Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Time to Say Goodbye

Its 7:51 pm

  My dearest Lorikitty,

        Its now been over 12 hours since you have left for heaven. And as much as I am at peace that you are in the most perfect place,my heart is completely broken. This day has been the longest,saddest day of my life.
   I got the call from Arbor Hospice at 7:10 am that you had passed away. I called Al and asked him if he could take me as I didn't trust myself to drive,hard to drive the freeway when your eyes are full of tears.
We got there at 7:45 and they directed me to where you were laying. They had laid you in out so you look even more like a angel. I cried so hard....even now,I can't stop. Just how many tears are in a human body anyways? I told you how much I loved you,how blessed I was that you agreed to share a life,house,cats and dreams with me. I held you so close,I never wanted to let you go...I don't want you to go....my life is empty,you are my life.
   I gathered your belongings,including the lovely little angel Theresa gave you and went to the desk I had called McCabes Funeral home before I came,that is where you told me you had called. The hospice nurses said how brave and cheerful you were and we were a great and loving couple. Yes,we are,aren't we?? People have been telling me how much in love we really were,that you can see in our words,deeds and touch.
  As we started to leave,I just had to go back....Al understood and waited. I cried some more,kissed your cherry lips once again and left.
   Al took me to breakfast and we just talked...small stuff,stories about us mostly. Afterwards,I came home to a empty house...Derek greeted me with a "meow ?",he really knows what is going on....
  I called St. Thomas and arranged to meet Debbie,who talked with me and helped me arrange your Mass. I am the one who will be speaking for you because no one knows you like I did. And yes,your "secret" will be finally be revealed...but honestly,I think everyone already knows it.
 After many more tears,I went over to the funeral home. There I met Matthew and found out that you had pulled my leg a little bit.
  You see,Lori didn't really want to go to the funeral home to plan out her own Mass,she felt it would hasten her day,make it happen faster. She was a little scared of that....so in reality,when I found out she hasn't called,I wasn't surprised.
  Matthew and I went over every aspect of your Mass....he was very kind and professional. Its going to be a beautiful funeral,I can assure you of that. What is very disheartening is its going to cost more then I thought,way more. I admit,my chances of holding our house,our dream,is fading. No yard sale or consignment sale is going raise the money needed. But I am going to do this my love. You wanted this summer to be a "beer and burger" summer,well before I have to leave here,I'm going to throw you that party on July 25th in our backyard. I'm inviting anyone who can read this and wants to come....to come celebrate Lori's birthday at our house. Its going to be a joyful event,full of love,laughter and even a beer and a burger.
  After signing the contract...Matthew let me visit you again,you looked lovely and so tiny. I cried again...and finally left.
   Marlene and Dylan called and offered to take me to dinner at the Red Can Opener. I bought Dylan a Dairy Queen and came home...as you saw,I had made a ton of phone calls to your friends and family. Sherry came over and we talked some more,I'm going to do as you asked and keep a eye on her the best I can.
  Brenda called and she was just heartbroken....I don't think she realizes what I'm feeling here. I can't help but feel once we lay you to rest,they are going to walk away from me. Maybe they don't feel I tried my best by you during this three year. You know I did whatever I could to keep you with me,you are my light...why wouldn't I fight? But as folks can see,for the vast majority of time,it was just you and I against this ugly monster called cancer.  But the allies we do have!!!! Wouldn't trade them for the world! So completely blessed to have such amazing friends!

May God watch over you all and thank you for coming along on this journey.

I love you so much Lori!


Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Guest blogger Susan Smiley:An Amazing Journey (Or How Putting One Foot In Front of the Other Changed My Life)

 Its 10:34 am
Its a cold snowy day in Michigan. And its finally time to run one of my favorite person's guest blog. Because nothing equates getting ready to run then looking outside at snow on the ground!
  This will be Susan's 2nd guest blog here,her first was a beautifully written eulogy for her beloved dog,Hercules. Lori and I met Susan when we (along with Carolyn Caves) rescued a huge grey kitty named Oliver. He ended up finding a wonderful life with Susan and that is how our friendship started. 
Susan has turned into a running machine and this column explains how that happened. I hope you enjoy and please feel free to leave a comment.

