas trees all decorated differently that were designed to move impressively with the music; Theme focusing snowmen and a spectacular winter wonderland, etc. You hopefully get the picture. So, let the lines of cars start coming thru our neighborhood to enjoy the fruits of our labor and our creativity for the holidays.

In 2013 (the year of our last show) we did a huge charity celebration in our neighborhood which I orchestrated in support of families who had unfortunate incidents in that particular year such as a major house fire, loss of a job by the family bread winner, loss sudden death of a parent or child, ect. We has over 500 people show up that evening and collected over 1,000 toys, cash of about 15,000 and a truck load of non,-perishable canned goods for the less fortunate. We got great support from the City of Dallas, the police department and local vendors in the surrounding areas that donated food. We had all kinds of fun holiday activities and Santa was there for the kids. It was alot of work, but well worth it, knowing we could make a difference in the lives of less fortunate families in a challenging year.

We ran our annual Christmas show from 6 PM to 10 PM from Thanksgiving night thru New Years eve. Then the work would begin again for several weeks to dismantle everything, box things up and get them stored in their rightful places. Thank God our house had a lot of large storage areas!

The only main regret of all these shows, is that I have no videos or photos to show you. Somewhere, Terry did some videos and photos of the Christmas show, but I have no idea where he stored them? Someday I hope to find them.

All I can show you for now to give you an appreciation of our Holiday decor, is a bunch of photos I took in the fall of 2015 when we did several garage sales to get rid of everything we had for pennies on a dollar at the time when we were aggressively down-sizing for the simpler RV lifestyle. Ah..such found memories. I am glad that our Christmas stuff is now being enjoyed by so many other families.

I wish you all the best in 2019!

Luv,

Gary