An Amazing Journey (Or How Putting One Foot In Front of the Other Changed My Life)
Last week as I was running over the Ambassador Bridge at sunrise in mile three of my first-ever half marathon, I thought about something my friend Garett said to me a couple of months ago: “It is like you woke up one day and decided to become a totally different person.”
I prefer to think of it as me getting back to being the person I was meant to be and, in this case, finding my inner runner. Finding the inner runner led me to bring other things to the surface that had likely always been in me too: confidence, grittiness, persistence, calmness. You don’t get better at running just by running and in turn, running is not just about the physical act of putting one foot in front of the other. It is about acquiring a mindset and attitude that permeates other aspects of your life.
Now, running a half marathon may not seem like much to those of you who are naturally gifted runners or to those who have been running since you were a freshman on your high school cross country team. But for a long-time non-runner like me, this is a huge accomplishment and something I had never previously visualized for myself. I didn’t take up running until I was 53 years old and recovering from a serious, near-fatal strep infection.
I’ve always enjoyed things like biking and hiking, kickboxing, weight lifting and yoga. But running eluded me. It seemed hard. It seemed like something for skinner people. But it also seemed like the people I knew who were doing it were really enjoying it. I decided to ease into it using the Couch to 5K app in the winter of 2011. Two of my younger, faster cohorts at Wayne State found out what I was doing and invited me to run with them a couple of times a week at the WSU indoor track. As I was struggling to work up to running three miles – one mile even – without walking I blurted out: “I SUCK AT RUNNING!” to which my cohort replied: “No you don’t. No one sucks at running. We’ve all been doing it since we were little kids so really, we’re experts.”
That was, as we say in the world of psychology, a total reframe. I stopped thinking of running as impossibly hard and started thinking of it as something I could get back to doing on some level. I visualized myself as a child running through the grape arbor in our yard and laughing.
I participated in my first 5K in May of 2012 – just a week after getting out of the hospital with what the doctor described as “the worst infection of this type that I have seen in 30 years of practicing medicine.” I walked almost all of it as I was still feeling somewhat woozy but the metamorphosis was underway.
By the time September rolled around, I was working on my fourth career 5K although still unable to allow myself to run full-throttle for all 3.1 miles. Although I had, at that point, lost 30 pounds and would eventually lose 60, I was not quite visualizing myself as a legitimate runner. As luck would have it, the day of that 5K I woke up with a pounding sinus headache but was determined to complete the race regardless. I was running to the beat of the pounding in my head, then walking, then running, then walking until with a half mile or so left in the race, my friend Erin, who is an accomplished tri athlete, ran back to find me on the race course after she completed her 5K and paced me at a brisk run from there to the finish line.
I should have taken this as a sign that I was becoming a runner because although it was not pretty, I gritted out the race and never thought once about NOT doing it.
Erin invited me to start running with her at the hospital where she works. It is one mile around the building and we would loop around three times alternating running and walking. I barely noticed that she was gradually increasing the time we were running until one day after we had run once around the hospital she looked at me and said: “This is where we usually walk a little but it seems like you want to keep running. What do you want to do?”
Of course I kept running – for three miles. And since then I have never walked during a 5K race.
Thus far this year I have logged 13 5Ks and in April completed by first 10K and proved to myself that I could commit to a training program and stick with it. It was a moment of truth when the week of that race I postponed a first date with a handsome, young gentleman because I had to get in a three-mile practice run in the rain.
“Look, it might rain on Saturday for the race so I want to make sure I’m ready! I need to take advantage of these weather conditions!” was my explanation to the poor gent. He probably thought I was nuts but agreed to push back the time for our rendezvous and scheduled a second date anyway. The old me would not have had the confidence to postpone a date with someone I really liked; the new me can do that and more.
In the afterglow of the successful 10K I committed to a duathlon at Stony Creek, the 10 mile Crim winding through hilly Flint, MI and finally the International Free Press / Talmer Bank Half Marathon last week. In all three events I managed to do more than I imagined possible. I’m not by any means saying I’m challenging the likes of U.S. Track and Field top-ranked distance runner Mary Cain in terms of time and pace, but that is not why I run.
I run to enjoy the beauty of a trail or country road. I run to feel free, to defuse stress, and to stimulate creativity. I run because I have committed to a goal, because it makes me feel good, and because I like myself and think of a six-mile trail run as a reward.  The lessons of endurance, perseverance, working through a situation with the tools at hand have all affected other areas of my life in a very positive way. I am more able to take things in stride (no pun intended). And despite my “less fast” pace, I am a bona fide runner!
It’s all about the joy, my friends.

Michael here.....
  Thank you Susan for this excellent blog and to you,the reader,for stopping by and supporting it.
I'll be back shortly with another entry of my own.

If you are on Twitter....feel free to follow me @Jinzo_2400

Friday, December 6, 2013

Of volunteering,Nelson Mandela and a Christmas request

Its 5:51 pm

     Shivering my ass off upstairs....had to borrow one of Paladin's fleece blankets to help keep me warm. He is curled up on my bed with his two other blankets. Not turning on the heater as of yet. Not because I am a tough guy but simply can't afford to run it unless I truly need to. Doing more with less is my new normal. I have on a pair of socks,a heavy sweater,sweat pants and that fleece blanket. Maybe its the iced coffee that is chilling my bones more then normal.

 I had a good week all things considering,got a good start on the basement,completed a volunteer shift for the Goodfellows and decided to try and write a book. I got the idea from cleaning out my basement and now I'm in the early process of sorting things out. I know many people have suggested I do this and now I think its actually a good idea. I need something to jumpstart me again...its not easy to simply do that but it is maddening to know you control your own fate in regards of how you let a life changing event define you.

   I need to get back into doing the good habits I had developed since going back to work. My diet is so screwed these days what with not cooking very much but I have a idea about that as well and I am going to share that with you come Jan 2014.
  Its not a new idea but when you consider who is going to be undertaking it,I think you'll want to see how it goes.
  The week wasn't perfect however as we had a unpleasant incident happen at the job. The ASM (assistant store manager) who hired me in was suddenly fired. A co-worker said it was pretty strange as the ASM started her usual store duties when she was called into the back. A while later,she was escorted out the building. Our store manager told several employees that she wasn't with the company anymore and to respect her privacy. The last part is easy as the company has discouraged social contact between store management and the rank and file worker. In other words,we don't know how to even say "hello" to any of our upper management outside of work.
  Of course everyone was talking about it...I felt bad for both her and my manager,what a position to be put in...but there had to be a  reason for what happened. I know she is very talented and she will be missed!

 The big news this week - Nelson Mandela has passed away at age 95. Mandela,who languished in a South African jail for 27 years before not only winning his freedom but also becoming his nation's President,was a true champion for his people and fought hard to overcome the incredible damage that apartheid had ripped South Africa apart for many decades. As I have been fond of pointing out,we need only to be willing to look at history to see how to avoid making the same mistakes. Even as I write this,this country is going through apartheid in a economic and cultural ways that are very subtle and insidious manner. The top 2%,Wall Street and the so called political leaders are quietly working very hard of dividing and denying the average American the same chances for a quality life that they themselves have at our expense. Sadly we have no Nelson Mandela to boldly arise and help end this injustice. Instead we have mainstream media types whipping us into a feeding frenzy of hatred and mistrust. But I do know there are those of us who will continue to do the right thing and embrace our fellow human beings.

  Last night was was a great example of this. I got a call from Paula Kosbe who works in the Park and Leisure section of my city. She also is the leader of getting folks to volunteer at various events. Lori and I met her when we were among the first to volunteer for the emergency food bank,she is a sweet lady and works very hard. Well,I was one of the folks she called to help with the Goodfellows intake this week and the next.
The Goodfellows work very hard to help families who are struggling and have kids to have a normal Christmas. The family makes a request per child and then generous people pick the name and basically buy what the child needs as close as they can.
  Its really humbling at this time of year,the local newscasts always show different groups taking a small groups of kids shopping for Christmas gifts. What has always struck me is what these kids DON'T pick. They don't go for the "in" thing but for the simple things or perhaps a item of clothing they need.
Many shop for family members before themselves. The same thing goes for the families that submit a request through the Goodfellows. No PS/4 or Xboxes here. The folks that support a chosen family are given a guideline to shop by,warm clothes,up to 4 small toys and the Goodfellows also donate a book or two from various book drives throughout the year.
  This is where I was at last night...I was with a nice young man named Karl and a city employee named Tom. Karl and I would help the folks who were dropping the bags off. We would load them on carts or carrying them downstairs where members of Goodfellows who check them in and put them in the sorting rooms.
  In the past,the gathering would take a week and then the sorting and wrapping would take another before they delivered the gifts to the families. But they made a wise choice starting this year. Now they ask the sponsoring family to include wrapping paper. This allows the parents of the child to see what their child gets but also to wrap to gifts themselves,to partake of what Christmas joy there is in wrapping gifts.
  It was pretty slow at first with trickles coming in but as our shift went on,it got busier.
But between the cars coming through,we three talked college football,city politics and the like. Tom,whose job was to moniter the front lobby of the city hall at night,said it was a quiet job for the most part. He said local HOA meetings take place and once in a blue moon,things get heated. He has a button to the police station which is next door and if he can't help smooth out the problem,he presses the button.
  I said "They will get a chance to meet Brian and his new partner". I have blogged about Brian and his K-9 partner,Poncho,who used to eat lunch at the hotel I worked at. I went to Poncho's retirement a couple of years ago. Tom laughed at that and said that his daughter had been an Explorer for the police department and had influenced her to get into law enforcement. She is a campus officer at a local college.
  45 minutes after that discussion,Tom's phone rings and he starts talking....he moved away as another car came up and Karl and I jumped into action. As we came upstairs,Tom was shaking his head. I asked him if everything was okay and he said that was his daughter on the phone. Wednesday night,Poncho had passed away. We were just talking about him and now he is gone. We then told Karl about Poncho and showed him his picture in a poster that the city still had up.
  I remember when Brian said that when K-9 retire,they generally only live two years after they do. Its because they work so hard that the dogs seem to age prematurely. So while it was sad news,I wasn't too shocked,just that it happened and I was able to learn about it.

(This isn't Poncho,just gives you a idea of what he looked like)
  The night went one and and 25 minutes before the end of our shift,a truck pulled up...the lady and her group were dropping off 31 bags for 31 kids. It took her three trips to drop off everything. We helped carry it in to be checked off. And then it was over...and I started home.
   I decided to take a flyer and stop by the Blockbuster store that is going out of business. I wanted to see if my gift card that I got as a birthday gift would be good. The store had a few people in it and as I started looking for some DVDs for my stack,I was engaged by a friendly employee named Jason who noticed my U of Detroit sweater. We talked about Titan basketball (which is extremely rare out here in the burbs) and how its going to be a rebuilding year. Turns out not only is he working at Blockbuster,which will stay open for another month or so,but he also works at Calihan Hall where the Titans play. I told I had went through this when Farmer Jack closed its doors and if he had any luck finding another job.No luck so far (don't I know it) but he was plugging away. I thought it showed real character to hang in there at Blockbuster which is 25 miles from home for him and couldn't be paying him all that much.

 His spirit was hopeful and it was encouraging to see as most folks whose company is closing are bitter and upset. Its hard to stay professional when people make cracks about why your company is going away. The good news was my gift card still worked and I was able to get 4 DVDs out of it. Pretty happy about that because my Dollar Tree stash is getting low.
  Now for something weird.....while I can't really afford a Christmas this year,is it okay to ask for a Christmas card from any reader who would like to send one? I don't know if its tacky but when I hear about crowdfunding/sourcing...I am willing to take a chance and say I would like to get a simple card or two.
  At least I can keep one tradition that Lori and I had alive. We would wait until Christmas morning to open our cards (except from our families,those we had to open when we got them). It made for a fun build-up and we always re-read the cards from the year before as well.

So,if you are so inclined....here is my address:

Michael Sullivan
45249 Lemont Road

And thank you of course.

I'm listening to the MAC Championship game on ESPN2 between Northern Illinois and Bowling Green. If the Huskies win,they are headed to a huge payday again by playing in a BCS bowl game. Bowling Green will also go bowling again.
   I am holding my breath as I don't know if San Jose State is going to get a bowl bid. While they did beat 16th ranked Fresno State,they still finished a mere 6-6. A terrible 3 game losing streak forced the Spartans to have to beat Fresno just be considered. While many sites have UNLV and Colorado State going before SJSU,I don't see that happening at all three schools finished 5-3 in the Mountain West and more importantly,the Spartans beat the Rams and Rebels head to head. That plus a explosive offense has me thinking they will be heading to the New Mexico Bowl as I wrote last entry. But instead of Oregon State or Washington State,the experts have SJSU either playing Arizona or Buffalo. If we had a defense,I would love to play the Wildcats but since we don't (we DO have a defense,just not a defensive coach worth a damn),we would be better off matched up with Buffalo. Come Sunday night,we will see if and where the Spartans will land. Then the critical off-season starts.
  2014 is going to be a monster year in terms of schedule strength as San Jose will play on the road,Auburn,Minnesota and Navy while hosting FCS North Dakota. This is why playing in a bowl game is so important,we need all the recruiting help we can get!

  Okay,so who watched the live broadcast of "The Sound of Music" last night? I stumbled across the last half of it and I watched with a mix of horror and a NASCAR race. It was so bad yet you didn't want to change the channel because wanted to see if someone would flub up. Well they did....when NBC actually decided to pull this off this trainwreck. Don't get me wrong,I think Carrie Underwood is a decent singer but she was just overmatched in this type of setting.

  This was one of Lori's favorite films and I got the DVD for her for a gift. It truly is a classic film and seriously,who else but Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer could we see as Maria and Captain Van Trapp? I know the network tried to put a positive spin by saying the public gave it a "B-" if you looked at Twitter last night,it got more like a F+. Not exactly a shining moment for NBC.
  And in a twisted case of irony,they kept showing the previews for "Saving Mr. Banks" which was the story of Mary Poppins.....which of course starred the same delightful Julie Andrews! Sometimes you just can't improve on perfection!

Well that is it for me tonight.....thanks for reading! Feel free to drop a comment or two.

If you are on Twitter,add me @Jinzo_2400

Shout outs

Lisa B- thanks for giving me a chance.
Nelson Mandela - For showing the world that one can keep their humanity,no matter what may come.
San Jose State Football - thanks for a great season
Suzanne West - For such a lovely picture!
Anthony Cardno - For such a awesome interview with Win Scott Eckert!
Dr. Bonnie - Courage!
E.G. -Pleasant......dreams??
Alana - thank you for the bread again!
Barb - as always,thank you for the dinners.
Tom Leyden - Curtis is a Met? Holy crow,we are in deep doo this year!
Pat Caputo - Thanks for always answering my SJSU tweets to you,you are a true gentlemen
Candye - Hope you are home soon!
Tiffany - Hope Dallas is ready for the Sanctuary of Style!

Monday, December 2, 2013

Rolling Blog

It's 10:35 pm

  It's another bitterly cold night here in SE Michigan. Paladin and I are watching "American Ninja" on YouTube. My brother Phil loved this movie so much,we wore out the local mom and pop video that had this on VHS. 
  Its two days before Thanksgiving. Tomorrow is the memorial service at St. Thomas a Beckets. It's going to a sad night for a lot of us who lost our loved ones this year. I am sure tears will be shed,memories shared...even some good times will be recalled.
I will write about the night on Thursday....but now I want to bring attention I saw on my Facebook wall from a very earnest young music lover named Dan Herman who lives in Pennsylvania.
This is clear proof that despite what some may say and think,the recession is still out here,still causing much pain and havoc.

This is what Dan posted publicly on his wall.

Spoke to landlord earlier today and decided to put up pretty much the remainder of what's in my bank toward the back rent. It's all I can do to keep from being evicted. I'm now pretty much broke, and I still have bills incoming. I'm still seeking work, going below my means to find work that doesn't fit my background.

Even if I find work this week, I can only hope it's local and that I don't go penniless because I can't get the bus or the train. 

Once again, I must ask for your help. Regardless of the fact that it's a holiday season (which is the better part of 6 weeks), I can't function without any income. I know, just about any of you probably can't either. This situation is dire. I don't know how short the eviction process is here in Philadelphia. I just don't know where or how I'd move at this juncture if I had to leave. 

I'm not ashamed at typing all this. It's better than keeping it all in and praying for the end to come quickly. It's almost like in poker, the idea of existing with a 'chip and a chair'. That's about the best way I can analogize this scenario to something else. 

So what am I doing? I've applied to jobs in any number of websites for the local area, including 10 miles out. I've started to reach some local stores re possible seasonal employment. I've also reached a few friends and relatives across the country who may have leads for work in their necks of the woods. At this moment I've no interviews pending, but a ton of applications are out there with my humble name on them. 

I am aware of some rental assistance agencies in the city. I don't know their reputation, what the process is, or anything. I just know they are there, and I'll resort to them if I must. Any insight on this would be appreciated greatly. 

Also I do have the Paypal button on the website as a possible means to build income. You can contribute as you will. 

I have my resume all polished, too. Contact me at cblue456 @ comcast . net if you want this file. 

Well, that's all I got. It'll take a lot of pain to bring me down. I'm hurting, but not so much that I don't have hope.

As I told Dan and I am writing this....that took a lot of courage to write. I know that I am not that far away from being in Dan's shoes. The economy is still in the pooper as jobs are getting harder to find that pay a decent wage. If you wish to help Dan out,you can contact him at the email address listed above.
  As I blogged before,I volunteer at a emergency food giveaway in my city. While the number of folks doesn't seem large (103),its still over 30 people up from where its normally at. I saw two different posts on my FB wall about huge crowds in San Jose (2,500) and Stockton (4,000!!) waiting to get a Thanksgiving meal. I don't know about Detroit this year but we chronically have a large turnout for a free hot meal or having a free turkey and all the fixings.

1 Dec
9:27 pm

Still writing this in fits and starts. Its another chilly day in SE Michigan. We are both in the den,I'm writing and Paladin is curled up on his fleece blanket. 
  Going back to last Tuesday night. Had the day but kept busy. I had already talked to Susan to let her know she didn't need to come down. Turns out she couldn't have anyhow as her new dog has a case of heartworm and she had to take him into the vet. I also talked to Marlene (Crash's mom) to also let her know she didn't need to come. She said she would try but as it was her late day...
  I was going to meet Michael and Deb at Antonio's for dinner at 5:45 before heading to St. Thomas at 7 pm. As I was getting ready,my neighbor Kathy came over. I hadn't seen her in over a month and I saw I had 20 minutes...which went into 35 before I managed to get free.
  It didn't matter,my stomach was too tied up to worry about eating so I made small talk as Michael and Deb ate (and thank you again for dinner). Pretty soon it was time to go and we drove down to St. Thomas where there were a lot more folks then I had imagined. People were slowly walking inside and we made our way in as well. I went to the men's room to get a little composed and saw a few other guys doing the same.
  I was a little perplexed as to why was St. Thomas having this service only two days before Thanksgiving? I mean,its rough already during the best of times but adding this to a big typical family holiday? I was wondering about that as we sat down.
  A priest who I had never seen before stood up and announced that St. Thomas's regular Father was going through some trials and "personal problems that he is struggling with" and that he had decided to "resign" that very day! Based on the snatches of talk I heard afterwards,this wasn't a huge surprise to the church members. 

  But as they made other announcements ,my eyes went to the back of the wall and I counted 52 crosses hanging there with a small candle burning.They did a Mass and then Debbie Miller (who I talk to as a grief therapist) read off the names quietly. After a song and a prayer,they invited a family member to come pick up our crosses. I was overcome with tears and Deb sat with me and we cried as Michael went up for me. I miss her so very much. The service ended and we made our way out where we ran into Marlene who had raced from Detroit to the service. We talked for a few and then I sent them on their way because they had a long drive ahead and worked in the morning. 
  And that ended this part of my life....

Thanksgiving was quiet...I had some very nice people offer to have me over to dinner including a young lady from my job whom I would have never guessed would have invited me. I was touched but I said "no" and just had a small dinner that Barb had gotten me. Paladin and I watched a 10 part series on World War II which Lori had gotten for me as a gift and I had yet to watch it....until now. It was very well done and I kept putting it on pause as I read about a key battle on my iPad. 
   At 4:45 pm,I drove to Target as I thought they were going to be open at 5 pm....turns out it was at 8. I wanted none of that and drove back home. 
   Black Friday went on in my work and while the business was heavy,it wasn't anything stupid as they showed in various Wal-Marts. Which cracked me up because there isn't any need to bum rush,Walmart has enough product to handle the early bird shoppers. But of course you can see what kind of people are acting a fool and ruining it for everyone else. Cops were out in force and were brooking no foolishness from anyone. 
  So my friend Kerri and her husband Andy are a hosting a Photo Challenge on Facebook. Every day has a theme and you have to post a picture that you took that relates to the theme. Its been pretty rough to figure out a few of them and very painful ones as well but I am posting nearly everyday. On some days,especially the theme that was "Fur",has been been a lot of fun. Lot of folks have a lot of furry friends that they showed out. I posted a few shots of Paladin. 
   The college football regular season ended last Saturday for the San Jose State football team. The Spartans were at one point 3-1 in the Mountain West and 5-3 overall before hosting San Diego State. The Spartans had a 30-20 lead in the 4th quarter but couldn't handle the Aztecs running game and lost 34-30 which started a 3 game losing streak and ending their bowl chances at they were 5-6 and hosting the 16th ranked Fresno State Bulldogs. The Spartans had dropped a 58-52 triple overtime game to Navy while Fresno was blowing up New Mexico,69-28. This game was going to be ugly....and it was. My buddy at worked stood there in shock as I asked him for the score...when he said 42-41 SJS at the half,I thought he was poking fun as me but he wasn't he was telling the truth! Not only were they winning,they played with great defensive will the second half and won,62-52,ending Fresno's chance to play a major bowl. 
  As for the Spartans,suddenly they are 6-6 and with their Top 10 passing game,will be a attractive team in a smaller bowl game. I am guessing they will end up in the New Mexico Bowl playing either Oregon State or Washington State. We'll know for sure by next Sunday. 
   Actor Paul Walker died yesterday in a brutal car crash....he was a passenger in a high powered Porsche when the driver lost control,hit a tree or a pole and blew up the car. Both men never had a chance as the car burned out of control. Walker rose to fame playing a former cop named Brian O'Connor in the "Fast and Furious" movies.
   Finished my Jack Reacher novel and started in on a autobiography by Army Ranger Captain Scotty Smiley called "Hope Unseen" in which he became to first Ranger to serve who also was legally blind. Should be a great book full of hope and courage. I'll let you all know how it turns out.
  Again,sorry my writing has been in spurts and starts. I am very grateful to you all who keep coming by and seeing if I have posted anything new. Well,now you know that I have indeed!

Guest blogger Susan Smiley (hmmm,wonder if she is related to Scotty) will my next entry and my interview with Brad Beneke will follow....

You can follow me on Twitter @Jinzo_2400

Shout outs:

Sue and Liane- thank you so much! I need a diet now!
Christine H- Next time,I promise.
Deb and Michael- Thank you for always being there for us!
Marlene- Same to you!
Alana- Dude,that bread is beyond good.
Morgan - Thanks for talking geopolitics with me and for also knowing who Paladin was named after.
 Kerri and Andy - Loving the challenge!
Scorpion - are you getting ready to relaunch the pirate radio station?
Jimmy - I still crack up remembering your encounter with David Blaine,I knew there was a reason I stayed upstairs!
 Tom Nelson - Happy birthday!
Sydney - Happy birthday!
and to whoever uploaded episodes of Mystery Theater on YouTube,you rock!
Dan Herman - hang tough...
Brad B. - Phil Hughes will be a steal for the Twins!